Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Yutang Yang (update)

Yutang Yang, pen and ink
Yutang Yang is an artist from northeastern China who I first wrote about in 2008, and later featured as one of the seven contemporary ink artists I profiled in my article for the Spring 2014 issue of Drawing magazine.

He works in dip pen and carbon based ink on paper, using hatching to create beautifully textural landscape drawings, that when seen in small reproductions, appear almost photographic.

When you look at them in more detail, however, they show their true nature as ink drawings, in which the artist has deftly used textural areas as tonal masses, giving his work wonderful depth and sensitivity to the nature of light and shadow.

Yang’s website has galleries of his work arranged by year. Be aware that some of the galleries have more than one page, accessed from the rightmost of a row of Chinese characters that appear just below the thumbnails.

You can also view examples of his work, and a bio, on the website of the Perez Fine Art Gallery.

Fragonard’s Coresus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe

The High Priest Coresus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe, Jean-Honore Fragonard
The High Priest Coresus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe, Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Image on the Web Gallery of Art; original is in the Louvre.

Uncharacteristic of the frivolity of the work for which he is best known, Fragonard has here tackled a history painting. The work was originally meant as a guide for a tapestry that was never created.

Everything about this is theatrical, from the stage-like setting, to the dramatic lighting, to the expressions and posture of the subjects, to the fact that the act is essentially being witnessed by an audience.

I posted yesterday about Fragonard’s preliminary wash drawing for this piece. I also came across a painted study, that is in the collection of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, with a high-resolution zoomable image on the Google Art Project (images above, bottom three).

Unfortunately, I can’t find a larger image of the finished painting, and the color on both looks off to me — images of the final seem too warm and monochromatic, and the GAP image of the oil sketch seems too yellow.

I’ve taken the liberty of color correcting both as best I can, but this is just my best guess, and I make no claims of accuracy, as I’ve never seen either work in person. You can see my adjusted full image of the final painting here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fragonard’s drawing for The Sacrifice of Coresus

The Sacrifice of Coresus, Jean-Honore Fragonard, brush and brown wash over chalk
The Sacrifice of Coresus, Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Brush and brown wash, over chalk, roughly 14 x 18 inches (35 x 46 cm). In the Morgan Library and Museum. Use Zoom tab or download link.

Not only has Fragonard worked out his composition, dramatic lighting and value relationships in this beautifully gestural preparatory drawing, he’s captured the faces and emotion of his subjects with a few deft strokes.

Paul Scott Canavan

Paul Scott Canavan, concept art and illustration
Paul Scott Canavan is lead artist for the Scottish gaming company Blazing Griffin, and also does freelance illustration and concept art.

Canavan paints digitally in a way that carries a feeling of traditional painting media. His landscapes, in particular, are textural and painterly. He also does digital plein air painting (such as the two castles along coasts, shown above).

In addition to his online portfolio, his website has links to available prints, and a Gumroad shop where you can purchase a tutorial video with accompanying files, and also access an earlier, more limited, free tutorial video and files (of the image above, bottom).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eye Candy for Today: Jan Davidsz de Heem still life

Mesa (Table), Jan Davidsz de Heem
Mesa (Table), Jan Davidsz de Heem

Link is to page on Wikimedia Commons, from which you can access the high-resolution file.

Original is in the Prado, Madrid, but I don’t think they have an image on their website.

The intricate surface of the decorative metal is of course the star here, but I also love the reflections in the glassware, in addition to his handling of the other objects.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

William Hays

William Hays, reduction linocut prints
Though he also works in oil, Vermont artist William Hays found an initial diversion into reduction linocut prints to be so compelling that it is now the focus of his artistic endeavors.

Reduction printing is a color printmaking technique in which a single block, in this case linoleum, is carved, printed in a color, and then carved and printed again and again, each time cutting away the areas that will not be printed in the current color. This is opposed to the multi-block method of milti-color block printing.

It has advantages, in that the registration is to a single block and not several, but the planning and execution of the method is painstaking, and since the block is essentially being destroyed by stages, the initial print run is the only print run.

Multi-color block prints have their own unique visual charm, often with characteristics of both painting and linear rendering. Hays’s subjects of leafy forests, snowy hills and quiet glens use the medium to advantage.

I’ve limited my examples of Hays’ work to his prints, just to avoid any confusion about the process. You can find examples of his oils here.

Hays’ site has a listing of galleries that carry his work, and also has archived newsletters, many of which have information about his process, as in this one and this one.