Another quick magazine mention. Anna Richards Brewster, an under-sung American painter who I profiled recently, is featured in a 10-page article in the October, 2008 Issue of American Art Review.
As I mentioned in my previous article on Dean Cornwell, he was a second generation inheritor of the traditions of the Brandywine School of American illustration, having studied with Harvey Dunn, a student of Howard Pyle.
Cornwell’s other major influence was painter and muralist Frank Brangwyn, with whom he studied when he turned his career toward mural painting.
Cornwell’s vivid, muscular murals and dramatic, painterly magazine illustrations earned him the appellation “Dean of Illustrators’.
The new issue of Illustration Magazine has an extensive and (I love this phrase) lavishly illustrated article on Cornwell; that plays a much needed role in filling in for the books on Cornwell that should be, but aren’t, in print; notably Dean Cornwell: Dean of Illustrators by Patricia Janis Broder.
The article features a wide range of Cornwell’s work, including editorial illustrations, posters and pubic service ads for War Bonds, and some of his major mural work, including the famous murals in New York that I mentioned in my other post (images above), and a series for the Los Angeles Central Library, both of which were the subject of controversy.
Jim Winstead, on his blog trainedMonkey, relates how Cornwell was so desperate to win the competition for the latter commission that he entered the contest three times, twice under assumed names; and came in first under the submission for his own name, and second and third for the submissions under his two assumed names.
The Illustration Magazine article also includes some of Cornwell’s detailed and beautifully realized preliminary drawings, which were reputedly were the main reason, along with his limited palette and pre-mixing of colors, that he could sometimes execute a finished illustration in a little as three or four hours.
[Link and notice about the issue via Gurney Journey]
The classic story of Hansel and Gretel informed us of the alarming eating habits of witches, who love to lure children into their gingerbread houses, fatten them up with sweets, snap them into the oven and cook them right up. Yum.
How unsophisticated, though, and how simply old fashioned by today’s standards of cooking shows and recipe books; and how delightful then, to have a modern take on the gruesome eating habits of pointy hatted, children eating witches that writer Martin Howard and artist Colin Stimpson have cooked up as How to Cook Children: A Grisly Recipe Book, a funny and refreshingly politically incorrect update on the idea.
It is indeed a grisly recipe book, and the recipes include such delicacies as “Cajun Cherub Gumbo”, “Barbied Shrimps” and “Deepfried Small Fry with Fries”, each elucidated by a guest witch/chef with a particular speciality for cooking up the little darlings.
The real pleasure here, though, is in Stimpson’s snappy, witty, and charmingly gruesome illustrations.
I wrote about Colin Stimpson last Summer. In addition to his illustration work, he has been a concept and color guide artist on a number of animated feature films for Walt Disney Studios, as well as serving as Art Director for The Emperor’s New Groove.
He brings some of the lively style, springy line and artful exaggeration common to animation and concept art to his gleeful portrayals of our witchy chefs and their dastardly cookery.
The book is available in the UK through Pickabook and Amazon.co.uk, but unfortunately not through Amazon.com here in the the U.S. (at least not yet, Stimpson was kind enough to send me a review copy).
The Amazon UK site does have a few images, but small ones; and except for the home page of his site, Stimpson’s online portfolio doesn’t include work from the new book yet.
Fortunately, concept artist and blogger John Nevarez (see my 2005 post on John Nevarez) has posted 12 beautiful images, linked to high-resolution versions, in three posts on his blog, here, here and here.
The practice of painting outdoors (or en plein air, see my recent post on pochade boxes), spread from France, where it first came into wide practice, to other parts of Europe, America, and other parts of the world, largely through the impact the French painters had on artists from other countries who came to the artistic centers of Europe to study.
Arthur Streeton was an Australian artist who, along with a small group of contemporaries, brought the practice, and the influence of the French Impressionists, to his homeland.
Largely self-taught as a young man, he became particularly impressed by what he read and saw in photographs of the works of the Barbizon School of French painters, particularly Corot, and later became influenced by the Impressionists, who inherited the practice from their Barbizon mentors.
Streeton’s formal study was at the National Gallery of Victoria School, and he went on plein air painting trips on the areas surrounding Melbourne. He joined groups of like-minded artists working in artist camps in Box Hill and Heidleberg (Victoria).
