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
 

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:44 am

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement
Edgar Degas, the member of the French Impressionist group who maintained traditional academic values more than the others, spent much of his career fascinated with the ballet dancers of the Paris Opera.

He drew and painted them again and again, in the process creating some of his most memorable works, including the strikingly innovative pieces in which, to the consternation of critics at the time, he shattered the traditional rules of artistic composition (two top images above). It’s difficult for us, in our jaded post-modernist position in time, to appreciate what a leap that was.

Degas used innovative divisions of the picture plane, in addition to the positions of the figure, to convey the motion of his dancers.

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement is a new exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London that traces the artist’s fascination with ballet dancers and movement over the course of his life and artistic development, along with the corresponding impact of the new visual technology of photography.

Aside from an introductory video, the Royal Academy’s site doesn’t do a very good job of picturing the exhibition. The Guardian comes through again with a review and slideshow that features works from the show.

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement is on view until 11 December 2011. There is an exhibition catalogue and CD accompanying the exhibit.

Monday, September 19, 2011

James Gurney on Gamut Masking

Posted by Charley Parker at 12:40 pm

James Gurney on Gamut Masking
A gamut is a range of colors. More specifically it is a range of colors that can be created or reproduced on a particular device or with a certain set of beginning colors.

Those working with print reproduction are very familiar with the concept of the CMYK gamut, or the range of colors that can be reproduced using traditional Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black printing inks, a smaller subset of the colors available, for example, on a computer monitor.

It’s not a term that painters use as often, but “gamut” also applies to a painter’s palette. When starting from a particular set of colors, the gamut is the range of colors that can be produced by mixing those colors (usually with the addition of white).

You will often hear me mention a “carefully controlled” or “limited” palette when talking about specific artists, particularly those working in film and gaming concept and visual development art, where limited gamuts are used to dramatic effect.

James Gurney, a highly experienced artist who works both with paintings for reproduction and for easel painting, has posted a series of articles on his blog, Gurney Journey, that delve into this often misunderstood aspect of color choices.

He started several years ago with a three part series on Color Wheel Masking, The Shapes of Color Schemes and From Mask to Palette.

His recent posts on the Gamut Masking Method, (Part 2 and Part 3) carry the principles into the creation of variations in color scheme for alternate versions of the same painting, making the process even clearer.

The most recent post, Part 3, Gamut Masking Method is particularly informative in that Gurney has included an excellent short video in which he explains the essential principles of gamut masking in a demonstration.

These principles are also covered in some detail in Gurney’s excellent recent book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (my review here).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pochade boxes (updated)

Posted by Charley Parker at 7:15 pm

Pochade boxes (update): Sienna, Mabef, Jim Serrett, Fazwan Barrage, Open Box m, Alla Prima Pochade
Even though the end of the summer is rapidly approaching for those of us who live in then northern hemisphere, the time for plein air painting is hardly over; and many, myself included, find this time of year ideal for painting outdoors.

In 2008 I wrote a rather extensive article on pochade boxes, those combinations of palette and portable easel, often with provision for carrying panels and supplies, that mount on camera tripods and have become a staple tool in the modern plein air painting revival.

In attempting to find the right pochade box for my own use, I went through a fairly exhaustive search of all of the pochade box makers and models I could find at the time, as well as researching articles on making your own pochade box.

The result has been a popular Lines and Colors post in which I listed all of the resources I could find for the various kinds of pochade boxes.

I’ve just revisited the post, adding to it two more makers of pochade boxes, Sienna and Mabef, as well as expanding on the sections on tripods and painting panels.

I’ve also included an additional resources on building your own pochade box from Jim Serrett and Fazwan Barrage.

(Images above: Sienna, Mabef, Jim Serrett, Fazwan Barrage, Open Box M, Alla Prima Pochade)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Robert Tracy (update)

Posted by Charley Parker at 9:56 am

Robert Tracy
Robert Tracy is an artist I have written about previously. Tracy had not updated his website for some time, but recently added a number of older works he has made available for purchase.

You can find even more of his work on his deviantART gallery, which contains an archive of pieces going back to 1965.

