Thursday, August 27, 2015

Phil Sandusky (update 2015)

Phil Sandusky, New Orlenas cityscape
Phil Sandusky is a plein air painter, landscape, cityscape and figurative artist based in New Orleans. I’ve written about Sandusky previously, most recently in 2014. Since then, he has unveiled a new website that showcases his work to better advantage.

Sandusky paints the streets, parks and neighborhoods of New Orleans, and several other cities that he frequently visits, with verve, confidence and a keen sense of direct observation. To my eye, there is always a touch of wildness in his work, a sense that the painter has just barely contained the energy and light of the scene.

Ten years ago, Sandusky confronted another kind of wildness, when his response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was that of both a new Orleans resident and a painter, and he painted a series of remarkable views of the aftermath of the storm, that were eventually collected into a book, Painting Katrina. These were painted with simultaneous compassion and equanimity, party with the eye of a painter and partly with the clear observation of a reporter.

Sandusky will be giving a slide presentation about his experiences painting those works on this Friday, August 28, 2015, one day before the 10 year anniversary of the storm, at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eye Candy for Today: Monet’s Still Life with Flowers and Fruit

Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, Claude Monet
Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, Claude Monet

In the Getty Museum, also on Google Art Project and Wikimedia Commons (also here).

The Getty page offers a downloadble version that is very high resolution (60mb).

The Getty version seems unnecessarily dark to me (I haven’t found museums to be particularly reliable when it comes to the color balance of the online presentation of works from their collections); the Google Art Project version seems unnaturally bright. I haven’t seen the original, but based on other Monets I’ve seen, I suspect the balance is somewhere inbetween, and I’ve taken the liberty of adjusting my copy of the image correspondingly.

Monet’s still life paintings can be just as much a wonder of color and texture as his landscapes, and often reveal more about his handling of darker values. I particularly love the contrast in this piece between immediately juxtaposed areas of shadow and bright, direct light.

It’s interesting to compare this and other Monet still life paintings with those of Henri Fantin-Latour.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So PineNut

So PineNut, lithographs, illustrations
So PineNut is the name given on his Behance gallery for a Japanese artist and illustrator based in Tokyo.

Beyond that I have little background information. The images on his Behance gallery are often dark, both in emotional tone and subject; and, unfortunately, in the sense that some of the photographs of the work appear to be underexposed. I have not taken the liberty of enhancing any of them.

Several of the projects show works in progress and the impressions being pulled on a series of stone lithographs, in which the artist has lavished lots of textural details. There are also color pieces and sculptural ceramics.

His Behance gallery does not offer a link to another website or blog. I came across this Weibo site, and have no idea if it is officially related or not (use at your own risk).

Eye Candy for Today: John Henry Twachtman landscape and sketch

Arques-la-Bataille, John Henry Twachtman
Arques-la-Bataille, John Henry Twachtman and preliminary version for same.

When 19th century American painter John Henry Twachtman moved to Paris from Munich, he abandoned the dark palette of his original teachers, and adopted to some extent the brighter palette of the French Impressionists.

However, he also moved away from their broken color and loaded brush paint application, bringing to much of his work a subtle, tonalist approach barely breathed onto the canvas.

The large studio painting at top, with two detail crops — 60 x 789 in. (152 x 200 cm) — was based on the earlier smaller scale painting — 18 x 26in. (46 x 66cm) — painted on location in Normandy (above, bottom, with detail).

Both paintings are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Monday, August 24, 2015

NRM Illustration History resource and archive

NRM Illustration History resource and archive
Since its inception, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA has sought to expand its focus from a single artist to a relevant context and then more broadly to illustration in general.

In that spirit, the museum, through its associated Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, has just launched a new web-based project: Illustration History: An educational resource and archive.

The intention appears to be the assembly of a large and sweeping overview of the illustration field, as seen in multiple aspects — a noble and ambitious goal.

The site has a section on history, seeking to put the whole in context, with increments of half-centruries or individual decades, but the primary focus of the site is on individual artists and genres.

