Village and Church of Beurre, Franche-Comté, Théodore Rousseau
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash and touches of green and red-brown watercolor, over graphite; roughly 7 x 10 inches (17 x 26 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version.
19th century landscape painter Théodore Rousseau, one of the key figures in the Barbizon School, here portrays a charming scene of the French village of Beurre, near the border with Switzerland.
Rousseau has captured the trees and buildings with quick, gestural pen strokes, filled in with loosely applied touches of tone. I get an impression of him sitting at the edge of the road, taking in the full essence of the scene and its key value relationships with the most economical notation at his command.
I love the way he has suggested the nature of the shallow water in the foreground without laboring over the usual visual clues of reflections and downward strokes. He simply noted it as he saw it — the reflections mere scribbles with splashes of tone — but his grasp of the immediate appearance of the area reads true as water.
Olivier Pron is a concept artist, originally from London and now working with Method visual effects studio in Los Angeles as Supervising Art Director and Head of the Art Department.
When I initially wrote about Pron in 2014, he had just started his blog, and did not have a great deal of work available online. Since then he has established a new website that highlights his concept design work for major feature films, including his pre-production designs for the much talked about shifting reality city scenes in Dr. Strange.
I also particularly enjoy his designs for Jupiter Ascending, which demonstrate to good advantage his ability to convey enormous scale, a visual concept that is in great demand in contemporary fantasy and science fiction films.
On his new site, you can also see Pron’s concepts for films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Cloud Atlas, Suicide Squad, Thor – The Dark World, Wathcmen, Hellboy 2, Harry Potter – The Deathly Hallows Part 2, and others.
I don’t see any information on his process, but it looks like he is using a combination of digital techniques to achieve his final visualizations.
It’s worth pointing out again that when you see concept designs for popular movies, you might unconsciously think of them as interpretations of the familiar film scenes, forgetting that you are seeing the original artist’s visualization on which the scenes and effects in the film are based.