Friday, October 24, 2014

Nicolas Delort (update)

Nicolas Delort, pen, ink and scratchboard illustration
Nicolas Delort is a Canadian/French illustrator who I wrote about in early 2013, and featured in the article on contemporary ink artists I wrote for the Spring 2014 issue of Drawing Magazine.

Since then, Delort has revised and updated his blog and website, adding a number of striking new images done in his beautiful ink and scratchboard style.

Among contemporary illustrators using scratchboard, Delort’s work stands out for its dramatic approach light and dark, made viscerally immediate by his adept use of texture. Delort employs his linear textures not only to suggest the character of surfaces, but to convey motion and lead your eye through the composition.

In the portfolio on his website, be sure to click through to the larger images to appreciate the textural character of the drawings, made even more compelling by the nature of scratchboard lines, different in their edges than those made with a pen (though I believe Delort combines some pen and ink with his scratchboard technique).

Scratchboard has wonderful qualities in common with both pen and ink drawing and traditional graphics processes, and Delort uses the range of the medium to advantage.

Delort’s approach shows an admiration for classic pen and ink illustrators like Franklin Booth, as well as the engravings of 19th century artists like Gustave Doré.

In addition to his website and blog, there is a portfolio of Delort’s work on Behance portfolio, Tumblr and the site of his U.S. artists’ representatives, Shannon Associates.

There is an article on the making of the “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” image above, second pair down, on Blurppy.

There is a brief interview with Delort on YouTheDesigner, and another on Hypocrite Design.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt’s Self-portrait with Two Circles

Self-portrait with Two Circles, Rembrandt
Self-portrait with Two Circles, Rembrandt

We don’t have access on the web to an image at the level of high resolution available for the Rembrandt self-portrait at the age of 53 that I wrote about a few days ago, but we can see enough to appreciate more of the master’s superb painting skills.

Rembrandt was adept at all aspects of painting: glazing, wet-into-wet, scumbling and even scratching out with the butt of a brush, as he has done here in the cloth just below the neck, and perhaps above the eye to our left (though I’m not sure those are entirely intentional marks).

The scumbled brush strokes that make up his cap and the texture of his hair are remarkable for their economy and textural qualities.

Everything here seems almost casual, flowing from the master’s hand as only years of experience can permit. The hand holding the brushes is just a gestural smudge. Whether Rembrandt intended to bring the painting to a more finished state is unknown, but for all its brusque economy, it works beautifully as a complete work.

The two circles suggested against the plane of the background are something of a mystery; various speculations have been put forward, but Rembrandt’s actual intentions are unknown. Whether or not the circles have a purpose beyond compositional elements, they function brilliantly in that respect.

We don’t have a date for this painting as closely pinpointed as some of his other portraits. The date is assumed to be between 1665 and 1669, putting Rembrandt’s age at between 59 and 63. It’s notable as one of the self-portraits in which he has portrayed himself working, rather than in costume.

Rembrandt’s gaze here is more confident than in the portrait of 1659, resigned, perhaps, to his misfortunes, but continuing to exert his mastery of painting.

Both this and the self-portrait from 1659 on display as part of the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works, at the National Gallery, London until 18 January 2015.

This image can be downloaded from the Rijksmuseum page devoted to the same exhibition, which will move there in February of 2015. (There is also a large image accompanying an article on the painting on Wikipedia, but it’s oversaturated and poorly focused.)

The original is in the collection of Kenwood House, London (which does not have a website as far as I know).

Art writer Jonathan Jones of The Guardian has called this the greatest painting in Britain.

Stephanie Hans

Stephanie Hans, comics art and illustration
French illustrator and comics artist Stephanie Hans is known in particular for her painted style comics covers and interior panel illustrations.

She excels at dynamic comics covers, many for American titles, that involve women characters in forceful or emotional roles.

Her website is in French, but it’s easy enough to navigate for for those who don’t read French. The portfolio has sections for cover art, comics (bande dessinée), and illustration, along with a bibliography.

You can find more of her work on her deviantART gallery and Tumblr, as well as the site of her U.S. artist’s rep, Shannon Associates.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Grimshaw’s Stapleton Park

Stapleton Park near Pontefract Sun, John Atkinson Grimshaw
Stapleton Park near Pontefract Sun, John Atkinson Grimshaw

On WikiArt. The original is in a private collection.

Grimshaw loved to do these scenes of softly lit Autumn evenings with a lone figure, usually a woman seen from behind, walking down an empty stretch of road. See also my previous Eye Candy post of Grimwhaw’s Evening Glow.

Wayne Haag

Wayne Haag, concept art and science fictio illustration
Wayne Haag is an Australian matte painter and illustrator whose film credits include The Fifth Element, Lord of the Rings, The Wolverine, Maze Runner and Gods of Egypt, as well as the television series Farscape.

Haag works both in digital and traditional media, but prefers when possible to paint science fiction subjects in oil. As you look through his website portfolio and Archives, you may find images that you would assume are digital — given the preferences in contemporary illustration circles — but are in fact, done in traditional oil painting.

In addition to his website, you can find his work, in general reproduced somewhat larger, on his Behance portfolio, and his blog, which also includes detail crops, and other images that shed some light on his process.

His illustration paintings take from his matte painting skills a deft handling of atmospheric perspective and the suggestion of scale, as well as a controlled evocation of filtered light.

His website section under “Art Archive” for “Landscape and other paintings” includes plein air and studio landscape painting and portrait subjects.

I particularly like his painting of Karan Sculling on the Maribyrnong River (images above, bottom), which recalls Thomas Eakins’ paintings of scullers on the Schuylkill River here in Philadelphia.

[Via Concept Art World]

New Draw Mix Paint painting instruction course

Draw Mix Paint, online paintinf instruction course from Mark Carder
As I reported in 2013, well regarded painter Mark Carder, who some years ago created a specific instruction method for those learning to paint, had put much of his former course into a series of new videos and made them freely available on his site Draw Mix Paint.

Carder has recently taken those videos, added a good deal of supplementary web based material, and arranged them into a more formal course, guiding the student through step-by-step.

In addition to the basic teach yourself course, Carder is offering a new premium version that is essentially an online class — with longer, more detailed videos and personal interaction with Carder.

Students following the free course can work from life, from their own photographs, or from laminated photographic reproductions of still life arrangements or portrait subjects prepared by Carder (these are available to those not taking the paid course, along with the deluxe videos, on a separate purchase basis).

The more detailed course, in which Carder interacts with the student, is based specifically around the pre-composed subjects of the photographic prints, so that instructor and student are on the same page. Students select one as included in their enrollment.

I’ll point out again that this course is not so much about a method of painting as a method of learning to paint, and by many accounts a very successful one.

Those who are already further along the learning curve in painting may find it laborious, as it is based on careful observation and measurement with sighting tools, and incremental steps of value and color changes. For those just starting, however, Carder has provided a method for going from non-painting to painting in the context of a single course.

Carder’s methods are based on traditional techniques, and are aimed specifically at painting straightforward representational realism in oil.

I provided a more detailed description of his method in my previous article on Draw Mix Paint.

The premium version of the online course, with interaction from Carder, is limited to 30 students per month. The initial registration step is to choose a subject photograph and the month for which you would like to register.

To start the free version of the course (which should give a preview of the more in-depth version), look for the “Start without Enrolling” button from this page.

Carder’s site also includes links to the original free instructional videos, his supply list and an active discussion forum.