The artist listings can be searched or browsed. Individual artist articles include an attempt to put them in context by linking to related artists and time periods; and there are selections of their work accessed from small thumbnails at page bottom. There is a promising mix of both historic and contemporary illustrators.

You can also browse through genres, or a master list of individual illustrations. Each illustration accessed that way has its own page, with medium, support, size and collection location when available. (Note that the “mobile-friendly” design of the website limits the size of the images on pages to the size of your browser window.)

There are also essays and a selection of links to resources, including artist interviews, blogs, books, museum collections and illustration schools.

The design has a few quirks to be worked out, but for the most part the designers have done a good job of bringing the subject matter forward (with the glaring exception of the obligatory social media buttons, which are not only unnecessarily repeated, but are intrusive and persistent to the point of being a genuine annoyance).

The selections and genres are a bit sparse yet, with few images and many glaring holes to be filled, as well as some odd inclusions. Ben Franklin is listed, for example, but there are no entries for Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac or other major European figures. I can only assume that the museum is starting at home with their own resources, which focus primarily on American illustration, and will expand out from there.

The project is in its nascent stages, and what we see is more the form of what will come, a field of saplings, as it were — but the site is certainly worth visiting at this point, and following as it develops.

Illustration History promises to be a wonderful resource.

[Via Gurney Journey]

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Art Renewal Center (update)

Art Renewal Center: Daniel Gerhartz, Jason de Graaf, John Buxton, Geraldo Gilberto, Gavin Glakas, Arantzazu Martinez, Peter Fiore, Tanvi Pathare, Jake Frima, Cornelia Maria Hernes, Kelly Phelps, Jeffery Larsen, Vitaliy Shtanko, Sergio Lopez, Donato Giancoia, Hanwu Shen, Heather Theurer
As I mentioned in my article on the 10 year anniversary of Lines and Colors, my first post was on August 22, 2005. It was about the Art Renewal Center, a long-standing bastion of representational realism on the web. At the time I had both enthusiasm and some reservations for ARC, and I suppose that is still the case.

I still admire what they’ve accomplished in putting the site together, it’s an amazingly extensive resource. However, I no longer include ARC among the online image resources in my article listings for figures from art history, as they have had to institute a policy of restricting access to many images to signed-in members in order to encourage financial support of the site.

Not that I fault them in that policy in any way — it’s expensive to maintain a site at that level — nor do I mean to suggest that membership in ARC is not worthwhile, I have a membership myself; but I also have my own policies for Lines and Colors, one of which is that I do not link to sites that block access to their articles or images.

For this same reason, I do not link to artists’ Facebook pages, Pinterest, New York Times articles, Artist Daily or any of a number of other sites that block or restrict access in some way. I’m not trying to criticize with that policy, my goal is simply to provide Lines and Colors readers with a barrier-free experience when I give them links to art images.

However, I will take this occasion to recommend areas of the ARC site that are not at this point restricted by membership requirements, and are most certainly worthwhile. Specifically this is their coverage of contemporary artists, both in the form of their listing of “ARC Living Masters“, and their yearly ARC Salon competitions.

These are notable both for focusing on artists in the tradition of representational realism, and for featuring high-resolution images of many of the artists’ works, often larger than any images on the artists’ own websites.

The Salon is of particular interest for the variety of genres and the division of them into award categories. Once on the page for a given year, look for the links to the various categories at the bottom of the pages.

To some degree, there is an emphasis on highly refined work, somewhat in the academic tradition, but there are painterly artists, and the roster has expanded over the past decade to include more artists in the fields of illustration and fantasy art (“Imaginative Realism” in their parlance). There is also an emphasis on oil over water media, but they do pay a fair bit of attention to drawing.

I’ve chosen some images above that represent some of their featured artists and Salon winners.

(Images above: Daniel Gerhartz, Jason de Graaf, John Buxton, Geraldo Gilberto, Gavin Glakas, Arantzazu Martinez, Peter Fiore, Tanvi Pathare, Jake Frima, Cornelia Maria Hernes, Kelly Phelps, Jeffery Larsen, Vitaliy Shtanko, Sergio Lopez, Donato Giancoia, Hanwu Shen, Heather Theurer)