Daniel Keys

Daniel Keys
California artist Daniel Keys started his self-training as a painter by emulating the work of renowned painter and teacher Richard Schmid. He later had the opportunity to study with Schmid directly and his style shows the influence of his admiration for Schmid’s approach.

Keys focuses primarily on still life, with occasional landscapes and figurative work. His still life paintings are colorful, vibrant and rendered with lively brushwork and loose, casual indications of backgrounds and supporting surfaces.

His work also shows the benefit of adhering to Schmid’s emphasis on traditional basics, the importance of warm and cold light, naturalistic color, control of values and sensitivity to edges.

Keys is now teaching and his web site lists workshops and events. His blog often features work that you will also find on the gallery on his site, but in many cases the images are linked to higher resolution versions than are available on the site, allowing a better look at his expressive brush handling.

Keys tries to express a spiritual aspect in his work; and the focused, refined nature of the paintings invite contemplation.

His work was recently featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Art of the West magazine.


“New” Michelangelo?

Saint John the Baptist Bearing Witness, circle of Francesco Granacci, possibly by Michelangelo
The latest prize to surface from the ever shifting sea of the attributions of works from the past is the suggestion by Everett Fahy, former Chairman of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that a painting in the museum’s collection that has been attributed to the circle of Francesco Granacci, Saint John the Baptist Bearing Witness, may in fact be the work of Granacci’s close friend Michelangelo.

There is a good article on ARTnews, in which Fahy describes his “ah-ha” moment in front of the panting, the scholarly article he wrote on it, which took a while to complete, and the fact that he expects critics to “throw brickbats” at his suggestion now that it has been released.

For those of us who are not scholars of the Italian Renaissance, the major interest lies in the possibility that we may now know more about Michelangelo, and at the very least, we can look at this particular painting with fresh eyes.

[Via Jason Kottke]


John Haycraft

John Haycraft
I think it’s unfortunate that so much of contemporary architectural illustration has been ceded to the faux photorealism of 3-D rendering. While I actually like well done CGI, when it comes to portraying architecture I very much prefer the beautiful crisp renderings of talented artists working in traditional media.

A case in point are the watercolor renderings of Australian artist John Haycraft. His sharp, clear representations of buildings and cityscapes carry a bright colorful flair that can’t be duplicated in 3-D, even by the same talented artist. On the Haycraft Duloy website there are galleries of both types of rendering.

In addition, there are some pen sketches and location watercolors of places like Venice and the Amalfi Coast. His envisioning of architectural subjects include aerial views of airports, large scale developments and even large areas of cities.

Haycraft studied with American watercolorist Charles Reid. There is a liveliness in his casual sketches that carries over into the more formal work.

A collection of his work was published in 2007, Where Was I? A collection from 60 years of drawing and painting.

[Suggestion courtesy of Paulo Mendonca]


Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy’s quiet, contemplative portraits, often of neighbors or family members, are done in the kind of traditional direct realism that has prompted the Art Renewal Center to endorse him as an “ARC Living Artist“, with a featured page on their site. He was also a finalist in their 2008 International ARC Salon.

Kennedy received a BFA from Colorado State University and pursued a career in illustration, eventually transitioning into gallery art. He now resides in Northern Colorado.

He has set off his latest series of portraits by framing them in antique window frames, complete with weathered shutters and iron hinges. The contrast in the rough materials emphasizes the refined paint handling, tonal control and modeling in the portraits, and also helps establish a reflective mood.

In addition to his web site, Kennedy has a blog in which he discusses his technique and shows works in various stages of completion.


Brian Boulton

There is a style of drawing, that you may see with some frequency on the web, that involves photorealistic rendering in pencil of images from photographs. It is often practiced by people with little or no professional training and, while I find that admirable, there is sometimes an accompanying lack of focus, finesse and artistic judgement.

The graphite drawings of Brian Boulton, on the other hand, are an exception. His current series of drawings is rendered in detail and is the result of close observation, but Boulton’s command of texture, value and compositional emphasis puts the rendering in the service of his artistic vision, well beyond the realm of mere photorealist representation.

His figures are most often turned away from the viewer, inviting us to grasp the figure as a human form, but without the obvious point of focus of a face with which to interact. The result is a different point of view, that of an unseen observer.

We are invited to see textures of cloth and leather, hair and areas of skin as surfaces, materials as well as forms. The details of folds in the clothing, essentially in the lineage of drapery in classical compositions, are presented with the kind of importance usually given to surfaces in still life drawings.

Boulton is based in Vancouver. He studied architectural rendering at the College of New Caledonia, in British Columbia and Film and Art History at Langara College in Vancouver.

The original concept for this series of drawings began in a previous series, “10 Drawings“, completed in 1999. Boulton returned to the subject, and expanded on it, in 2008 and 2009, and in apparently continuing to explore the approach.


Marcus Stone

Marcus Stone
Marcus Stone was an illustrator and painter who was active in the latter part of the 19th Century.

Stone was trained by his father, Frank Stone, who had been a noted illustrator was a friend and companion of Charles Dickens (and antagonist of the Pre-Raphaelite painters).

Marcus Stone was exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of eighteen, and was illustrating books by Dickens and other noted authors a few years later.

After finding himself frustrated with the restraints of illustration and reproduction techniques of the time, he transitioned into gallery paintings. He was elected to the Royal Academy as an associate and later as an academician, and was the recipient of awards and praise from the artistic establishment.

He focused at first on history painting and later specialized in scenes of romantic drama, often set in lush formal gardens.

His later work shows a brighter and more painterly approach, as the influence of the new styles of painting spread through Europe and the UK.