Monday, June 29, 2015

Eye Candy for Today: Edwin Austin Abbey scene from Shakespeare

King Lear, Act I, Scene I; Edwin Austin Abbey
“King Lear”, Act I, Scene I; Edwin Austin Abbey

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, use zoom link or download arrow under image. Also, larger, somewhat brighter image on Wikimeda Commons.

Usually the Met’s images are pretty accurate, but I happen to like the one from Wikimedia Commons a little better in this case, so I’ve used it above.

Another of Edwin Austin Abbey’s wonderful interpretations of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, for which he was justifiably well known. Even the faces of the incidental characters — half-hidden in shadow — are full of drama.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Luigi Loir

Luigi Loir, painter of Paris
I’ve written previously about three of the four late 19th and early 20th century painters whose styles are sometimes called “Parisianism”, or more simply “Painters of Paris”, Eugéne Galien Laloue, Edouard-Léon Cortès and Antoine Blanchard.

Never a formal group, these were just painters working in slightly different times, with similar intentions and shared influences. They were noted for their portrayals of the city of light, its boulevards and landmarks, often with the intense yellows and oranges of luminous shop windows set against low chroma backgrounds in complementary blue-grays and earth colors.

(Jean Béraud is often added to that list, but his style was different enough that I don’t generally include him in with the others.)

Though Galien Laloue remains my personal favorite, Luigi Loir is the originator of the characteristic style the others — particularly Cortes and Blanchard — later became known for; he is also arguably the most original and artistically sophisticated of the painters.

Loir sought to capture the streets of Paris in varying conditions of atmosphere and light, but often chose twilight, evening, or overcast days in which the lights of shops and cafes were set aglow against the muted colors of the city’s beautiful monuments and architecture.

Loir and the others populated their streets with throngs of gesturally indicated shoppers, travelers and cafe goers, on foot and in carriages. Though they look romanticized to us (and likely to Cortes and Blanchard), to Loir, these were scenes of contemporary, everyday life — at the time, a novel approach that he shared with the Impressionists.

Loir was also a prolific designer and illustrator, given the distinction of creating official exhibition cover for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (what we now think of as the “Worlds Fair”) in Paris.

Loir was adept with gouache, watercolor and oil, as well as being a pioneer in the use of chromolithography, a process that allowed the wide publication of large scale color images for the first time.

As with Galien Laloue, it is Loir’s gouache paintings that I find most compelling — part painterly, part graphic, alive with vibrant contrasts of chroma, value and delineation.

Eye Candy for Today: Louis Comfort Tiffany gouache sketch

Woodland Interior, Louis Comfort Tiffany, gouache
Woodland Interior, Louis Comfort Tiffany

Watercolor and gouache on tan paper, roughly 16×22″ (40x56cm), in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

James Gurney has a nice post on his blog today about some of his favorite gouache Masters, which prompted me to think of a few artists who did beautiful work in gouache, though they were not particularly known as gouache artists.

This wonderfully realized sketch by Louis Comfort Tiffany (yes, the same Tiffany famous for stained glass) shows off the immediacy of notation that gouache facilitates.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Peter “Pete the Street” Brown

Peter - Pete the Street - Brown
Peter brown is British painter, whose dedication to location painting and penchant for working in all manner of weather conditions, often in the streets in the midst of the bustle of city activity, has earned him the nickname of “Pete the Street”.

Brown paints in his home base of Bath in southwestern England, and on his frequent visits to London and other UK cities, as well as his travels abroad.

He has developed a wonderfully economical approach, driven by the limitations of location painting and honed by many years in the field. He defines his forms with gestural brush marks — laid down over a foundation of solid draftsmanship — in a manner that suggests that no strokes are wasted.

Brown’s colors also bear witness to his history of location painting, ringing true to the light and atmosphere of all manner of atmospheric conditions.

His urban compositions are strongly geometric, and suggest an uncommon ability to find subjects almost anywhere. His scenes of the countryside and seaside also simplify and reduce value masses into strong basic forms. His views down city streets and country lanes often feel as though they are inviting you to walk into them.

Brown frequently works on large and sometimes severely horizontal canvasses, creating panoramic impressions of his subject.

There are short videos of Brown working, some of them previews for available DVDs, that show him on location and painting in snow and rain. Brown has a number of videos and book collections available from his site, and is working on a new collection of his paintings of London.

On his website, you can browse through his exhibitions sections, or use the search feature for more extensive browsing. Don’t be put off by the complex search form that dominates the “Paintings for Sale” and “Search Works” sections, you can simply scroll down in the former, or submit a default search in the latter, and browse through the listings at the bottom of the page like a normal online gallery, with links to multiple pages at the bottom.

Eye Candy for Today: Rose Adélaïde Ducreux self portrait

Self portrait with a Harp, Rose Adelaide Ducreux
Self portrait with a Harp, Rose Adélaïde Ducreux

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Use the download arrow under the image for larger version.

Rose Adélaïde Ducreux, who studied with her father, painter Joseph Ducreux, here portrays herself with a harp and in a luxuriously finessed gown that dominates the work. I suspect that, like many self portraits, it was meant as a display of the painter’s skill to prospective portrait commissions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Noah Bradley

Noah Bradley, concept art and illustration
Noah Bradley is a concept artist and illustrator, known in particular for his work on the “Magic: The Gathering” card-based games.

A number of the works on his website are from an ambitious personal project, titled “The Sin of Man”, which also has a dedicated website. You can find additional work in his deviantART gallery.

Bradley has an appealing way of working complex patterns and textural areas into his pieces so that they enliven the compositions without overwhelming or distracting from them. I particularly like his use of patterns on many of the figures and surfaces in his Sin of Man project.

Bradley formerly worked in oil, but now works primarily in digital painting. He has a number of instructional digital art videos on YouTube, several of which are full-length features from his Art Camp endeavor.

He also has pieces available as prints on InPrint.