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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Cathy Hillegas

Cathy Hillegas watercolors
Cathy Hillegas watercolors

Cathy Hillegas is a painter in watercolor based in Indiana, who combines vibrant color with a tactile sense of texture in her paintings of flowers, trees, woods and fields.

Particularly appealing to me are her paintings of small natural elements, leaves, branches, the heads of ferns and other aspects of nature, seen up close.

In addition to the works on her website, you can find prints available in her Etsy store.

 
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Sketches in Line and Wash by Jeanette L. Gurney

Sketches in Line and Wash by Jeanette L. Gurney
Sketches in Line and Wash by Jeanette L. Gurney

If, like me, you’ve watched many of James Gurney’s excellent short videos on YouTube, you have undoubtedly seen Jeanette Gurney, James Gurney’s wife, playing a supporting role, often accompanying him on sketching trips and sketching in the background while he sketches or paints.

Occasionally, we would get a look at her line and watercolor drawings, which I have always enjoyed, but usually only glimpses.
With the release of a recent video on YouTube titled Sketches in Line and Wash by Jeanette Gurney, we finally get a more extended look at Jeanette Gurney’s line and watercolor drawings.

Line and watercolor has been gaining in popularity in recent years as a favored medium among urban sketchers; Jeanette Gurney has been working this way for some time. It is a fascinating combination of mediums, with many of the eye pleasing characteristics of both drawing and painting. These characteristics are evident in the variety of approaches to line and wash featured in this video.

The video itself appears to be a recording of a livestream conducted with a New Jersey high school. In the first third or so both Jeanette and James field questions from the students and Jeanette discusses her materials and basic techniques. There is a list of materials links when you open the “Show More” link on the YouTube page.

About 12 minutes in, we see more of her line and wash sketches, in which her line application varies from pencil to marker to pen and even ballpoint. Her favored subject is architecture, and her sketches are of a fascinating variety of buildings.

She has a light touch with her lines — contrasted with occasionally bold marker lines — and an often free application of watercolor, giving her drawngs the feeling of a loose, casual sketch, though it’s obvious that there is a solid foundation of draftsmanship underneath.

This is one of those delightful videos that makes you want to grab your sketchbook and head out the door.

 
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