Fenghua Zhong

Fenghua Zhong, concept
Fenghua Zhong is a Chinese concept artist and illustrator whose wild exaggerations of human and animal forms can be so over-the-top it sometimes takes a moment to focus on what is happening in his compositions, giving them something of a slow reveal.

His command of atmospheric perspective can give the staging of his figures a strong sense of distance and scale. Combined with the costume and trappings of ancient warriors, they evoke scenes of mythic character, with legendary heroes battling gods and monsters.

Zhong is associated with a Chinese online school called the E-art School of Design, presumably teaching his digital painting techniques. There is a process video here (possibly more to be found).

David Bottini

David Bottini, landscape paintings

Landscape painter David Bottini uses the signature “Gabriel” on his paintings as a tribute to his grandfather, who inspired in him the love of the natural world that he brings to his intricate and richly colored landscapes.

Bottini appears to relish the complexity of forest interior scenes, with myriad leaves and branches revealed in dappled light. His renderings of trees and other foliage become textural elements as well as value masses, which he sets against breaks of open sky or water.

His paintings give the viewer an invitation to step in and experience the painted environment with a tactile sensibility.

Bottini’s work is currently on display in an exhibition at the F.A.N. Gallery here in Philadelphia: “David Bottini: Seasonal Journeys” that runs until September 26, 2015.

Florian Aupetit

Florian Aupetit is a French illustrator, concept artist, art director and “3d generalist” based in Paris.

Aupetit has an effective minimalist style of digital painting that is best appreciated in large images, though I’ve tried to give a suggestion of his approach to texture and subtle value changes in some of the detail crops above.

His website portfolio is limited; you’ll find considerably more work on his ArtStation site and Tumblr blog.

A number of the pieces on his ArtStation portfolio are accompanied by detail crops, and in many cases, time-lapse process videos. You can also access the latter directly on his YouTube channel.

Many of the pieces in his portfolios are for a project called “Father and Son”. Even without knowing the story involved (or even the nature of the project), I found these to be a fascinating series of variations on a theme. I particularly like Aupetit’s juxtaposition of open areas with those filled with textural elements, and his broken color approach to delineating edges.

Among his illustration and concept pieces, you will also find studies that I assume are digital paintings from life.

Eye Candy for Today: Carl Blechen Italian landscape

Gorge near Amalfi, Carl Blechen
Gorge near Amalfi, Carl Blechen

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

Early 19th century German painter Carl Blechen created series of studio works based on a sketching trip he had taken to Italy a few years prior.

Here, he gives us a dramatically lit scene of a paper mill in a gorge in the rocky landscape of Italy’s famed Amalfi coast.

William Henry Hunt

Though he also painted landscapes, portraits and figures, and worked at times in oil, 19th century English artist William Henry Hunt was known primarily for his striking watercolor still life paintings.

His subjects were often fruits like grapes, apples and peaches, which he rendered with extraordinary finesse using a technique known as “wet white” — applying small stippled dots of watercolor and gouache over a background of the newly imported color “Chinese white” (zinc white gouache). The process, which produced particularly luminous colors, was taken up by many of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

He also favored other natural still life forms, creating compositions with arrangements of fruits, nuts, twigs, small flowers and notably bird’s nests, delineated with great fidelity and detail, which earned him the appellation “Bird’s Nest” Hunt.

Hunt was an early and key member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours (later renamed the Royal Watercolour Society), and was instrumental in the establishment of the English school of watercolor painting.

Teagan White

Teagan White, illustration
Minnesota based illustrator Teagan White takes her inspiration in animal and plant forms, often arranging them in compositions in which they are both representational images and design elements.

White appears to work primarily in ink, applying color digitally in Photoshop, or traditionally with watercolor and gouache. She uses a restrained palette, leaning toward earth colors and muted greens, both in keeping with her subjects and giving her work something of a 19th century feeling.

Her website and blog include not only images of her commercial work and children’s book illustration, but often images of the work in progress, as well as the pen drawings before color has been applied.

As much as I enjoy her subtle colors, I particularly like her ink drawings in their original state, in which she contrasts areas of texture and open negative space with spotted blacks to wonderful effect.

White has work for sale on Big Cartel, and her work is currently on display as part of the “Creatures of Myth and Nature” exhibit at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA, that runs until September 20, 2015.