Monthly Archives: January 2009

Chris J. Anderson

Chris J. Anderson
Chris J. Anderson is a concept artist and illustrator working in both the film and video game industries.

He was working with NCsoft, but beyond that I have no information as neither his web site or his blog have any biographical or client history information. (There a link on the web site for a future client list, but it’s not active yet.)

His site is divided between environments, which is evidently his area of specialty, and props & vehicles, characters, illustrations and other sketches and studies.

There is also no information about process; though it looks to me like much of it is digital painting, with perhaps some watercolor or gouache pieces and traditional drawing materials in the sketches.

[Via io9]

Lane Bennion

Lane Bennion
Utah artist Lane Bennion finds subjects for paintings were I, for one, would never think to look for them.

I’m fascinated in particular with his recent series of oils of interiors of department stores and malls. Here he finds intricate grids of light and shadow, geometric latticeworks of colorful planes, and compositions in which he meets the challenge of creating strong statements from the daunting complexity of a multiplicity of small objects.

Bennion’s older work shows a fascination with complexity as well, with compositions of toys jumbled in piles and street scenes with piles of trash and scattered objects. He also has a nice series of paintings of small carnivals and amusement arcades at night, which fall in with the way he revels in the artificial lights in the the store interiors, bright contrasts of light and dark, punctuated with the intense colors of painted surfaces.

You can view the work on his site through the link for Recent Works or the Archive, where you will also find some more traditional landscape subjects as well as outdoor scenes win which industrial or commercial structures and equipment take a prominent role.

Bennion studied at the University of Utah, under artists like David Dornan, Paul Davis and Tony Smith. He later graduated from the Medical College of Georgia with a specialty in Medical Illustration, though I can’t find reference to medical illustrations by him online.

In addition to his web site, Bennion maintains two blogs Studies in Oil and Notes on Making Paintings.. The former includes quick studies of areas around his home and small still life subjects, and the latter focuses on his gallery work, though it also includes subjects not found on his main web site. Both of them feature larger images of many of his paintings (click on the image in the blog post), that allow you to see the brushwork that is not evident in the smaller reproductions.

[Suggestion courtesy of Karin Jurick]

Larry Francis

Larry Francis
Scale is an interesting aspect of painting and drawing. I’m always fascinated when artists choose to work at both relatively large and relatively small size, particularly when working with the same subject matter (see my posts about Thomas Paquette and his large oils and very small guoache paintings).

Philadelphia area painter Larry Francis also paints fairly large oils (perhaps 48×60″; 121x152cm), and small gouache paintings (around 11×14″; 27x35cm) . His subject matter, which is consistent in both types of paintings, includes an interesting range of ordinary subjects in and around Philadelphia.

By “ordinary” I mean commonplace scenes that would not be thought of as particularly scenic, like images of suburban houses and yards, typical city street corners, small sections of parks, neighborhood stores, bridges and other views, the like of which we pass by every day without thinking.

This, of course, is one of the things that art does best, to wake us to more alert observation of our surroundings and remind us that the ordinary is extraodinary, the commonplace worthy of notice and appreciation.

Even Francis’ views of the Schuylkill river, which could have been chosen from more scenic vantage points, instead are often views of bridges and bridge piers, the kind of view commuters might glance at without noticing day after day as they make their routine trips into center city along the river drives.

I particularly like his paintings of Schuylkill river bridges, which perhaps can be thought of as in the tradition of Thomas Eakins, who often included Schuylkill river bridges in his portrayals of scullers. Eakins obviously couldn’t have painted the Route 1 expressway bridge (foreground of the image at top, larger version here), though I have to think he might have included it had it existed at the time.

Francis consistently reveals beauty in the ordinary, with geometric arrangements of houses and commercial buildings arrayed in planes of light, broken with dappled shadows from vegetation and the horizontal bands of color in streets and sidewalks.

I was struck but the issue of scale because I had encountered an oil painting of his at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he is an instructor, showing a view of the Schuylkill river from the same vantage point as the one above, though wider in aspect and much larger in size, perhaps 4’x12′ (121x365cm). I was struck by the painting, and delighted to have the chance to see his small gouache paintings of the same area at his current show at the Gross McCleaf Gallery, which is focused in particular on his small gouaches.

I was also glad I had a chance to meet the artist at the opening, and I asked him about his approach. I had made an assumption because of the finessed attention to detail, and the unhurried feeling of relaxed observation evident in these small works, that he was working, at least in part, from photographic reference. He paints these gouache paintings on location, however, working perhaps two paintings a day to catch the different states of light, and returning to the scene two or three times to finish them.

Those in the Philadelphia area still have a chance to catch the show at the Gross McCleaf Gallery, which runs until this Saturday, January 24, 2009.

American Presidents (Patrick Moberg)

November 4, 2008, U.S. presidents by Patrick Moberg
In a somewhat different take on a series of portraits of the former and present presidents of the U.S than my previous post on Presidential Portraits, illustrator Patrick Moberg has a piece that I believe is titled November 4, 2008.

It gives a nicely striking comparison of certain physical characteristics of the American presidents to date.

On Moberg’s site you can purchase signed prints of the image. You can also see Moberg’s portfolio of whimsical, cartoon style illustration.

[Via Coudal Partners]

Presidential Portraits (Rick Tuma)

Presidential Portraits by Rick Tuma
With lots of attention being paid to the inauguration of the new American President today, here’s a set of portrait drawings of the 43 former U.S. presidents by Rick Tuma, a staff artist for the Chicago Tribune. The series is posted as a special feature called Presidential Portraits on the Tribune’s web site.

Tuma painted his series of presidential portraits in ivory black watercolor on bristol board. If you go to his web site and choose “Other Things” at the bottom of the portfolio pages (easy to miss if you don’t know to look for it) you can flip through the thumbnails to the page about the series.

Tuma also does a variety of illustration for the Tribune, from info-graphics to cartooning, and also does freelance work in addition. His online portfolio is divided between watercolor, pencil and digital. (He also apparently collects toys, you can see a QTVR view of his toy-filled work station at the tribune here.)

It’s interesting to see the range of presidents’ faces as portrayed by a single artist. Some of them are of course more interesting as subjects for drawings than others. I’ve selected a couple of the images above for that reason and a couple for relevance to current events.

Andreas Aronsson

Andreas Aronsson
Whenever we look at a representational drawing or painting that appears to have depth or dimensionality, we are looking at a “projection”, a two-dimensional representation of a three dimensional object or scene.

There are several types or projections, the most familiar are “perspective projection” (traditional linear perspective), in which lines drawn from the sides of parallel objects converge on vanishing points, and “oblique projection”, in which those lines remain parallel (the “Sim City” look).

In any of them it is possible to create an image that superficially seems reasonable, but would actually be impossible as a three dimensional object. Many of us are familiar with these in the form of traditional “optical illusions” and in the graphics of M.C. Escher.

Andreas Aronsson is, in his words, a “Professional IT‑technician. Spare time multimedia experimenter. In Sweden.” He has a fascination with impossible objects, and regularly posts his own playful “Impossible Figures” to his blog.

These often take the form of objects (usually done in perspective projection) with shared sides or lines of connection that defy real-world geometry. They make for fun visuals; and examination of them generates a playful brain-tickle that gives us pause to reflect on the nature of the visual presentation of objects, what we take for granted and how easily our eye can be fooled into accepting the three dimensionality of lines in a two-dimensional surface (even if that surface is a screen).

You can flip through the posts on his site tagged with “Impossible Figure“. You can also read his page “About Impossible Figures” in which he talks about his fascination with them and his working process in creating his images.

[Via Neatorama]