William Trost Richards small watercolors at PAFA

A Mine of Beauty: William Trost Richards small watercolors at PAFA
American painter William Trost Richards, known for his seascapes and landscapes, was also a fantastic watercolorist. While traveling abroad in the late 19th century, he sent a series of small watercolors of his travels back to a patron, George Whitney, who was sponsoring his travels and looking to review scenes for possible larger commissions in oil.

Richards and Whitney called them “coupons”, a joking reference to the idea that they were a kind of promissory note against future work that Richards would do in return for Whitney’s support of his travels. They were somehow largely kept together after Whitney’s death, and in 2012 the collector in possession of them, Dorrance Hamilton, donated them to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

The watercolors were put on display in 2012 (my review here), but, like most works on paper, they are not ordinarily on view.

There is another rare chance to see them now, as the Academy has an “Encore” showing of them. If you can go, get there early enough to let your eyes acclimate to the dimmed light in the gallery. They are in the Furness building with the permanent collection.

These watercolors are astonishingly beautiful, and only slightly more amazing given their small size — most are roughly the size of a postcard. Many were painted in England, along the coast and in London.

For those who can’t get to the show, or would like a preview, you can view them online on PAFA’s website. There isn’t an online gallery specifically for them, but you can go to the Search the Collection page and enter “Richards” for the artist’s last name and “watercolor” for the keyword. That will turn up a few other of Richard’s watercolors, but most will be from this set.

Hopefully, this link will work for you.

Encore Presentation Of A Mine Of Beauty: Landscapes By William Trost Richards will be on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia until July 30, 2017.

For more, see my post from 2012 on A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards.

There is a nicely done book of the collection, A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards, that reproduces these small paintings pretty much at their original size.


Gurney Journey at 10

James Gurney's Gurney Journey art blog at 10
Congratulations to James Gurney for 10 years of authoring his superb blog, Gurney Journey.

What started as a modest intention to chronicle his travels on a book tour — in a way mirroring the journaled adventures of the character Authur Denison in Gurney’s popular illustrated adventure series, Dinotopia — has grown over time into not only a superb blog among art blogs, but one of the most in-depth and useful sources of art information and instruction on the web.

Gurney has been unstintingly generous in sharing his experience as an illustrator, author, plein air painter, instructor, model maker, videographer, and restless experimenter and investigator of artistic topics.

Over the course of time his posts on painting techniques, equipment, paints, color theory, drawing, and related topics have been turned into instructional books, YouTube videos, and most recently, a series of full-length instruction art videos.

Gurney has been a proponent of misunderstood and often overlooked painting mediums like gouache and casein, and Gurney Journey remains one of the definitive sources on the web for information and instruction in their use.

Long time readers of Lines and Colors will know I’ve long enjoyed Gurney Journey and recommended it often, along with Gurney’s other projects.

For those who may be new to Gurney Journey, I will recommend that you take a look at the post he did in 2016 on the landmark of 4,000 posts. In it he links to a quick overview of some of the most prominent topics. You can also explore using the list of topics in the blog’s left column, or the search feature at the upper left of all pages.

If you take the plunge, I will issue my Timesink Warning, and point out that I fell down that rabbit hole myself for a couple of hours while preparing this post, bookmarking along the way numerous articles I had forgotten about for future reference.


Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt pen drawing of cottage and fence

Cottage with White Paling among Trees, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, ink and wash
Cottage with White Paling among Trees, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

Drawing in quill and reed pen in brown ink with brown wash and touches of opaque white and gray wash; roughly 7 x 10 inches (17 x 25 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum. Image is zoomable on their page, you can also download it with the creation of a free “Rijksstudio” account.

The Rijksmuseum describes the gray wash as being added later, along with the framing line. I suspect the opaque white may have been added by a later hand as well, all in an effort to make the drawing more of a salable piece somewhere along the way, but the nature of the original shines through.

I just love Rembrandt’s landscape drawings, and my impression of them has always been that he drew them for his own pleasure, and not as presentation pieces.

Look at the beautiful way his seemingly casual lines indicating the foliage not only give the masses shape and texture, but a sense of motion as well, as if being stirred by wind across the landscape.

