Fred Augis

Fred Augis, concept art, illustration
Fred Augis is a concept artist and illustrator based in Rennes, France. His gaming credits include titles like Prey, Life is Strange, Remember Me and Strike Vector.

His online example art includes character design, and in particular, numerous spacesuit designs. These range from realistically rendered to nicely graphic and gestural.

Eye Candy for Today: Carlo Crivelli’s Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, Carlo Crivelli, Tempera on panel, 60 x 19 inches (152 x 49 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, 1480
Mary Magdalene, Carlo Crivelli

Tempera on panel, 60 x 19 inches (152 x 49 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

This beautifully realized late Gothic work (painted in 1480) is as much decorative object as it is representational image.

I love how stylized it is, from the intricately rendered strands of hair to the expressive, heavy-lidded eyes, to the hands for which gesture and expression outweigh any concern for realistic proportions.

Steven S. Walker

Steven S. Walker, landscape paintings
Originally from South Carolina, Steven S. Walker is a painter based in Georgia.

Walker’s fascination with light ranges from compositions with dramatically horizontal sunlight to nocturnes with glowing pools of artificial light.

He also finds fascination in the contrast of textural elements like trees in snow and rocks in water, playing with shadows and reflections in the process.

Walker’s website has galleries divided by subject matter. You can also find his work on the websites of art galleries in which he is represented. In addition, there is a book that prints a selection of his paintings.

Eye Candy for Today: Turner’s Bridge in Middle Distance

The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner
The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner

Etching, aquatint and mezzotint, roughly 7 x 11 inches (18 x 28 cm).

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable versions.

As he frequently did, British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner worked with master printmaker Charles Turner (no relation) to produce this beautiful lanscape print.

In this case, JMW Turner designed the image did the primary etching, calling on Charles Turner to apply the tones under his direction using the processes of aquatint and mezzotint.

Aquatint involves coating part of the plate in particles of resin, leaving a granular halftone when the plate is etched in acid. Mezzotint is a process in which the plate, or parts of it, are roughened with a special textured “rocker”, leaving a surface that will print as tones that can be burnished to produce variations.

Like most prints, there are multiple impressions of this one; there is another in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This was one of seventy plus images for which Turner made prints as part of a collection called “Liber Studiorum” (Book of Studies), intended to demonstrate examples of his ideas about landscape. For another beautiful print from that series, see my previous post: Eye Candy for Today: JMW Turner etching and mezzotint.

Abraham Mignon

Abraham Mignon, Dutch Golden Age still life and florals
Abraham Mignon (sometimes Minjon) was a German/Dutch floral and still life painter active in the Dutch “Golden Age” (17th century).

His paintings are often elaborate tableaux of flowers, fruits, seafood and dinnerware. They can be marvels of intricate detail, with the inclusion of beautifully painted insects, snails, frogs and salamanders, arranged in a way to provide the viewer with the fascination of finding them in addition to marveling at the finessed rendering of the primary objects.

Like other still life and floral painters of the time, He also usually introduced deliberate flaws into the depiction of the otherwise beautiful fruits and flowers, a kind of memento mori — a reminder that time and life are fleeting.

Though the choice of subject matter and composition of his paintings is in keeping with his contemporaries, the way Mignon handles the color and texture of individual objects often has a remarkably contemporary feeling.

There is an article on the site of the Statens Museum for Kunst that describes the process of restoring some of this paintings, and what the process revealed about his technique.

The Rijksmuseum has six of his works online in zoomable high-resolution (downloadable if you sign up for a free Rijksstudio account). There are also two high-res images on the site of the National Gallery, DC. There are more on Google Art Project and other sites listed below.

Eye Candy for Today: Whistler’s Weary

Weary, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, drypoint eteching  /><br />
<a href=Weary, James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; there is also a downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the collection of the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Museums, DC.

Drypoint, third state of six, roughly 8 x 5″ (19 x 13 cm).

This is one of James Whistler’s most famous etchings.

A master etcher, Whistler here used the process of drypoint to portray his lover and frequent model Joanna Hiffernan in a moment of repose.

Drypoint is a printmaking technique similar to etching that involves scratching lines directly into the plate rather then scratching away a lines in a resist that is then carved by immersion in acid. Drypoint leaves an even softer line than etching, and Whistler’s flurry of soft lines give the modeling of the face and hair beautifully soft edges, the printmaking equivalent of a painter’s sfumato technique.

The hatching across the face looks a bit odd in magnified view, but when viewed at normal size resolves into delicate modeling of the facial features.

Despite the obvious attention devoted to the face and upper body, the rest of the composition feels almost casual; the right hand just seems to dissolve into he gesturally indicated folds of the dress, and Whistler hasn’t attempted to fully hide the upside-down face in the lower left — that indicates he originally started a different drawing on this plate. (I’ve turned the face 180° in the images above, bottom.)

Like most etchings and drypoints there are multiple versions of the image pulled from various states of the plate. The Freer/Sackler collection includes two more of the fourth state, here and here. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has a state 4 pull from the plate. In my brief searching, I’ve found mostly state 4 versions; there is apparently no known existing print from the sixth state of the plate.

Here is a record of the 5 other states on the University of Glasgow’s Whistler etchings catalogue raisonné.