Hiroo Isono

Hiroo Isono
Hiroo (Hirō) Isono was a Japanese painter and illustrator, known for his intricate and fantastical scenes of tropical jungles and animals. He traveled extensively in the South Pacific, Africa and North America.

He is known in gaming circles for his work on the Mana series of games, including Secret of Mana and Heroes of Mana.

Unfortunately, I can’t find anything in the way of an official site for Isono, so my links below are to other blog posts and articles about him that have larger images of his work than I’ve provided here. [Correction: Terry Miura has been kind enough to write with Isono’s official website.]

Readers with accounts on Pinterest or Tumblr may be able to find additional images; you might also try a Bing or Google image search.

[Via Kevin Hong]


Eye Candy for Today: Clausell’s Burgeoning Springs in Autumn

Burgeoning Springs in Autumn, Joaquin Clausell
Burgeoning Springs in Autumn, Joaquin Clausell

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Museo Nacional de Arte.

Joaquin Clausell was a Mexican artist who lived and worked in Paris during the time the French Impressionists were active. In this early Autumn scene, he shows their influence as well as his own fascinating experimentation with color and texture.


Bryan Mark Taylor

Bryan Mark Taylor, landscape and cityscape paintings
Bryan Mark Taylor is a plein air painter based in California who focuses on cityscape and landscape.

Taylor travels extensively and many of his subjects are from Europe as well as other locations in the U.S.

His crisp, textural treatment of architectural and natural elements often takes on a sculptural feeling, with shadows and interlocking planes forming much of the structure of the composition.

In some of his European subjects in particular, he often plays with the “keyhole effect” of archways seens through other archways.

Taylor teaches workshops, and has an instructional video, Painting Cityscapes that is available from Streamline Video. There is a brief trailer on YouTube.

Taylor was instrumental in developing the Strada Easel, a metal alternative to the more common wood construction of contemporary pochade boxes.

Taylor’s work will be on display in a solo show at the Pacific Edge Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA that opens this Saturday, September 24, 2016.


Dustin Van Wechel

Dustin Van Wechel, wildlife art
I have to say that I am not often drawn to contemporary wildlife art. I find that too often artists will allow the inherent assumed appeal of the subject to outweigh considerations of the painting as a painting; and works are frequently a bit lacking in the characteristics that I find appealing in paintings.

There are of course notable and delightful exceptions to this, one of which is the simultaneously bold and sensitively realized work of Dustin Van Wechel.

Van Wechel is a painter based in Colorado, who transitioned from a career in the advertising industry to establish himself as a full time painter.

His work combines texture, atmosphere and a subdued palette to present dramatic scenes of wild animals in the context of landscapes that could often stand on their own as just landscapes.

He has a sensitivity to light that feels like that of a dedicated landscape painter, combined with a feeling for the motion and form of the animals that gives them a liveliness and gravity that I don’t often see in wildlife painting. I particularly like his portrayals of bison and crows.

His website portfolio is divided into current and archived paintings, and drawings. There are additional portfolios listed below for Trailside Galleries and an article with images from Southwest Art.


Eye Candy for Today: Sargent’s Breakfast in the Loggia

Breakfast in the Loggia, John Singer Sargent
Breakfast in the Loggia, John Singer Sargent

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project. The original is in the Freer/Sackler Gallery. Though the image linked from the latter page in not high resolution, there is a nicely large image linked from this post on the Smithsonian’s Bento blog (above the image, “6301 x 4512“).

This piece used to hang near the entrance of the Freer/Sackler Gallery in D.C., and I remember being struck by it on entering the gallery for the first time many years ago.

I’m disappointed to say the museum’s website lists is as “Currently not on view” at the moment, as I was hoping to see it when I’m in the city later this month. (Oh well, I’ll just have to satisfy myself with the National Gallery of Art, the American Art Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, etc., etc.)

In what looks like a relatively finished painting from a short distance, Sargent’s casually brilliant (or brilliantly casual) brushwork is evident on closer inspection. The notation of the hands of the woman to our right is a brushy smear, the food is composed of strategically placed smudges of color, and yet all resolves to a clear, naturalistic image.

I particularly marvel at the brusque paint application in the almost pure white sprays of arch-shaped sunlight against the left wall, and the fluid shadows on the back one. The statue behind the women is of Venus, and is a little marvel of sculpturally painted shapes — each brushstroke defining a value plane.

Sargent’s rough brushwork on the vines along the columns defines their shape and texture better than if he had devoted hours to rendering them in detail.

Tell me again why Sargent is “facile” and a “19th century painter” and not considered one of history’s great painters?


Joon Ahn

Joon Ahn, concept art
Joon Ahn is a concept artist based in Los Angeles. He was formerly a concept and background artist at Disney, and is currently the Senior Concept Artist at Riot Games.

As far as I know, he doesn’t have a dedicated website, but does have a portfolio on ArtStation. He also has a blog, but it has not recently been updated.

His ArtStation gallery isn’t extensive, but even so is showcases are variety of approaches in terms of his approach to color, texture and degree of finish.

In many cases his use of light is dramatic and theatrical, in other cases more muted. As is often called for in concept art, his images often evoke a monumental sense of scale.