Southern California

Disney Art Legend: Eyvind Earle Exhibit

The artist created the look of "Sleeping Beauty" and other classics; now see his works at Forest Lawn.

Many movie buffs can easily recall specific sights and locations from animated Disney classics, places they can describe down to the teeniest, most florid detail.

The chandeliered library from Beast's castle is a place entrenched in many a fan's memory, and the grotto where Ariel keeps all of her underwater thingamabobs is easily summoned to mind.

But the look of a Disney film goes beyond the places that pop up along the way. It's in the lines and colors and shadows and overarching style, too, all elements that weave into the larger story mythos.

Artist Eyvind Earle was a mid-century master of the form, as evidenced by his iconic background paintings for 1959's "Sleeping Beauty." Often cited as some of the most striking backgrounds in all of animation, Mr. Earle's densely drawn woods were lushly medieval, yes, but they also boasted a touch mid-century panache.

Forest Lawn Museum is celebrating Mr. Earle's singular style, and the many artworks he created beyond his time at the Walt Disney Studios. "Eyvind Earle: An Exhibit of a Disney Legend" will run through New Year's Day, 2017.

It's a comprehensive overview of how the Southern California-raised painter created an aesthetic within the larger, thrumming world of Disney dream-making. So quintessential are Mr. Earle's color combos and not-quite-from-real-life settings that other creators have found inspiration in his catalog (directors Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro are both Earle collectors).

Born a century ago, the artist eventually settled in Carmel-by-the-Sea before passing away in 2000. His works can often be found in galleries around the village, but the change for Angelenos to view them, and just a short drive from the studio where he once painted for Walt Disney, is a rare treat.

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Of course, as a Disney devotee, you likely know he worked on "Lady & the Tramp" and "Peter Pan," too, as well as the dioramas inside Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

For a chance to enjoy the larger scope of his beyond-Disney pursuits, the hue-big paintings of natural subjects he became famed for, make for Forest Lawn Museum before the dawn of the new year.

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