Monday, January 4, 2016

Abbey Ryan (update)

Abbey Ryan, still life
I first wrote about Philadelphia based painter Abbey Ryan back in 2007. She was a early adopter of the “painting-a-day” regimen and the painter/blogger approach to selling directly to individuals and collectors through the internet, bypassing the traditional gallery system.

Ryan studied oil painting with David Leffel at the Art Students League in New York, and studied painting and scientific illustration at Arcadia University. She also studied medical and biological illustration at Johns Hopkins University and painting at Hunter College.

Though she occasionally paints landscapes and also creates non-representational ink paintings, Ryan’s focus is on still life.

“Focus”, I think, is the operative word. Ryan’s approach has always impressed me as contemplative, conveying a quiet sense of devoted attention. Her subjects are traditional — largely fruit, cheese and other small food items, often accompanied by pottery or metalware. These are approached in a manner inspired by 17th century Dutch still life, with objects emerging in deep chiaroscuro from dark backgrounds.

I particularly enjoy those compositions in which she highlights reflective areas in the pottery or in reflective fruits, and then controls the transition between that and the darkness of the background with carefully modulated value relationships.

Ryan’s work has received national attention, including a highlighted article in O, The Oprah Magazine.

Her website has a section devoted to available work as well as a representative selection of paintings. For a broader selection, as well as the latest paintings, her blog is more complete and up to date.

You can also check her eBay page or her portfolio on Daily Paintworks.

Her blog, however, is also the best place to catch notice of upcoming live demos and workshops. There are excerpts from both on YouTube.

Ryan also offers private mentoring in the form of individual private instruction over the internet.

In addition, Ryan has developed an online course in mindfulness and digital detox — developed from her mindful studio practice — called “The Innernet“. (She addresses the apparent contradiction of an online course about going offline. The course embraces the advantages of both in their turn.)

The Innernet” course is taught in one-week sessions, the next one of which starts in two days on January 6, 2016.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Eye Candy for Today: Metsu’s Woman Reading a Letter

Woman Reading a Letter, Gabriel Metsu
Woman Reading a Letter, Gabriel Metsu

Link is to a version on Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the National Gallery of Ireland.

This painting of a woman reading a letter, laced with symbolism and implied narrative, was intended as a “pendant” to Man Writing a Letter (the two paintings were meant to hang together as a pair; my post here).

Metsu was highly regarded and popular during his time and well after. At a time when Vermeer was not well known or valued, the general similarity in subject matter and approach prompted some art dealers to sell Vermeer’s paintings as Metsu’s. (The elevation of Vermeer to his current high place in the history of art took place over the last 150 or so years.)


Friday, January 1, 2016

Eye Candy for Today: Henri Harpignies’ View of Moulins

A View of Moulins, Henri-Joseph Harpignies; watercolor
A View of Moulins, Henri-Joseph Harpignies

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art; use the download or zoom icons under the image on their site.

At once straightforward and poetic, this view of a town in central France by the Barbizon painter is a beautiful example of the evocative power of watercolor. Harpignies combines solid draftsmanship, precise edges and loose, gestural applications of color in perfect balance.

His composition is likewise a subtle balance of horizontal and vertical elements, connected by the thread of the irregular forms of the foliage and clouds.

I particularly love the briefly noted figures at the edge of the water — how simple and yet perfect they are.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2016!

Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2015!,  J.C. Leyendecker New Year's babies from covers for The Saturday Evening Post
As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve for the past 10 years, I’ll wish all Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with a few more of J.C. Leyendecker’s terrific New Year’s babies.

These are from a three decade run of The Saturday Evening Post covers from the early 20th century. For more, see my previous links, below.

I hope your crystal ball reveals a new year filled with art and inspiration!


William Logsdail

William logsdail, English painter, portraits, still life, history and genre subjects, cityscapes of London and Venice
William Logsdail was an English painter active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He painted portraits, still life, history and genre subjects, but was known in particular for his beautiful portrayals of London and Venice, many of which were panted on location.

His rich, textural evocations of streets and buildings often feel saturated with atmosphere and light. They are also built on a solid understanding of architecture, one of Logsdail’s early interests and almost his career.

See also my previous post on William Logsdail’s St Martin in the Fields.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kay Nielsen’s illustrations for East of the Sun and West of the Moon

East of the Sun and West of the Moon
East of the Sun and West of the Moon is a classic Norwegian book of fairy tales, most famously illustrated in a 1914 edition by the superb Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen.

Taschen has just published a new deluxe, slipcased edition of the book. I haven’t personally seen it yet, but judging from other Taschen volumes, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one. They always manage to produce inexpensive art volumes with high production values.

There are some preview images on the Taschen page for the book, on the Amazon listing and on Wink.

The images above aren’t indicative of the quality of the new edition, they are simply from existing internet resources taken from previous editions.

There is a Project Gutenberg entry for the original edition with the images in context (in the HTML version, click on them for larger images).

Wikipedia has a page devoted to the original book, with most of Nielsen’s color plates. There are more, as well as some of the black and white illustrations on Wikimedia Commons.

None of these, however, will be as high in quality or detail as the reproductions of the illustrations in the Taschen volume.

For more, see my previous post on Kay Niesen.

[Via BoingBoing]