Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle, still life

Michael Doyle, still life, interiors and landscape

Michael Doyle is a painter based in the Delaware Valley area who paints figures, still life, landscapes and interiors. His landscapes and interiors often incorporate still life elements, handled with a rough edged, painterly style suited to their often rustic feel.

Doyle frequently employs backgrounds that are textural combinations of multiple muted colors, giving them energy and a feeling of changing light.

Michael Doyle’s work will be on display in a show at the Somerville Manning Gallery in Wilmington Delaware, beginning tonight, October 19 and running to November 10, 2018.


Eye Candy for Today: Levitan’s Golden Autumn

Golden Autumn (Zolotaya Osen), Isaac Levitan

Golden Autumn (Zolotaya Osen), Isaac Levitan (details)
Golden Autumn (Zolotaya Osen), Isaac Levitan

Link is to page with access to high-resolution image file on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the original, but the Tretyakov image seems a little over exposed to me, so I’m going with the Wikimedia version.

A justifiably famous painting by the 19th century Russian landscape master. Brilliant use of complementary blues and oranges. The greens are more subdued than they may appear at first glance — even when set against strategically placed spots of complementary red — allowing the yellow-oranges to dominate.

I love the variety of color and texture in the grasses.


Eye Candy for Today: John Carlin watercolor portrait miniature

Portrait of a Lady, John Carlin; watercolor on ivory

Portrait of a Lady, John Carlin; watercolor on ivory (detail)

Portrait of a Lady, John Carlin

Watercolor on ivory, roughly 4 x 3 inches (9 x 7 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It’s possible that this is a grayscale image of a more colorful painting — the Met’s website pages doesn’t comment — but my guess is that it was painted monochromatically.

The portrait is obviously of a real and not idealized person, and sensitively painted in that wonderful drybrush/stipple watercolor technique that was prevalent in the mid to late 19th century.

At that time, it was commonplace to paint small portraits in watercolor on ivory, often in an oval as part of a broach. In this case, the painting is rectangular, but not much larger than an oval might have been.

I find it interesting that the artist has balanced with composition with the edge of a chair and the suggestion of a room corner behind the sitter.


Fred Danziger (update)

Fred Danziger, landscapes and cityscapes

Fred Danziger, landscapes and cityscapes

Originally from Pittsburgh, Fred Danziger is a Philadelphia based painter whose work I have long admired, and who I wrote about previously in 2012.

Danziger’s subject matter ranges from cityscapes, rich with city lights and city dwellers, to contemplative landscapes, so calm as to seem as far away from the bustle of the city as possible. Over his history as a painter, he has also taken on a variety of other subjects and a range of approaches.

All of his work, though, strikes me as a product of focused observation, a keen sense of seeing what’s there, and perhaps through that, what may be hidden past the surface.

I’m particularly drawn to his sometimes large scale portrayals of little areas of the natural world — ripples of rain on the surface of a forest pool, a few leaves floating on a creek, beads of rain clinging to blades of grass or seashells gathered in a subtle circle of light.

His rendering of natural forms is often rich with a variety of colors; reds, greens, oranges, yellows and violets can be seen in a single tree trunk, yet they are handled with such a command of color and value that they read true as naturalistic forms.

I also find that his intimate glimpses of nature hint of the transformative power of quiet contemplation; and somehow, that carries over into his urban scenes, at though the shimmering city lights and movement of the people are just another expression of the natural world.

I’ve seen Danziger’s work in person before, but I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet him a few days ago at the opening of his new solo show at the F.A.N Gallery here in Philadelphia.

He works in gouache as well as in oil, and I had a chance to talk with him about that, as well as about his inspiration for painting subjects in general.

The show is a treat for those in the area who can get to see it, combining some of his larger works, which are often finished to a high degree, with some smaller, more informal plein air pieces, both of the local area and of Maine.

As galleries close and move out of the “Old City” area of Philadelphia that once featured numerous galleries and a thriving artist community, the F.A.N Gallery remains a bastion of exceptional representational art in Philadelphia. (If you can stop in to see the show, climb the little circular staircase to see more of the gallery regulars upstairs.)

Fred Danziger – Recent Work will be on display at the F.A.N. Gallery until October 27th, 2018. During that time the artist will be in the gallery each Saturday from 2-4 pm.

In addition to the selection of Danziger’s work on the gallery’s website, there is an extensive archive of his work on his own website.


Eye Candy for Today: William Holman Hunt watercolor still life

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt, watercolor

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt, watercolor (details)

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt

Watercolor on paper, roughly 12 x 14 inches (30 x 37 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum. (Zoomable and downloadable versions of the image are available on the site.)

A beautiful and sensitively observed still life by the Pre-Raphaelite master. It appears to be done in a watercolor technique that combines the intricate application of drybrush and stipple.

It’s interesting to compare this to the similarly rendered watercolor still life paintings of William Henry Hunt. (As far as I know, the two Victorian painters just have similar names and are not related.)