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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Mary Sprague (update)

Mary Sprague, ink drawings, and watercolor of trees, chickens, rhinos
Mary Sprague is an artist based in St. Louis who I first covered back in 2010, and who works in ink, paint, pastel, wood and clay.

Her website emphasizes her large scale drawings of chickens, done in pastel, charcoal and mixed media; there is also a series of images of rhinos in a mix of stylistic approaches and media, but it is her more straightforward pen and ink drawings of trees that most captured my attention.

In her tree drawings, Sprague’s light touch and fluid, almost scribbled line gives the drawings some of the character of etchings. She contrasts dark areas of dense hatching with light and airy passages where the image seems to dissolve into thin wisps of lines.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Alexander Cozens ink and wash landscape drawing

Landscape with Ruined Temple, Alexander Cozens, Brown ink and wash over graphite; roughly 12 x 16 inches (32 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art
Landscape with Ruined Temple, Alexander Cozens

Brown ink and wash over graphite; roughly 12 x 16 inches (32 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. Use the Zoom or Download links under the image on their site. Also available as a a zoomable image on Google Art Project and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

It could be that the middle ground and background are in the same ink as the foreground, just in a more diluted application, but I suspect this is actually two different inks, not an uncommon practice in 17th and 18th century ink drawings.

The difference in value in the three primary planes gives the image an appealing sense of depth, and the more subtle value gradations within each plane provide a sense of textural presence.

I love the texture of the hatching in the lighter or more dilute application of pen in the middle ground, and the way Cozens has used shadow across the right side of the foreground, suggesting even more depth in the form of unseen objects to the right of — or even behind — the viewer.

 
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