Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Friday, August 21, 2009

Jody A. Lee

Posted by Charley Parker at 12:01 am

Jody A. Lee
Jody A. Lee is a New York based artist and illustrator, best known for her work in the field of fantasy illustration.

Originally from San Francisco, Lee studied at the Academy of Art College there, majoring in Illustration.

Her work, done in oil on canvas or acrylic or oil on illustration board, often includes decorative motifs incorporated with the representational images, sometimes done with metallic gold or silver paints.

Her images are frequently rendered with a high level of detail and attention to visual texture, which can make an effective contrast against the more graphic decorative elements.

Her web site includes a Portfolio of illustration and a Gallery of paintings, drawings and sketches.

I found the pop-out thumbnail navigation awkward and not conducive to browsing. Fortunately, when in the Portfolio section at least, there is an option under the main images for “Quickreference” which gives access to an easier to browse thumbnail page. Be sure to click on the main images for the larger versions.

There is also a section of Portraits and a page describing her media and methods.

Posted in: Sc-fi and Fantasy   |   1 Comment »

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Edvard Munch

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:34 am

Norwegian symbolist Edvard Munch is another of those artists, like Whistler or even Hokusai, whose oeuvre is condensed to a single image in the minds of most people, in this case his iconic image The Scream.

There are actually several versions of The Scream, including both paintings and prints, more than one of which have been the target of high-profile art thefts (later recovered).

The theme of suffering and mental anguish carried through much of Munch’s work, however.

His formative years were marked by a father who was fanatically religious and obsessed with sorrow and death. His Mother and beloved elder sister died of consumption, now known as tuberculosis, when Munch was five and fourteen, respectively; and one of his younger sisters developed a mental illness at an early age.

Munch himself was a sickly child, often in bed for long periods where he would draw to keep himself amused. In addition to religious subjects, his father schooled Munch and his remaining children in literature, including frequent readings of ghost stories and the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

Munch’s later life was torn by dramatically unhappy love affairs, alcoholism, associates with morbid philosophical influences and restless traveling.

The expressions of anxiety, unhappiness, fear and grief resonated with those who viewed his art, and he became a widely sought out and influential artist, beyond his native Norway and particularly in Germany, where he lived and worked for many years.

He was one of the founders of the Expressionist school, in which color, line and the delineation of recognizable objects are distorted at will for emotional effect; often, as in Munch’s case, centering on anxiety, fear, despair and spiritual angst. As in many expressionist works, the dark emotional tone is often belied by a palette of intense colors.

Not all of his works are as negatively charged or emotionally dark as his signature pieces, many are more straightforward and representational, and in his early years, even impressionistic.

There is a series of galleries on that gives a good overview, arranged by subject. has a list (no thumbnails, but links to images) arranged roughly chronologically.

In addition to his work as a painter, Munch was a printmaker and created etchings, wood engravings and lithographs. There is an exhibition of 40 prints that will be at the National Gallery of Scotland from 19 September to 6 December, 2009. The exhibit is from from the Munch Museum in Oslo, which is dedicated to his prints.

In his paintings, Munch was concerned with the effects of color, and the way one’s perception of a scene could change with time of day or emotional state; saying: “The fact is that at different times you see with different eyes. You see differently in the morning from in the evening. The way in which one sees also depends on one’s mood…”


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Melissa B. Tubbs

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:05 pm

Melissa B. Tubbs
Long time readers of Lines and Colors will know that I have a particular fondness for pen and ink drawing; a medium with a long history and many great practitioners but one that is assigned little glamour in this day of inexpensive color reproduction and computer imagery.

Melissa B. Tubbs is an Alabama based artist who takes inspiration in the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer and the traditions of past pen and ink artists, an finds particular delight in the patterns of light and shadow created by sunlight cascading against the details of architectural forms.

Her pen and ink drawings are rendered in textures and tones created in finely detailed crosshatching, used in places almost like washes. She utilizes them to give her architectural elements visceral textures of stone, brick, wood siding and other building materials. She also has a nice feeling for the textures of bark and leaves, flags and drapery and cloth awnings.

As you browse back through her blog posts, be sure to click on the images for the larger versions. Some of the older posts, in particular, feature linked images that are large enough to get a feeling for her hatching technique (image above, with detail below: Hunt Memorial, NYC).

