Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Arthur Rackham illustration from The Valkyrie

Golden Age Illustration from Wagner's The Valkyrie, Arthur Rackham
Illustration from Wagner’s The Valkyrie, Arthur Rackham

From The Golden Age Site.

Another beautiful classic from the Golden Age of Illustration. They don’t call it the Golden Age for nothing.

For more, see my previous posts on Arthur Rackham, and here and here.

James Akers (update)

James Akers, architectural rendering in watercolor
Back in 2007, I wrote a post about James Akers, an artist who, though comfortable with digital rendering and 3-D illustration, continues to do architectural rendering in watercolor.

In the post I made general points about both the way many people — even artists themselves — tend to unfairly compartmentalize and judge genres of art not considered “fine art”, and about how architectural rendering is also suffering from the misconception that 3D graphics have superseded traditional rendering because they are somehow superior.

Since then, Akers has revised his website, and of course added to his portfolio, as well as establishing a blog on which he tackles these and other related subjects. In addition, he touches on a range of other topics, including watercolor tutorials.

Akers’ work is a prime example of how traditional drawing techniques, and the middle ground of digital media used in traditional ways (i.e. drawing and painting in graphics software with a tablet and stylus) have a hand-made character, and visual warmth, that are difficult to achieve with 3-D modeling.

Akers bridges the gap between the utilitarian function of displaying an idea for a proposed building as it is intended to appear, and watercolor rendering as a visually appealing painting in itself. (I think architects presenting their ideas to clients may forget or discount the unconscious appeal the latter might have on their clients, as opposed to a dryly “photographic” 3-D rendering.)

I’ll also point out that architectural rendering is, in may ways, equivalent to film and gaming concept art — visualizations of proposed ideas. (You see these fields merge more clearly in the work of artists who do conceptual renderings of proposed theme park features.)

Akers’ website has galleries of work in several areas; the ones I find most compelling are for Architectural Renderings in Watercolor, and Architectural Illustration and Design Process, which includes some step-through process examples.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ryan Gitter

Ryan Gitter
Texas based concept artist Ryan Gitter works in both traditional and digital media.

His work often combines strongly geometric elements with crisply defined edges, contrasted with a atmospheric passages in which edges become gradually lost. He also contrasts areas of low chroma color with accents of bright, intense color for dramatic effect.

[Via Concept Art World]

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts, Australian Impressionist artist, Heidelberg School
Born in England in the middle of the 19th century, Tom Roberts moved to Australia with his parents when he was 13, and became one of Australia’s most prominent artists.

Roberts, with his good friend Frederick McCubbin and several other artists, notably Walter Withers and Arthur Streeton, formed the core group of artist known as Australian Impressionists. They were also known as the Heidelberg School, after the area in Victoria, near Melbourne, where they frequently painted.

Several of the notable museums in Australia have generously contributed high-resolution images of Roberts’ work to the Google Art Project, allowing those of us outside of Australia to develop an appreciation for this wonderful and (in the U.S. anyway) largely unknown painter.

These images are also available as high-resolution downloadable files on Wikimedia Commons. I’ve listed other resources below. Note that The Athenaeum and WikiArt have additional reasonably large images.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Peploe’s Black Bottle

The Black Bottle, Samuel John Peploe
The Black Bottle, Samuel John Peploe

Link is to Google Art Project; high resolution downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Galleries Scotland.

Wonderfully fluid and economical handling of this table setting subject by Scottish painter Samuel Peploe. It carries a feeling of the still life work of Manet, who was likely an influence.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Liz Haywood-Sullivan

Liz Haywood-Sullivan
Liz Haywood-Sullivan is a pastel painter who creates landscapes and cityscapes with an eye to the vibrant color and graphic textural qualities the medium makes available.

Depending on size and subject matter, her approach can either be more refined or more sketch-like, with an emphasis on that fascinating area where the qualities of pastel cross from painting to drawing, juxtaposing areas of painterly color with textural strokes.

The work on her website is divided into sections titled Light, Environment and Atmosphere, reflecting some of her themes. You can also find an older version of her site on, in which her older work is divided into cityscapes and landscapes from the northeast and southeast of the U.S.

Haywood-Sullivan’s fascination with light in the landscape is often expressed in horizontal light from early or late in the day, as it makes contrasting streaks of value and color changes across her compositions.

In addition to her websites you can find her work on the Vose Galleries site (note the second page), and the Montana Trails Gallery, though the images on the latter are small.

Haywod-Sullivan teaches workshops in various locations, and is the author of Painting Brilliant Skies & Water in Pastel, and is a contributor to other books and instructional DVDs.