The Artist’s Magazine – Imaginative Realism

The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism
The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism

The March/April issue of The Artists Magazine is devoted to imaginative painting and magical realism. The cover and lead article feature the beautiful painting by James Gurney shown in the images above, and a step-through of his process in creating it.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this particular painting in person, and it’s a strikingly beautiful example of Gurney at his best in combining the styles of the Victorian painters with modern fantasy subjects. (Imagine if you will, Lawrence Alma-Tadema painting dinosaurs!)

This is a very good issue of a good magazine. Unfortunately, the Artists Network website, for reasons that elude me, is not very effective in promoting the physical magazine. (They don’t clearly associate the cover with a list of contents and excerpts specific to that issue, and from there link to the ordering page.)

If you’re fortunate enough to have a bookstore in your area that carries a relatively wide array of magazines, you may still be able to find a copy.

You can order a physical copy here, and a digital copy here.

You can also access Gurney’s article, complete with images, online if you’re willing to give them your email address. You can link to the article from this page, and once on this page, enter your email address and you’ll have immediate access to the article.

The entire issue (and the magazine in general), are worthwhile.

James Gurney was a particularly appropriate artist to tap for this issue, given that he’s the author of an excellent book devoted to the subject: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint what Doesn’t Exist (Lines and Colors review here).

 
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Christophe Vacher (update)

Christophe Vacher
Christophe Vacher

Christophe Vacher is a French painter and concept designer who I first wrote about back in 2007. He has worked for studios like Disney, Dreamworks, ad Universal, and his movie credits include titles like Dinosaur, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Enchanted and Dispicable Me.

On his website, you will find examples his personal and professional work in both traditional and digital media, as well as sketches and preliminary designs. On the “Technique” page, you will find a step-though and process notes for the panting shown above, bottom.

In addition to his imaginative design and refined rendering, I particularly enjoy the way he conveys a sense of scale and grandeur in many of his images.

There is a collection of his work available on Amazon, which can be accessed through this page. Some of his original art is available through his galleries on Saatchiart and Singulart.

 
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Edmund Dulac (revisited)

Edmund Dulac, golden age illustration
Edmund Dulac, golden age illustration

Edmund Dulac was a French illustrator who moved to England relatively early in his career and eventually became a naturalized British citizen. He worked in the latter part of the “Golden Age” of illustration and beyond.

He was renowned in particular his illustrations for several series of books based on the Arabian Nights.

I wrote more extensively about him in my post about Dulac in 2006, and I’ll refer you to that post for more of my comments. At the time, I was not including as many example images in a post as I currently do, so in this revisit I hope to rectify that.

 
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Justin Gerard (update)

Justin Gerard fantasy illustration
Justin Gerard fantasy illustration

Justin Gerard is an illustrator based in Georgia who works in the publishing, gaming and film industries. I first profiled him in 2009, and pointed out my admiration for his richly imaginative dragons. Since then, in the midst of his other work, he has been creating a series of equally imaginative “Monster of the Month” illustrations.

Gerard’s monsters are wonderfully over-the-top and beautifully rendered in the fantasy art/concept art vein of dramatic imagery. He can somehow make them simultaneously gruesome and visually charming.

There is a portfolio of his work on the GalleryGerard website. You will find more examples on his ArtStation portfolio, in which you will also find close-up crops and preliminary drawings for many of his Monster of the Month images.

Gerard is regular contributor to the Muddy Colors website and among his articles you can find walkthroughs and descriptions of technique.

Justin Gerard is married to illustrator Annie Stegg Gerard, who I have also previously profiled.

 
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Chase Stone (update)

Chase Stone, illustrations and concept art
Chase Stone, illustrations and concept art

Since I last wrote about illustrator and concept artist Chase Stone back in 2014, he has created a new website, and has posted new work there as well as on the site of his artist’s representative, Richard Solomon.

Stone works primarily in the areas of fantasy and science fiction, his dramatic highly realized approach bringing a visceral presence to both genres.

I particularly enjoy his illustrations for the Magic The Gathering set: Amonkhet, which are an imaginatively stylized take on Egyptian gods. He also paints great dragons, as well as dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

His website galleries are divided into Trading Card, Editorial and Book illustration. He also has prints of many of his pieces available on InPrint. His gallery on the Richard Solomon site includes a brief bio and mention of his process.

For more, see my previous post on Chase Stone.

 
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Bing image search vs. Google, Yahoo & Tin Eye

Bing image search interface

As you might imagine, in the course of writing Lines and Colors I do a fair bit of searching out art images on the web — whenever possible searching for the largest examples of images of artwork that I can find.

