The video shows Disney artists working on their day off in 1958.

Nancy Griswold posted a video on the Plein Air Painters page on Facebook in which Walt Disney addressed artists. What was his advice?

Disney read from “The Art Spirit,” by Robert Henri, and advocated the position that artists follow their own ideas rather than imitate others. In the video, the animated-film maestro says his studio hired accomplished artists of varying styles and had them combine their approaches to form one strong, cohesive look for Disney films.

Disney explains that he hired artists with different approaches and styles and had them blend their work into a cohesive product. The video shows their various approaches.

Things get really interesting at the 6:25 mark, when four Disney artists go out into the field to explore their different takes on one majestic oak tree. One artist uses paint thinned with lighter fluid to make the underdrawing dry quickly. One uses a palette knife to activate the surface. One pursues a very modern approach to the tree, seeing the plant as an architectural marvel.

In the end, it’s hard not to get excited about the freedom inherent in painting, and hard not to be appreciative of how Disney harnessed a bunch of wildly disparate artists to create enduring works of art. 


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