Tubbs is represented by the Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery, Alabama; and her drawing of Carnegie Hall in NYC will be featured in the drawing collection Strokes of Genius 2: Light and Shadow, by Rachael Rubin Wolf, to be published in October.

[Via EmptyEasel]

Posted in: DrawingPen & Ink   |   10 Comments »

Monday, August 17, 2009

Illo. 2

Posted by Charley Parker at 9:02 am

Illo 2: Michael Cho, James Gurney, Nancy Stahl,  Zina SaundersIllo is a terrific, too-infrequently appearing magazine about contemporary illustration, published by Daniel Zimmer.

Zimmer also publishes Illustration magazine, which focuses on classic illustration. For some bockground on both magazines, see my post from 2007 on Illustration Magazine and Illo.

After an all-too-long hiatus, Illo is back with a second issue, even stronger than the first. This issue contains in-depth, lavishly illustrated (I love that term) articles on four terrific illustrators; three of whom I’ve featured previously on Lines and Colors: Michael Cho, James Gurney, Nancy Stahl and Zina Saunders.

It’s hard to convey how beautiful issues of Illo and Illustration are without seeing them; but I’ll point out again that, as nice as images like these can look on screen, computer monitors are low resolution compared to print, and print is where these illustrations look best.

It’s also hard to get across how wonderfully in-depth these articles are, and how astutely Zimmer provides a cross section and historical perspective of each artists work. It’s like having a mini-book on each of these four illustrators (for $15 U.S. – a steal).

There is a set of thumbnail images on the Illo site that gives you a small glance at all of the issue’s pages. There is also a nice video flip-through of the entire issue on James Gurney’s site (for which YouTube has unfortunately disabled the sound for some arcane reason known only to their coven of lawyers).

You may be able to find Illo at your local independent bookstore, many finer comics shops and some of the chain bookstores. You can also order it directly online from the publisher.

(Images above left, double page spreads, top to bottom: Michael Cho, James Gurney, Nancy Stahl, Zina Saunders

Posted in: Illustration   |   2 Comments »

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Matt Gaser (update)

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:59 pm

Matt Gaser
When I first wrote about Matt Gaser back in 2007, I remember being impressed, but when I recently revisited his site I was knocked out.

Gaser is a concept artist and art director for the film industry, though his previous work includes art for gaming companies. He has worked for companies like Electronic Arts and Sega Studios, and is now with Lucasfilm Animation.

His credits include projects like Demonstone: Forgotten Realms, Eragon, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and a new project called Blue Mars.

Since my previous article, Gaser has completely redone and expanded his web site, and has been maintaining a blog.

Gaser works digitally, painting his images in Photoshop, but the term I keep wanting to apply to his approach is “painterly”; though not in the sense of working in a manner that emulates traditional brush strokes, (as is possible in digital painting); Gaser paints in a way that is fundamentally digital, with strokes of color (often translucent) that are quite unlike traditional brushstrokes in many ways. I use the word “painterly” in the sense that the strokes of color are visible components of the painting. They impart texture and surface variation that contribute to the character of the image in a way analogous to paint strokes on canvas.

Gaser’s loose, but highly accurate application of color, and his wonderfully developed sense of color and value relationships, give his concept paintings, which are basically meant as a guide for filmmakers and game designers in composing the final animated images, a degree of visual interest that makes them stand on their own.

He has a nice balance of quickly noted passages, often in the form of atmospheric backgrounds, with just the right touches of detail, harder edges and sharp contrasts. It gives his images a feeling of dimensionality and compositional strength that I find particularly appealing.

In addition to selections of professional work, his is new web site includes sections of personal work, plein air painting, sketches, doodles and sculpture. Be sure to note that most of the galleries have multiple pages, accessed by numbered links at bottom right.

The Projects section promises that work from his most recent projects, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Blue Mars will be added soon. I’m looking forward to that, but in the meantime, you can find some work from the Blue Mars project (image above, middle) on his blog.

Also on the blog, you will find mention of another recent project, an as yet unpublished book called In the Between, illustrated by Gaser and written by his mother, Sandy Gaser.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Robert MacKenzie

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:44 pm

Robert MacKenzie
Robert MacKenzie is a California born artist currently living in New York City and working for Blue SKy Studios, the film and animation development studio whose credits include the Ice Age movies, Horton Hears a Who and Robots.

