Eye Candy for Today: Heinrich Böhmer Landscape with Deer

Landscape with Deer, Heinrich Bohmer
Landscape with Deer, Heinrich Böhmer

Link is to The Greatest of Art blog; there is another copy of the image on The Golden Kite Forum. I don’t know the location of the original.

Turn of the century German landscape painter Heinrich Böhmer had a wonderful touch with atmospheric perspective in his woodland interiors. I love the sense of filtered light dappled across the rocks, stream and forest floor.


Michael Rothman

Michael Rothman, natural science illustrator
Michael Rothman is a natural science illustrator who appears to specialize in complex scenes of plants and animals in their natural environment. His subjects include both extant and extinct species.

Rothman has a superb ability to render highly detailed compositions — with multiple focal points of individual plants and animals — in a way that is both clear and naturalistic.

Some of his paintings are so naturalistic that they have the feeling of nicely painted landscapes that just happen to be intimate in scale. I particularly admire his representation of textures; many of his images feel highly tactile.

Rothman’s online profile mentions that he works both in traditional and digital media, but the individual images in the galleries on his website don’t have an indication of medium.

There is also a selection of his images on Science-Art.com.

Rothman’s clients include publications like The New York Times, Scientific American and The New Yorker, publishers like Random House, Wiliam Morrow and Harper/Collins, and a number of museums, zoos and other institutions.

Some of his book credits as illustrator include: Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest (Web of Life), At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species, The Forest in the Clouds and Jaguar in the Rain Forest (Amazon links).


Short Trip, Alexander Perrin

Short Trip, Alexander Perrin, interactive animation
Short Trip is a hand-drawn interactive animation by Alexander Perrin.

The author calls it an “interactive illustration”, and the drawings are done in pencil.

If you would like to be simply and delightfully amused for 5 or 10 minutes, turn your sound on, open your browser to full screen and play with it using the left and right arrow keys.

There is information about Perrin and the project here.

[Via Jason Kottke]


Eye Candy for Today: Leighton’s Perseus and Andromeda

Perseus and Andromeda, Frederic Leighton, oil on canvas, in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery
Perseus and Andromeda, Frederic Leighton

Link is to a zoomable version on the Google Art Project; there is a downloadable version on Wikipedia, which also has a descriptive page for the painting; the original is in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

There is a tendency to think of heroes and dragons fantasy as a recent storytelling form because of the contemporary association of those kinds of stories with science fiction, but we’ve probably been telling each other stories like that as long as there have been stories.

The highly developed intertwined stories of Greek and Roman mythology provide a deep well of material for tales of gods, heroes and monsters (from which we draw our names for planets, stars and galaxies), and were a fertile source for the subjects of Victorian paintings.

Here, Frederic Leighton portrays Princess Andromeda, daughter of Cassiope, Queen of Ethiopia, who has been offered up as a sacrifice to Neptune, God of the Sea. Long story short, Neptune has been attacking the coasts of Cassiope’s realm in revenge for an insult to his daughters.

Andromeda, chained to a rock and in the clutches of the sea dragon, is being rescued by Perseus, riding the famed winged horse Pegasus, and fresh off his previous challenge of defeating the snake-haired Gorgon, Medusa. Perseus’s arrow has pierced the monster’s wing, and the creature twists its flaming jaws up in defiance and/or pain.

Leighton’s painting is large, almost 8 ft x 4 ft (230 x 130 cm) and the vertical format accentuates the drama. Perseus descends out of the sky in a sphere of light, which Leighton has suggested and also pushed into the distance with heightened value and lowered chroma.

The lightness and atmospheric effect of the representation of Perseus and his mount is in marked contrast to the intense darks of the foreground shadowed areas of the dragon’s wing and tail. Even the middle ground rocks are given an exaggerated sense of atmospheric distance, contributing to the perceived intensity of the foreground.

The dragon and the figure of Andromeda are even more overt studies in contrast, both in terms of light against dark and in the softness of the figure and her garments against the leathery texture of the dragon’s skin.

I love the way Andromeda’s hair blends with the red of the rocks and is balanced by them on the left. In much the same way, the white of the garment is echoed in the halo and highlight on Pegasus.

The rocks themselves look hard and unforgiving and the cliffs drop sharply into the sea. And for just that extra touch of drama, the current sweeps past the thin jetty of rock on which Andromeda has been chained, as if a danger in itself.

The dragon’s fiery mouth has the kind of smoke and floating sparks one might see in an actual flame, and its eyes look as if lit by their own kind of fire.



Mary Sprague (update)

Mary Sprague, ink drawings, and watercolor of trees, chickens, rhinos
Mary Sprague is an artist based in St. Louis who I first covered back in 2010, and who works in ink, paint, pastel, wood and clay.

Her website emphasizes her large scale drawings of chickens, done in pastel, charcoal and mixed media; there is also a series of images of rhinos in a mix of stylistic approaches and media, but it is her more straightforward pen and ink drawings of trees that most captured my attention.

In her tree drawings, Sprague’s light touch and fluid, almost scribbled line gives the drawings some of the character of etchings. She contrasts dark areas of dense hatching with light and airy passages where the image seems to dissolve into thin wisps of lines.


Eye Candy for Today: John O’Connor cityscape

Ludgate, Evening; John O'Connor, 19th century London cityscape painting
Ludgate, Evening; John O’Connor

Link is to image on Wikimedia Commons. The original was auctioned through Sotheby’s in 2012, so I assume it’s in a private collection.

Not ony is this a deftly handled complex composition with a wonderful sense of scale and distance, it’s also a fascinating use of low-chroma complementary colors.