Robert Walker Macbeth

Robert Walker Macbeth, 19th century landscape paintings
Robert Walker Macbeth was a Scottish painter, etcher and illustrator, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was known for his pastoral landscapes, most of them rural or genre scenes with figures in various activities, and a suggestion of narrative content. His father and younger brother were also artists.

Macbeth was a member of the Royal Watercolour Society, the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Academy.

There are a number of scattered sources for his images online, unfortunately few are of high resolution.


Jérémy Soheylian

Jeremy Soheylian, French artist, urban sketching in pen and watercolor
Though he sometimes works monochromatically, when I first came across the ink and watercolor architectural drawings and urban sketches of French artist Jérémy Soheylian the majority of his work at first registered to my eye as full color.

It then dawned on me that they were actually remarkably effective use of simple warm and cool tones — a muted sepia (or perhaps burnt sienna) and a cool, low chroma blue-gray. Soheylian is wonderfully adept at using the power of color temperature and value relationships to suggest distance and variety, with deft touches of pen work adding texture and a sensation of detail.

He occasionally also works in more colors, greens and higher chroma red-browns and blues, but still with a very limited palette. Some of his work is more sketch like, other pieces are more refined and finished. All of them evidence solid draftsmanship and a firm grasp of architectural form.

His website is in French, but is easily navigable by non-French speakers. “Peintures” are his watercolor paintings, “Dessins” are drawings in various media including urban sketches, and “Illustrations” are his more formal architectural drawings.

Soheylian also has a blog, which includes some step-throughs of his process. It’s also in French, and has more text than his website, but you can access it through Google Translate if you want a rough translation.

There is also a step-through of his process on Canson Studio. In addition, there is a brief interview with Soheylian on the French version of the Canson Studio site, Google Translate here (scroll down).

If you do a Google Image Search, you’ll find a number of his images from other sources.

There is a brief video about Soheylian on YouTube that is in Russian, but has a view of him working.


Eye Candy for Today: Corot early Spring landscape

Les étangs de ville d'avray (The Ponds of the Village of Avray), Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, oil painting, 19th century French landscape
Les étangs de ville d’avray (The Ponds of the Village of Avray), Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Link is to Wikimedia Commons; they sourced it from a Sotheby’s auction, so I don’t know the current location of the original — perhaps in a private collection.

Corot gives us an idyllic depiction of the gentle beginnings of Spring, in sharp contrast to the snow and forecast nor’easter on the first day of Spring here on the east coast of the U.S.

The painting isn’t dated, but it carries the look of similar landsapes in Corot’s later career, with the early foliage painted as delicate brush marks that in places are barely visible against the gray of the sky.

You can see the naturalism, free brush work and attention to the effects of light that so inspired the Impressionists.

Happy Vernal Equinox!


Jean-Charles Cazin

Jean-Charles Cazin, 19th century French landscapes and cityscapes, 19th century French landscapes
Jean-Charles Cazin was a 19th century French painter who painted primarily landscapes and pastoral scenes, but also cityscapes of Paris and some smaller towns.

When I first saw the painting now titled Paris Scene with Bridge (above, top) at the National Gallery in DC, I was immediately charmed by it. The painting is small, roughly 10 x 13 inches (24 x 21 cm), but striking and remarkably modern looking.

Though Cazin was undoubtedly influenced by the immediacy and painterly approach of the Impressionists and other contemporary painters, he kept to his own more naturalistic sensibilities.

In his later career, his paintings approached a tonalist feeling. Many of them have a striking sense of light and contrast, particularly those depicting scenes at twilight.


Eye Candy for Today: Peter Lely trois crayon portrait

Peter Lely trois crayon portrait
Portrait of a Lady, Peter Lely

Black, red, and white chalk, on gray laid paper; roughly 9 1/2 x 8 inches (24 x 19 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY.

Peter Lely, known for his sumptuous and sometimes erotic portraits of royals, nobles and courtiers in the 17th century court of Charles 1, here gives us a sensitively realized portrait drawing in the “trois crayon” method.

This is a method of drawing with three chalks — black, red (sanguine) and white — on toned paper, often cream or buff, but in this case, gray. It’s an approach particularly suited to figure and portrait drawing.

Though it’s difficult to tell if the drawing has faded to any degree since it was done, Lely’s use of white and red chalks are judicious. His application of white is just a hint of tone, subtly raising the value of areas of the face and neck and a few curls of hair.

You can tell he started the drawing of the face with the red chalk, which remains the only outline of the forehead, lower face and nose, though the eyes and brows have been reinforced with black.

I haven’t been through the hundreds of portraits attributed to Lely and his very active workshop in enough detail to know if this was a preliminary for a finished painting, but Lely evidently thought enough of the drawing that he signed it.


Alex Callaway

Alex Callaway, still life
Alex Callaway is a UK based artist whose work encompasses pop surrealism, illustration, landscape and portraits. However, on his personal website, Callaway focuses on his still life paintings.

These are of simple, commonplace still life subjects, and are painted with finesse and a sense of keen observation of light and texture, giving them a contemplative quality and inviting the viewer to slow down and appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Calloway’s work will be on display as part of the Royal Society of British Artists’ 2018 Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries, 21-31 March 2018.