Mildred Anne Butler

Mildred Anne Butler, Irish watercolorist
Mildred Anne Butler, Irish watercolorist
Though she frequently traveled to England and the continent — and studied in Paris — Irish watercolorist Mildred Anne Butler primarily painted en plein air in the area around her home in Kilmurry.

Butler was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was a member of the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolor Society.

She painted landscapes that were often populated with ravens, cows and other animals. To me, some of her work has a dreamy storybook feeling.

 
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Eye Candy for today: Maximilian Liebenwein illustration

Maximilian Liebenwein illustration
Maximilian Liebenwein illustration, details

Walk of Mary across the mountains, Maximilian Liebenwein.

Maximilian Liebenwein was an Austrian/German illustrator active during the “Golden Age” of illustration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I’m unsure what the medium is here, but it looks like watercolor and gouache to me.

I sourced the image from here, larger version here.

For more, see my previous post on Maximilian Liebenwein.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Winslow Homer watercolor & gouache

Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer
Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer

Fresh Eggs, Winslow Homer; watercolor and gouache on paper; roughly 9 x 8 inches (24 x 19 cm). Original is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable images on their site.

In this simple, unassuming study of a commonplace chore, Homer shows us the ability of art to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary, as well as demonstrating his apparently effortless command of watercolor and gouache.

The NGA provides a nicely high-resolution image (higher than in my detail crops) in which you can see his individual brush marks and the way he has mixed opaque and transparent passages with economy and flair.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Frits Thaulow Winter Landscape

Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas
Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas

Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas, roughly 22×36″ (55×92 cm). Link is to past auction on Christie’s (large image here), I would assume present location is a private collection.

No one painted the surface character of small streams, winter or otherwise, like 19th century Norwegian Painter Frits Thaulow.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Fragonard wash drawing

View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind, Jean-Honore Fragonard
View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind (details), Jean-Honore Fragonard

View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, brown wash over brown ink lines and black chalk, roughly 13 x 11″ (33 x 47cm); link is to Sotheby’s past auction, large image here.

In this beautifully sensitive drawing, 18th century French painter, draftsman ad printmaker Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who specialized in such things, gives us an idealized view of an idealized park on an ideal day.

I love how delicately and vaguely some elements are suggested, like people, architecture, stairs and background foliage, and yet how definite and complete the overall drawing appears.

This is one of those drawings in which the vague word “wash” is used to describe the medium, leaving me in question as to whether it is ink wash or watercolor, both of which can be used to similar effect.

 
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Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion

Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion,
Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion,

I received review copy of Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, a new instructional video from painter, illustrator, writer and teacher James Gurney.

The concepts behind making gradations of color in visual art can seem as though they should be simple, until you find yourself trying to paint something like different bands of color on a coffee mug as they round the form into shadow, and you suddenly realize you’re in uncharted territory.

In Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, Gurney takes on the concepts behind achieving gradual transitions in color.

Gradient, is a term that has come into popular use from its prevalence in digital art; it is used here used as a collective term for gradations, gradated washes, and other gradual tone or color changes.

Gurney uses methodical studio demonstrations to set out the concepts and techniques of working with these kind of color transitions, and then shows real world application of them in sequences of on location painting, adding a dimension of understanding that would be difficult to convey in studio demos alone.

Interestingly, Gurney leaves in what otherwise might be outtakes, demonstrating some of the real world problems painters encounter, such as sudden drenching rain, or coming up against the limitations of an experimental technique, like painting in gouache over water soluble printing ink.

He has also interspersed recorded questions from viewers of his other videos or readers of his blog, in which they ask about concepts that relate to the demo or painting that Gurney is working with.

One of the key points he makes is the degree to which our perception of a color is influenced by the surrounding colors. He brings this home in the last segment, in which he demonstrates how to paint one of those optical illusions that show two squares in a checkerboard pattern on a cylinder that look completely different in context, but, when isolated are shown to be the same color and value. It’s one thing to see one of these optical demonstrations, it’s another level of insight to paint one yourself.

In Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, Gurney has once again demonstrated his ability to take complex or confusing concepts, reduce them to their essential components and lay out a path to understanding with clarity and ease.

Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion is available for download or streaming through Gumroad, and is also available as a DVD. Both are 10% off Saturday and Sunday, September 11th and 12th, 2021.

 
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