Eye Candy for Today: Florence Rodway charcoal and chalk portrait

Portrait of a woman, Florence Rodway
Portrait of a woman, Florence Rodway

Link is to zoomable vdersion on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Gallery of Art, Australia.

Charcoal and chalk on paper, roughly 23 x 18 inches (58 x 46 cm).

This forceful but sensitive portrait drawing by 19th century Australian artist Florence Rodway is a tour-de-force in soft edges.


Elizabeth Rickert

Elizabeth Rickert
Elizabeth Rickert is a New Mexico based artist who paints landscapes, water gardens, florals, fruits and birds’ nests, but in particular intimate compositions of grasses and other low-to-the-ground plants.

These are rendered with sensitive detail and infused with gentle light, giving them in inviting, luminous quality.

Her paintings are larger in scale than you might assume from viewing the relatively small images on her website, and are likely quite immersive in person.

I particularly admire the way Rickert has handled the value relationships in the layered compositions of grasses. She accomplishes a challenging feat of visual organization as well as finding surprising visual charm in such humble subjects.

There is an article on Parka Blogs about her art tools.


Eye Candy for Today: Roelant Roghman drawing

View of castle Groenewoude, Roelant Roghman; chalk drawing
View of castle Groenewoude, Roelant Roghman

Chalk, with brush on paper; roughly 14×19″ (35x49cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

Roughman’s seemingly simple — but precise and deftly rendered — 17th century drawing is described on the Rijksmuseum’s site with chalk as the material and brush as the technique. I assume from the look of the toned areas that water was employed to smooth or smear the chalk into wash-like passages.

I love the way he has succinctly indicated the water with reflections; and the small touches that can almost go unnoticed — the figures on the bridge, the flock of birds in the middle distance and the ducks in the right foreground.

Roghman’s use of value contrast to set off the building to our left is particularly effective.


Stanislas Lepine

Stanislas Lepine, pre-Impressionist scenes of paris, the Seine, Normandy and nearby villages
Though he participated in the first Impressionist exhibit — and shared with them a move away from the conventions of academic landscape and a search for the atmospheric effects of light and color — 19th century French painter Stanislas Lépine largely stayed outside of their circle.

Lépine worked outside of most artistic social life, for that matter, keeping largely to himself and working in his own manner.

His similarities to the Impressionist painters, who he appears to have have presaged to some degree, derive largely to the shared influence of Corot and Johan Barthold Jongkind on both Lépine and the other artists. Lépine was apprenticed to Corot for a time in the mid-19th century.

Like the Impressionists, Lépine took Paris and it environs as his subject, and in particular the River Seiene in all its moods and aspects — portraying its quays, bridges, barges and waters, both in paris and the small villages nearby, with painterly aplomb.


Alice Pike Barney

Alice Pike Barney
American painter and pastellist Alice Pike Barney was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — a time when outspoken, involved, skilled and independent-minded women like herself were the model for what was seen by proponents of early feminism as the “New Woman”.

Based in Washington, DC, she travelled to Paris, where her two daughters were attending school, and studied with Sargent’s teacher Carolus-Duran, as well as with James Whistler, during the brief time he operated a school.

Barney was adept in both oil and pastel, in the latter medium often taking a free approach, with vibrant colors and loose, gestural handling. Her interest in theater shows in her portraits cast in theatrical roles and costume.

She painted numerous portraits of her daughters at various points in their lives, as well as a number of self-portraits (above, bottom). Her subjects inclided such noted figures as Whistler and George Bernard Shaw.

A patron as well as an artist, Barney was active in working to make Washington, D.C. a notable city for the arts, helping to move it out of the shadow of New York, Philadelphia and Boston.


Tom Dickson

Tom Dickson
Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Tom Dickson lived and worked for a time in Nova Scotia, and then in British Columbia. On summer trips to Mexico, he discovered a rich source of subject matter and inspirstional culture, and he eventually moved to San Miguel de Allende, where he and his wife, painter Donna Dickson, set up a studio and gallery, and conduct workshops.

Tom Dickson’s paintings of the streets, alleys and plazas of his adopted home are filled with the texture, light and color that abound amid the colorfully painted walls, rough cobblestones and historic stonework.

He takes advantage of the inherent geometry of the streets and buildings, and the dramatic effects of sun and shadows at play on their surfaces, to create extraordinarily strong compositions, alive with marvelous zig-zags of shadow edges and value contrasts.

The weathered textures of stone and old peeling paint are mirrored in his brusque, lively paint application, and their sense of presence is emphasized by his control of hard and soft edges.

Dickson recently suffered a setback in the form of a rare and serious autoimmune illness, Wegener’s Disease, that for a time threatened his ability to paint at all. He is beginning to manage it with treatment, however, and though it has impacted his ability to paint on location, he is working a bit more in the studio and learning to compensate for diminished motor control by working more broadly.

To my mind, he also appears to be focusing his lifetime of acquired knowledge and skill, and some of his most recent works (above, top) are among his strongest.