Wednesday, September 7, 2016

“Secret Life of Trees”, Dina Brodsky

Secret Life of Trees, Dina Brodsky
Dina Brodsky is a painter and miniaturist who I have featured previously on Lines and Colors.

In July of last year, she embarked on a project to draw 126 individual drawings of trees, each with its own distinct personality — tree portraits, if you will — starting with the drawing shown above, top, and ending just a day or so ago with #126, shown above, bottom.

The drawings are done primarily in ballpoint pen, an under-appreciated variation on pen and ink that has it own character, notably in allowing for a degree of softness not always evident in traditional pen drawing.

These are done on differing papers, some with noticeable texture, and are sometimes augmented with touches of gouache or watercolor.

Her range of subjects covers many varieties of trees, and their related root systems, each given a portrait-level definition of character by Brodsky’s keen attention to their variation in form and texture.

Brodsky expanded the scope of the project by reaching out to her circle of friends, family and acquaintances to provide input in the way of tree stories and photographs of particularly fascinating trees.

I was pleased to participate in a small way by providing photographs of a tree in my area that were used as reference for the drawings shown above, second and third from the bottom.

The series can be seen on Brodsky’s website, along with her statement about the project.

A large selection from the series will be on view and available as part of a solo show at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in NYC entitled “Secret Life of Trees”, that runs from September 8 to October 1, 2016. There are also two portfolios of the series on the gallery’s website, for available work and sold pieces.

The show is concurrent with a solo exhibition of works by her sister, artist Maya Brodsky, who I have featured in the post previous to this one.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Maya Brodsky

Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Maya Brodsky studied here in the U.S. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the New York Academy of Art.

Her paintings focus on interiors and figures. At times they seem direct portrayals of everyday scenes, at other times they can be somewhat haunting, as if something is slightly amiss, but you can’t quite identify what.

Her compositions are rich with detail, but I never feel as though detail for its own sake — or an approach to hyperrealism — is the point; rather I come away with the thought that Brodsky is speaking to us with the visual texture of her subjects, using it to slow down our scan of the painting and draw us into the subtle emotional responses her work can evoke.

Her website does not seem to have been recently updated, but contains galleries of her work from 2008-2013. I found navigation a bit less than straightforward, but the two pages of most recent work are here and here.

Brodsky’s work will be on display at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in NYC in a solo show entitled “Behind Closed Doors”, that runs from September 8 to October 1, 2016, and is concurrent with a solo exhibition of works by her sister, artist Dina Brodsky, who I have featured previously on Lines and Colors.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Shiro Kasamatsu

Shiro Kasamatsu, Shin Hanga Japanese woodblock prints
Shiro Kasamatsu was a Japanese painter, print designer and printmaker active in the 20th century.

Though he initially studied with Kaburagi Kiyokata —a master of the bijin-ga movement, which focused on figurative subjects — Kasamatsu chose landscape as his primary subject.

Kasamatsu is known particularly for his delicately finessed portrayals of rain, mist, snow and the subtle play of light in night scenes.

Like his contemporaries Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida, Kasamatsu’s landscapes may hold particular appeal to European and American collectors because of his incorporation of influences from Western art.

In addition to his prints done in the traditional shin-hanga manner — in which the artist collaborates with woodblock cutters, printmakers and publishers — Kasamatsu also did work in the Sosaku-Hanga, or “creative” manner, in which the artist cuts and prints his own woodblocks. In Kasamatsu’s case, the latter were done largely for his own enjoyment rather than for commercial release.

There is an article on some of Kasamatsu’s blocks and process on Ukiyoe-Gallery.

In viewing the prints in the sources listed below, notably on, you will see what appear to be repeated entries. These are actually listings of different impressions from the same blocks, some of which are in different states or printed in different color ranges. Some of the images are of better quality than others, depending on the condition of the print and the quality of the photograph. I find it worth continued digging to find the versions of the prints I like best.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Willem Maris

Willem Maris, 19th century Dutch painter, cows and ducks
Willem Maris was a 19th century Dutch painter whose subjects were primarily pastoral scenes of cattle and fowl, though he also painted figurative subjects.

Though his choice of themes remained with him through his career, his approach to painting changed — from straightforward realism to experiments with bold color to the kind of painterly brushwork and broken color associated with Impressionism, leading to his reputation as a “Dutch Impressionist”.

Also consistent through his career was a fascination with the play of light on his subjects, a fascination that naturally dovetailed with his interest in impressionistic effects. Maris worked in both oil and watercolor, as well as producing a number of drawings.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Prout cityscape

View of Bamberg, from the Ludwigskanal, Samuel Prout, pencil on paper
View of Bamberg, from the Ludwigskanal, Samuel Prout

Pencil on paper, roughly 10×16 inches (26x40cm); original is in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum in NY.

Samuel Prout, a British artist active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was known for his watercolors and graphics of architectural scenes. Here, in a somewhat more casual approach, he gives us a view of the German city of Bamberg.

I love the loose, sketchy characteristics of his individual lines and hatching, reinforced by the geometric strength of his underlying solid draftsmanship.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Sainer, murals and canvasses
Sainer is a Polish painter and muralist, currently based in Gdynia, Poland. He is also one half of the artistic collaborative duo ETAM, along with Bezt.

I’m a little uncertain whether some of the murals shown above are collaborative.

They have a jaunty, sometimes cartoony style, but with definite attitude. Their large scale and presence on the sides of buildings give them a different character than they might have as stand-alone images.

In Sainer’s canvasses (images above, bottom four), he often takes a more refined and subtle approach (though not always).