Malcolm Sutherland

Malcolm Sutherland
I love the immediacy and visual charm of location sketching, in which quickly realized sketches can often carry more feeling of place and time than elaborate drawings.

Canadian illustrator and animator Malcolm Sutherland has managed to capture, and animate, some that feeling of informal charm and casual rendering, along with a strong sense of “being there” in his short animation La Fete (top two images, above).

This is an observation of passers by at an event called La Fête Nationale (essentially, the “National Holiday”) in Montreal, Quebec.

If, like me, you love to watch people pass by, particularly at events and gatherings where they are often deliberately putting themselves on display, you will immediately recognize that sense of observed life in his simply realized outline and color fill drawings. He uses clever fades and transitions to isolate members of the crowd, just as your attention might pick out individuals or small groups an focus on them.

You will find a numerous of other short animations on Sutherland’s Vimeo page. They feature a variety of subjects and approaches, from the simplicity of his “Untitled Drawings” in which he creates stream-of-consciousness drawings as if in stop-motion, to more elaborate pieces like The Astronomer’s Dream, a ten minute tour de force of surreal imaginings (above, third down).

Among his other shorts on Vimeo are his nicely bizarre reimagining of Star Wars scenes, his contributions to the Star Wars Uncut project.

There are a number of additional short animations, along with a gallery of illustration, on his web site. On the Theatre page, I was particularly taken with the animation Birdcalls and its fascinating use of pictographic representation of sounds.

Sound plays an important role in Sutherland’s work, for which he turns to the assistance of several collaborators.

He experiments with several forms of animation, such as the combination of stop-motion, hand drawn shapes, abstract rotoscoping, animation projected against 3-D objects, and jazz-like improvised collaboration with contributing musicians of Forming Game, for which there is an accompanying “Making Of” short documentary.


Kent Barton

Kent Barton
Illustrator Kent Barton works in scratchboard, linocut and woodcut, media that draw their lineage from graphic arts traditions that reach back into the early history of image making.

He uses that feeling to advantage in his images, both in subjects for which it seems particularly appropriate to use classical graphic approach, and in modern subjects that, when cast in that style, become somehow iconic and set out of time.

All three are media that require thoughtful preparation and involve a painstaking process.

Barton does “environmental” works, intended to be reproduced in large scale and incorporated as part of an architectural space. These are often collage-like panoramas of historical images. You can see some of them, and some images of the spaces in which they’re installed, both before and after, on the Art on a Grand Scale site of artist’s representative Richard Solomon.

For his more involved compositions, Barton works up his sketches with multiple layers of tracing paper, allowing him to reposition elements until the composition works properly (I’ve also seen comic book artists and other illustrators work this way).

For the final he renders in scratchboard, laying color over it in the final stages, frequently working back and forth between scratching out, inking in, and altering the surface with materials like steel wool.


Concept Art World

Concept Art World: Frank Hong, Herve Groussin, Dehong He, Daryl Mandryk, Alex Broeckel
Concept Art World is a blog (or blog-themed magazine) devoted to film and gaming concept and production art and related disciplines.

It features artists from around the world, and offers articles on concept art from particular projects and a listing of artists and studios, as well as resources like books and some how-to features.

You can browse featured articles and recent artists, or go to News and work your way back through the posts. The individual artist features show a sampling of each artist’s work and a brief bio statement, and links to the artist’s web site and/or blog.

(Images above: Frank Hong, Herve Groussin, Dehong He, Daryl Mandryk, Alex Broeckel)


The Arts Map

The Arts Map
The Arts Map is a new site, still in BETA, that uses a version of Google Maps to list artists, arts organizations, galleries, and other arts related people, places and things in a geographical context.

Other than those who operate their own gallery or offer instruction in their studios, I’m not sure how useful it would be for artists to list themselves (I didn’t see any reason to list myself at this point); but if this catches on and fills out significantly with galleries, art schools, art supply stores, museums and related subjects, it could become a very useful resource for artists to consult.

The site is still young, and the listings sparse particularly compared to what I know exists in areas I’m familiar with, like Center City Philadelphia. This becomes obvious to almost anyone when viewing the map of lower Manhattan. Though art museums and art schools, for example, exist on the map as location highlights, as they would in any Google Map of an area, they are not yet pins, or clickable entries, on the Arts Map.

It’s apparently up to each institution to enter their information, just as an individual artist might, and participation is at an early stage.

According to the founders, “The Arts Map is about inclusion, not exclusion. Our goal is to provide a resource which will benefit the entire arts community.”

Listings are free, and you can be non-specific about address if you want to (street address is optional), providing other locations or ways to see and access your art, including galleries, websites or blogs. So in that respect, it may be worth listing for artists who don’t have a reason for someone to come to their location, just know where they are in a general sense.

[Via Jeanette Jobson’s Illustrated Life]


Jim McVicker

California painter Jim McVicker makes his home in Humbolt County, which is part of the rugged and beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the U.S.

His paintings of that landscape and others carry the feeling of both mid and late 19th Century landscape painters, with a sense of atmospheric immediacy, and a serene, confident command of color and value. Though self trained, McVicker seems steeped in traditional painting methods. (I love the Eakins-like quality of the painting above, top.)

He paints on location, even with large scale works, working to be true to the color and light as nature presents it, and his landscapes have a strong sense of place.

In some of his smaller works (above, middle) you can see a painterly surface quality. I’m at a disadvantage in not having seen his work in person, but my guess is that the apparent refinement of his larger works would reveal itself to be quite painterly close up. Unfortunately, there are no detail crops provided in his online galleries of work.

McVicker also paints still life subjects and interiors, often mixing the two in compositions that include still life arrangements and the room in which they are set. His portraits also often include room interiors, as in the image above, bottom.

Fascinatingly, many of his portraits that include interiors are of artists in their studios.

His web site includes galleries of all three subject groups. They are nicely extensive, though inconvenient in that they don’t offer thumbnails or any way to access individual pieces other than clicking through all of the images in order. One of the sections if devoted to photos of him painting on location, which are instructive in terms of the scale of the work and interesting in some of the dramatic locations in which he paints.

McVicker has a couple of painting videos on YouTube, one of which is the first few minutes of Jim McVicker – a Way of Seeing, a professionally produced 30 minute documentary about the artist that can be viewed in its entirety, or downloaded, on the artist’s site. This one also seems professionally produced, and provides some close up shots of his paintings, as well as showing them in spaces where you can get a feeling for their relative size.

You can also find his work on the web sites of galleries where he is represented.

McVicker is married to painter Theresa Oats.


Urban Sketching Symposium

Urban Sketching Symposium
Co-sponsored by the Urban Sketchers blog and Flickr group and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the 1st International Urban Sketching Symposium is slated for July 29-31, 2010 in Portland, Oregon (USA). Registration is now open.

You can find all of the relevant information, including instructors, location information and accommodations on the symposium’s blog.

There is an interactive map of the area, pinned with locations that contributors have sketched, though I would like this even more if it was actually linked to the sketches, rather than just Google’s location photos.

In cooperation with Enrico Casarosa, founder of SketchCrawl, the last day of the symposium will coincide with the 28th World Wide SketchCrawl.

For those not able to consider attending, this is still a good excuse to pay another visit to the always changing landscape of the Urban Sketchers blog and Flickr group, and through them, follow links to the contributors’ blogs and web sites.

(Images above: Jason Das, Lapin, Gabi Campanario)