BP Portrait Award 2011, NPG, London

BP Portrait Award 2011, NPG, London: Tim Okamura, Agita Keiri, Wlm Heldena, Alan Coulson, Istvan Nayari, Louise Pragnell, Joe Simpson, Raoof Haghighi, Nathan Ford, JJ (Jeremy) Delvine, Shona Chew, Barbara Skingle, Daniel van Doom, Jan Mikula
The images are frustratingly small and inconveniently presented, but the variety of approach among the exhibitors in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London is wonderful.

You can always take the artist’s names to Google to search for more of their work.

The exhibition is on view to 18 September, 2011 at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

(Images above: Tim Okamura, Agita Keiri, Wlm Heldena, Alan Coulson, Istvan Nyari, Louise Pragnell, Joe Simpson, Raoof Haghighi, Nathan Ford, JJ (Jeremy) Delvine, Shona Chew, Barbara Skingle, Cayetano de Arquer Buigas, Daniel van Doom, Jan Mikula)

[Suggestion courtesy of Daniel van Benthuysen]


Ken Auster: Intellect and Passion

Ken Auster Intellect and Passion
In my previous post about Ken Auster, a well known California painter of plein air landscapes, cityscapes, surfing scenes and restaurant interiors, I pointed out my disappointment in the frustratingly small images on his website.

In particular, I found it unfortunate because the small images don’t convey the wonderful painterly brushwork and textural qualities that I think are the most appealing aspects of his work, and I pointed readers to the larger reproductions on the sites of galleries in which he is represented, New Masters Gallery and Jones & Terwilliger Galleries.

The good news is that Auster has now collected 68 of his paintings in a new 60 page book titled Intellect and Passion.

There is a mini-website for the book that features a 14 page preview. If you mouse over the “Layout” icon in the row of icons above the preview area, and choose “Presentation View” in the drop-down, and then click on “Fullscreen”, you’ll be rewarded with pages from the book that show several of his paintings much larger than elsewhere, and you’ll begin to get a feeling for the expressive brush marks, textural surface and vibrant color that make his paintings shine.

You can also preview the book on issuu in a number of modes, including a single scrolling page.

Of course, the best way to see these images (short of seeing the originals, of course) is in print in the actual pages of the new book. The book is very nicely produced, in a wide format (12″ x 8″), and every page resonates with that vibrant, textural brushwork that I find so appealing in Auster’s work.

Ken Auster Intellect and Passion is available, signed by the author, for $35.00 USD. Contact him via email at inquiries[at]kenauster.com.


David Johnson

David Johnson
Illustrator David Johnson speaks in line.

Wonderful contrasts of line, textural hatching, spotted blacks and occasionally color enliven his illustrations and incisive portraits.

His compositions reveal a conscious arrangement of areas of the drawing as shapes — pictorial elements. Faces and figures, as well as background objects, are artfully arranged, and his layouts incorporate a keen awareness of negative space.

Johnson has done work for the New York Times Book Review, CBS Records, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal and National Geographic, among others. He has also illustrated a number of books, and has received a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York.

I particularly admire his portraits, often of historic figures, which project a lively feeling of personality and character.

You can find a gallery of his work on the site of his artists’ representative, Richard Solomon, which also features a bio. In addition, there is a brief description of his working process, using the drawing above, top, as an example. There is also a downloadable PDF portfolio.

You can find additional galleries of his work on Workbook and Altpick.


Chester Dale Collection on About.com

Chester Dale Collection on About.com: William Merritt Chase, Jean-Baptiste-Camile Corot, Claude Monet, Henri Fantin-Latour
Last March I wrote about a show called From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection that was on view at the time at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The NGA’s page for the exhibit offered a slideshow of 24
images and a PDF of the exhibition brochure, though neither were as satisfying in displaying the works as one might hope.

Though the exhibition is long over, I recently stumbled across an article on the exhibition on About.com, not usually a site I think of as a destination for art images.

I may have to re-think that assessment as the article is accompanied by an 84 image gallery of works, which you can view as thumbnails on the article page (note “Next >” link at bottom for more thumbnails), or by starting with the first image and clicking through.

The images on the individual pages are linked to much larger versions. Though not quite high resolution by the standards of some web images these days, they are large enough to be quite satisfying. I’ve tried to show the relative scale with the detail crop of each of the images above.

(Image pairs above: William Merritt Chase, Jean-Baptiste-Camile Corot, Claude Monet, Henri Fantin-Latour)


Gobelins Students Animations for Annecy 2011

Gobelins Students Animations for Annecy 2011
Each year students from the graduating class of the remarkable Gobelins, l’école de l’image (Goeblins School of Communications) in Paris are divided into teams that create short animations to be used as introductions to each day’s events at the Annecy International Festival of Animation.

Each year in their minute to minute and a half segments full of wit, style, delightful drawing, remarkable timing and fervent imagination, they reaffirm my confidence in the future of hand drawn animation.

My favorites this year are Oh Gee, Oh Why (above, third down), looking like a cross between Fantasia and Yellow Submarine, and Lights Out (fourth down), a film noir tussle between light and dark.

(Titles for images above [see individual videos for team credits]: Jazzin; Grand Central; Oh Gee, Oh Why; Lights Out; Hello Brooklyn)