Three paintings of asparagus

Asparagus, Adriaen Coort, Edouard Manet
In contrast to the elaborate still life arrangements common to his late seventeenth century contemporaries, Dutch painter Adriaen Coort is noted for his simple still life subjects.

His simply staged but striking Still life with Asparagus, depicting a bunch of plump white asparagus on the corner of a table (images above, top, with detail) is perhaps his best known work.

You can see other examples of Coorte painting asparagus in only slightly more elaborate compositions here and here.

Two centuries later, Edouard Manet gives a thoroughly modern but respectful nod to the traditions of he Dutch still life masters, if not Coorte’s painting in particular, in his painting Bunch of Asparagus, showing a similar sized bunch of white asparagus, their bright stalks luminescent against a dark background and painted larger than life size.

The story is that Manet’s parton, Charles Ephrussi, was so pleased with the commissioned painting that he paid the artist 1000 Francs instead of the agreed on 800.

Manet, in response, painted another small canvas, this one quite different in tone and composition — showing a single spear on a marble tabletop, rich with color in its painterly brushstrokes — and sent it to his patron with the message “This one was missing from your bunch.”


Stewart Burgess White

Stewart Burgess White
I met watercolorist Stewart White at the recent Wayne Plein Air Festival here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where he was drawn to the architectural elements of the town’s 19th century train station.

White’s background in architectural illustration gives his work a solid geometric underpinning and lends his loose application of washes a pleasing graphic strength.

White works on location, and his online gallery includes work from his home town of Baltimore as well as his travels in Europe and other locations around the US.

I particularly enjoy his use of atmospheric perspective, and his ability to find beauty in industrial subjects. He uses a controlled palette, often with one color predominating, accented by touches of its complement.

It’s unfortunate I couldn’t find more examples of White’s architectural work (above, second from bottom), as that kind clear, crisp watercolor rendering is largely being replaced by colder, more impersonal 3-d renderings.


Eye Candy for Today: Monet’s Pave de Chailly

Pave de Chailly, Claude Monet
Pave de Chailly, Claude Monet

An early painting by Monet of the road from Chailly to Fontainebleau, painted prior to the development of the broken color Impressionist style for which he is best known. I love this period of Monet’s work.

On WikiPaintings. Original is in the Musée d’Orsay.

Compare this to another canvas titled Pave de Chailly that he painted from the same spot in different light, and this related painting of The Bodmer Oak Fontainebleau.


Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders, The Croods, Kiskaloo
Illustrator, cartoonist, animator and director Chris Sanders is best known as co-director of Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon and The Croods.

Before leaving Disney Studios to work for DreamWorks Animation, Sanders worked as a story artist on The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, and was head of story on Mulan.

Though the gallery on his website/blog is as yet empty, the blog features a wonderful series of posts featuring “The Lost Boards“, storyboard drawings done for The Croods, along with other sketches and drawings.

[Addendum: there is also a gallery on deviantART, that includes work in progress.]

Sanders’ storyboard drawings have the kind of wonderfully jaunty, energetic line quality that I associate with the best animation drawing. Quickly suggested and seemingly casually rendered, they have an appeal in an of themselves as drawings, beyond their role in visualizing scenes from which animators would create a movie.

Sanders also has a place on his site set aside for new episodes of Kiskaloo, his webcomic (images above, bottom), though they have not started. In the meantime, you can enjoy the archive of the original run of the strip in the archives.

[Via Jake Parker in the Drawn archives]


Eye Candy for Today: Bilibin’s Vasilisa

Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga, Ivan Bilibin
Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga, by Ivan Bilibin (larger but darker here)

One of Bilibin’s wonderful series of illustrations for the classic Russian folktale.


Oil Painters of America National Exhibition 2013

Oil Painters of America National Exhibition 2013: Kenn Backhaus, Rebecca Leer, Richard Biddinger, Richard Allison, Kathie Wheeler, Nancy Wagstaff, Fran Rowe, Frederick Somers, Teresa Elliott, William Alther, John Michael Carter, Sherrie McGraw
Oil Painters of America is a national organization of artists dedicated to representational art. Each year, among other regional exhibitions and events, they conduct a juried exhibition.

This year’s exhibition, consisting of some 200 works, is currently on display at the Insight Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas until June 17, 2013.

There is a page devoted to the winners of the juried categories on the OPA site.

In addition, Insight Gallery has online presentations of the participating OPA Masters and OPA Signature and Associate Members. When viewing the individual works, note that though the image on the page is not linked, there are text links to the right to “Click for full-size image”.

In addition, the OPA website has an Online Showcase, a blog, a searchable Member Directory and other resources.

(Images above: Kenn Backhaus, Rebecca Leer, Richard Biddinger, Richard Allison, Kathie Wheeler, Nancy Wagstaff, Fran Rowe, Frederick Somers, Teresa Elliott, William Alther, John Michael Carter, Sherrie McGraw)