Andrew Bonneau

Andrew Bonneau
Andrew Bonneau is an Australian artist currently living in New York, where he studied at the Grand Central Academy of Art.

I was struck first by his still life paintings, in which he gives attention to delicate nuances of light in the presentation of his forms. He carries that same attention to the illumination of form to his portrait and figurative works.

On his website, you will find those categories as well as landscape and a selection of drawings. In all of them he reveals his admiration for the traditions of classical, and in particular, Renaissance art.

On his blog you will often find larger images of many of his pieces.


Gouache in the Wild, James Gurney

Gouache in the Wild, James Gurney
Unfairly overlooked among artists’ mediums, gouache is the neglected stepchild of watercolor — disdained by transparent watercolor purists (who I can’t help but picture as cartoon aristocrats, painting with their pinkie fingers extended), and looked at in confusion by oil and acrylic painters. (“Gouache? Isn’t that for designers? You know — illustrators?“)

For those who have come to know it, however, gouache is a lovable mongrel, with some of the best characteristics of other mediums: quick drying like acrylic, with the ability to layer and work from dark to light like oil, but with the easy portability, clean up and re-activation possible with watercolor.

Contrary to popular belief, as long as those colors designed specifically for illustrators with fugitive pigments are avoided, and colors are chosen with the traditional artist pigments familiar to oil and watercolor painters, gouache is a perfectly wonderful medium for gallery artists and plein air painters. Gouache is essentially just opaque watercolor.

In addition to common misconceptions about gouache, I think one of the barriers to its wider adoption by artists is the relative lack of instructional material for the medium. Books and instructional video materials are conspicuously thin for gouache, particularly when compared to the abundance of attention paid to transparent watercolor.

Gouache has been gaining more attention and adherents in recent years. One of the best resources for gouache information has been the ongoing mention of gouache techniques in blog posts by James Gurney, who has long been a champion of the medium (along with its milk-based cousin, casein).

In a follow-up to his excellent instructional DVD Watercolor in the Wild, Gurney has created a new DVD along similar lines, titled Gouache in the Wild.

As someone who has become more fascinated with gouache myself, I was delighted when I received a review copy, and even more delighted as I viewed it. Though most specifically aimed at the use of gouache for plein air or interior location painting — a role for which it is very well suited — the video also serves in many ways as an introductory guide to the medium.

Gurney takes us through the process of painting six varied subjects, with quick glimpses of a few others, and gives a guide to materials and basic techniques along the way. He covers some elements that others might not even think to mention, such as making your own opacity charts and brand color comparisons.

In addition to the overt instruction, I find that the close-up views of Gurney applying the paint in various ways, with touches of different kinds of brushes applied at a variety of angles, are instructive in themselves. They also make it clear that new users of gouache should not be misled by the small tubes, and should be unafraid to mix up and apply some generous brushloads of paint.

As is often the case with Gurney’s instructional videos, there is a wealth of supplementary material to be found on his blog, such as his post on “The Seven Gouache Hazards and How to Escape Them” and numerous other mentions of gouache.

Today, June 22nd, is the official release of the video, and Gurney is offering discounts for the day, and will be posting additional previews to YouTube during his “gouache week”, as well as a free live streaming demo of painting in gouache on location on this Wednesday at 4:00pm Eastern Time on ConcertWindow.

Here is the current trailer on YouTube, and another short excerpt from a longer segment.

Gouache in the Wild can be ordered as a DVD or purchased as a digital download. See this post on Gurney Journey for more details.

Gurney has provided a much needed guide for painting in gouache — an often overlooked artists’ medium that is deservedly gaining in popularity; every section is overflowing with his wealth of location painting knowledge and experience.

[Addendum: Gurney continues to add to the supplementary gouache information on his blog. Particularly informative, and much needed, is this remarkable post in which he has inquired of the major gouache manufacturers about the formulations of their gouache paint — a source of common question even among experienced painters in gouache: “Gouache Ingredients: Info from Manufacturers“, on Gurney Journey.]


Paul Bond

Paul Bond, magic realism
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and currently living in California, where he studied art, Paul Bond brings to his light-filled style of Magic Realism an obvious affection for the reality-teasing twists of Magritte, and a fascination with certain repeated themes.

In particular, he finds ongoing variations on the theme of piled rocks, rendered with a tactile sense of texture and form and with playful indications of scale and place.

Objects in Bond’s painted worlds often float, at once defying and defined by gravity, arranged in geometric swirls that suggest invisible physics in their apparent movement.

When viewing the galleries on Bond’s website, be aware of the second gallery page, accessed from a link at the top of the page. He also has a blog, and offers limited edition prints as well as a book collection and other printed items.

Bond’s work will be on view at the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts, July 5 – August 31, 2015.


Eye Candy for Today: Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June

Flaming June, Frederic Leighton
Flaming June, Frederic Leighton

The link is to a file on Wikimedia Commons. (I think the image is over-saturated, and I’ve taken the liberty of correcting it somewhat in the images above.) The original is in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, though the museum doesn’t appear to have their collection online. There is a Wikipedia page devoted to the work.

At one point in the 1960’s, at the nadir of the relentless degradation of Victorian art by the Moderinst establishment, this magnificent painting by Frederic Leighton failed to sell at its auction reserve of $140.00 US (less than $900.00 by todays measure). It was later bought by Puerto Rican businessman Luis Ferré for under $1,000.00, and it would eventually become a highlight of the museum he founded, the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Images of this painting are very widely reproduced and popular. Even as recently as a decade ago, when the painting was on display at the Tate Britain, it was derided by some critics as kitsch (because, you know, Victorian realism + popularity among the unwashed masses = unacceptable).

Flaming June is currently on loan to the Frick Collection in New York, where they apparently have the courage to recognize art based on the work itself rather than artistic fashion. It will be on display, as the centerpiece of a small exhibition of Victorian paintings meant to complement it, until September 6, 2015.


Gobelins students’ animations for Annecy 2015

Gobelins students’ animations for Annecy 2014
Each year the graduating animation students from Gobelins, l’école de l’image (Goeblins School of Communications) in Paris are divided into five teams, who produce short (about 1 minute) animations that are used to introduce each day’s programs at the Annecy International Festival of Animation in mid-June.

Each year, the Goeblins students refresh my faith in the state of 2D and hand-drawn animation.

This year, in keeping with the theme of the festival, the animations celebrate pioneering women in the field of animation: Alison de Vere, Claire Parker, Evelyn Lambart, Lotte Reiniger and Mary Blair. (My favorite of this year’s pieces is Mary, devoted to Disney concept and color artist Mary Blair.)

You can see all five shorts on YouTube, with more information on the Annecy and Gobelins (FR) websites.

(Images above, titles: Alison, Claire, Eve, Lotte, Mary]

[Please note: the images above are just screen captures and not linked videos. Please see the YouTube link. Also, see the individual listings for the team credits for each video.]


Eye Candy for Today: Winslow Homer’s Breezing Up

Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), Winslow Homer
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), Winslow Homer

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; there is a downloadable version on Wikipedia, along with a page devoted to the painting. The original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which also has downloadable files.

As much as Homer is noted for his watercolors — and rightfully so — I really admire his oil paintings. The brushwork and surface texture in this work are an absolute delight.