Toshi Yoshida

Toshi Yoshida, Japanese woodblock prints in the Sosaku-hanga tradition
Toshi Yoshida was a Japanese woodblock printmaker and the son of renowned printmaker Hiroshi Yoshida.

Toshi Yoshida was active in the 20th century and was associated with the sōsaku-hanga (“creative prints”) movement, in which artists carve and print their own blocks — as contrasted with the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement that continued the traditional practice of artists working with specialists in carving and printing to realize their designs. Hiroshi Yoshida was associated with the latter movement, though he also worked in the sōsaku-hanga manner.

Toshi, like many scions of artistic parents, was faced with the choice of embracing or stepping around his father’s legacy, and to my eye, he did a bit of both, carrying on his father’s sensitive vision of landscape, his love of travel and the influence of Western art, but adding his own bold styles and even experimenting with non-representational designs.

Toahi Yoshida also did many prints of animal subjects, particularly birds, that have the same sensitivity and delicate nuance as evidenced in his landscapes. In his landscape prints, I particularly admire his use of muted colors and atmospheric perspective.

As with any printmaker, you will find that some of the images you see of the same subject are from different printings of the same block; in the case of Japanese woodblock prints, they are often printed with different color schemes.

Karl J. Kuerner

Karl J. Kuerner, painter in the Brandywine Tradition
I had the opportunity this fall to take advantage of a one of the Plein Air Painting Days sponsored by the Brandywine River Museum, that gives artists the opportunity to paint at Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford, PA.

The farm is famous as the location for many of Andrew Wyeth’s most recognizable works, and is now part of the Brandywine Conservancy. It’s also simply a beautiful place to paint, with or without the connection to Wyeth.

While there, I happened to meet Karl J. Kuerner, an artist who works in the Brandywine tradition, and with whose work I was only passingly familiar. I had seen a few pieces online on a gallery’s website, but not his own site.

Karl introduced himself, commented on my painting and then was nice enough to show me a book of some of his work, which I liked very much.

Kuerner is the grandson of the Kuerners who lived on the farm when young Andrew Wyeth started visiting and painting there, a practice Wyeth continued for most of his career.

Though the farm is now part of the Brandywine Conservancy, Kuener still visits regularly to tend to the goats, rescue animals that now live on the farm.

Karl J Kuerner grew up with an interest in art that was encouraged by Carolyn Wyeth, Andrew’s sister and an artist in her own right, and was later mentored by Andrew Wyeth for over 30 years.

Though the influence of his teacher and mentor is evident in his approach, and he has access to much of the same subject matter, Kuerner has taken his own approach, expanding the range of what is generally known as the Brandywine tradition, a style of painting that stems from the great American illustrator Howard Pyle, through his students, including N.C. Wyeth, and passing down to Andrew and those influenced by him.

Part of the Brandywine tradition stems from the beauty of the area itself, which I took for granted when I was younger; but having traveled over the years, I still believe it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the country. The bucolic rolling hills of the Appalachian piedmont that cuts diagonally through eastern Pennsylvania seem particularly charming in the Brandywine Valley. It’s not surprising that the area has inspired generations of artists.

Kuerner has responded to the landscape with an approach that is perhaps more direct than that of his mentor, with brighter colors and an eye to strong compositional geometry — though still including an emphasis on the rich textures of trees, fields and the walls of farm buildings.

He also paints playful interpretations of animal subjects, seascapes, still life and some narrative compositions that have a feeling of illustrations for untold stories.

In addition to the images on Kuerner’s website, there is a collection of his work, All in a Day’s Work: from Heritage to Artist, available from Cedartree Books.

Also published by Cedartree are Kuerner’s children’s books, featuring a black cat: Ike at Night, Ike at Sea and Ike Takes Flight.

Kuerner sometimes conducts classes at the farm, organized through the Brandywine River Museum.

Karl J Kuerner’s work will be on display at Mala Galleria in Kennet Square, PA, in a group show, “Our Brandywine Tradition” that opens this Friday, December 1st (opening 6:00 – 9:00 PM), and runs to December 28, 2017.

Iban Barrenetxea

Iban Barrenetxea, illustration
Iban Barrenetxea is an illustrator from the Basque region in Spain. He has illustrated numerous children’s books, including versions of classics like Snow White and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories: The Red Headed League.

Barrenetxea works digitally in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, but his muted palette and emphasis on textural elements give his work a classic look, a bit like textural watercolor.

His website is in Spanish, but is easily navigated by non Spanish speakers. The home page (Inicio) is the primary gallery, the other links on the left hand side are “Books”, “Illustrations”, Blog and “About”.

You will find a variety of images, and some larger ones, on his blog. You can also find a selection of images, including some older ones, on Tutt’Art.

Ernst Graner

Ernst Graner, Austrian watercolor painter, watercolors of Vienna
Ernst Graner was and Austrian painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Graner painted genre scenes and landscapes, but is best known for his deftly rendered views of architecture and city scenes, particularly in Vienna.

In the larger images available on the web, you can see that for all the detail and accuracy of his paintings, his approach to watercolor is confidently relaxed and not stiff.

Some of the images I came across seemed overly saturated to me, as is often the case with online images of art from the 19th century and earlier. I’ve tried to select versions here that seem more likely to be true to the originals.

Eye Candy for Today: Van Gogh cottage drawing

Two Cottages at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Vincent van Gogh, ink drawing
Two Cottages at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Vincent van Gogh

Reed pen and brown ink over pencil, roughly 12 x 18 inches (315 x 473 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image.

There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

The attention given to the brilliantly colorful paintings of his later career often obscure the beauty and charm of Van Gogh’s drawings.

His drawings are wonderfully textural; his use of lines, dots and patterns of ink marks of varying weights give them a remarkable feeling of color, beyond his use of brown inks.

In this drawing of cottages in a Mediterranean fishing village where Van Gogh went specifically to draw in the the summer of 1888, he uses a variety of line weights, types of marks, and indications of texture to capture the cottages and their surrounding vegetation.

He has suggested bright sunlight with the shadows of the extended roof beams on the face of the cottage at right, and noted incidental details like the simple broom leaning against the wall next to the door. Quick strokes of lighter ink convey the lay of the land.

It’s interesting to compare Van Gogh’s drawing to this Rembrandt drawing of a cottage, which also uses a variety of line weights, but employs wash rather than linear or dotted textures to describe the forms.

Yury Nikolaev

Yury Nikolaev, Russian still life painter
Yury Viktorovich Nikolaev is a contemporary Russian painter whose primary subjects are still life arrangements of food.

Some of his compositions — filled with crockery, baked goods, baskets and flowers — have a kind of homespun, folksy-craftsy charm that would not be out of place in a magazine devoted to recipies, but they are so well painted I won’t hold that against him (grin).

If you find some of the large images available of his work, you will find them nicely painterly, with much attention paid to value and surface texture.

I can’t find anything I can identify as an official website for him, so I’ve linked to some gallery sites that feature his work.

You can also try a Google image search.

You may find additional sites and images by searching for the Russian translation of “artist Nikolayev Yuri”: Художника Николаева Юрия