Joseph Kleitsch

Like many of the painters associated with “California Impressionism” in the early part of the 20th Century, Joseph Kleitsch came from outside California, in his case originally form Hungary.

Kleitsch came to the U.S. in 1901, settled in Ohio and eventually Kansas, Mexico City and Chicago before finding his way to Laguna Beach California in 1920. Along the way he became a well established portrait painter, and received high praise for his portraits and interior scenes.

During his time in California he developed a bright, high-chroma style rich with painterly flourish and broken color. In the mid-1920s, Kleitsch traveled to Europe for two years, on his return bringing expressionist colors and distortions into his work.

Sistine Chapel Panorama

Sistine Chapel Panorama, Michelangelo
When I was in Rome a few years ago two things were at the top of my “must see” list. One was the Galleria Borghese and its wonderful collection (see my posts on Titian and Bernini), the other was the Vatican Museum and, in particular, the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s stunning frescos.

Following the advice of a guidebook we arrived at the Vatican early and worked through the museum quickly, not pausing to linger over the other works (not easy to do), and got to the chapel before it filled up with its usual shoulder to shoulder carpet of bent neck tourists. By being among the first to arrive in the chapel we were able to walk around the space freely, viewing perhaps the most astonishingly adorned interior space in the world at our leisure.

(We then got back in line and went through the museum again, a process with which my companions were less than pleased. The museum is arranged in a kind of single file, one way march through the rooms, almost like a Disney attraction, and is not conducive to wandering freely.)

Even viewing the Sistine Chapel without the crowds has its limitations, though; the bent-neck viewing angle is only comfortable for a short time, and management doesn’t encourage you to bring in chaise lounges and binoculars.

For the next best thing to that experience, you can visit the Vatican’s “Virtual Visit of the Sistine Chapel“, a VR interactive that drops you into the middle of the chapel (empty of visitors), and allows you to pan around, and of course up, thorugh the entire space, and zoom in on any section.

While this may not be the best way to view individual elements (for that, visit the Web Gallery of Art, and their section on the ceiling frescoes), it’s a fascinating way to get a feeling for the space and the relative size of the images on the ceiling and walls.

As I did when actually there, I focused on the prophets and sibyls, which I think are some of the most beautiful of Michelangelo’s painted figures; in particular the Libyan Sibyl, above, for which his preparatory drawings are absolutely beautiful, and among my favorites in the history of art.

When viewing the panorama (which is in Flash), you may find it helpful to try the two different modes of motion provided by the “Change Mouse Mode” Button (the “M” next to the plus and minus at lower left).

Unfortunately, I found the rest of the Sistine Chapel section of the Vatican Museum’s online collections less rewarding, and difficult to navigate (despite the hand of God pointing to the top level navigation elements).

[Via Jason Kottke]

Michele Harvey

Michele Harvey
Michele Harvey is a painter who spends at least part of her time in a studio in upstate New York.

Her paintings of the area are large in scale, rich in detail and texture and often have an air of quiet mystery. Trunks or crowns of trees, sharply focused in the foreground, frequently are set against backgrounds in which more distant parts of the landscape gradually dissolve into mist or fog, inviting the viewer to step forward into the image in search of more visual treasures to be revealed.

In some ways the two images I’ve chosen to show here are atypical, but I happened to find them particularly compelling.

Harvey also does severely horizontal landscapes with broader views, as well as a series of triptychs. The latter sometimes are of three directly related images, but often have a central image flanked by two images closely related to each other, but different in composition and tone from the central image. In those there is still a relationship between the center and side images, perhaps suggesting that they are different views from the same spot, or just scenes from the same area on the same day.

The fact that they prompt questions is part of the appeal of Harvey’s paintings. Even in those in which the focus is sharp and the color brighter, there are suggestions of questions to be answered and mysteries to be explored, if only one could step into the painting and walk down the offered path.

Harvey’s work is currently on exhibit in the area where may of her pieces are set, near Cooperstown, New York.

The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown is showing Watermark: Michelle Harvey & Glimmerglass from now until December 31, 2010.

Glimmerglass is a state park in the area, and is on the banks of Ostego Lake, which was the “Glimmerglass” in James Fenimore Cooper’s series of novels, Leatherstocking Tales.

Taylor Jones

Taylor Jones
Taylor Jones is a caricaturist, illustrator and political cartoonist who is a regular contributor to EL Nuevo Dia, a newspaper based in Guaynbo, Puerto Rico.

He has adopted a nicely traditional cross-hatch pen and ink drawing style (like David Levine, looking back to the pen and ink illustrators of the late 19th Century) that he wields with aplomb while portraying and often skewering popular political and entertainment figures of the day.

He often produces color versions of his drawings which he accents with judicious touches of watercolor, enough to enliven the image while still leaving the appealing characteristics of the pen and ink drawing.

