Eye Candy for Today: William Wyld watercolor

St. Mark's Square, Venice, with Loggetta, William Wyld, ink and watercolor
St. Mark’s Square, Venice, with Loggetta; William Wyld

Watercolor and ink, roughly 10 x 7 inches (25 x 18 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Use the Download or Enlarge links under the image on their page.

I love this beautiful ink and watercolor rendering, not just for its wonderful combination of precision and sketch-like freedom, but for its unusual view of St. Mark’s Square. There are dozens, if not hundreds of beautifully rendered paintings and drawings of that most famous of Venice’s public squares, but most are from the far end, looking down the full length of the plaza.

Here, Wyld gives us a much more intimate view, the kind you might encounter as you walked about the edges of the square, and with a daring composition as well. The dark, shadowed foreground presents the primary figures almost in silhouette against the lighter base of the campanile.

The differently colored tiles in the paving lead us back to the distant group of figures, and the angled view of the Loggetta brings us back out to more shadowed foreground.


Bror Anders Wikstrom

Bror Anders Wikstrom, imaginative float designs of dragons and other, in watercolor
With the exception of the more straightforward watercolor (images above, bottom), the rest of these wild and wonderfully realized watercolor illustrations are designs for New Orleans carnival parade floats from the early part of the 20th century by Swedish/American artist Bror Anders Wikstrom.

Wikstrom originally went to sea as a young man, but his career as a sailor was curtailed by changes in his eyesight. Nearsightedness did not prevent him from pursuing studies in art in Stockholm and Paris, and he applied his artistic learning to magazine illustrations, advertising design, prints, cartoons, murals and portraits.

Coming to the U.S., he settled in New Orleans and became noted for his designs for carnival floats for two of the prominent krews, Rex and Proteus.

A number of his float designs are maritime in nature, others are wilder fantasy, often featuring dragons and other fantastical creatures.

He also painted landscapes and marine paintings, though I can’t find as many examples of those; you can find some on Artnet and Invaluable (and here).


Igor Sava

Igor Sava, watercolor cityscape Italy
Originally from Kotovsk, Russia, and now based in Rome, Igor Sava is a watercolor painter who focuses on cityscapes in his adopted country.

Sava’s approach combines deft control of edges with the visual charm of freely mixed washes. His architectural subjects carry a feeling of atmosphere and light, as well as the textures of their materials.

On his website, you will find a gallery of paintings, as well as smaller galleries of watercolor figure sketches and imaginative subjects.

There is a brief YouTube video of Sava painting at the 2016 International Watercolor Society Biennial.


Thierry Duval

Thierry Duval, watercolors of Paris
Thierry Duval is an artist from Paris, France, who paints the streets, buildings, plazas — and especially, bridges — of his home city in crisp, precisely observed watercolors.

Some of his paintings brim with light and contrast, others are poetically muted and atmospheric. Almost all have a palpable sense of the textures of stone, water and natural forms.

I can’t find a dedicated website for Duval, but you can see examples of his work on his Flickr galleries, and lots of images and videos of his process on his Instagram feed.

There is a collection of his work, Vues de Paris à L’aquarelle that I cannot find on Amazon US, but it is apparently available directly from the artist (information here); you can also see it on Amazon.fr. It is also apparently available from Gourcuff Gradenigo.

There is a brief overview of Duval’s work on YouTube and on Tutt’Art.

[Suggestion courtesy of James Gurney]


James Niehues

James Niehues, hand painted aerial maps of ski resorts
James Niehues ia an artist based in Colorado who creates hand-painted aerial maps of ski resorts, golf resorts and other outdoor sporting sites.

He paints these at relatively large scale in gouache, using both brushes and airbrush, which allows him to give a high level of detail and texture to his largely mountainous scenes.

In the galleries on his website you will also find ski resorts in other parts of the US and internationally, as well as golf resorts. In addition, you will find aerial map views of mountain landscapes in warmer months and more traditional landscape views that he calls “scenic paintings”. (These are accessed from a not too obvious pop-out menu in the main navigation, or from a list in the page footer.)

Niehuse has a number of his images available as prints through ImageKind.


Eye Candy for Today: James Peale miniature portrait

Elizabeth Oliphant, James Peale, watercolor on ivory
Elizabeth Oliphant, James Peale

Watercolor on ivory, roughly 3 x 2 inches (7 x 5.8 cm ). Link is to Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

In the late 18th, and through the mid 19th centuries, there was a demand for miniature portraits, both in the U.S. and in Europe. These were usually painted in watercolor or gouache on oval ivory, often in the form of pendants, and were kept as keepsakes.

Ivory seems to lend itself well to this kind of miniature water media painting, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington has a nice collection of them, accessed in drawers.

I had a chance to look through some of them on a visit to the museum a couple of years ago and I can see the appeal; many are beautifully painted, often in a delicately applied stipple technique, as is the case in this beautiful example by American artist James Peale.