Oleg Denisenko (update)

Oleg Denisenko
The wonderfully idiosyncratic graphics of Oleg Denisenko have a feeling of arcane instructional diagrams from some otherworldly past.

Denisenko is a Ukrainian printmaker, painter, calligrapher and sculptor. His intricately rendered images of figures, horses and fantastical mechanisms always seem connected to the past, and rich with potential meaning, but unfettered in imagination.

Since I originally wrote about Denisenko’s work back in 2007, he now has a dedicated website on which you will find an array of his graphics, his equally whimsical sculpture and works in color he identifies as levkas (image above, second from bottom).

As near as I can tell, the term refers to the grounds used by medieval Russian iconographers. Denisenko’s works in this category are rough surfaced, texturally three dimensional and apparently done in oil and/or tempera.

His graphics, however, steal the show, inviting you to spend time delving into their elaborate rendering and fascinating details.

[Originally via BibliOdyssey]

Shelby Keefe

Shelby Keefe
Shelby Keefe is another artist whose work I recently encountered at the Wayne Plein Air Festival just outside of Philadelphia.

Keefe is based in Milwaukee, where she maintains a studio and exhibition space. She works both on location and from her own reference photos for studio paintings.

She has a loose, blocky style, quick and efficient in capturing the essence of the scene before her. She works in oil over high chroma acrylic underpaintings, often allowing the bright colors of the underpainting to play through in her final compositions.

You’ll often hear of artists “smuggling reds” into their paintings in which the subject is largely green foliage, Keef, however, brandishes her underpainted reds with abandon. allowing them to add energy and vibration to her greens.

On her website you will find a slideshow presentation of both studio and plein air work, along with figurative pieces and information about her painting demonstrations, workshops and her other endeavors.

Shelly Wan

Shelly Wan
Shelly Wan is an illustrator, concept artist and gallery artist who works both in digital and traditional media. She is currently an artist for Pixar and also does work for Magic: The Gathering as well as comic covers and book covers.

Originally from Guang Zhou, China, where she studied at the Guang Zhou Academy of Fine Arts, Wan came to the U.S. to study illustration at the Art Center College of Design in California.

Wan’s digital illustration has a luxuriously detailed and richly textural quality, drawing on influences from Art Nouveau and Victorian painting as well as pop culture and classic adventure illustration. Her compositions often have a wonderful sense of motion, leading your eye through sweepingly curved paths of value and color contrasts.

As far as I know, Wan doesn’t have a dedicated website, though she maintains a blog which often features work in progress, as well as articles on other art related subjects of interest.

For a selection of her professional work, look to her portfolio on Eidolon Fine Arts, which also features a gallery of her oil paintings, many of which are figure studies.

There is also a gallery of her work on Tor.com, as well as selections on Gallery Nucleus and CGHub.

There is an article on ImagineFX, and interview on Last Man Standing, another on Irene Gallo’s The Art Department and a video convention interview (unfortunately in a noisy environment) on YouTube.

Nick Patten

Nick Patten
Room interiors, though a relatively common subject, have never really been treated as a separate genre like still life, landscapes or even “cityscapes”.

Though they have a long history, and some wonderful painters are noted for them, such as Vermeer, De Hooch or Tarbell, room interiors seem to be most often treated as backdrops for figurative work, a way to place the figure or portrait in an environment.

Room interiors, when well done, have their own kind of magic, conveying emotion, atmosphere and a sense of place and time quite unlike landscape and still life.

Nick Patten is an artist who focuses on the emotive and suggestive qualities of room interiors, in particular utilizing the play of light and shadow, strongly geometric compositions and carefully considered color palettes to transport us into his glimpses of another, sometimes seemingly familiar place.

Room interiors without figures by their nature often convey a feeling of stillness, a quality of contemplation that, like some still life painting, invites contemplation of the work itself. I particularly like the way Patten uses soft contrasts of muted yellows and greens along with subdued reds, to give his compositions a richness of color while maintaining their essentially still quality.

In his obviously lived in rooms, furniture and other objects seem to await the arrival of the houses’ occupants, as though they might be just in the next room, or behind a half open door.

I also enjoy the way Patten plays with light sources as compositional elements, with open windows, lamps or splays of light on walls and objects acting as the players in his quiet dramas.

Unfortunately, Patten’s website is awkwardly arranged, with a pointless scrolling division that can be too easily scrolled past its content, allowing the thumbnails to disappear, and a maddening pop-up window JavaScript that resets the position of the thumbnails so that once you start scrolling, every time you view an image and close the pop-up you must scroll down and re-find your place to select the next image (see my post on How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web).

However, if you enjoy room interiors as I do, Patten’s beautifully refined and subtle work is certainly worth the effort. Note that there is an archive of sold paintings in addition to the main portfolio.

[Suggestion courtesy of Randall Imai]

[Addendum, July, 2012: I’m glad to report that Patten’s site has been redesigned; it is now much more straightforward, and easier to view his online gallery.]

Jim Madsen

Jim Madsen
Jim Madsen is an illustrator based in Provo, Utah who works in children’s books, advertising and educational software.

Madsen has the kind delightfully springy and energetic style I usually associate with animation art, along with a sure sense of color and a clear faculty for narrative illustration.

I was particularly taken with his beautiful illustrations for The Crossing, written by Donna Jo Napoli (images above, top, third down, bottom two).

You will find those, along with more of his professional work, in his portfolio on the site of his artists’ rep, Shannon Associates. Madsen also has a professional portfolio on Directory of Illustration.

Madsen’s own blog serves more as a space for personal works an playful experimentation, including his “keeping in practice” images prompted by Illustration Friday topics (see my post on Illustration Friday).

The pieces on his blog are reproduced much larger than those in the other portfolios, allowing you to see his approach in greater detail.

[Suggestion courtesy of Jake Parker (see my 2005 post on Jake Parker)]

Paul Bachem

Paul Bachem
Though I had encountered his work on the web previously and filed it away for a future post, I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with New York based artist Paul Bachem yesterday at the 2012 Wayne Plein Air Festival.

Bachem has a crisp style, with lots of attention to edges and a physically textural paint surface. His work also demonstrates a strong sense of composition, perhaps stemming in part from his long career as a successful illustrator.

On his website you will find a variety of his paintings, both current and archived. Unfortunately, the link to “An Illustration Portfolio” has not been extended into a gallery.

Bachem also maintains a blog, on which he discusses his painting experiences and posts current work.

Bachem’s plein air paintings will be on view as part of the Wayne Plein Air exhibit at the Wayne Art Center (in the Philadelphia area) until June 23, 2012.