Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Marc Dalessio (update)

Marc Dalessio
Marc Dalessio is an American painter, now living in Croatia, who I first profiled back in 2009, at the recommendation of British painter Julian Merrow-Smith.

Dalessio lived in Florence for 20 years, and during that time studied at Charles H. Cecil Studios, and atelier that traces its heritage to the École Des Beaux-Arts teachings of Jean-Léon Gérôme, by way of American artists like R.H. Ives Gammell and William McGregor Paxton.

Though Dalessio has obviously absorbed the fundamentals of drawing and composition, and an emphasis on working sight-size, from the academic tradition, his work has a fresh, contemporary immediacy born of a desire to let his perceptions of nature pass through him onto the canvas in a manner as unadulterated by concerns of personal style as possible.

Dalessio’s work, both in large refined studio pieces and in economically realized location paintings, has a wonderful sense of the nature of light, particularly in the aspect of value. Whether in the contrasts of bright daylight, dappled shade or the subtle relationships of overcast and shadow, his paintings always impress me with the feeling of real light, not lighting effects that have been molded to meet a compositional need.

On his website there galleries of his work in portraiture and landscape. The home page is essentially a blog, and you will find not only additional work, but articles on technique and materials in which Dalessio shares some of what he has learned. In addition, he has a YouTube channel, with both demos and informational videos.

Dalessio’s work is the subject of a solo show that is currently at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY. The show is on view until July 13, 2014.

In addition to the portfolio of work on the page devoted to the show, the gallery’s website has an regular online gallery of Dalessio’s work, that is part of their ongoing representation for him.

You can see more images, and at a much larger size, on his Flickr stream.

[Show notice via Underpaintings]

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marianne North

Marianne North, Victorian botanical art and landscapes
I really enjoy botanical art; at its best it combines some of the best characteristics of landscape and still life. Too often, however, botanical artists seem to feel that they must restrain themselves to timidly rendered watercolors, almost devoid of individual artistic expression, lest their efforts be considered less than scientific (how different from scientific illustrations of animals, particularly paleontological reconstruction art).

A notable exception to this is Marianne North, a Victorian English botanical artist, who also painted landscapes and occasionally still life.

North was also a biologist. She traveled extensively, and not only recorded exotic plant species, but the landscapes she encountered in India, Japan, Ceylon, Brazil, Canada and the US, among other places.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London houses an extensive collection of her work in the Marianne North Gallery, which it declares is “the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artist in Britain”. There is a gallery of prints on the Kew site (you have to click through to the detail page, then click on the image again for the large version).

A large selection of her work can be viewed online on the BBC Your Paintings site. There is a book available, Marianne North: A very Intrepid Painter (also here).

Not only did North defy convention in her travels and lifestyle, her work is notable for her use of oil in her detailed representation of plant species, rather than the more conventional approaches in watercolor or gouache.

[Via MetaFilter]

Nico Marlet

Nico Marlet, character design and animation artist
Nicolas “Nico” Marlet is a character designer, visual development and animation artist best known for his work on animated features like How to Train Your Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters, Inc., Bee Movie, The Road to El Dorado and others.

Marlet’s character design drawings just about jump off the page with their springy energy. His model sheets show a wild and abundantly creative imagination.

His work has been featured in books like The Art of How to Train Your Dragon, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2, and others, as well as a published replica of one of his sketchbooks.

Marlets’ work is part of the Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 exhibit currently at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA (to July 6). There is a preview of his Sketchbook on their site as well.

Marlet apparently does not have a dedicated web presence, so we’ll have to make do with a scattering of unofficial resources.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy

The Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Rousseau
The Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Rousseau

On Google Art Project. Hi-res downloadble file on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the Museum of Modern Art, NY.

This was at one time (and probably still is) one of the most widely reproduced images in all of art. In most of those reproductions, however, you will find the colors “pushed”, so that the Gypsy’s multi-colored robe is a bright, eye-catching rainbow, belying the fact that this is intended to be a night scene. While Rousseau is considered a “naive” (untrained) artist, he was perfectly capable of distinguishing day from night.

But, hey — accuracy doesn’t sell posters.

I even have a bad (but at least dark) reproduction of it in my 2006 post on Henri Rousseau.

The MoMA website, on the other hand, has it too dark and desaturated, as are most of the website’s reproductions of work in their collections. (I haven’t yet figured out if this is the result of incompetence, lack of caring, or a deliberate attempt to discourage image use; but it’s a poor decision on their part, regardless, because it makes the images — and by extension the museum itself — look less appealing.)

I think the Google Art Project reproduction is as close as you will get to an accurate representation of this painting on the web.

Duet, Glen Keane

Duet, Glen Keane
Renowned animator Glen Keane, best known for his character animation for Disney feature films like Aladdin, Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Tangled, has been working with the Google Advanced Technology and Projects Group on one of their new series of interactive animations.

In the process, he has created preliminary hand-drawn animation (not interactive) called Duet, that is available on YouTube.

I’ve taken the liberty in the images above of cropping in on some of the frames, but these screen grabs don’t begin to do Keane’s beautiful drawings and fluid animation justice.

Watch it in full screen.

There is Duet making of video that goes into the project and process in more detail. Also see the article on Cartoon Brew, which is where I learned of the film.