Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson was a Swedish illustrator and gallery artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Though he also worked in oil and painted large frescos, Larsson was primarily known for his watercolors.

With a deft hand and a light touch, he depicted family and home in particular. In many cases, he used room interiors designed by his wife, Karin, who was an interior designer, and many of his watercolors take as their subjects his own home and family.

Before devoting himself to his most famous domestic scenes, he worked as an illustrator. Not very successfully at first, but his popularity shot up when magazines started to more regularly feature color illustrations.

For a short while, he painted en plain air in the Forests of Fontainebleau with members of the Barbizan school.

There are a number of his works in the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, including frescoes on several walls, but Larsson was disappointed when a painting the museum had commissioned, and for which a particular wall was prepared, was rejected by the museum’s board, apparently a victim of political fighting among various factions of the Swedish art community.

The painting, titled Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), was considered by Larsson to be his best work. After refusal by the museum board, it was sold to a Japanese collector, and only a few years ago, was repurchased and permanently hung in its original intended place in the museum.


Eye Candy for Today: Hellen Allingham landscape

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham
The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham (details0

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham; watercolor; roughly 14 x 21 inches ( 37 x 55 cm); link is to past auction on Sotheby’s; large image here.

Victorian era English watercolor artist Helen Allingham was noted for her depictions rural life; in particular her paintings of traditional thatched roof cottages, which she idealized a bit by removing modernizations and restoring their appearance to their original state as best she could from available records.


Ernst Grillhiesl (“ErnstG”)

Ernst Grillhiesl watercolors
Ernst Grillhiesl watercolors

Ernst Grillhiesl, who signs his work “ErnstG”, is a contemporary German painter who works in watercolor. His landscape subjects usually include architectural elements, often set almost on the horizon with a deep but de-emphasized foreground.

Grillhiesl’s style is a combination of crisp, precise rendering of buildings and other artificial objects and a looser, somewhat softer approach to trees and shrubbery. The result is a visually appealing blend of accuracy and freedom.

He appears to live in a part of Bavaria where many of the houses and other buildings have red roofs, and a number of his compositions have a nicely subdued complementary color relationship in the setting of red roofs among the greens of summer grasses and foliage.

Though he has a websiite that includes images of his work, it’s not easy to navigate, particularly for non-German speakers. It’s much easier to view his work on his blog, which is arranged as a website with multiple image galleries.

The tagline on his blog, as translated by Google Translate, reads: “Everyday life brought to paper with a brush and paint”.

I have not been able to find much information on either location about how large his paintings are or whether they are for sale.


Eye Candy for Today: Hiroshi Yoshida watercolor

Hiroshi Yoshida watercolor, Autumn in a Japanese Village

Hiroshi Yoshida watercolor, Autumn in a Japanese Village (details)

Autumn in a Japanese Village, Hiroshi Yoshida; watercolor on paper, roughly 13 x 20 in. (33 x 50 cm); link to image is on Ukiyo-e Search; I don’t know the location of the original.

Hiroshi Yoshida was a Japanese artist active the early to mid 20th century. He is known primarily for his extraordinarily beautiful woodblock prints in the shin-hanga style that show his affection for the traditions of both Japanese and Western art.

It is much less often the we see examples of his direct watercolor paintings. In this wonderful example, he takes advantage of atmospheric and textural effects that are difficult to achieve in woodblock printing.


TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors, James Gurney

TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors, art instruction video by James Gurney

TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors, art instruction video by James Gurney

In his latest instructional video, TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors, painter James Gurney explores three-color palettes and gives a good introduction to the basic concepts of painting with limited palettes.

Though not specifically about triadic color schemes in the classic sense (in which the colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel), his exploration of palettes with three colors points out one of the strengths of this approach: a palette of three colors can mix a broad range of additional colors, and yet remain manageable when you’re trying to wrap your head around how to mix them. (Like many painters, Gurney chooses to regard white as not a color, and I think wisely so.)

TRIADS is a follow up to Gurney’s previous video, Color in Practice, Part 1, Black, White, and Complements (link is to my review), and serves as second in a planned series. Here, he is painting with gouache, transparent watercolor and casein, but the principles are applicable to other mediums.

Initially painting with a palette of three colors similar to the cyan, magenta and yellow colors used in printing inks to produce a wide range of colors, he starts with a demo painting of brightly colored still life subjects in sunlight. The initially chosen palette creates a broad gamut (range of colors), but like any limited palette, has areas of weakness.

Gurney supplements the demo painting with the creation of a “triad test”, a simple diamond shaped set of test patches of the colors in the palette, and mixtures of the colors as well as tints (the color plus white) and mixtures of the tints.

He then moves on to a different set of “primaries”, richer in the colors that are weak in the previous palette, creates another “triad test” and goes back into the same demo painting, pointing out how the two palettes differ in areas of strength.

He goes on with other demos and studio exercises to explore various three color combinations — some unusual, using secondaries in place of primaries — as well as the creation of grays and low chroma colors from high chroma palettes, making swatches of test colors as he goes. He goes through about ten demo paintings in the course of the video, some quite briefly, others in more depth.

As is often the case with Gurney’s videos, I find myself learning from aspects of the visuals that aren’t specifically part of the video’s primary subject. At one point in the creation of grays from triads of colors, he makes a couple of grays in transparent watercolor by layering three transparent layers of pure color, one over another, letting them mix optically rather than mixing on the palette. I found the resulting grayed tones particularly rich with subtle variations of color, and came away eager to experiment with that aspect of applying paint.

You’ll find other off-topic but valuable painting techniques in the creation of the demos, such as the way he uses large brushes in areas where a less experienced painter might be reaching for smaller ones, the creation of texture with split hair dry brush, using a mahl stick to steady the brush for drawing the lines like those of siding on a house, and his process of using interesting color variations as colored grounds before blocking in.

TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors takes the seemingly simple concept of painting with three color palettes and through it opens a window into a range of concepts of value to students of painting.

The 90 minute video is available as a digital download through Gumroad or Sellfy for $17.98 and comes with a PDF study guide.

You can find previews of the video, along with supplementary information, on Gurney’s blog, Gurney Journey.

In addition, Gurney is promoting a just-for-fun Sunny Still Life “challenge” for those interested to paint a sunny still life with a triad palette and post their paintings online. The challenge deadline is October 20, 2020.


Eudes Correia

Eudes Correia watercolors

Eudes Correia watercolors

Originally from Brazil, Eudes Correia is a watercolorist based in Lisbon.

Correia’s focus is on people, usually outside, walking sitting, riding bikes and other everyday activities. His website galleries are divided into sections for “People” and “Tourists”.

His approach is a wonderful balance of solid draftsmanship and loose, free application of color. His backgrounds are often large brushstrokes or loose splashes of paint. In lesser hands this can sometimes look contrived, but Correia makes it appear perfectly natural and the effect adds to the casual feeling of the image.

Correia travels extensively, conducting workshops in numerous locations around the world. He is Brand ambassador of Winsor & Newton in Europe.

He has a YouTube channel that features a number of videos that show him working.