On his blog MacKenzie occasionally posts about his work with Blue Sky, but more often chronicles his personal projects, from travel sketches to still life or on-location cityscape subjects, to the illustrations for his new book, which is a retelling of the classic Jack and the Beanstalk story.

He painted the illustrations for the latter in gouache and watercolor. Prior to his recent book illustration projects, MacKenzie had been working professionally for years in Photoshop, and he found the return to traditional media both challenging and rewarding.

There is a detailed walk through of his process for the image above, top.

MacKenzie also illustrated a children’s book titled Fly, Cher Ami, Fly!: The Pigeon Who Saved the Lost Battalion, an at least one other whose title I don’t know.

MacKenzie also contributed to the collaborative comics/illustration volume Out of Picture, with his colleagues at Blue Sky.

Posted in: Illustration   |   2 Comments »

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sadie J. Valeri

Posted by Charley Parker at 12:07 pm

Sadie J. Valeri
Value, the quality of light or dark in a tone or color, is one of the most undervalued, misunderstood and vitally important aspects of painting.

Sadie J. Valeri is a contemporary realist painter who has followed a fascination with value into a series of challenging still life subjects in which wax paper, a humble household item more common when I was growing up than it is now, is given a role of high drama.

Her arrangements of crumpled wax paper, wrapped around, behind or over objects like glass bottles, pewter cups or silver pitchers, all with their own unique characteristics of reflectivity, are intricate marvels of value and subtle color.

The translucency of the wax paper, so different from plastic, when crumpled and folded back upon itself, creates a broad range of values, across the scale. Valeri’s paintings capture the effects of light passing through and over the complex surfaces, revealing intricate details within a delicate fog of tonal subtleties.

The image above (with detail, below), Silver Globe Pitcher, is 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50cm) oil on panel. There is a video of her process for this particular painting, tracing its progress from original sketch to finished painting (image above, bottom).

When viewing the paintings in her online gallery, be sure to click on the initial large images for the larger versions. There is also a selection of figure drawings, including a study after one of my favorite Michelangelo drawings.

The selection of work in the gallery is disappointingly small; fortunately, there more images available on Valeri’s blog, which goes into details about process (again, be sure to click for the larger images) and chronicles her recent month of study with the Hudson River Fellowship.

The latter group of posts features a post on materials for outdoor painting, which includes a nod to my own post about pochade boxes.

(For more on the Hudson River Fellowship, a sort of outdoor atelier led by Jacob Collins and devoted to the artistic principles of pre-impressionist landscape painters like Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, see their web site, and these posts from James Gurney.)

In addition to her personal blog, Valeri maintains a fascinating blog called Women Painting Women, which features contemporary women artists painting women as subjects (and is likely to be the subject of a separate post when I can go through it in more detail, as well as a source of other potential subjects).

By the way, if you haven’t used wax paper for a while (or ever) pick some up for both your kitchen and studio (I prefer it to plastic in may ways, it’s great for stay-wet palettes). If you’re an artist in the mood to give yourself a challenge, crumple some up as subjects for some value studies (then come back and look at Valeri’s work with renewed appreciation).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ivan Titor

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:14 pm

Ivan Titor
Ivan Titor is a Czech painter whose work floats in that hazy twilight between representational and non-representational painting. He paints objects, but they are often not identifiable. You might fit them into the category of freely imagined or hallucinatory landscapes.

As such he puts me in mind of Surrealists and Dadaists like Yves Tanguy and Max Ernst; though if I see the direct influence of any Surrealist painter in Titor’s work, it would be Dalí in his “Atomic” phase, in which objects deconstruct themselves (or construct themselves) in apparent defiance of the laws of time and gravity.

Occasionally Titor will indulge in more directly recognizable objects, but he plays with them in impossible spatial arrangements, exploded into suspended fragments, like assembly diagrams for dreamscapes.

Titor studied at the University of Ostrava, Department of Arts, and is now a senior lecturer there in the Painting Studio.

His web site has a selection of his work, as well as a Studio section in which you can see some of his working methods and the scale of his work. The studio section shows him working with a variety of media, but most of the work in the gallery is in oil.

[Via Peter Gric (see my post on Peter Gric)]

Posted in: Illustration   |   Comments »
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