The little details like the hay wagon and the man sitting at the edge of the water give the drawing additional life and a sense of place.

The slats of the fence (the “white paling” of the title assigned to the drawing) are a visual treat, their thickly delineated rough edges contrasted by thinner strokes suggesting the wood’s weathered texture. The fence slats, along with some of the shapes of the foliage behind it, are beautifully set off by the tone applied to the cottage and the darker foliage.

Look at the quick indications of flowers in front of the fence — this isn’t just a building, it’s someone’s home.

The reflections in the pond-like depression in front of the fence and the soft indication of the larger body of water and shore and buildings beyond are marvels of suggestion.

I don’t know anyone, with the possible exception of Shakespeare, who can say so much in so few lines.


Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson, vector illustration
Kim Johnson is a Connecticut based illustrator and animator who transitioned in her primary career from graphic design to animation to illustration.

She works in vector illustration, with a nice use of gradient color, inventive composition and a keen sense of value relationships. Her animation background shows in her springy, lively shapes and whimsical approach.

Johnson is represented by Lindgren & Smith, Illustrator and Artist Representatives.


Eye Candy for today: Aurthur Robinson watercolor of Alfred Gilbert sculpture commission

Aurthur Robinson watercolor of Alfred Gilbert sculpture commission
Drawing for Alfred Gilbert’s project for the tomb of a the Duke of Clarence, Aurthur Robinson

Watercolor, roughly 24 x 35 inches (89 x 61 cm). Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Musée d’Orsay.

This is a painting by English painter Aurthur Robinson commissioned by sculptor Alfred Gilbert as part of an album to record an elaborate commission for the tomb a royal. The tomb took longer than expected to complete and the watercolor album was never finished, but we have this beautiful example of Robinson’s work for the project.


Lines and Colors has gone dark today, please read why…

Thomas Nast
Comments about Net Neutrality can be filed with the FCC up until July 17, 2017.

When I posted this originally, I actually shut the site down and only this message was accessible against an otherwise black screen. I’ve reposted it as a regular article, both because it’s still vital, and so you can comment if you want.

Opposing viewpoints are welcome in this post’s comments if you actually have something valid to add to the discussion of Net Neutrality, but I won’t tolerate typical partisan political flaming, and off-topic comments will simply be removed.


This is just a hint of what can happen to “little” sites like Lines and Colors if the big telecom companies, Congress and the current administration’s FCC chairman (a former Verizon lawyer) get their way, and sell your internet to the highest bidder.

They want to gut the Net Neutrality rules that, imperfect though they may be, offer some protection for sites like mine from being squeezed out of existance by requiring that the telecoms treat data from sites like this one essentially the same as sites for the big media companies.

The telecoms want to charge the big media companies more to give their sites preference, effectively turning the internet into a toll road for the benefit of powerful corporations, and pushing “insignificant” sites like Lines and Colors — who can’t afford to pay — into the slow lane, and eventually off the net altogether.

If you want the internet to just be more like TV, a one-way stream of whatever the big media companies want to spoon feed you (that you pay more and more for), than relax and do nothing.

But if you want sites like Lines and Colors to survive, and the telecoms to be restrained from treating your internet like their personal cash cow, at your expense, then we need to take action.

Given the current political climate of “corporations get whatever they want and screw the public”, it may be difficult, but our best chance to protect Net Nutrality right now is to create such an overwhelming response to the FCC that it becomes politically embarrasing to gut the rules at this point in time.

Please consider filing a comment with the FCC in support of keeping the Net Nutrality rules in place.

Here’s an article from Ars Technica on How to write a meaningful FCC comment supporting net neutrality.

If you’re pressed for time, here is a site that can automate the process for you: https://www.battleforthenet.com/#widget-learn-more

You can also use the form on the front of the Boing Boing site today.

If you’re still uncertain about why this is important, here is some additional informaition about the principle of Net Neutrality and why it’s vital to protect it.

Lines and Colors will be back tomorrow, and hopefully, with your help, in the future as well.




(Image above: Thomas Nast)