Les animaux tels qu’ils sont

Les animaux tels qu'ils sont, how to draw animals

Les animaux tels qu'ils sont, how to draw animals

Les animaux tels qu’ils sont, which Google translates as “The animals as they are” is a book published in France in 1959 that offers 90 plus examples of how to draw animals using simplified geometric forms.

Someone has apparently determined that the book now falls in the public domain, as the pages are available in high resolution on Wikimedia Commons.

There is also a set of pages on this Flickr collection, that makes it easier to view and browse them, but the image files are easier to download from Wikimedia.

 
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Eye Candy for Today; Rembrandt landscape etching of trees, houses and tower

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint, Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint (details) Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, Rembrandt van Rijn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 12 inches (12 x 32 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable image on the website (also downloadble if you sign up for a free Rijksstudio account).

This is one of my favorite landscape etchings by Rembrandt, which, for me, is saying something, because I love them all. This one is just so astonishingly beautiful it boggles my mind.

First, there is the composition, the way your eye is unerringly pulled into the scene and then led through it, delighted with linear and textural effects along the way. Then there is the drama of the values, the dense dark of the trees to the left, balanced by the darks in the primary house, the lighter touches on the path in the foreground and the house to the right, and the echo of darker values on the tower in the background.

Such a feeling of space, texture, time and presence.

An etching, for all of the wonderful characteristics inherent in that medium, is still, first and foremost, a drawing. Unlike Rembrandt’s landscape pen and wash drawings — which as far as can be determined, were done for his own pleasure or practice — his etchings were more formal, intended for multiple reproductions, presumably for sale or at least as gifts for valued patrons.

At their best, Rembrandt’s landscape drawings give me an uncanny feeling of being there — of sitting next to him as he sees and draws his subject — focused, aware and contemplative.

Don’t just take my detail crops as an indication of how wonderful this drawing is, do yourself the favor of going to the Rijksmuseum’s page and zooming in at full screen.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Sargent charcoal portrait drawing

Portrait of Ernest Schelling. John Singer Sargent, charcoal on paper

Portrait of Ernest Schelling. John Singer Sargent, charcoal on paper (details)

Portrait of Ernest Schelling, John Singer Sargent

Charcoal on paper, roughly 24 x 18 inches (62 x 47 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY (use zoom or download links above and below image on their page).

Many people are aware of Sargent’s stunning society portraits and his brilliant personal watercolors, but less well known are the hundreds of charcoal portrait drawings.

Sargent’s charcoal portraits are marvels of economy an draftsmanship.

The Morgan Library in New York is having a show devoted to them in October of this year. In the meanwhile, here is one from their collection.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Anders Zorn etched portrait of Augustus Saint Gaudens

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching (details)
Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 8 inches (14 x 20 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; downloadable large image on Wikimedia Commons

Zorn is one of my favorite etchers (after only Rembrandt and Whistler), and his mastery shows here in his portrait of his friend, Irish/American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens.

In a tour-de-force of etching chiaroscuro, Saint Gaudens’ face is revealed in half light, and the figure of his model emerges gradually from the background darkness. Zorn’s seemingly casual lines sweep across the figures in sections that vary in direction and textural effect.

Zorn has not used aquatint here, the gray tones appear to be achieved by the way the print was inked and wiped.

For more, see my post on Anders Zorn’s etchings.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Jacob de Gheyn pen drawing

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing (details)

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn (II)

Ink and chalk drawing, roughly 15 x 10 inches (36 x 25 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable version on the website. You can download high-res images if you get a free Rijksstudio account.

Dutch painter and printmaker jacob de Gheyn II, who was active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, had a wonderful drawing style, both bold and subtle at the same time.

I had the pleasure of seeing this drawing in person some years ago (at the Morgan Library, I think) and I was really taken with the way De Gheyn used his pen lines both to create texture and to define the volume of the tree. I love the contrast between the areas of trough bark and the smooth section on the trunk and under the branch that faces us.

The figure (presumably that of another artist sketching) is almost incidental, but still holds visual interest, particularly in the folds of the coat.

 
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Paulo J. Mendes

Paulo J. Mendes, urban sketching

Paulo J. Mendes, urban sketching

Paulo J. Mendes is an avid urban sketcher based in Matosinhos, Portugal.

His blog and Instagram feed have a subheading of “Stealing landscapes with a sketchbook”. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or an algorithmic translation for something more like “capturing landscapes”. (The original Portuguese reads: “A roubar paisagens com um caderno”.) [Addendum: a Portugese speaking reader has informed me that “Stealing landscapes with a sketchbook” is, in fact the title.]

He is also a member of Urban Sketchers, and was a correspondent for the 2018 symposium, USk Porto.

Mendes sketches in pen and watercolor, with a confidently loose line that rests on a foundation on solid draftsmanship, and a deft touch with watercolor.

He takes on a variety of subjects, and renders his view as he sees it — complete with grafitti on walls.

I enjoy his expressions of sunlight and shadow, and his seemingly casual depictions of complex architectural elements.

 
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