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.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt lion drawing

Lion Resting, Turned to the Left; Rembrandt van Rijn; ink and wash drawing
Lion Resting, Turned to the Left; Rembrandt van Rijn

Pen and brown ink, brown wash; roughly 5 1/2 x 8 inches (14 x 20cm).

Link is to WikiArt, which has a downloadable file (choose “Original, 1600×1067”); there is also a cropped version on Wikipedia. The original is supposed to be in the Louvre, Paris, but the Louvre website is so terrible, I can’t find it, only a reference to a show in which it was included.

Rembrandt’s drawings are among my favorites in all of art history, and this seemingly simple drawing of a lion is among my favorites of his drawings.

Rembrandt did a number of lion drawings, presumably of the same animal. This one stands out, however.

It has the calligraphic elegance of Chinese ink painting, but over the classical draftsmanship of the premiere Dutch master.

The rough, gestural application of wash succinctly defines the lion’s head and mane, giving them an impression of texture, as well.

I love the implied geometric strength with which he’s noted the lion’s rear leg, suggesting the structural anatomy of the skeleton, the fluid sweep of the tail and the fierce but composed expression of the captive animal.

I’m sure to Rembrandt, this was just a sketch, a visual notation of something he found interesting, but it’s completely satisfying as a finished work of art.

 
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Mark Reep (update)

Mark Reep, imaginary landscape drawings in pencil ink and charcoal
Mark Reep is an artist based near Pittsburgh who I first profiled back in 2006. His dreamlike, enigmatic imaginary landscapes are rendered monochromatically in graphite, charcoal and ink.

His monochromatic approach seems to heighten the sense of mystery, as textural rock faces, towers and islands emerge from mist and fog, their exact boundaries obscured.

His isolated towers of rock, jutting up from valleys lost in mist, predate similar imagery from the movie Avatar by many years.

I particularly admire the geometric strength of his compositions, in which negative space often plays a prominent role.

There is an interview with Reep in the Strathmore Artist Papers site from February.

Reep’s blog, which he titles dreams in black and white, sometimes has larger reproductions of his drawings than his website.

Thare are prints and other items featuring Reep’s drawings and photographs on Fine Art America and RedBubble, and originals on West End Gallery.

 
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Paschalis Dougalis

Paschalis Dougalis, wildlife art, watercolors pen and ink
Originally from Greece, Paschalis Dougalis is an artist and wildlife illustrator currently based in Munich, Germany.

Douglais has a special interest in birds, and owls in particular. He works in watercolor, gouache and acrylic for his finished pieces, and often works from life in zoos and parks, capturing animals in watercolor or pen, often Bic pens.

I particularly enjoy his drawings on toned paper in which he works out from the middle ground with both ink and white gel pens.

Though there are a few images on his website, his blog is more active. Douglais’ YouTube channel includes a number of videos of him working on location.

There is a brief interview with Douglais on Birdingmurcia.

 
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Inktober

Inktober 2017, Jake Parker, Moemai, Max Dunbar, Meredith Dillman, Abbe Branberg, Camille Marie, Chordephra, Loish, Alyssa Tallent, Jason Chan, Mack Chater, Sweeny Boo, Yuko Shimizu, Paul Heaston, Nick Nikopoulos, Stoaty Weasel, Ian McQue, Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde
Inktober started as a challenge illustrator and cartoonist Jake Parker set himself in October of 2009, to draw 31 ink drawings in 31 days.

The goal, as in any exercise of this sort, was to get better end develop a more consistent working practice.

He repeated the idea the next year, promoting the notion that others should join him, and since then it has grown into a worldwide endeavor.

If you search on Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms for #inktober, or #inktober2017, you’ll find the stream of those currently participating.

There is a lot of variation in style and level of ability, from novice to professional, and that’s part of what makes it such a great practice. There is no barrier to entry.

It’s not a contest, there are no real requirements or central authority deciding who can participate.

The rules, such as there are, are simple: do an ink drawing and post it online with the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2017 — repeat every day in October.

Even though this is the fifth day, it’s not too late to join in, I see lots of posts that say “late to the party” or “just joining in”. If you want to, you can throw in a few extra drawings along the way to come up with 31 by the end of the month.

You don’t have to use a dip pen or anything fancy; anything that makes marks in ink counts: ballpoint pens, markers, brush pens, whatever. The drawings don’t have to be elaborate or finished, and you can add color or not as you choose.

If you need suggestions for subject matter, there is an official prompt of 31 subjects on the Inktober website.

You don’t have to follow it, though. Lots of people make their own prompt list, or choose to do a single subject (e.g. cats, cars, portraits or monsters….), or just do whatever comes to you.

You can look through the social media feeds to see what others are doing, or simply for the enjoyment of it.

You will encounter a lot of work by beginners, and this is a Good Thing; part of the value of the practice is encouraging folks to get started. If you’re looking through with the thought of finding professional work, you might do better to seek the more curated experience of following Jake Parker’s Twitter feed, or the @inktober feed.

The images above are just some examples (mostly by professionals) that caught my eye. I particularly enjoy those images in which the artist has included their drawing tools in the photo with the drawing.

(Images above [some of these names are just Twitter handles]: Jake Parker, Moemai, Max Dunbar, Meredith Dillman, Abbe Branberg, Camille Marie, Chordephra, Loish, Alyssa Tallent, Jason Chan, Mack Chater, Sweeny Boo, Yuko Shimizu, Paul Heaston, Nick Nikopoulos, Stoaty Weasel, Ian McQue, Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde)

 
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Phil Dean

Phil Dean, urban sketching
Phil Dean is a British urban sketcher, who also goes by the handle “Shoreditch Sketcher” after the neighborhood in East London where he lives.

Dean avidly sketches the landmarks, streets and byways of London, both historic and modern, as well as documenting his travels to other cities. His style is a nice balance of loose rendering over solid draftsmanship and perspective.

He often takes an approach that is somewhat unusual for location sketching, using pen with both dark wash and white highlights on toned paper. This is a a technique more common to figure drawing, but it works wonderfully well in Dean’s drawings.

I couldn’t find much information on his materials, but in photos he appears to be using primarily markers, and I also came across reference to a fountain pen.

Dean’s primary website functions as a blog and also has originals for sale; he also has a secondary website that is arranged more like a gallery.

 
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