J. Bernard Koch

J. Bernard Koch
California artist Johathan Bernard Koch studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Since then, he has apparently has had a successful career as an illustrator, with clients like The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and Rodale Books, and has been honored by the Society of Illustrators New York; but I can’t find an online portfolio of his illustration work.

What is available online, however, is Koch’s painting blog, A Small Painting. Crediting Duane Keiser, Julian Merrow-Smith and Justin Clayton with inspiring him to start, Koch posts his small paintings (and sometimes larger ones) of still life subjects and landscapes, and offers them for sale.

Unlike most painter/bloggers, Koch does not sell his paintings through auction, or even list their price on the blog, asking instead that interested parties contact him for information.

There is a page of Available Work, but it is a small fraction of the posted images. There is also an Archive page in which you can browse thumbnails, but I recommend browsing leisurely through the posted works by clicking on the left arrow, or simply clicking on the images of the paintings, to view them full size as you go.

Much of the appeal of Koch’s work is in his deft handling of texture, contrasts of rough and smooth and delicate shimmers of restrained color.

He has a more rendered style than most painters who frequently post small paintings, and he obviously posts when a painting is ready and not on a pre-determined schedule (note the absence of a frequency in the name of his blog).

His still life paintings are composed against textural or dark backgrounds, and have a feeling of Dutch master still life. Koch has a wonderful command of soft and “lost and found” edges.

Despite the fact that he often renders more smoothly than many contemporary still life painters, much of Koch’s work consists of suggestion; he hints at where the curve of an onion or the edge of a glass jar might end against a dark background, and lets your eye fill in the rest.

His landscapes likewise have a feeling of soft edges, soft light, controlled color and gentle atmospherics, frequently evoking stillness and contemplation.

4 Replies to “J. Bernard Koch”

  1. I like J. Bernard Koch’s precise use of soft and sharp edges. He really directs where he would like the eye to go

  2. Great posting. I own two of his paintings and they are little gems. I agree that they appear as Dutch Master paintings, and they do. The softness in the way he applies paint, the dim lighting effect, the tiny details have a unique quality. What truly sets him apart from his contemporaries is his color palette which is reminiscent of a master painter. The direction in which he tackles the subject matter, they are presented in a very classical approach that is not reflective of anything hyperreal of photorealism. They appear as they are painted from life, but from era of the distant past.


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