Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mikhail Klodt

Mikhail Klodt (Clodt)
Mikhail Konstantinovich Klodt (sometimes “Clodt”) was a 19th century Russian landscape painter and a founding member of the Peredvizhniki (Itinerants of Wanderers), the group of Russian painters that broke away from the Academy to carry out their own traveling exhibitions.

His work is not as well known here in the US as that of his fellow-Peredvizhniki landscape painters Ivan Shishkin and Issac Levitan, perhaps because his subdued views of farms and fields eschewed grandeur and drama in favor of direct, honest observarion of the commonplace.

Some of his serene, sky-filled compositions seem more in keeping with the visual tone of the American Luminists than his Russian contemporaries.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

365 Postcards for Ants, Lorraine Loots

365 Postcards for Ants, miniature watercolors by Lorraine Loots
365 Postcards for Ants was a yearlong project, from January 1 to December 31 or 2013, in which South African artist Lorraine Loots set out to paint one miniature painting per day.

Along the way, her process evolved into a kind of collaboration with visitors to her site who would “reserve” a painting, and suggest a topic that was of significance to them. Loots felt this brought the center of meaning for the work outside herself, and placed it between the artist and collaborative buyer.

After the full year, Loots found herself so engrossed in the process that she continued a new series into 2014 — this time with an overall theme relating to her home city of Cape Town, which is celebrating its designation as World Design Capital 2014.

Most of the paintings are done on squares of watercolor paper, perhaps 4 inches (10cm) square, in a space roughly the size of a US quarter, about 1 inch or less across (28mm). Her website has an ongoing showcase of the 2014 paintings, many of which are photographed with a commonplace object on the paper next to the painted area.

A full retrospective of the 2013 project and 2014 project to date is available on her Tumblr archive. She is also posting recent paintings to Tumblr as she goes. There is a video intro on her About page that goes into her process a bit.

As interesting as the project and her approach are, more to the point are the paintings themselves — done in watercolor and perhaps touches of gouache, and for all their size rendered in a fresh, naturalistic approach.

[Via BoingBoing]

Monday, October 13, 2014

A. Wilkenfeld

A. Wilkenfeld, cartoon illustrations and character design, Tanglefoot
A. wilkenfeld is an illustrator and character designer, originally from Sydney, Australia and now based in New Orleans. Aside from that, I can find little biographical information.

To my eye, Wilkenfeld’s lively, fluid drawings show an admiration for the work of great caricaturists like Al Hirschfeld, along with an affection for early 20th century magazine cartoons, and mid-20th century animation.

His characters are stretched, looped, bent over backwards and flung into outrageous positions with gleeful abandon, particularly those shown dancing.

Dancing seems central to the theme of Wilkenfeld’s personal project of an in-development webcomic titled Tanglefoot, which looks to be a treat. You can find work for it, along with some of his other drawings, on his website, Tumblr, Behance portfolio and deviantART gallery.

Eye Candy for Today: Peder Mønsted forest landscape

Skogslandskap (forest landscape), Peder Mork Monsted
Skogslandskap, Peder Mørk Mønsted

On Wikimedia Commons, I don’t know the location of the original, but I know it passed through Bukowski’s Auctions in the recent past, so I assume it’s in a private collection (not mine — sigh).

I think the title can be translated as “forest landscape”.

I never tire of Mønsted’s beautifully naturalistic, yet ultimately painterly, scenes of forests, glades, fields and creeks.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz
Painter David Cheifetz approaches his subjects — primarily still life but also cityscape and figurative— with enthusiastic use of value, color contrasts and painterly texture.

You may have seen still life by various artists, notably David Leffel and some of his students, in which objects are made luminous by carrying their dominant color into the background surrounding the edges of the object, and reflecting it into adjacent objects. Often this effect is accented by bleaching out the highlights on the object as though it were preternaturally reflective of color and light.

Cheifetz has taken this approach and run with it, exaggerating the effect in playful and imaginative ways, creating theatrically dramatic focus, and pulling your eye to his compositions’ primary point of interest with almost irresistible force.

As overt and willful as this can get, it’s worth noting that his secondary subjects are usually deftly and sensitively rendered — not neglected, simply assigned to an important supporting role.

He also plays with other means of focusing and directing the viewer’s gaze, at times in just the opposite direction, with dark objects set against light backgrounds in which the value contrasts have been reduced.

Though obviously a careful observer of nature, Cheifetz feels unrestrained by his subjects, jumping off into invention and caprice with abandon.

Through all of his work the feeling of paint texture is always present, viscerally thick and rich with ridges and bumps that catch and scatter both bright and subtle light.

On his website, Cheifetz has made a considerable sampling of his work available. Note that the extensive archive consists of multiple pages accessed by links at the bottom of the page.

In some cases, look on the image detail page for text links under the image to “View Larger Image” (clicking on the image itself brings up a smaller one, in that nonsensical way to which older FASO artist websites are prone). Look also for links to articles in his newsletter, in which he steps through the process of creating that particular painting. Sometimes these are animated slideshows.

You can also find an archive of his newsletter here, and a link to iTunes podcasts in which he discusses painting process and technique.

As you go back through his extensive archive of older work, you will find a variation in style, often in a more restrained and traditional approach, but with attention to the same concerns for value and color relationships that are at play in his more recent work.

In addition, Cheifetz has a portfolio on deviantART.

The work of David Cheifetz is currently on view in a solo show at the RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX until November 1, 2014. There is a preview of the show on the gallery’s site and also on the artist’s own website.

There is a two page article on Cheifetz in the October 2014 issue of American Art Collector.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Tiepolo’s Banquet of Cleopatra

The Banquet of Cleopatra, Giambattista Tiepolo
The Banquet of Cleopatra, Giambattista Tiepolo

On Google Art Project; high-resolution downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Gallery of Victoria.

In telling Pliny’s story of the competition between Cleopatra and Marc Antony to put on the most extravagant feast — the culmination of which is Cleopartra dissolving one of her priceless pearl earrings in a glass of vinegar prior to drinking it, and thus wining the wager — Tiepolo serves up a wild assortment of faces and expressions.