Eye Candy for Today: Dean Cornwell untitled illustration

Dean Cornwell untitled illustration
Dean Cornwell untitled illustration (details)

This painting by the fantastic American Illustrator Dean Cornwell is in the collection of the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum doesn’t have a title or source reference for where the painting was used as an illustration (if it was published), but the painting is wonderful nonetheless.

I haven’t see the original, but I’ve taken the liberty here of brightening the image slightly, just on intuition.

I love the visual drama Cornwell has achieved with such a limited and low chroma palette. The painting is full of interesting textures and muted contrasts.

Look at the depth he has created in the successive planes of the foreground figures, the muted color and texture of he stone wall, and the even lower contrast but brighter background of the picket fence and gate.

Notice also, the strength with which the hands of all three people have been drawn and rendered.

Cornwell was a student of Harvey Dunn, who was in turn a student of the great American painter and illustrator Howard Pyle.


Dimitri Danish (update)

Dimitri Danish
Dimitri Danish

Dimitri Danish is a Ukrainian artist I first wrote about in 2013.

His compositions often feature large areas of relatively low chroma and/or low value punctuated with areas of bright, intense color. Most of his subjects are cityscapes, in particular many views of Venice, in addition to locations in Ukraine and other European countries as well as scenes of Florida in the US.

He still does not have a dedicated web presence that I can find, but his work is represented on the websites of several galleries, as well as art image sites like Tutt’ Art.

For more, see my previous post on Dimitri Danish


Eye Candy for Today: Winslow Homer watercolor & gouache

Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer
Fresh Eggs, watercolor and gouache painting by Winslow Homer

Fresh Eggs, Winslow Homer; watercolor and gouache on paper; roughly 9 x 8 inches (24 x 19 cm). Original is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable images on their site.

In this simple, unassuming study of a commonplace chore, Homer shows us the ability of art to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary, as well as demonstrating his apparently effortless command of watercolor and gouache.

The NGA provides a nicely high-resolution image (higher than in my detail crops) in which you can see his individual brush marks and the way he has mixed opaque and transparent passages with economy and flair.


The Artist’s Magazine – Imaginative Realism

The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism
The Artists magazine March-April 2022- Imaginativ Realism

The March/April issue of The Artists Magazine is devoted to imaginative painting and magical realism. The cover and lead article feature the beautiful painting by James Gurney shown in the images above, and a step-through of his process in creating it.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this particular painting in person, and it’s a strikingly beautiful example of Gurney at his best in combining the styles of the Victorian painters with modern fantasy subjects. (Imagine if you will, Lawrence Alma-Tadema painting dinosaurs!)

This is a very good issue of a good magazine. Unfortunately, the Artists Network website, for reasons that elude me, is not very effective in promoting the physical magazine. (They don’t clearly associate the cover with a list of contents and excerpts specific to that issue, and from there link to the ordering page.)

If you’re fortunate enough to have a bookstore in your area that carries a relatively wide array of magazines, you may still be able to find a copy.

You can order a physical copy here, and a digital copy here.

You can also access Gurney’s article, complete with images, online if you’re willing to give them your email address. You can link to the article from this page, and once on this page, enter your email address and you’ll have immediate access to the article.

The entire issue (and the magazine in general), are worthwhile.

James Gurney was a particularly appropriate artist to tap for this issue, given that he’s the author of an excellent book devoted to the subject: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint what Doesn’t Exist (Lines and Colors review here).


Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt pen drawing along the Amstel River

A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn, pen and brown ink drawing, with wash
A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn, pen and brown ink drawing, with wash (details)

A bend in the River Amstel near Kostverloren House, Rembrandt van Rijn; pen and brown ink with brown and grey washes, heightened with white bodycolour on oatmeal paper; roughly 5 x 10″ (14 x 25 cm). Original is in the collection of the Chatsworth Estate.

It would be easy to glance at a drawing like this — a sketch really — take it in briefly, and pass on by, on the the next, more colorful artwork. But to me, these pen and brown ink landscape drawings by Rembrandt are among my favorite works in the entire history of art.

Many of them, on more devoted looking, reveal themselves to me as transcendent and poetic.

Perhaps it’s because I can project myself into them — even better than with a more “realistic” painted view — and picture myself sitting there on the bank in the shade with my own sketchbook and pens, immersed in the day, the smell of the river, the sounds of water lapping at the boats, the gentle clop of the horses passing by, perhaps a gentle breeze waving through the sun-topped line of trees.

Just as easily, I can picture Rembrandt sitting there — a sheaf of paper in his lap, reed pen and brush in his hands with perhaps two bottles of iron gall ink at his side, one full strength, one diluted for washes — immersed in the scene and his drawing while his troubles (of which he certainly had his share) recede into the distance.

As far as can be determined, these pen, brown ink and wash drawings were created simply for Rembrant’s own benefit, either as practice, or (I think) simply for pleasure. There is no known connection identifying them as preliminary for paintings or even for any of his similarly handled etchings.

Many of these, and other Rembrandt drawings in brown ink and wash, are listed as drawings in bistre ink (made from wood-burning soot), but chemical analysis indicates that a high percentage of them may have been drawn with darker iron gall ink, usually made from oak galls, iron salts and tannic acid. I’m guessing that may be the case here.

Renbrandt’s notation is breezy, economical and seemingly effortless. Just a few gestural lines — but brilliantly sweeping, lightly touched with tone — produce a solid line of trees, a river and its bank, boats and horsemen. Their sun bathed and shade dappled textures are created almost entirely in our mind’s eye.

Because it has happened to me on occasion, I have the distinct feeling that drawings like this might have felt to Rembrandt like they were flowing directly from nature, into his eyes, and out through his pen onto the paper — while he observed. There is little feeling here of artifice or the construction of a drawing as a work of art.

You’re unlikely to see what I mean from the small image and detail crops I can present here. Go to this link and view the drawing as large in your monitor as you can to get the feeling I’m trying to convey.


Zinaida Serebriakova (revisited)

Ukrainian painter Zinaida Serebriakova
Ukrainian painter Zinaida Serebriakova

Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova (née Lanceray) was a Ukrainian painter who was active in the early 20th century. Like most Ukrainian painters of the time, she is often referred to as a Russian painter because Ukraine was under the Russian Empire at that point.

I first featured her on Lines and Colors in 2014. Though she also painted landscapes, interiors and a number of figurative subjects, she was best known for her portraits.

Even today, they look fresh and immediate, and many have the feeling of being casually unfinished. She painted her own children many times. She also painted a number of self portraits, several of which feature her children (image above, bottom).

For more images & information, see my previous post on Zinaida Serebriakova