Along with Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin, he participated in the first show of Impressionist influenced works in Australia. The show was called the “9 by 5 Impression Exhibition” and consisted largely of plein air paintings on cigar box lids of that size (image above, bottom).
Like the American Impressionists, the Australian painters were not so much devotees of Impressionist theory, as simply painters who adopted what they liked from the Impressionist approach into their own unique style.
Streeton moved to London, after passing through Cairo, where he painted for five months, and then Naples. He moved back to Australia, then back to England; and then traveled Europe, including a notable stint of painting in Venice. Back to Australia again and then back to England, where he joined the British Army medical Corps in the course of the First World War.
He eventually returned to Australia and became one of the most notable and successful of Australian artists.
His bright, fresh color and lively brushwork are evident in both his cigar box sketches and his larger finished work.
Hayao Miyazaki, arguably the foremost director of anime (Japanese animation), has long been concerned with issues of the conservation of the natural world. It is evident in his work, in films that deal directly with the subject, like Princess Mononoke, and as a pervasive theme through all of his films, though the subject is never handled in a simplistic, heavy handed or preaching manner.
Miyazaki has also been active in real-world preservation efforts, in particular the ongoing effort to preserve Sayama Forest, a large urban park just outside the limits of Tokyo that served as the inspiration for my favorite of his films, My Neighbor Totoro (see my post on Hayao Miyazaki).
Economic and population pressures from one of the world’s most populous cities is putting increasing pressure on the forest, as is happening to forests worldwide.
In what is partly a direct effort to save this particular forest, partly an effort to set an example and send a message about not squandering our natural treasures worldwide, and partly an acknowledgement by artists of their admiration for Miyazaki and his accomplishments, a number of artists, including Daisuki “Dice” Tsutsumi, Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie Del Carmen and many others from Pixar Animation Studios, are participating in a benefit auction of artworks to benefit the “Totoro No Furusato National Fund”, a non-profit that is working to preserve the forest.
The forest itself has become associated with Miyazaki and his character Totoro, who is a kind of forest spirit, and the project is called the Totoro Forest Project.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that Eric Orchard was kind enough to let me know about this well in advance, I got the dates wrong and I’m late in telling you about it. The online auction ended yesterday. I apologize for the late notice; I thought the online auction began today, but today (September 6, 2008) is actually the date for the live auction event at Pixar Studios.
You can still browse the gallery of works on the site, and make a direct contribution to the preservation effort, or purchase the book of art from the project, the proceeds of which also go to the non-profit. (The site isn’t clear about how to purchase the book yet, but says it will be available today.)
A selected group of the works will be featured in a special exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco from September 20th to December 7th, 2008.
About 200 artists participated, including many I’ve featured here on Lines and Colors, such as Erik Tiemens, James Jean, Ian McCaig, Khang Le, Kazu Kibuishi, Kevin Dart, Peter de Seve, Neil Campbell Ross, Manuel Arenas, Chris Appelhans, Chris Turnham, Christian Alzmann, Bobby Chiu, William Joyce, Tadahiro Uesugi, Shino Arihara, Sam Weber and many others.
(Image above: Katsuya Terada, Jackson Sze, Charles Vess, Hermann Meija)
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where I had the privilege of studying as a painting major, is the oldest art school in the United States. Modeled after the academic schools of Europe, it has a long tradition of training American artists and a correspondingly long history of collecting American art for its associated museum.
The school and museum share a web site, which has just been completely redesigned and rearranged, and it is now much easier to browse the museum’s extraordinary collection. The collection is particularly rich in beautiful 19th Century paintings.
You can search for individual artists, view their paintings, sculpture or works on paper separately, or view all works together. You can also simply browse the collection as a whole by the same criteria, a delightful exercise that will lead you to unexpected treasures. In addition you can browse by artist, medium or period.
My one complaint (as usual) is the size of the images. There are larger versions associated with most of the works, and though adequate for getting a feeling for the work, still much smaller than they need to be for real appreciation. Hopefully that will be supplemented with additional images or some kind of image zooming feature in the future.
In the meanwhile, once you find a piece you like, you can search the web for additional images or information on that artist (here’s a great new visual search engine, SearchMe, that has an interface like the Mac “Cover Flow” system used on their new OS and on the iPhone/iPod Touch, and makes visual browsing more efficient).
Even better, of course, if you have the option, is to visit the Academy here in Philadelphia, where they always have a superb selection form the permanent collection on display in the beautiful Furness building.