Benjamin Williams Leader

Benjamin Williams Leader, English landscape painter
Benjamin Williams Leader was an English landscape painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born Benjamin Leader Williams, but later changed his name to Benjamin Williams Leader to stand out from a number of other painters active at the same time with the last name of Williams.

Benjamin Leader’s father, Edward Leader Williams, was an amateur artist and a friend of John Constable, and Benjamin got to go out sketching with Constable, though I don’t know that there was any formal guidance on Constable’s part.

As a young man, Leader studied part time at the Worcester School of Design, and later enrolled in the Royal Academy. His early work proved so popular with influential buyers that he didn’t bother to finish his studies at the Academy.

Leader often painted on location, and his work was initially inspired in part by the fidelity to nature espoused by the Pre-Raphaelite painters. As his style matured, however, he moved toward a looser, more painterly approach that proved to be even more popular with his patrons.


Eye Candy for Today: Anders Zorn portrait of Freida Schiff

Portrait of Frieda Schiff, Anders Zorn
Frieda Schiff, Anders Zorn

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Given the relatively weak greens in the curtain and background, I suppose it’s possible this was painted with Zorn’s famously eponymous palette.

The “Zorn Palette”, with which the Swedish artist is presumed to have painted many (though certainly not all) of his paintings, consisted of Ivory Black, Vermillion, Flake White and Yellow Ochre. It is essentially a portrait palette, and Zorn’s effective use of it is a testament to the power of a limited palette.

The seemingly casual but astonishingly effective brush strokes in the dress are indicative of Zorn’s position as one of the “masters of the loaded brush”, a short list that also includes John Singer Sargent and Joaquín Sorolla (I would personally add Cecilia Beaux to that list, but hey, that’s just me).


Fred Augis

Fred Augis, concept art, illustration
Fred Augis is a concept artist and illustrator based in Rennes, France. His gaming credits include titles like Prey, Life is Strange, Remember Me and Strike Vector.

His online example art includes character design, and in particular, numerous spacesuit designs. These range from realistically rendered to nicely graphic and gestural.


Eye Candy for Today: Carlo Crivelli’s Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, Carlo Crivelli, Tempera on panel, 60 x 19 inches (152 x 49 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, 1480
Mary Magdalene, Carlo Crivelli

Tempera on panel, 60 x 19 inches (152 x 49 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

This beautifully realized late Gothic work (painted in 1480) is as much decorative object as it is representational image.

I love how stylized it is, from the intricately rendered strands of hair to the expressive, heavy-lidded eyes, to the hands for which gesture and expression outweigh any concern for realistic proportions.


Steven S. Walker

Steven S. Walker, landscape paintings
Originally from South Carolina, Steven S. Walker is a painter based in Georgia.

Walker’s fascination with light ranges from compositions with dramatically horizontal sunlight to nocturnes with glowing pools of artificial light.

He also finds fascination in the contrast of textural elements like trees in snow and rocks in water, playing with shadows and reflections in the process.

Walker’s website has galleries divided by subject matter. You can also find his work on the websites of art galleries in which he is represented. In addition, there is a book that prints a selection of his paintings.


Eye Candy for Today: Turner’s Bridge in Middle Distance

The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner
The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner

Etching, aquatint and mezzotint, roughly 7 x 11 inches (18 x 28 cm).

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable versions.

As he frequently did, British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner worked with master printmaker Charles Turner (no relation) to produce this beautiful lanscape print.

In this case, JMW Turner designed the image did the primary etching, calling on Charles Turner to apply the tones under his direction using the processes of aquatint and mezzotint.

Aquatint involves coating part of the plate in particles of resin, leaving a granular halftone when the plate is etched in acid. Mezzotint is a process in which the plate, or parts of it, are roughened with a special textured “rocker”, leaving a surface that will print as tones that can be burnished to produce variations.

Like most prints, there are multiple impressions of this one; there is another in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This was one of seventy plus images for which Turner made prints as part of a collection called “Liber Studiorum” (Book of Studies), intended to demonstrate examples of his ideas about landscape. For another beautiful print from that series, see my previous post: Eye Candy for Today: JMW Turner etching and mezzotint.