One of the ways I do this is to use the “image search” features of the major search engines. Unfortunately, Google Image Search, which used to be the standard, has been diminished in its usefulness, as Google, perhaps nervous about copyright issues, has gotten namby pamby about searching for large images and taken away the ability to search for images in extra large or custom, viewer chosen sizes.

I have of late switched the majority of my art image searching to another search engine.

Bing Image Search

OK, I hear you snickering (Bing, really? BING?). Yes, Bing, Microsoft’s seldom used (but actually decent) competitor to Google’s overwhelming dominance of the search arena.

While Google hamstrings its image search, Bing offers a full featured image search, that not only allows you to search for extra large images, but offers a few features Google’s version never did.

Unlike Google’s typically spare opening page, Bing Image Search is crowded with suggested images of pop stars, cute animals and a bunch of other pop culture garbage you’re sure to be fascinated by. (I think if you’re logged into a Microsoft account, it may remember your own recent searches.) The simple search field is at the top.

In the initial search term result (images above, with detail crop; I’ve searched for “Dutch landscape painting”), click on “Filter” to the right, and in the sub-navigation that drops down, click on “Image Size” at the left. You’ll have a choice for Small, Medium and Large, as with Google, but in addition you can choose “Extra Large”, or enter custom size parameters in the provided fields. I often search for 2000 x 2000 pixels. (The little icon in the right side of the search bar is for “search by image”.)

The filtered page will show large images with the size displayed over them. If you click on the hamburger menu at the upper right, you’ll have the option to display information from the page under the images.

Clicking on an image gives a close up. In the column to the right, the first two entries are ads, the third is the link to the originating age for the image, Under that are buttons for “Visit site”, “Pages” and Image sizes”, and below that similar images (related, but not the images in question) and related searches.

Clicking “Pages” produces a list of pages that display version of that image.

Clicking “Image sizes” organizes the image sources by the size of the image (largest is not always best as some may be watermarked or less accessible than others, you can also have multiple choices for the same size image).

The little icon in the search field at the top of the page (that I assume is supposed to be a camera) opens a Visual Search box. It offers you the option to upload an image, or enter a link to one, and search for other, hopefully larger, versions of that same image. It also allows you to search for a page with additional information about an image you’re trying to identify.

Google Image Search

Google image search interface

The Google Image Search initial returns on a search is similar to Bing’s. A link for “Tools” on the right drops down a sub-navigation from which you can choose “Image Size” on the left, with choices only for Small, Medium and Large as well as “All”.

The filtered returns show page location under them, image size is not available.

Google image search interface

Clicking on an image shows a preview in a right hand column, with the page name and link below it. In this case, the size is available by rollover. Under that are “Related images” (similar but not copies of the same image), and “Related Searches”.

Google image search interface

The Camera icon in the search bar is for visual image search. Upload or paste the URL of an image (the image itself, not a page containing an image), and returns an array of copies of the image with the source page underneath.

If you right click (or Control-click on Mac) on an image in Google Chrome, you will see a choice to “Search Googe for image”. There are plugins that provide the same functionality for other browsers.

Yahoo Image Search

Yahoo Image Search interface

Yahoo Image Search exists. Why, I’m not sure.

The initial search term results look much like Bing or Google, but there is no page or size information. Clicking on “Advanced” at right provides filters for color, size and image type. Sizes are S,M,L. (The others let you search by color as well, from the sub-menus.)

Clicking on an image returns a detail panel with the page and size info and the option to “Visit page” or View image”. There is no visual image search that I can find.

Tin Eye reverse Image Search

Tin Eye reverse Image Search interface

Tin Eye is a venerable visual image search engine that provided that service before the big guys, um… borrowed the idea. I mention it primarily out of respect for that. It still does a good job in its initial mission, but there is no provision for image size choices. Tin Eye offers plugins to put their reverse image search in browser menus. Tin Eye offers a service to track your own images and notify you if it finds they’re being used elsewhere, but the service is expensive, probably mostly of use to corporate intellectual property holders.

Tip for searching by site

All three of the above major search engines allow you to search for images (or other content) from a particular site. In the regular search bar, enter the search terms, followed by a space and then the word site, a colon (no space) and the URL of the site. For example: “dutch landscape paintings site:sothebys.com”. This will return a page with results for that topic only from the Sothebys auction site.

Other sources for high res art images

General search engines are just one avenue for searching out art images on the web. Another, often more fruitful way to find large art images is to do local searches on the sites of major museums, or on art image agglomeration sites, such as the Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons of the Art Renewal Center. These should be the topic of another post.

Happy image searching!

(Oh yes, and Time Sink Warning!)

 
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