Sean Cheetham (update)

Sean Cheetham
Since writing a post about portraitist and figurative artist Sean Cheetham in 2008, I still know little more about him than I did then, which wasn’t much.

Still, I’ve gathered what additional resources I can for an update post. His direct, uncompromising portraits have a wonderful sense of presence and personality, as well as a painterly surface and strong compositions.

Cheetham’s website seems largely abandoned in that its single page is linked to a gallery that is a lapsed domain name.

However, his blog, though infrequently updated, has some new work, and his paintings are currently on exhibit in a show at the Katherine Cone Gallery in Los Angeles that runs until March 10, 2012.

In addition there are a couple of time-lapse videos of Cheetham giving portrait demonstrations on YouTube here and here.

Cheetham is an instructor at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and there is a brief bio and gallery on their site.

There is also an article on Painting Perceptions and another on Artist Daily with a gallery.


Felicity House

Felicity House
I’ve commented previously on the interesting place that pastel has in the range of art media. Though dry, and therefore technically a “drawing” medium, pastel can have almost all of the qualities of painting.

Felicity House is an English artist who uses pastel in a way that is simultaneously drawing and painting, with a lively expressive quality of line and a beautiful play of light, color and shadow.

House works directly on location. Her website features galleries of her work in landscape, still life and figures, along with travel sketches. In particular, I enjoyed the pieces in the section for “Interiors”.

There is a kind of visual charm that can be expressed in line that is difficult to achieve in more straightforward painting, and approaches like hers are notable for that combination of effects (a reason that I also often like the visual appeal of pen and watercolor, or colored woodblock prints).

House also works in watercolor, charcoal and oil and teaches courses in several mediums.

[Via Katherine Tyrrell’s Making a Mark]


John Severin 1921-2012

John Severin
John Severin was an excellent and underappreciated comics artist whose career spanned a good part of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Severin was prolific during his long career, and though he never developed the devoted following of flashier artists (except among a discerning few), he produced consistently high-level work for a variety of publications.

He held his own among comics legends like Wally Wood, Will Elder and Jack Davis as part of the core group of artists working with Harvey Kurtzman on the original, insanely terrific Mad comics (which eventually devolved into the pale shadow Mad Magazine as we know it).

He worked on other EC titles, notably for the western and war comics Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, where his solid draftsmanship and superb command of texture served the stories well.

He worked for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Warren and other publishers, as well as Mad Magazine competitor Cracked.

He is particularly known for his work, often in collaboration with his sister Marie Severin, on the Marvel sword and sorcery title King Kull.

John Severin died on February 12, 2012 at the age on 90. I’ve listed some obits and tributes below, many of which have artwork.

There is a 1999 interview with Severin on The Comics Journal.


Tang Yin (Tang Bohu)

Tang Yin (Tang Bohu)
Ming Dynasty Chinese painter Tang Yin (also known as Tang Bohu) painted figures, notably women, as well as birds and small details of blossoms and branches, but I find him most interesting for his beautifully dramatic landscapes.

Tang Yin was active in the 16th century and was one of the foremost painters of his era, called the middle Ming period. He revisited and revitalized painting elements from previous times, and was a calligrapher, scholar and poet in addition to being a popular painter.

Born into a low level merchant class family, his scholarly talent and drive were preparing him for a prized civil service position, but a scandal in which he and a friend were accused of bribing one of the civil service examiners prior to their exams removed that option and led him to earn a living selling his paintings.

There is a book on his life and work, with 100 plates: The Painting of T’ang Yin (more here), though it’s not inexpensive.


Winter Tales at Kunsthaus Zürich

Winter Tales at Kunsthaus Zurich: Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Jan Asselijn, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Gysbrecht Lytens, Joseph Ferdinand Boissard de Boisdenier, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Akseli Gallen-Kallela
Those of us on the East Coast of the U.S. have so far been experiencing an unusually mild winter; not so for most of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. In Europe it must seem as though the North Pole has shifted into your back yard.

For those who need to be reminded of winter’s beauty — for one reason or another, Kunsthaus Zürich has mounted an exhibition titled Winter Tales: Winter in art from the Renaissance to Impressionism.

The exhibition not only collects an interesting assortment of paintings and art objects from various times and places, but goes beyond winter landscapes to subjects as diverse as Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow and Dutch still life paintings that focus on food specific to the season and permitted during a time of abstinence.

The exhibition features Brueghel’s Winter Landscape with Bird Trap, (images above, top), credited was the first independent landscape in European art (i.e. not as a background for religious, mythological or other subjects).

Also featured is Monet’s iconic ode to winter, The Magppie (above, third from bottom).

There is a website devoted to the exhibition that features a slideshow of featured works. The images are linked to larger versions. There is also a catalog of the exhibition, with text in German (more here).

Winter Tales: Winter in art from the Renaissance to Impressionism is on view until 29 April, 2012.

(Images above: Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Jan Asselijn, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Gysbrecht Lytens, Joseph Ferdinand Boissard de Boisdenier, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Akseli Gallen-Kallela)

[Via ArtDaily]


Samuel John Lamorna Birch

Samuel John Lamorna Birch
Though he studied for a short time at an atelier in Paris, English painter Samuel John “Lamorna” Birch was mostly a self taught artist.

Birch was one of the earliest of the second wave of “Newlyn School” artists, a group that included Alfred J. Munnings, Stanley Gardner and Laura and Harold Knight.

Birch is often known as simply Lamorna Birch. He took the name from the Lamorna Valley in Cornwall, where he painted frequently. The name was the suggestion of artist Stanhope Forbes, with the thought that it would set Birch apart from the already established artist Lionel Birch who also painted in Newlyn.

In addition to his many paintings of the cove at Lamorna, Birch had a fascination with small streams, in particular in portraying the surface expression of their currents and eddies in a way that puts me in mind of the wonderful Norwegian painter Frits Thaulow.

There is a book about Birch and the artists around him, A Painter Laureate: Lamorna Birch & his Circle, but I don’t think it’s illustrated.

The best online image source I’ve found for Lamorna Birch is the BBC’s Your Paintings. Click on the main images for slightly larger versions.