Kevin Sloan

Kevin Sloan
Kevin Sloan’s paintings reflect his interest in natural history, narrative painting, allegory, magic realism and the often underrated painting approach of John James Audubon, as well as Audubon’s subject matter.

In carefully composed and deftly rendered arrangements of everyday objects, landscape elements and in particular, birds, Sloan opens windows into staged moments that seem a bit out of time and a touch haunted by something unsaid or not quite remembered.

His homages to the posed life-in-death tableaux of Audubon are stirred in with time crossing elements like electrical cords and candelabra chandoliers, birds hidden under sheets or birds interacting with teacups, fruit and other traditional still life subjects.

The resulting “cabinet of curiosities” is given a patina of age by his painting approach, as though you had found his work in the attic of an old house that possibly had been in an alternate reality at some point.

[Via Symbiartic]

Thomas Millie Dow

Thomas Millie Dow
Scottish artist Thomas Millie Dow, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, traveled and painted subjects in The US, Franc, Morocco and Italy, as well as in the UK.

I came across his painting Trees, above, top, and was fascinated by it. Unfortunately, I can’t find many examples of his work on the web.

Ming Fan

Ming Fan (fanming)
Ming Fan (or “fanming” as he is sometimes credited) is a Chinese concept artist and illustrator based in Shanghai.

He specializes in environments — fantastical imaginary landscapes and cityscapes. He renders them in lavish detail, often creating compositions in which there is a primary focal point along with two or more secondary areas of interest that, if isolated, would make interesting compositions within themselves.

He never loses the coherent overall focus, however, and accentuates the powerful sense of scale in his images with a command of both linear and atmospheric perspective, as well as a knack for creating multiple planes of content at various distances from the observer.

His own website/blog is in Chinese, and unfortunately plays music and ads at you when you enter, so it’s easier to view his work in his CGHub gallery.

Once you click through a thumbnail to a bigger image, click again for the larger image in a pop-up. Once in the enlargement, you can click through other images with side arrows.

It’s good that he has provided larger images, as much of the delight in his work is in the imaginative details, texture, and the feeling of sweeping scale that he brings to his subjects.

Rather than show a greater number of example images above, I’ve chosen four and included a detail crop from each.

Draw Mix Paint

Mark Carders' Draw Mix Paint art instruction
Mark Carder, the well regarded painter and portraitist who I profiled in a previous post, at one point participated in and lent his name to a series of instructional painting videos known as “The Carder Method”.

These sold for over $100, and were for a time heavily promoted.

Carder is no longer associated with the company that was selling the set, and they have ceased selling the materials as of the end of 2012.

Carder has since been creating his own instructional videos, outlining his teaching methods, and is generously making them available for free on his website Draw Mix Paint.

You can also access them on his Draw Mix Paint YouTube channel, but the website includes additional resources, like his supply list and the discussion forum.

Carder is self taught, and attributes some of his training to study of painters he particularly admires, including John Singer Sargent and Velazquez.

He has codified his teaching method into a process that is based on direct observation, measurement, and constant incremental color checking.

To this end he has created some simple tools to facilitate the process, and gives instructions for making them yourself, including proportional dividers and a pistol grip style “color checker” that allows for sighting across a swatch of paint through an eyelet, to better isolate the color than with the traditional method of simply sighting over a color laden palette knife.

To those of us who have had some formal training, his method may seem laborious, relying as it does on many more steps of color checking and smaller increments of mixing than most approaches to painting.

Bear in mind, however, that this is a method intended to allow absolute beginners to go from 0 to painting in the course of instruction. Carder points out that this isn’t intended to be a method of painting, but a method of learning to paint.

Even if your predisposition is not to the type of direct representation of reality that Carder practices, or you have less patience than required to practice his approach as demonstrated, I think many will still find Carder’s instruction worthwhile.

Although there are areas where experienced painters may disagree (as is often the case between painters) Carder’s methods are pretty much based on sound proven principles.

For an introduction to the essentials of his method, I suggest you watch his video on “How to mix colors with oil paint“. If you like the process, follow up with “How to paint what you see“.

For those with no painting or drawing experience, he recommends starting with the initial videos on drawing.

Carder has additional videos on topics like setting up a studio, making a shadow box, stretching a canvas, making his color checker and proportional dividers, etc. and he continues to add to them.

He has recently introduced two downloadable videos for which he is charging, Painting Portraits, and From Start to Finish: Still Life; but the fee is less than the cost for the original course, and he points out that they are not necessary — they just go into more detail, and you can learn the essentials of his method from the free videos.