Jones’ web site has a modest gallery of his work, as well as a home page image that is replaced, according to him, “…daily, weekly, or whenever I feel like it”. You can find more of his work on Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonists Index (see my post on Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonist Index). It’s not as obvious as it should be, but down amid the icons and stuff under the image are arrows for browsing through recent cartoons, as well as a drop-down menu for selecting a particular date.

In addition there is a selection of his illustrations on the site.

You can also go to the “Search For a Cartoon” page and search for Taylor Jones, for access to dozens of his cartoons (offered in both color and black and white versions).

Jones maintains his blog on the site. The blog covers a variety of topics, and the posts are always accompanied by one or more of his cartoon illustrations.

Karin Jurick (update)

Karin Jurick
When I first noticed Atlanta based artist Karin Jurick, it was from her early participation in the “painting a day” discipline back in early 2006, a then still-young practice among perhaps a dozen or so serious painter/bloggers.

I then wrote a dedicated article about her work, noting my admiration for her direct, painterly approach, and a particular fondness for her series of paintings of museum goers in front of various works.

Recently, I’ve posted about her side project of hosting a group painting blog, Different Strokes From Different Folks (also here and here), in which she periodically provides a painting challenge for numerous artists who paint the same photographic subject, and can then compare their work with the approach of others who take on the same subject.

In the time since I first wrote about her work, her own painting practice has evolved, as she has reaped the rewards of frequent painting, refining her approach and becoming more confident in her command of color, value and edges.

She has also shifted her focus away from small daily paintings somewhat as she becomes more in demand as a gallery painter and devotes more time to preparing for gallery shows.

A new show featuring her work has just opened tonight (I’m remiss in not getting this post up soon enough to make more people aware of the opening) at the Morris & Whiteside Galleries in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is a three person show that Jurick shares with California Painter Ken Auster (who I recently profiled) and sculptor Jane Decker.

The opportunity to have her work in a show with Auster was particularly pleasing to Jurick, who cites Auster an influence before she even started painting, inspiring her to strive for that loose, impressionistic feeling that is the foundation of her approach.

As is evident from the works she has prepared for the show, Jurick has found a depth of interest in her continuing series of paintings of museum patrons viewing art, a subject that also allows her to do brief notational versions of great paintings, like Carravagio’s Supper at Emmaus, which was recently on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago from the National Gallery in London (image above, top), as well as paintings from the Art Institute’s own collection like Franz Kline’s Painting (second down) and one of the Art Institute’s most popular works, Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte.

Her other series for this show concentrates on beach scenes, in which she also observes those who are oblivious to being observed and lets the sea and sky serve as the “artworks” that capture their attention.

Jurick has not only refined her painting technique over the years, but also her compositions, which have become more strongly geometric and graphically bold, while still retaining a warmth and sense of place (even in gallery scenes in which the observed work is less than warm).

In preparation for this show, she found it necessary to beg off from providing a subject for the Different Strokes blog for a while, urging participants to find their own subjects in the interim; only to be surprised some weeks later to find that they (119 of them) had organized and chosen to all do portraits of her as a thank you for the inspiration she has been providing for them (unfortunately the Picassa Gallery of those paintings is not available at the moment).

Jurick’s web site has a selection of available works, current works that are “Still Wet”, sketches and studies, videos, mentions of her work in various art publications and an archive of past works in which you can see her past paintings in a variety of genres.

On her blog, A Painting Today, you’ll find her small paintings, which you can still sometimes bid on through her store on eBay, and posts about her larger paintings, sometimes with detail crops (as in the details at bottom, above from the two paintings above them) and discussion of technique.

Painter Jeffrey Hayes, who I’ve written about before, featured Jurick as one of his Guest Artists, along with a short interview.

Jurick remains a favorite, whose work I follow often, and though I miss some of the older subjects that she has moved away from, like her warmly lit room interiors, I look forward to wherever her constant study and continual painting practice take her.

Scott Brundage

Scott Brundage applies his delightfully cartoony watercolor illustration style to editorial illustrations for clients like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Southern Living Magazine, The Artist’s Magazine and many others.

In addition to the cartoonlike visual approach, his illustrations often have a cartoonlike twist, or humorous variation on a common scene. This is often applied to his “Rollover” illustrations, web-specific illustrations in which mousing over the image reveals an alternate version of the scene (sometimes shown as an animated sequence).

Many of the latter have been done for where he is a regular contributor (never too early to stock up on your Cthulhu Christmas Cards!). The Tor site also has a gallery of his work.

Brundage began his career while still a student at the University of the Arts here in Philadelphia, with the winning design for a children’s helmet contest, which was put into production by Bell Helmets. He is originally from Connecticut and now lives in New York City.

In addition to his web site, Brundage keeps a blog where you can see work in progress and other pieces not yet included in the galleries, like the image above, for a Valentine’s Day Rollover, in which he has playfully recast a scene styled after Fragonard’s Rococo garden dalliances into a chase from The Wizard of Oz.