Monday, September 14, 2015

Florian Aupetit

Florian Aupetit is a French illustrator, concept artist, art director and “3d generalist” based in Paris.

Aupetit has an effective minimalist style of digital painting that is best appreciated in large images, though I’ve tried to give a suggestion of his approach to texture and subtle value changes in some of the detail crops above.

His website portfolio is limited; you’ll find considerably more work on his ArtStation site and Tumblr blog.

A number of the pieces on his ArtStation portfolio are accompanied by detail crops, and in many cases, time-lapse process videos. You can also access the latter directly on his YouTube channel.

Many of the pieces in his portfolios are for a project called “Father and Son”. Even without knowing the story involved (or even the nature of the project), I found these to be a fascinating series of variations on a theme. I particularly like Aupetit’s juxtaposition of open areas with those filled with textural elements, and his broken color approach to delineating edges.

Among his illustration and concept pieces, you will also find studies that I assume are digital paintings from life.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Eye Candy for Today: Carl Blechen Italian landscape

Gorge near Amalfi, Carl Blechen
Gorge near Amalfi, Carl Blechen

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

Early 19th century German painter Carl Blechen created series of studio works based on a sketching trip he had taken to Italy a few years prior.

Here, he gives us a dramatically lit scene of a paper mill in a gorge in the rocky landscape of Italy’s famed Amalfi coast.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

William Henry Hunt

Though he also painted landscapes, portraits and figures, and worked at times in oil, 19th century English artist William Henry Hunt was known primarily for his striking watercolor still life paintings.

His subjects were often fruits like grapes, apples and peaches, which he rendered with extraordinary finesse using a technique known as “wet white” — applying small stippled dots of watercolor and gouache over a background of the newly imported color “Chinese white” (zinc white gouache). The process, which produced particularly luminous colors, was taken up by many of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

He also favored other natural still life forms, creating compositions with arrangements of fruits, nuts, twigs, small flowers and notably bird’s nests, delineated with great fidelity and detail, which earned him the appellation “Bird’s Nest” Hunt.

Hunt was an early and key member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours (later renamed the Royal Watercolour Society), and was instrumental in the establishment of the English school of watercolor painting.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Teagan White

Teagan White, illustration
Minnesota based illustrator Teagan White takes her inspiration in animal and plant forms, often arranging them in compositions in which they are both representational images and design elements.

White appears to work primarily in ink, applying color digitally in Photoshop, or traditionally with watercolor and gouache. She uses a restrained palette, leaning toward earth colors and muted greens, both in keeping with her subjects and giving her work something of a 19th century feeling.

Her website and blog include not only images of her commercial work and children’s book illustration, but often images of the work in progress, as well as the pen drawings before color has been applied.

As much as I enjoy her subtle colors, I particularly like her ink drawings in their original state, in which she contrasts areas of texture and open negative space with spotted blacks to wonderful effect.

White has work for sale on Big Cartel, and her work is currently on display as part of the “Creatures of Myth and Nature” exhibit at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA, that runs until September 20, 2015.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Georges Clairin

Georges Clairin
19th century French painter and illustrator Georges Jules Victor Clairin painted exotic subjects, both in the Orientalist manner — painting subjects studied on repeated visits to Egypt, Morocco and other areas of North Africa — and luminaries of the French stage, including Sarah Bernhardt, with whom he was friends for most of his career.

Clairin studied with such noted painters as Henri Regnault and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

He brought his taste for the exotic to illustrations as well as gallery paintings. In his numerous portrayals of actors in costume, he combined the implied narrative of the production with the more straightforward portrayal of his subject.

Clairin portrayed Bernhardt, in particular, both in and out of character numerous times.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Richard Schmid: The Landscapes

Richard Schmid: The Landscapes
Richard Schmid is a well known painter, author and teacher, who is highly regarded among other artists and whose signature style is often emulated by his students.

I first mentioned Schmid on Lines and Colors back in 2008. In that article, I focused largely on his demo videos and his excellent instructional book, Alla Prima.

Those who are primarily familiar with Schmid’s work in print from early editions of that book will find The Landscapes — a collection of his paintings published in 2010 — a revelation (and likewise the newer edition of Alla Prima II).

The Landscapes is wonderfully large (11×14″, 28x36cm) and sumptuously produced, with much attention given to the color production in an attempt to do justice to the artist’s work.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the presentation of the book on the Richard Schmid website. There is a preview, accessed from a “Preview this Item” tab under the image of the cover, but (almost as nonsensically as Amazon previews) it includes atypical pages and front matter totally irrelevant to why you might want to purchase the book — which is, of course, for the artist’s beautiful paintings. Some 300 images are included in this volume, a bit more than half of which are full plates of the works.

There are also a few landscape images in the Archive Gallery on the website, a couple of which are included in the book. It’s still not much of a clue as to the real nature of the book.

I’ve taken the liberty of trying to photograph a few, somewhat more representative, examples of images from the book to show you here, but I can’t claim my photographs are accurate reproductions of the color or image quality in the book itself, and of course, they’re still very limited in size.

Suffice it to say, if you like Richard Schmid’s work, but have not seen this book, you are likely to want it if you see it. If you’re not familiar with Schmid’s work, it’s certainly worth investigating.

I find Schmid particularly fascinating for his mastery of edges and values. His work is a textbook lesson in how to control the viewer’s attention — what to include and what to simply suggest. Schmid uses deft control of color, contrast and texture to evoke mood and atmosphere, imbuing his work with a kind of whispered poetry. Elements in his compositions subtly emerge from their settings as if slowly revealed by contemplation.

Those qualities come through in The Landscapes in a way that invites you to linger over every image, and go back through it repeatedly. It’s a beautiful presentation of work by one of our best contemporary landscape painters. I’m remiss in not having reviewed it before now.

I hope to follow up soon with a review of the newly revised edition of Schmid’s classic instructional book, Alla Prima II, which I recommend highly. I can also recommend his instructional videos, notably the series of four seasonal landscapes, among which I think June the best place to start

Note: if you look for Schmid’s books and videos on Amazon or other online sellers, you will find them artificially overpriced and often presented as if out of print. You should purchase them directly from the Richard Schmid website.

At the moment, The Landscapes is being offered for a reduced price ($73.50 instead of $98.00).