The deviantART galleries are more extensive (if you don’t mind the occasional intrusive ad, which is now deviantART’s policy if you are not logged in), but his website contains both older and more recent work that is available for sale. Navigation there is a bit disjointed, with links from various places on the homepage that are not accessible from the other pages.

Tracy is a self taught artist with an interest in traditional art, and his range of work chronicles his path in tackling a variety of subjects and media as he explores the possibilities of each.

You will find landscapes, portraits, still life, interiors, florals, animals, copies from the masters and narrative images in oil, watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, acrylic, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, charcoal and even silverpoint.

I find particular interest in seeing him tackle related subjects in different media; for example, painting similar still life arrangements in acrylic, watercolor and oil.

Friday, September 16, 2011

L.D. Austin

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:40 pm

L.D. Austin
Laurel D. Austin is a concept artist, illustrator and sculptor originally from Canada, based for several years in the UK where she was Senior Concept Artist for Splash Damage, and now living in California where she will be working with Blizzard Entertainment.

Here website has galleries of illustration, concept art, sketches and 3D work. The latter showcases physical sculpture, though she also does some 3D computer modeling.

I particularly enjoy the way she utilizes suggestions of texture in her digital painting, while maintaining a loose, painterly feel in many pieces.

Her blog includes a video step through of her process on her illustration “The Egg Thief” (image above, top), as well as larger versions of some of the pieces in her portfolio.

The sketchbook section of her site contains some nicely handled life drawings done in conté and charcoal on toned paper.

There is also a gallery of her work on CGHub.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Landscapes at John Pence Gallery

Posted by Charley Parker at 10:02 pm

Landscapes at John Pence Gallery: John F. Carlson, Travis Schlaht, John Morra, Bennett Vadnais, Steven J. Levin, Donald Jurney
Landscapes is a group show currently at the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco that offers a wonderful selection of contemporary painters, as well as including a work by John Fabian Carlson.

Landscapes is on view until October 8, 2011.

(Images above: John F. Carlson, Travis Schlaht, John Morra, Bennett Vadnais, Steven J. Levin, Donald Jurney – links are to the artists’ websites, where available)

[Via Underpaintings]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Art Out Loud 7

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:55 pm

Art Out Loud 7: Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, Rick Berry, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
Art Out Loud 7 is the latest in a series of group demonstrations by well known illustrators at the Society of Illustrators in New York.

Art Out Loud 7 takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 1 to 5pm.

Participating artists for this event are Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, Rick Berry, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell (images above in that order, links are to artists’ websites).

Tickets are $40 for Members, $50 Non-Members and $20 Students; more information here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Women Painting Women

Posted by Charley Parker at 2:55 pm

Women Painting Women: Kerry Brooks, Michele Mitchell-Ostlund, Erika Grofton, Helen Masacz, Sylvia Ji, Lea Colie Wight, Betty Shelton, Rebecca Harp, Heather Horton, Stanka Kordic, Rebecca Alzofon, Susan Lyon
Women Painting Women is an excellent art blog featuring just what the title implies, women artists painting women as their subjects.

The selections focus on contemporary artists working in the figurative tradition. The range of style and approach is nicely varied and the calibre of the work is consistently high.

As much as I like the fact that the blog has a theme, I find it almost irrelevant in that the site is a terrific resource of wonderful contemporary painters, thematic restrictions aside. Some of them are artists I’ve featured previously on Lines and Colors, others will undoubtedly be the subject of future posts.

Founders Sadie Valeri (my post here), Alia El Bermani and Diane Feissel have since March of 2009 been choosing a selection of superb artists, each represented by a single work, their name, basic information about the work and a link to the artist’s web presence. The images in many cases are linked to a larger version.

I had to restrain myself from posting even more sample images than I have here; Women Painting Women is a cornucopia of terrific artists.

(Images above: Kerry Brooks, Michele Mitchell-Ostlund, Erika Grofton, Helen Masacz, Sylvia Ji, Lea Colie Wight, Betty Shelton, Rebecca Harp, Heather Horton, Stanka Kordic, Rebecca Alzofon, Susan Lyon)

[Note: some images on the site should be considered NSFW.]

 
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