Thursday, February 11, 2016

Minh Dam

Minh Dam, watercolor cityscapes
Originally from Hanoi, Vietnam, Minh Dam is an architect and watercolor painter based in Poland. He is the founder of Lineare Art Studio in Warsaw, and a co-founder of the Polish Watercolor Society.

Minh Dam’s primary focus in his paintings is cityscape. He take as his subjects cities in Poland and other parts of Europe, portraying their plazas, buildings, trolleys and street life with a lose, gestural approach.

There is an underpinning of traditional draftsmanship, on which his sketch-like rendering finds a solid base.

On his website, which has an English version, you’ll find his paintings arranged by most recent and currently available, as well as by subject. In addition, he has a blog which, though in Polish only, has additional images of paintings and work in progress.

He also has a portfolio on and a deviantART gallery.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Ken Auster, 1949-2016

Ken Auster
California artist Ken Auster started his artistic career with poster and t-shirt graphics in the milieu of 1960s surfing culture. He went on from there to plain air painting, and established his signature subject choices of streetcars, contemporary surfing scenes, California landscapes and restaurant interiors.

All were approached with bold brush work, vibrant color and strongly geometric compositions. I particularly love his interior scenes of the St Regis Bar in NY that incorporate the famous restaurant murals of Maxfield Parrish (above, bottom two).

Auster died on January 29 a the age of 66.

For more, see my previous posts on Ken Auster, and his book, Ken Auster: Intellect and Passion.


Eye Candy for Today: Isaby crayon portrait

Lady of the Court of Napoleon I, Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Isabey, crayonn & white
Lady of the Court of Napoléon I, Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Isabey

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, roughly 10×7 in (25×18 cm).

Though graphite pencils largely took the place of chalk and crayon in the late 19th century, this beautiful portrait drawing — done at the turn of the 19th century and attributed to court painter Jean-Baptiste Isabey — shows some of the delicacy and surface quality that can be achieved with crayon.

Elements of the drawing are highlighted with what is likely white gouache.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eye Candy for Today: Sargent’s “An Artist in His Studio”

An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent
An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Many, if not most paintings are not named by the artist, but by subsequent buyers, sellers or scholars. If Sargent named this one (and I have to think he did), it was with tongue firmly in cheek.

Sargent painted his friend, Italian painter Ambrogio Raffele, on a vacation in the Alps; the “artist’s studio” is clearly a corner of a cramped hotel room, a desk corner and part of the bed serving as his easel.

The bravura brushwork which which Sargent is praised (or damned, if the speaker is a modernist looking down on the “facile” skills of 19th century painters), is clearly in evidence here, though more casually and briefly applied than in his more formal work.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this painting in person, and it’s just a wonder and a treat. The handling of the bedsheets should be in the dictionary as the definition of “painterly”.

This was obviously painted for Sargent’s own pleasure, like an Olympic-level runner going for a morning run just to enjoy a beautiful spring day.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jules-Alexandre Grün

Jules-Alexandre Grun
Jules-Alexandre Grün was a French painter, illustrator and poster artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Grün painted the social life of paris, dinner parities and grand celebrations, and designed posters for theatre and other events.

There is a blog devoted to his poster work, Jules-Alexandre Grün: The Posters, with a bio.

Toward the end of his career, Grün was suffering from Parkinson’s disease; Donald Pittenger has a post on the painting of Grün’s last crowd scene on his blog Art Contrarian (see this post’s comments).


Friday, January 29, 2016

Will Harmuth

Will Harmuth, oil and acrylic
New Jersey artist William Harmuth paints landscapes and townscapes in both oil and acrylic. In the former, his color is often laid down in thick, brusque passages, giving the surface an almost sculptural character.

His acrylics also give the impression of gestural paint application. In the “Traditional” gallery section of his website, you will find work that looks more refined, and at times leans toward a tonalist approach.

I enjoy in particular those compositions in which he focuses on a section of a building or group of buildings, emphasizing the geometry of the scene.

[Via Donna Nyzio]