Eye Candy for Today: Dean Cornwell untitled illustration

Dean Cornwell untitled illustration
Dean Cornwell untitled illustration (details)

This painting by the fantastic American Illustrator Dean Cornwell is in the collection of the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum doesn’t have a title or source reference for where the painting was used as an illustration (if it was published), but the painting is wonderful nonetheless.

I haven’t see the original, but I’ve taken the liberty here of brightening the image slightly, just on intuition.

I love the visual drama Cornwell has achieved with such a limited and low chroma palette. The painting is full of interesting textures and muted contrasts.

Look at the depth he has created in the successive planes of the foreground figures, the muted color and texture of he stone wall, and the even lower contrast but brighter background of the picket fence and gate.

Notice also, the strength with which the hands of all three people have been drawn and rendered.

Cornwell was a student of Harvey Dunn, who was in turn a student of the great American painter and illustrator Howard Pyle.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Winslow Homer watercolor & gouache

Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer
Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer

Fresh Eggs, Winslow Homer; watercolor and gouache on paper; roughly 9 x 8 inches (24 x 19 cm). Original is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable images on their site.

In this simple, unassuming study of a commonplace chore, Homer shows us the ability of art to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary, as well as demonstrating his apparently effortless command of watercolor and gouache.

The NGA provides a nicely high-resolution image (higher than in my detail crops) in which you can see his individual brush marks and the way he has mixed opaque and transparent passages with economy and flair.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt pen drawing along the Amstel River

A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn, pen and brown ink drawing, with wash
A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn, pen and brown ink drawing, with wash (details)

A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn; pen and brown ink with brown and grey washes, heightened with white bodycolour on oatmeal paper; roughly 5 x 10″ (14 x 25 cm). Original is in the collection of the Chatsworth Estate.

It would be easy to glance at a drawing like this — a sketch really — take it in briefly, and pass on by, on the the next, more colorful artwork. But to me, these pen and brown ink landscape drawings by Rembrandt are among my favorite works in the entire history of art.

Many of them, on more devoted looking, reveal themselves to me as transcendent and poetic.

Perhaps it’s because I can project myself into them — even better than with a more “realistic” painted view — and picture myself sitting there on the bank in the shade with my own sketchbook and pens, immersed in the day, the smell of the river, the sounds of water lapping at the boats, the gentle clop of the horses passing by, perhaps a gentle breeze waving through the sun-topped line of trees.

Just as easily, I can picture Rembrandt sitting there — a sheaf of paper in his lap, reed pen and brush in his hands with perhaps two bottles of iron gall ink at his side, one full strength, one diluted for washes — immersed in the scene and his drawing while his troubles (of which he certainly had his share) recede into the distance.

As far as can be determined, these pen, brown ink and wash drawings were created simply for Rembrant’s own benefit, either as practice, or (I think) simply for pleasure. There is no known connection identifying them as preliminary for paintings or even for any of his similarly handled etchings.

Many of these, and other Rembrandt drawings in brown ink and wash, are listed as drawings in bistre ink (made from wood-burning soot), but chemical analysis indicates that a high percentage of them may have been drawn with darker iron gall ink, usually made from oak galls, iron salts and tannic acid. I’m guessing that may be the case here.

Renbrandt’s notation is breezy, economical and seemingly effortless. Just a few gestural lines — but brilliantly sweeping, lightly touched with tone — produce a solid line of trees, a river and its bank, boats and horsemen. Their sun bathed and shade dappled textures are created almost entirely in our mind’s eye.

Because it has happened to me on occasion, I have the distinct feeling that drawings like this might have felt to Rembrandt like they were flowing directly from nature, into his eyes, and out through his pen onto the paper — while he observed. There is little feeling here of artifice or the construction of a drawing as a work of art.

You’re unlikely to see what I mean from the small image and detail crops I can present here. Go to this link and view the drawing as large in your monitor as you can to get the feeling I’m trying to convey.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Eugen Jettel landscape

River Landscape with a Resting Herd, 19th century oil on canvas landscape painting by Eugen Jettel
River Landscape with a Resting Herd, 19th century oil on canvas landscape painting by Eugen Jettel (details)

River Landscape with a Resting Herd (Flusslandschaft mit ruhender Herde), Euren Jettel; oil on canvas, roughly 25 x 38 inches (64 x 97 cm). Link is to image page on Wikimedia Commons. The image was sourced from an auction house, so I don’t know the location of the original.

A beautiful landscape by late 19th century Austrian painter Eugen Jettel shows his naturalistic but painterly appraoch to value, color and texture.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Easter Matins by Ukrainian artist Mykola Pymonenko

Easter Matins, by Ukranian painter Mykola Pymonenk
Easter Matins, by Ukranian painter Mykola Pymonenk

Easter Matins, Mykola Pymonenk

, oil on canvas, roughly 52 x 76 inches (133 x 193 cm). Link is to the file page on Wikipedia; original is in the Rybinsk State Historical-Architectural and Artistic Preserve Museum in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia.

Mykola Pymonenko was a Ukranian artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His scene of the early morning observance is lit by both candlelight and the early dawn.

Pymonenko is just one of many notable Ukranian painters. Though many of them have a history of cultural exchanges with the larger schools and movements of Russian painting, they often take their own regional culture as subjects.

When a people and their nation are attacked, so is their culture.

War is the anthesis of art, destruction as opposed to creation; polar opposites of human behavior.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Edward Redfield’s The Upper Delaware

The Upper Delaware, Edward Redfield, Pennsyvania Impressionist landscape
The Upper Delaware (details), Edward Redfield, Pennsyvania Impressionist landscape

The Upper Delaware, Edward Willis Redfield, oil on canvas, roughly 38 x 50 inches (96 x 127 cm).

Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; high res (33mb) image available on Wikimedia commons; original is in the collection of the James A Michenner Art Museum in Bucks county PA, which unfortunately does not put much effort into displaying works from their collection online.

Redfield, though not the founder, is often thought of as the leader of the group of painters who settled along the Delaware River north of Philadelphia in the early 20th century that is often referred to as the “New Hope School”, or the “Pennsylvania Impressionists”.

Refield was noted for his winter scenes, and this beautiful depiction of the Delaware River as it passes through a rocky area some miles north of New Hope is a striking example.

 
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