The Color Wheel on Gurney Journey

The Color Wheel on Gurney Journey, James Gurney
Painter and illustrator James Gurney, who I recently profiled here, is currently writing a series of fascinating posts on his blog, Gurney Journey, about The Color Wheel.

In them he is exploring questions that are not raised often enough, including questioning the concept of exactly what is a primary color, and how might primary colors be interpreted differently; not just in different color spaces, additive and subtractive, but even within the familiar paradigms of modern color theory and practice.

The colors that are considered primaries, as he points out, are not set in stone.

The series, of which there are three installments to date, is likely part of the material Gurney is producing for his upcoming book, Color & Light.

I don’t know how many posts there will be in this series, but you may find that it encourages you to think about color and color mixing a little differently.

(You may find it useful to supplement your reading with my post on the History of the Color Wheel.)

Artist Monograms and Signatures

Artist Monograms and Signatures
An important but often overlooked aspect of creating a finished painting or drawing is the application of a signature by the artist.

Simultaneously claiming authorship and declaring the work finished, signatures are a source of pride to some artists, and a necessary chore to others.

Prized by collectors, to whom attribution is often more important than the actual character of the work when considering art as a commodity, signatures are both boon and bane to those who must establish attribution of historical works, and have to deal with illegible, confusing and often forged signatures and marks.

Throughout history artists have signed their work in any number of ways, often with cryptic marks or monograms, as much a design element as a recognizable mark of the artist’s name.

I’m often admired the monograms of artists like Albrecht Durer (above, bottom left) and Howard Pyle (bottom right), which seem “right” and are pleasing designs in themselves.

There is a nice feature on the ArtArchive on Artist Monograms, and Artist Signatures (I’ve had to pop these out of context to link to them because the site is in frames for some unknown reason.)

Viewing is slightly awkward, in that the marks and signatures are arranged on sheets in groups, on a separate page from the list of names, and associated by number. Click on the linked name ranges to open the pages with the graphics (maybe use the contextual menu in your browser to open them in a separate window so you can have them side by side).

The images at top show a page monograms and one of signatures from the ArtArchive site.

There is also another site devoted to Artist Signatures that is mostly of interest to serious collectors who are willing to pay a fee for full access. For casual browsers, the signatures section is pointless, but the monograms section can be browsed by first letter just to see some of the variety (particularly if you’re trying to design your own artist’s monogram). Listings of the artist name associated with the monograms, however, are behind the paywall.

The Artist Signatures site is by John Castagno, author of several of the most widely recognized authoritative books on the subject, beginning with Artists’ Monograms and Indiscernible Signatures, and continuing with a series (all of which are on the expensive side, but presumably valuable for collectors and dealers).

Stephen Scott Young

Stephen Scott Young
Stephen Scott Young is a renowned contemporary watercolorist and etcher whose works are in major collections and museums.

Young was born in Hawaii, moved to Florida with his family at the age of 14, and studied printmaking at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. His watercolor technique, which frequently makes use of drybrush, is self-taught, and based on his admiration for artists like Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth and Thomas Eakins.

Young lives part time in Florida and part time in the Bahama Islands, where he finds subjects for many of his well known paintings of children. This was also a place where Homer came to paint, and Young has even done compositions that are essentially recreations of Homer paintings.

Whether at play, moody and contemplative, or even formally posed, his images of children seem to see past the surface into a moment in their lives.

The refined technique and precise draftsmanship applied to his subjects are often set off against loosely suggested backgrounds, rendered together in a muted palette with accents of brighter color.

Young also works in etching, drypoint and silverpoint drawing.

[Via Artist Daily]

Ivan Bilibin (update)

Ivan Bilibin
From time to time, I like to check back on artists I’ve written about a few years ago and see what new resources for their work have appeared on the constantly expanding internet since I last wrote about them.

I took a look this morning at sources for Ivan Bilibin, a terrific Russian illustrator that I discovered by accident while walking through the Metropolitan Museum of art in 2006.

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin was active during a period generally known as the Golden Age of Illustration, roughly contemporary with great English and European illustrators like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Neilsen, Gustav Tenggren, John Bauer and Walter Crane.

With the possible exception of Crane and Russian Illustrator Gennady Spirin, Bilibin’s influences seem to have come more from Russian folk art than from other illustrators; along with elements from Art Nouveau and Renaissance art.

I was delighted to find that there are indeed new resources for Bilibin’s art since I last wrote about him, including multi-image galleries on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia and Cascadia Graphics.

They include not only more images of his colorful illustrations, but, as in the image above, middle, examples of some of his designs for stage sets (also here and here).

There is at least one collection of stories with Bilibin’s illustrations in print and readily available, Russian Fairy Tales (Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics). You may be able to find others used.

Henri Le Sidaner

French painter and pastel artist Henri Le Sidaner (Eugéne Augustin) began academic training at the l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, briefly studying under Alexandre Cabanel, but soon rejected that pursuit in favor a fascination with the paths into broken color and light being blazed by the Impressionists.

Le Sidaner is best known as an Intimist painter. Intimism is one of the less familiar of the “isms”, whose primary proponents were Pierre Bonnard and édouard Vulliard. Other practitioners include Edmond Aman-Jean.

It was essentially a form of genre painting that in some ways bridged Post-Impressionism and Symbolism, borrowing the broken color and flurry of almost Pointillist brushstrokes from the former, and the emotional content from the latter.

The name refers to the frequent subjects of quiet room interiors, intimate garden scenes and small views of landscape. Le Sidaner often portrayed table settings in gardens, soft nocturnes, and almost tonalist scenes of canals and waterways.

Unlike the Impressionists, who sought to portray light with fidelity to nature, La Sidaner and the other Intimists put their intense strokes of color in service of the emotion or mood with which they wished to infuse the scene.

Ruth Sanderson

Ruth Sanderson
Ruth Sanderson is an illustrator with a long career of creating illustrations for children’s books, fairy tales and fantasy. Her book illustrations have garnered multiple awards, including her own original fairy tale, The Enchanted Wood.

She cites as her influences American illustrators like Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell, along with the English Pre-Raphaelite painters and the landscape artists of the Hudson River School.

Landscape plays an important role in her storybook themed paintings, with lavishly forested settings filled with detailed flora as a backdrop for fairies, knights, princesses and Mother Goose characters.

In addition to galleries of illustrations in various categories, her web site has a cover gallery of books she has illustrated, arranged by years, and a page of step-by-step process for several of her paintings.