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, January 20, 2012

Anthony S. Waters

Posted by Charley Parker at 3:22 pm

Anthony S. WatersAnthony S. Waters is a California based concept artist and illustrator who does work for the gaming industry. He has worked with companies like Sony On-Line, DNA Productions, Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Hasbro, among others.

Waters works in both traditional and digital media, and often works with a bright palette, though at times almost monochromatically. His richly organic designs for environments and creatures seem at times to revel in convolutions of form, a feeling of graphic playfulness beneath their more dramatic surface.

I particularly enjoy his creature designs, in which he experiments with imaginative variations on subjects that can too often be formulaic.

His website has sections for Environments, Creatures, Characters, etc. and within each there are both finished work and sketches.

Waters also maintains a blog, contributes to Design-o-Matic and has a gallery on deviantART that has additional images.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Met Museum’s American Wing reopens

Posted by Charley Parker at 11:45 pm

Met Museum's American Wing: Matthew Pratt, Kenyon Cox, Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John White Alexander
The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has been undergoing extensive renovations, reopened this week, with a revitalized showcase for one of the best and most extensive collections of American art in the country.

For those who can’t visit in person, I’ll take the opportunity to point out again the terrific resource that is the Met’s recently redone website.

I know I just did an article on their extensive collection of John Singer Sargent on the recent anniversary of his birth, but I can’t resist the opportunity to point out more terrific images, and mention that most are available on the site in high-resolution versions, as my detail crop of the John White Alexander painting, above, bottom, shows.

There is a sampling of images from the collection on this page, from which the above examples were drawn.

(Images above: Matthew Pratt, Kenyon Cox, Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John White Alexander)

Rob Gonsalves (update)

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:34 am

Rob Gonsalves
Canadian magic realist Rob Gonsalves likes to portray the juxtapsotion of two differing but related points of view.

These are often presented in scenes in which objects gradually morph through a series of similar shapes into something else entirely, and compositions in which two different aspects of the same scene are viewed at an entirely different scale, but are gradually joined into parts of a seemingly impossible whole.

Gonsalves plays with similar themes in a variety of compositions. There are also other repeated themes, such as scenes in which bodies of water in the distance gradually become something else in the foreground- stretches of mirrored tiles or a crowd with umbrellas.

I mentioned in my previous post about Gonsalves, that I see his work in a way as a collision between visual approaches to rearranging reality utilized by M.C. Escher and René Magritte.

Some of Gonsalves’ brain-teasing shifts in reality are more successful than others, but at their best they can give you that delightful “Ah-ha!” feeling as your perception slips from one level to another.

In all of them it’s fun to trace through his transitions and try to decide exactly where one view of the world transforms into the other.

Gonsalves works in acrylic, and in the short video you can see here on YouTube, shows the scale of his work and describes the time frame for painting an individual painting as about two months.

Gonsalves does not appear to have an official web presence. Since I last wrote about him, one of the resources I knew of has disappeared, but there is a new one that is even a bit more comprehensive.

You may find other resources by searching, but most of what I’ve found to date is redundant with the two gallery sites I’ve listed below.

Unfortunately, none of them have images that are very large.

There are books featuring Gonsalves’ work, though they’re not exactly collections, but combinations of his images with bits of text and aimed at children: Imagine a Day, Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place. Each contains about 16 or 17 pictures by the artist.

You can also find a 2012 Master of Illusion wall calendar featuring his work, and similar calendars from previous years if you just want them for the images.

Gonsalves’ work is also featured in, and highlighted on the cover of, Masters of Deception, a collection of work by 20 artists working in illusionistic styles that includes 16 pages on Gonsalves.

Stop PIPA and SOPA

Posted by Charley Parker at 12:26 am

Stop PIPA and SOPA
If you stopped by Lines and Colors yesterday, January 18, you may have noticed that Lines and Colors had gone dark, along with a significant number of other sites, in protest, and to raise awareness of the “anti-piracy” internet censorship bills looming in the U.S. Congress.

If you didn’t happen to stop by yesterday, but would like to know more about why it matters, what I had to say about the issue, and why the continued existence of Lines and Colors and websites like it hinges on the defeat of these bills, here is the page that was up in place of the site yesterday.

The effort to raise awareness of this issue across the web has apparently begun to have an effect, as a number of legislators have withdrawn their support for the bills, at least in their current form. But the fight is far from over; the hugely powerful and influential lobbies that represent the entertainment industry will not slink quietly away and call it a day; they will continue to pressure congress to give them the kind of extraordinary and frightening control over internet content that these bills provide.

Those in other countries may feel this doesn’t affect them (it will if hundreds or thousands of websites go dark at the whim of the big corporations), or you may feel frustrated that you can’t affect it directly. Right now, the spread of information and awareness is important, and those of you in Europe and elsewhere will soon enough have your own fight on your hands over similar legislation that these companies are trying to force into law around the world.

Those in the U.S. can directly affect the immediate danger of these bills passing by calling or writing your U.S. senators and representatives and urging them to reject the bills. Here is a site called Stop American Censorship that has more information on how easy it is to do that.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that if these bills pass, Lines and Colors, and significant other portions of the web, will cease to exist.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Peder Severin Krøyer

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:05 pm

Peder Severin Kroyer
Peder Severin Krøyer (sometimes Peter or just P.S. Krøyer) was born in Norway but moved to Denmark with his foster parents at an early age.

