Sam Vokey

Sam Vokey
Boston based painter Sam Vokey paints still life, landscapes and portraits in a crisp, clear, realist style.

Though the surface of his paintings often looks refined, he never crosses over into the stiffness of photorealism, and maintains a painterly edge.

His palette ranges from muted to bright as the subject warrants. His still life paintings, in particular, have a wonderful quality of calm contemplation and careful observation. Vokey will often rearrange the same simple still life subjects into different, fresh compositions, playing with reflections and highlights in reflective objects.

I also admire the elegant simplicity of his handling of water in his landscapes. In those, as well as in his still life paintings, Vokey plays with value, at times choosing strong contrasts and at other times narrowing the value range to beautifully restrained effect.

On his website you will find several categories of paintings and prints, including portraits. Some of those combine elements of room interiors as well.

Vokey occasionally leads workshops, though it doesn’t look as though the page for those has been recently updated.

There are step-through demos of two still life paintings here.

[Via Jeffrey Hayes]

Becky Cloonan

Becky Cloonan
Becky Cloonan is an American comics artist and writer known for her recent unique take on Conan the Barbarian with writer Brian Wood, as well as her own self-published titles and other work for Dark Horse, Vertigo, Marvel and other publishers.

Cloonan started out self-publishing her own mini comics and then moved into more mainstream work for various publishers, but still continues to write her own titles.

She has a direct, open style, conveyed in brush and ink linework, that one might easily associate with the more personal approach of independent comics, but she has utilized it to wonderful effect in her mainstream titles.

In spite of her atmospheric and forceful work on projects like WOLVES and her take on the classic Dracula story, most people (myself included) would not have associated her relatively spare style with a title like Conan, but the result is brilliant and perfect, giving the book a streamlined storytelling power and a nice visual feel in line with European comics albums (images above, top two).

There is an 8 page preview of Conan #1 on the Dark Horse site.

Cloonan is also noted for her work on titles like Demo and American Virgin, as well as her contributions to the Flight anthologies. She has also become in demand as a cover artist.

In addition to her website and blog, she also maintains a Tumblr blog and a deviantART gallery.

Heartbreak Comics, to promote their new “graphic novel” (by which I think they mean “anthology”) has placed Cloonan’s contribution, a story titled 1989, online in its entirety (images above, third down). The story can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Cloonan has just made her newest mini comic, The Mire, available for pre-order. This is essentially a self-contained short story and a follow-up to her well received WOLVES.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith
Arizona artist Matt Smith paints en plein air in locations across the Western U.S.

Smith studied in the Fine Arts program of Arizona State University, but somewhat disenchanted with the abstract emphasis of the program, pursued independent study of American Western artists like Maynard Dixon, William Herbert Dunton, and Edgar Payne. Smith has also studied with contemporary artists Michael Lynch, James Reynolds and Clyde Aspevig.

Smith finds particular fascination in the craggy, intricate forms of wind sculpted rocks, weatherbeaten trees and other highly textural aspects of natural erosion. He approaches these with a controlled palette accented with higher chroma passages, and deft handling of light and shadow.

Smith teaches for several weeks out of the year, and conducts workshops at the Tuscon Art Academy. There is a brief video of a 2011 workshop on YouTube.

He also offers three location painting DVD’s on his site.

Royalists to Romantics

Painting as Paris Burned: Constance Mayer, Antoinette Cecile Hortense, Adrienne Marie Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, Rose Adelaide Ducreux, Adelaide Labille-Guiard

Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections is an exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC that offers a chance to view paintings from European collections by women artist who were active from 1750 to 1850.

Unfortunately, the museum’s website doesn’t feature a preview, but Salon has both a review and preview slideshow. The artists bear further investigation should you care to research them on the internet (particularly Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun and Constance Mayer, two favorites of mine that I have not yet featured on Lines and Colors).

Royalists to Romantics is on display until July 29, 2012. There is a catalog accompanying the exhibition.

(Images above: Constance Mayer, Antoinette Cécile Hortense, Adrienne Marie Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, Rose Adélaïde Ducreux, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard)