Eye Candy for Today: Jean-Baptiste Greuze chalk drawing

Head of a Young Woman,  Jean-Baptiste Greuze
Head of a Young Woman, Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Red chalk on paper. 16 x 12 inches (41 x 31 cm), 18th century.

In the Morgan Library and Museum. Use download link under image, or zoom version.

Greuze has drawn an understated but elegant and remarkably strong study. The hands and bonnet are quickly realized, but the face is an authoritative statement of the geometry of the human head.

I can see the influence of drawings such as this on later anatomists like George Bridgeman and John H. Vanderpoel, and illustrators like J.C. Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell and Andrew Loomis.

Sergio Lopez

Sergio Lopez
Sergio Lopez is a painter based in the San Francisco Bay area, who works with landscape and figurative subjects.

His landscapes, both in plein air and more refined studio works, are based on direct observation. His figurative works are more interpretive. Though painted from life models, his figure compositions often incorporate invented decorative elements, floral patterns laid over the figure and background, or patterns on drapery that intertwine with the figures and their environments.

Some of the landscape images are reproduced large enough that you can see his nicely textural laden brush approach.

Lopez paints primarily in oil, but his website also includes sketches in gouache as well as drawing media. The home page of his website serves as a blog, use the menu choices to access his portfolio.

Lopez has YouTube channel, in which he has instructional videos on a variety of topics. Lopez is also a contributor to the Gorilla Artfare group blog.

[Note: some of the images on the linked sites should be considered NSFW.]


Playground, animated short by Ryosuke Oshiro
Playground is a wordless animated short by Ryosuke Oshiro from the Tokyo Unniversity of the Arts, about a loner schoolboy who finds release from his drab life in school in his fertile imagination. He encounters another, and they have something of a battle of the imaginations.

Animated with a soft touch, it puts emphasis on the moody atmosphere created by the backgrounds (as does much Japanese animation).

[Via io9]

Audubon’s wild turkeys

Great American Hen & Young. Vulgo, Female Wild Turkey. Meleagris gallapavo, John James Audubon, from Birds of America
Great American Hen & Young. Vulgo, Female Wild Turkey. Meleagris gallapavo, John James Audubon

Image from Wikipedia, original source: University of Pittsburgh.

The American wild turkey is so removed from the rotund form of contemporary commercial farm turkeys as to be almost unrecognizable as related. Like most of our commercial poultry, the latter have been bred through narrow genetic strains over many generations to be essentially walking meat factories.

Audubon portrayed both the male and female of the wild turkey, Meleagris gallapavo, for his ambitious Birds of America, and used the male (above, top) as the first plate.

I actually find the image of the hen and chicks more interesting, however, and I’ve provided some detail crops from the version in the University of Pittsburgh collection here.

These are engravings hand-painted in watercolor, and they vary enough that each can be considered an individual work. The one from the University of Pittsburgh collection is available on Wikipedia as a very high resolution file (80mb) as well as in zoomable form on the university’s website (along with the male, and all of the other plates from their copy of Birds of America).

There are also versions of the plates from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art on Google Art Project, male and female. The color difference in this case is due to different paintings on engravings, not the usual internet color inconsistencies (though they may be at play as well).

See my post an Audubon’s Birds of America.

I also came across mention in the Wikipedia article that the common notion that Ben Franklin proposed the wild turkey as the national bird of the new republic, rather than the bald eagle, is essentially untrue — in that he never declared as much publicly. It has a basis in a letter Franklin wrote to his daughter in which he criticized the choice of the bald eagle for the crest of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Franklin said of the wild turkey: “…the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.”

And of the bald eagle: “He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the fishing hawk [osprey]; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

Hmmm…. given the current economic structure of the U.S., maybe the bald eagle is an apt choice for the national bird after all.

Eye Candy for Today: John William Hill’s Plums

Plums, John William Hill
Plums, John William Hill

Watercolor, graphite, and gouache on Bristol board, 7 x 12 inches; in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The enlargement on the museum’s website is actually in greater detail than the crops I’ve provided here.

I love the rendering of the fruit in this simple, direct study: fastinatingly textural close-up, but naturalistic at an appropriate distance.

Marie-Laure Cruschi (Cruschiform)

Marie-Laure Cruschi (Cruschiform), Cabins and other vector illustrations
Marie-Laure Cruschi is a French illustrator and designer, who often goes by the name of her Paris studio, Cruschiform.

Cruschi’s work crosses the boundaries of her two areas of expertise, veering from vector illustration to design — and back again; the two inextricably intertwined in many images. Her strengths are obvious in those elements that are most strongly shared by the two disciplines: subtle color relationships and composition.

There are a variety of projects on the Cruschiform website and Behance galleries.

Of particular interest are her striking series of vector illustrations for Taschen’s Cabins book (images above, top two and bottom); you can see selections on both the website and Behance.

There is also a Cruschiform blog (FR), on which you will find more projects and additional images.

There is an article on her process on Creative Bloq.

[Via Eric Orchard]