Dan Goozee is another great example of a fine arts painter who is an illustrator with a very thin line between the two. His fine art goes into his illustration but rarely does his illustration go into his fine art. Growing up in a small town where his uncle and father owned and operated the town’s two movie houses, Dan worked in them on weekends and spent much of his time studying how the films were made paying close attention to the lighting and special effects. He credits his use of light in his painting to this study of films. Dan will tell you that he really paints light and gets a sense of it as it describes or passes through a figure, landscape, or theme park illustration. This is certainly a comment that one would expect from a fine artist. Dan’s illustrations for Imagineering are diverse in subject matter but consistent in the use of light as a major organizing element of his painting. His first choice for a bird’s eye view of a park attraction would be twilight because he can capture mood-setting elements such as long rays of sun, great shadows, and twinkling light.
I have always been impressed with Dan’s painterly approach to an illustration as seen in his Tokyo Disney Sea illustrations. I use the word painterly to describe brushwork that liberally applies paint to the canvas surface. With this kind of brushwork, there is visual texture and a physical texture that results from the large bold generous brush strokes that are used. I have often watched Dan paint alla prima, an Italian art term that is used when the painter finishes an oil painting from start to finish in one session. This is a departure from the normal use of oil paints in which there are traditionally several layers painted with some drying time between the layers. It requires a confident brush stroke and one that the artist is not guessing about the effects of the brush strokes. Dan carries this confidence over into his illustration work and the result is that he has a strong illustration without it being muddy and over worked. An illustration that is over worked and muddy is the result of the illustrator not knowing the value or the color that is wanted and how to get it. Having started his career as an artist by building his visual vocabulary and understanding of the fine arts principles by growing up with movies, Dan has successfully applied this information to his painting that gives him unwavering confidence in his illustration work. This same confidence is found in his gallery work where he is known for his portrait, floral, and landscape paintings. As an instructor, Dan role models this confidence for his students and as a student, Dan strives for continual improvement.