James Freeman

James Freeman
Pennsylvania artist James Freeman describes his work as “Magic Realist oil paintings, a combination of landscape and still life”.

Freeeman’s fascinating, often complex, compositions consist primarily of plant forms — though they often incorporate man-made objects — in which the context of our view of plants is shifted by his selection of point of view, size and arrangement of elements.

The results are a series of often other-worldly scenes in which we, as viewers, are often reduced in size and intimately close to the convoluted arrangements of forms. Freeman deftly uses color and texture to separate his hidden little worlds into planes of distance and focus.

Freeman’s website has galleries of large and small oils, along with a selection of drawings that show the careful observation of natural forms on which his more imaginative work is founded.

Freeman also maintains a blog on which you can find additional images, works in progress, process sequences and more. He has also published a Blurb book collecting images of some of his work.

[Via Artist a Day]


18th century paintings meet Google Street View

18th century paintings meet Google Street View
A reditt and imgur user who lives in London and goes by the handle “shystone” has posted two series of photomontages in which 18th century pantings are superimposed over Google Street View images of the same scene, creating in each a sort of artistic portal into the past.

One set is of London, with paintings by various artists, the other is of Canaletto’s views of Venice (see my Lines and Colors post on Canaletto).

Shystone is apparently knowledgeable about both art history and the cities involved, and gives a bit of background on each superimposition, allowing you to follow up and research the painting if you wish. The images, if clicked on or dragged to the desktop, are large enough to get a view of the paintings, which look small in my captures above.

[Via The Guardian]


Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter

Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter
Aficionados of the genre, and I certainly count myself one, will sometimes refer to a triumvirate of painters as “Masters of the Loaded Brush”: John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida and Anders Zorn. (See my posts here on Lines and Colors on John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla.)

This is a group that should be the definition when you look up the word “painterly”.

Of the three, Zorn is unjustly much less well known than Sargent and Sorolla (and to their number I would add the also unfairly discounted American painter Cecilia Beaux, but that’s another story).

Zorn is well known in his native country, and though highly regarded in 19th century European society as a portrait artist who rivaled, and competed with, Sargent, he has not been as well known to the world in general over the past century.

Of late, his star has risen, much as Sargent’s has in the last 20 years or so, and more attention is being paid to Zorn’s painterly mastery of portrait and figurative subjects.

Recently, in particular, there have been notable shows of Zorn’s work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2013, and in an exhibition titled Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter, organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where it recently ended its run at the Legion of Honor, that is now on view at the National Academy Museum in New York.

Zorn was also a superb watercolorist and a master etcher, perhaps my third favorite after Rembrandt and Whistler. The retrospective now at the National Academy features over 90 works and will be on view until May 18, 2014.

An exhibition catalog has been published: Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter. There is a review by James Gurney on his always superb blog, Gurney Journey, where you can also find an article on the fascinating topic of the “Zorn palette“.

The smattering of examples here don’t begin to do justice to the depth of Zorn’s oeuvre, I will try to follow up with a more general post on Zorn with additional images and resources. See also my previous Lines and Colors post on Anders Zorn.

It is worth noting that the images previewed on the National Academy website open somewhat enlarged in a pop-up when clicked on. Though there is no mechanism to zoom, if you drag the images to your desktop, you will find that they are high-resolution, allowing you to marvel at Zorn’s wonderful brushwork.

[Thanks to Eric Kelly for the reminder.]


Eye Candy for Today: Bruegel’s Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Bruegel’s depiction of the Biblical story of the attempt to build a tower to the heavens is a remarkable evocation of scale and a stunning tour de force of perspective and detail.

Bruegel has placed his tower, as it spirals upward, against the backdrop of a contemporary Flemish town, populated it with workmen, modern (for Bruegel) hoists and other machinery, and arrayed ships and wagons at its base. It is set into the landscape with enormous weight and authority, and already seems to be sinking under the force of its own hubris.

This is the largest of three paintings of the subject by Bruegel. The original is nearly 4 feet by 5 feet (114x155cm) and is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The link above is to a zoomable image on the Google Art Project. There is a downloadable version of the same file on Wikipedia, but be aware that the linked high-resolution file is over 200mb!

There is also a description and history of the painting on Wikipedia, as well as on the Google Art Project.


James Tennison

James Tennison
James Tennison is a painter and portrait artist based in Fort Worth, Texas.

In his gallery work, Tennison seems equally adept with watercolor and oil, carrying through his fascination with light and shadow in both mediums. I find particular appeal in those compositions in which Tennnison’s landscapes appear washed in sunlight at angles late in the day.

His website has galleries of oil and watercolor, as well a selection of portraits. In addition, Tennison maintains a blog, which is a treasure of works in progress or early stages, bits of process, and comments on other artists he admires, foremost of which are John Singer Sargent and Joquin Sorolla.

You can also find a series of time-compressed videos of the making of several of Tennison’s paintings on Vimeo. Unlike the hyperkinetic brush flipping of some time-lapse painting videos, these are done with simple, graceful fades between stages of the painting.