Peter Fiore (update)

Peter Fiore, oil painting landscaprs woods adn fields
Peter Fiore is a painter based in northeastern Pennsylvania, who I first profiled back in 2012.

Fiore often takes his fascination with light — particularly the horizontal light of early and late in the day — into the woods, where he seeks rhythm and balance in the intricate patterns formed by the trunks of trees and their intertwined branches.

In many of his compositions, he finds patches of sunlight that carve a theatrical spotlight on part of the forest, producing a dance of light and dark elements that invite you back into the depths of the composition.

In some of his earlier themes, he presents wider views of fields and hills, often with compositions that push the horizon higher or lower in the composition than is more commonly seen.

All of these are rendered with contrasts of high and low chroma passages, and with a marvelous painterly presentation of texture.

Fiore conducts workshops and has instructional videos available, for which you can find previews on his website and on YouTube.

Fiore’s work is currently on display in a solo show at Studio 7 Art Gallery in Bernardsville, NJ, not far from Newark and NYC.

Peter Fiore: Perceptions” is on view until January 27, 2018.

Eye Candy for Today: James Jebusa Shannon’s Jungle Tales

Jungle Tales, James Jebusa Shannon, oil on canvas
Jungle Tales, James Jebusa Shannon

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; use the Download or Enlarge links under the image.

American artist James Jebusa Shannon, who spent most of his career in England, here presents an intimate scene of his wife reading to their daughter and one of her friends. “Jungle Tales” likely referred to Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, which had been published in 1894, a year before this was painted.

The wonderfully sensitive rendering of the young girls’ faces is still painterly and soft-edged; the indication of the patterns on the translucent fabrics is composed of single brushstrokes or dots of paint; and hair is presented with just enough suggestion of textural strokes that our eye fills in abundant detail.

George Sotter: Light and Shadow

George Sotter: Light and Shadow at Michener Museum
As much as I admire the original French Impressionists, I’m frequently even more drawn to the work of the American Impressionists, who, though not part of a formal movement, took elements of the impressionist approach and applied them to their own unique vision, resulting in a wonderful variety of painterly realism.

A subset of American Impressionism of which I’m particularly fond is a group of artists who painted around the turn of the 20th century in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the nearby areas of New Jersey, who are often referred to as the New Hope school, or the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Near the top of my list for favorites among those artists — along with painters like Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield and William Lathrop — is George W. Sotter.

Sotter is known for his portrayals of houses and trees in the Pennsylvania countryside, along with his large scale depictions of skies filled with billowing cumulous clouds, and in particular, his remarkable, luminous winter nocturnes.

The James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA, which is home to what is likely the best single collection of work by the Pennsylvania Impressionists, has mounted a wonderful retrospective of Sotter’s work: George Sotter: Light and Shadow.

It’s a beautiful and extensive show, augmented with some of Sotter’s stained glass design work, as well as a selection of nocturnes by other Pennsylvania Impressionist painters.

Some of Sotter’s smaller works, which are a delight, are included, along with preliminary sketches and studies.

Unfortunately, the museum has little in the way of pieces from the exhibition on their website, though they have a few more here, and here. I’ve added links below to other resources for images of Sotter’s work.

It constantly baffles me that museums don’t better leverage images on their websites to generate interest in their exhibitions — particularly smaller, regional museums that now have the opportunity to more easily reach outside their immediate area to appeal to potential visitors.

Doylestown is within an hour of Philadelphia, and perhaps an hour and a half from NYC. The show would be of interest to anyone interested in Pennsylvania Impressionism, American Impressionism, nocturne painting or painterly realism in general.

Sotter’s work can be appreciated in context next to the Michener Museum’s permanent collection galleries of work by other Pennsylvania Impressionist painters.

George Sotter: Light and Shadow is on display until December 31, 2017.

See also my previous post on George Sotter.

Eye Candy for Today: Botticelli’s Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli
Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli

Link is to a high resolution downloadble file on Wikipedia, the original is in the National Gallery, London, which has a zoomable version of the image.

Two of Botticelli’s paintings, La Primavera and The Birth of Venus, are among the most iconic and recognized in the history of art. Other works of his are less well known — and undeservedly so — in particular, Venus and Mars.

The painting is reasonably large at roughly 27 x 68 inches (69 x 174 cm), but not as monumental as the previously mentioned works. It is, nonetheless, striking and beautiful, panted in a combination of egg tempera and oil.

It’s generally assumed Venus and Mars was commissioned to mark the occasion of a wedding, though no specific event or couple can be associated with it; but a general date is presumed to be in the mid 1480’s — later than La Primavera and perhaps around the same time as The Birth of Venus.

Here we are presented with a clothed Venus and a sleeping Mars, so fast asleep that one of the fauns who are apparently making off with his armor and lance, cannot wake him even with a blast on a ram’s horn.

The assumption is that the two have made love and Mars has fallen asleep afterwards, as men are often wont to do. It may be something of a sly poke at the new husband, or it could be part of the interpretation often made of the scene that love conquers war.

The National Gallery site has some background on the painting and interpretations of its meaning, and there is additional information on Wikipedia.

The face of Mars is rendered in a difficult upward foreshortening, lit from below. In the face of Venus, Botticelli has given us another of his entrancingly beautiful women’s faces — perhaps the same face as that seen from another angle in The Birth of Venus.

Hugo Puzzuoli

Hugo Puzzuoli, concept art
Hugo Puzzuoli is a concept artist who is originally from France, and now based in Quebec City, Canada.

His blog features some of his professional work, such as his concepts for Assasin’s Creed Syndicate, and his Artstation portfolio features more of his personal projects.

In his personal work, Puzzuoli often takes bright, appealingly graphic approach in his digital painting, with carefully controlled value relationships and bright punctuations of high-chroma color among more muted passages.

You can also find some digital painting studies of faces and natural settings.

[Via Paolo Rivera]

Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt lion drawing

Lion Resting, Turned to the Left; Rembrandt van Rijn; ink and wash drawing
Lion Resting, Turned to the Left; Rembrandt van Rijn

Pen and brown ink, brown wash; roughly 5 1/2 x 8 inches (14 x 20cm).

Link is to WikiArt, which has a downloadable file (choose “Original, 1600×1067”); there is also a cropped version on Wikipedia. The original is supposed to be in the Louvre, Paris, but the Louvre website is so terrible, I can’t find it, only a reference to a show in which it was included.

Rembrandt’s drawings are among my favorites in all of art history, and this seemingly simple drawing of a lion is among my favorites of his drawings.

Rembrandt did a number of lion drawings, presumably of the same animal. This one stands out, however.

It has the calligraphic elegance of Chinese ink painting, but over the classical draftsmanship of the premiere Dutch master.

The rough, gestural application of wash succinctly defines the lion’s head and mane, giving them an impression of texture, as well.

I love the implied geometric strength with which he’s noted the lion’s rear leg, suggesting the structural anatomy of the skeleton, the fluid sweep of the tail and the fierce but composed expression of the captive animal.

I’m sure to Rembrandt, this was just a sketch, a visual notation of something he found interesting, but it’s completely satisfying as a finished work of art.