In a stunning visual love letter to the celebrated 1973 animated classic Robin Hood, artist Heather Edwards has created this tapestry of color, characters, and storytelling. In a fusion of memorable moments from the film, Heather portrays the hero and villain together in the composition, each shown in a moment that reflects their true nature. The hero of Nottingham himself, Robin Hood generously gifting his hat and bow to young Skippy, and Prince John, the selfish, spoiled and cruel usurper king, sucking his thumb and throwing a childish tantrum after being outsmarted by his adversaries, Robin Hood and Little John.
There is something catchy about that little ditty at the beginning of Disney's 1973 version of Robin Hood. So catchy, in fact, that it's used for everything from phone ringtones to rambling whistling sessions when there's nothing else to occupy your mind. I'll admit I've done the latter more than a few times myself. The idea, too, of human characteristics being embodied so perfectly in some of our favorite untamed creatures is wildly entertaining. Who knew that a wily fox could be compassionate, a burly bear could have a sense of humor or that the stately lion could be pouty and suck his thumb? These are the things about the film that captured me as a child and continues to enthrall me as an adult. So the challenge I gave myself in this painting was to bring that to life. Robin, here, is that compassionate, wily fox; Little John, the comedic bear; Prince John is the absurd/self-centered pout, Upset at losing his robes, jewels from the rings on his paws and watching his stripped carriage disappear into the distance. On the other hand, Skippy, the young rabbit, is fascinated by his rogue hero and Mother Rabbit is filled with true gratitude for the act of benevolence bestowed upon her son. Alan-A-Dale is strumming his lute above them all and one can't help but whistle out his cheery tune alongside him. Surrounding Prince John are a handful of his entourage—a newbie to his court, the Elephant, is aghast and repelled by his monarch's sudden display of childish behavior; and two of his Rhino guards are both exasperated and disgusted by what they have to put UP with. "Not again one might think; or, "If I have to put up with this one more time..." Poor Sir Hiss, the snake, is annoyed at being stuck with the brunt of his leader's antics and angrily plops his muddied hat back upon his head. Conveying all of these subtle expressions was the personal challenge I gave myself and the journey in creating them was an adventurous one! But that wasn't all... No, once it gets started, it just keeps going. I decided to add a handful of hidden things in there as well. For every main character painted (1 0), there is a hidden Mickey ( O), everything from the simple circular silhouette to smiling impressions of the Mouse to the lifelike rendition of his role in the 1938 Brave Little Tailor. Also snuck in there off to the left of the Elephant is the Sword in the Stone.
Available in three versions
Open Edition | Giclée on Canvas
Gallery-Wrapped | 11 x 18
Limited Edition of 295 | Studio-Embellished Giclée on Canvas
Gallery-Wrapped | 18 x 30
Deluxe Edition of 95 | Hand-Embellished by the Artist
Giclée on Canvas | Gallery-Wrapped | 24 x 40
Some stories begin on well-defined roads or with billboard accomplishments. But the story of an artist usually begins somewhere less noticeable, perhaps even unrecognizable to most. It is just such a beginning that gave life to the art of creator, Heather Edwards. Paintings were born from 5:45 a.m. mornings during summer breaks from school in Paradise, Utah, waking up to breathe in the crisp air and watch the sun rise and glow through the blades of grass in the lawn. Ideas sprung from thunderstorms, the struggles of working on a small farm and from the loyal companionship of pets. Personal experiences combined to shape the narrative behind each forthcoming creation.
From that vantage point, life itself became the paint on the brush and the guiding force behind everything Heather made and from as early as her pre school years she knew that making art was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. However, receiving extra training or attending an acknowledged art school were not to be part of her story. Yet, it was from her own father that she learned one of her most valuable lessons: observe. It was a simple enough concept, but it stuck.
Heather's paintings are the product of decades of observation of people, of environments, of animals and of textiles, as well as the convergence of every scrap of knowledge that came attached to them. The wonder and magic of Disney movies, both the imagery and the music, also helped cultivate the ideas that began to take form in painting, and now, boldly recreating Disney characters in a way that brings them into the realism of our world has become an exciting new passion.
Shared and collected around the world, Heather Edwards's paintings are constructed in the midst of a bustling family with five children in Portland, Oregon. And although that poses a multitude of challenges of its own, her art has gone on to get the attention of USA Today, the LA Times and received recognition and awards from respected organizations such as Art Renewal Center, Artist's Magazine and Spectrum, among others.
To Heather, every painting is personal, but not necessarily in the way most might think. "I don't necessarily want the viewer to have the same response to my painting as I have. Instead, my hope is that the expression I paint on the board through hours of observation and execution of detail will speak to them in a way that ignites thoughts and feelings unique to them."