Eye Candy for Today: David Cox – The Opening of the New London Bridge

The Opening of the New London Bridge, David Cox

Watercolor, roughly 15 x 9 in. (38 x 24 cm).

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Yale Center for British Art.

British landscape master David Cox, who I admire in particular for his watercolors, gives us a view of the celebration for opening the new London Bridge in 1831.

I like his use here of shadows cast by bright sunlight — against the walls of the inset buildings, under the awnings on the buildings and the rims of the tents, and defining the space under the arches of the bridge.

I find it interesting that the shadows in the foreground — those under the bridge — are uncharacteristically lighter than those against the more distant row of buildings on the river bank, (as a commenter has pointed out — likely catching light reflected from the water).

Nestor Redondo

Nestor Redondo, comics art and pen and ink illustration
In the 1970’s the scope of style in American mainstream comic book art was suddenly expanded by the “Phillipine Invasion”, the advent of a number of highly skilled Filipino comics artists establishing themselves with the American comic book publishers.

These artists, already established in the Philippines’ active comic book market, owed as much to the influence of Golden Age pen and ink illustration and early 20th century American newspaper comics as they did to the contemporary comic book styles of the time, and they had a distinct impact on the styles of many American artists.

Many of them became well known, like Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, Tony DeZuniga, Rudy Nebres, Francisco Reyes and Alex Niño, among others.

My favorite from this group of artists — and one of my favorite comic book artists in general — was Nestor Redondo.

Redondo first came to my attention when he was drawing short stories for DC Comics’ anthology horror titles like House of Mystery. He then did a knock-out run on six issues of Rima, The Jungle Girl, bringing to the title a flair reminiscent of the 1930’s newspaper adventure strip Jungle Jim by the great Alex Raymond.

Redondo really knocked my socks off, though, by doing the impossible — following up on Bernie Wrightson’s landmark run on the first ten issues of Swamp Thing; not only maintaining the extraordinary standard Wrightson had set, but bringing his own sensibility to the series and hitting it out of the park for thirteen more issues.

In addition to his numerous projects for the Philippine comics market and several other projects for the American publishers, Redondo also brought his solid but fluid inking style to collaborations with other artists, notably on one of my favorite lost gems of 1980’s comics, Doug Moench’s Aztec Ace.

I’ve long thought Redondo’s comics work and pen and ink illustration worthy of a collection, and though it has been a long time coming, we finally have one courtesy of the always remarkable Auad Publishing, who also published a collection of the work of Alex Niño (unfortunately, sold out). Auad was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of the new book on Redondo’s work.

The Art of Nestor Redondo (images above, top, with details, and bottom three rows) collects a variety of the artist’s comics art, ink drawings, splash pages, sketches and pencil drawings in an inexpensive, but high quality, 80 page black and white volume.

It’s paperback with nicely stiff card covers and high quality paper; and the printing is beautifully sharp and crisp, showing the details in Redondo’s ink drawings to best advantage. Most of the art was scanned from the original drawings.

The book is available directly from Auad for $24 USD. If you click on the cover in the listing on the Auad site, you will get a pop-up preview gallery of images from the book. Auad is a small publisher, and most of their past titles are sold out. If you want a copy of this one, you should probably order it sooner rather than later.

For those who aren’t familiar with Nestor Redondo, it’s a nice introduction to his style and abilities; for those who are already fans of Redondo, it is, of course, a must-have.

For me, the primary appeal of Nestor Redondo’s style is in his solid draftsmanship, the careful balance between areas of detailed hatching and open white space, and the key element of strategic openness in his line work. Unlike many artists who try too hard to lavish detail on their ink drawings, Redondo knew how to leave his outlines open in just the right places to let his figures breathe.

Eye Candy for Today: Johannes Franciscus Christ ink and wash drawing

View of the Bottom Gate at the Old Port at Nijmegen, John Franciscus Christ
View of the Bottom Gate at the Old Port at Nijmegen, Johannes Franciscus Christ

Ink and wash over a chalk underdrawing, roughly 9 x 7 in (23 x 19 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

This early 19th century drawing of the port gate of the Dutch city of Nijmegen is a beautiful example of the powerful notation possible with the simple medium of ink and wash.

It’s also a wonderful case of clear, unhurried observation, confident draftsmanship and surprisingly economical rendering — given the “finished” appearance of the drawing.

I love the textures of the brick and stone, the shadow against the sunny side wall and the gestural indication of the reeds and trees, as well as the simple but effective suggestion of low clouds in the distance.

Otakar Lebeda

Otakar Lebeda, landscape, still life and figurative paintings
Otakar Lebeda was a 19th century Czech painter whose tragically short life and career have been compared to that of Vincent van Gogh.

Lebeda began painting at an early age, and had the opportunity to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague with noted landscape painter Julius Mařák.

He started out in a similar realist style, comparable to the French Realists of the time, and was introduced to the outdoor landscape styles of the Barbizon School while later studying in Paris.

In his later work Lebeda introduced more figures into his compositions and his style became more painterly and even expressionistic.

Lebeda is not well known here in the U.S. and online sources for his work are limited, but the images available show a painter of considerable interest — certainly worth following up on as resources hopefully expand in the future.

Miguel Angel Moya

Miguel Angel Moya
Miguel Angel Moya is a contemporary realist painter originally from Valencia, Spain.

Hi subjects include orchestras and musicians, inspired by Moya’s own time as a professional violinist, as well as cityscapes and architectural interiors.

In his most recent series, Moya has focused on enigmatic still life of biological forms — mostly sea creatures — suspended in jars as if scientific specimens. These can be of specifically identifiable animals like octopi and sharks, or less distinct forms that leave the viewer’s mind to fill in the details.

Moya’s website is in Spanish, but easy enough for non Spanish speakers to navigate. As you advance through the “Pinturas” using the numbered links at the bottom, you will in general be moving back in time to previous series.

There are also some of Moya’s paintings on Artsy, where you will find larger images.

Miguel Angel Moya’s work is the subject of a current solo show at Arcadia Contemporary in Culver City, CA that will be on display until May 18, 2017.

Eye Candy for Today: Ivan Shishkin’s Rye

Rye,  Ivan Shishkin
Rye, Ivan Shishkin

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

In contrast to his scenes of thick forest groves, Russian landscape master Ivan Shishkin here stands his trees as sentinels above the expanse of a rye field. A dirt track leads us invitingly into the scene, and if we continue to follow its curve, leads our eye back to the two tiny figures that give the scene its sense of scale (at the base of the middle tree in the second detail crop, above).