He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art, traveled Europe and studied in Paris, where he was introduced to the work of the French Impressionists, an influence that resonates in his open, painterly, color-filled later work.

When he returned to Denmark he spent time painting in a remote fishing village called Skagen, and began to divide his time between Skagen and a studio in Copenhagen. Kroyer became the unofficial leader of an arts colony that sprang up in Skagen, and you will find reference to the group as the Skagen Painters. The Skagens Museum is dedicated to the group.

There is currently an exhibition, Krøyer; an international perspective at the Hirschprung Collection in Copenhagen where it will be on view until 10 April, 2012. After that it moves to the Skagens Museum where it will be on view from 5 April to 2 September, 2012.

There are scattered sources for Krøyer’s work in the web. Two of the best are Michael Hirsh’s Painters I should Have Known About (004) Peter Krøyer on his always superb Articles And Texticles blog, which also has some images of Skagen; and an article on a blog titled ensuciando las paredes.

Like the painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw that I mentioned in my recent post on that artist, Krøyer’s painting Interior of a Tavern (images above, third down) is one I love to revisit when at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

[Addendum: Though I didn't see it on the Hirschsprung site, there is a catalog for the exhibition available from the Skagens museum. (Thanks to Ron Washington)]

Steven Hughes

Posted by Charley Parker at 1:56 pm

Steven Hughes
Originally from Ohio and now living and working in Michigan, Steven Hughes is a freelance illustrator and an Assistant professor of illustration at Northern Michigan University.

His clients include American Greetings, Ohio Magazine, Cleveland Magazine, University of Dayton and others.

His website (I love the URL: essentially opens up to his portfolio, which festures work in both traditional and digital media.

The section for Paintings includes his nicely rendered poster images of baseball players, along with more conceptual pieces like his portrayal of Ben Franklin as an electrical socket.

Note that the images are often accompanied by work in progress images, accessed from small links just above them.

Tucked away in the “Paintings” list is a selection of “Cityscapes”, which are location paintings for gallery exhibit and private commissions. Again, there are several images accessed from links at top.

The “Drawings” section includes sketchbook pages, which have a nice feeling of “draw whatever is in front of you” subject selections, along with more finished still life drawings and figure drawings.

Hughes also has a blog. Though not recently updated, it includes additional work in progress images as well as additional context for some of his portfolio images.

There is a brief interview with Hughes on The Artfuls.

Posted in: Illustration   |   Comments »

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dale Nichols

Posted by Charley Parker at 1:08 pm

Dale Nichols
As countries go, the United States is fairly large, both in population and area, and in our history of art there are often “regional” artists worthy of note that don’t receive the attention they’re due.

This seems to particularly apply to artists from those areas of the country that some of the societal elite in New York and California like to refer to as the “flyover states”.

This comes under the heading of “You don’t know what you’re missing”, and as a case in point, the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City, Nebraska has organized a traveling exhibition of work by Nebraska (and David City) favorite son Dale Nichols, titled Dale Nichols: Transcending Regionalism.

Nichols studied at The Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, lived and worked in Chicago for a number of years and taught at the University of Illinois. He eventually travelled extensively, finally settling in Arizona.

All the while, however, he painted “remembered” scenes of his native Nebraska, resisting all pressure to bow to the modernist establishment. His paintings were based on an artistic philosophy that didn’t change much over the course of his long career. He did, however, stress the geometry of his landscapes, with flat areas of color forming sharply defined planes, and even trees having a sort of geometric “wrapper”, an effect I particularly enjoy in his work.

Nichols was noted for his snow scenes, and reportedly got his areas of flat color by applying oil color in thin layers with watercolor brushes.

Sometimes he mixed his Nebraska scenes with elements from his travels, leading to paintings in which mountains and tropical vegetation from his trips to Central America appear in a Nebraska farm scene.

Nichols was also an illustrator and printmaker, working in woodcarvings and lithographs. His lithographs of Nebraska farm scenes are strongly graphic and wonderfully evocative of light and mood.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a large repository of images of his work on the web, though I’ve listed what resources I can find below. One of the best sources is Christie’s past lots, of which many images are zoomable.

There is a book accompanying the traveling exhibition, Dale Nichols Transcending Regionalism, published by the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, and a Facebook page devoted to the book and exhibition.

The exhibition is currently at the Georgia Museum of Art, where it will be on view until February 27, 2011; it then moves to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts from March 17 to June 17, 2012.

[Suggestion courtesy of John Derry]

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mysterious paper scultures of Edinburgh

Posted by Charley Parker at 6:58 pm

Mysterious paper scultures of Edinburgh
Since March of last year, a series of wonderful and whimsical paper sculptures have been anonymously left on tables and shelves in libraries in Edinburgh, Scotland.

It feels like something from a novel, and may in some way have a connection to the detective novels of Ian Rankin, but there is no indication he is involved, other than perhaps in inspiring a fan.

The sculptures are made from books and pages of books, and extol the virtues of book and libraries. They were often accompanied by notes, one of which reads in part: …” In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas [...] and All things ‘magic’…”

There were, over a period of months, 10 sculptures left by the mysterious artist, who on the last sculpture left a note signing off with “Cheers Edinburgh it’s been fun!

Most of the articles I’ve come across refer to images from this Flickr set of photos by Chris Scott.

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