Mark Carder

Mark Carder
Mark Carder is a portrait painter who is known for his precise but naturalistic portraits, including commissioned portraits of two US presidents and other officials. He also paints still life, animals and landscape.

His web presence is unfortunately limited to about a dozen examples of his work and a very brief bio.

Carder is perhaps even better known for his instructional resources. You may have seen the portrait of the young girl in the image above, bottom, associated with advertisements for the “Carder Method” instructional videos.

Carder is no longer associated with the company that sells those videos, (which I believe has stopped selling them), and he has recently been making his techniques available for free in a series of videos and other resources on a website titled Draw Mix Paint, which I will review in a subsequent post.


Impressionist bridges

Impressionist bridges: Gustave Caillebotte, Eugene Boudin, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Childe Hassam, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent, Edward Redfield, Colin Campbell Cooper, Willard Metcalf, Joaquin Sorolla, John Twatchman, Frits Thaulow, Guy Rose
No — it’s not the subject of a real-world exhibit somewhere, though that might be nice — just a thought that occurred to me while looking through some images of Impressionist paintings.

One of the things that set the Impressionists apart was their insistence, like Courbet, on painting the real world as they saw it, unromanticized and unfiltered through Academic standards for “proper” subjects for paintings.

Though bridge building had become quite refined before then, it kicked into high gear in the mid 1800’s with the new riveted wrought iron methods of construction, and the Impressionists, often drawn to the water’s edge, captured many of the new bridges along with the old.

You could probably fill a good sized book with paintings of bridges by Monet, Pissarro and Sisley alone.

I’ve broadly expanded the definition of “Impressionist” here to include many artists who were merely influenced by them or who fit the theme stylistically.

Most, though not all, of these images can be found on

(Images above: Gustave Caillebotte, Eugene Boudin, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Childe Hassam, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent, Edward Redfield, Colin Campbell Cooper, Willard Metcalf, Joaquin Sorolla, John Twatchman, Frits Thaulow, Guy Rose)


Eye Candy for Today: Byam Shaw figure in landscape

Boer War, 1900 - 1901 - Last Summer Things Were Greener, John Byam Liston Shaw
Boer War, 1900 – 1901 – Last Summer Things Were Greener, John Byam Liston Shaw

Image from the Athenaeum. Original is in the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

The painting, in the detailed style associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, depicts the artist’s sister mourning her cousin, who was killed in the Boer War in South Africa.

A contrast of grief and loss in the midst of the ongoing beauty of the world.


Strawberry Mansion mural project

Strawberry Mansion mural project, Dott Bunn Patrick Connors
Strawberry Mansion is an 18th century house in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park that has been designated as a historic site and museum, and for the last few years has been undergoing major renovation.

As part of the project, the mansion’s formal banquet room will be painted with new murals on all four walls. Philadelphia artists Dot Bunn, who I recently profiled, and Patrick Connors will attempt to grace the room’s walls with murals as the mansion’s original owner, Judge Joseph Hemphill, might have commissioned for himself. They will include scenes of the area around the mansion and in 18th century Philadelphia proper, as well as the docks where his porcelain business was likely involved in shipping.

Bunn was pleased to be given the opportunity to work on the project, but when she was confronted with the space, she realized the the scope of the work was even larger than she had anticipated, requiring not only a considerable amount of work, but lots of paint as well.

Bunn contacted the owner of the paint company whose oil colors she uses, Stephen Salek, of Vasari Classic Artist Oil Colors (see my recent post), who generously agreed to donate the paint required for the project.

It was by Salek’s invitation that I attended the launch event for the project and had the opportunity to see the murals in their preparatory stage and meet Bunn and Connors.

The event was basically a social and promotional one, marking a milestone in the restoration of the mansion and kicking off the mural project. I found it amusing that some of those involved in committee for the restoration were encouraged to pick up a paint brush and, like multiple shovels ceremonially breaking ground for a construction project, contribute the first brushstrokes.

The walls have been prepared by covering them with canvas, given a base color by Bunn, as though on a regular canvas prepared for a landscape, on which the preparatory sketches (printed copies on board, above, top two) have been enlarged and roughed out in graphite.

I’m hoping to follow the project along, checking back part way through the process and when the murals are finished.

I think it gives a bit of insight into how some historic murals may have originally been commissioned, prepared and carried out.

(Image above, bottom: Stephen Salek, Dot Bunn, Patrick Connors)


Matthew Meyer

Matthew Meyer
Matthew Meyer grew up in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, and studied illustration at the Ringling College of Art in Florida.

After traveling to Japan on a study abroad program, he was so inspired by Japanese art and culture that he moved there in 2007.

Meyer has been using digital art to create images inspired by Japanese culture, though with his own unique point of view.

As a long time resident of the Philadelphia area, I particularly enjoy his series of 100 Famous Views of Philadelphia (images above, top three), a reference to Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, with Philadelphia landmarks portrayed in the style of Japanese woodblock prints.

Meyer also has a series of his interpretation of Yokai, monsters from Japanese folklore, that he ran on his blog as “A Yokai A Day” (above, bottom three).

You can find prints of his work in his Etsy shop.

Meyer also has a printed collection of Yokai, The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: a Field Guide to Japanese Yokai (Amazon link).