Eye Candy for Today: Van Gogh Wheat Field ink drawing

Wheat Field, Vincent van Gogh pen and brown innk drawing
Wheat Field, Vincent van Gogh pen and brown innk drawing (details)

Wheat Field, Vincent van Gogh; Reed pen and logwood ink over pencil; roughly 9 x 12 inches ( 24 x 31 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable image on their site.

I love these pen and brown ink drawings Van Gogh did late in his career. I feel like he was trying to express color monochromatically. You can actually think of his ink as multi colored in the way he as used it with different size strokes and what looks to me like the addition of small amounts of water.

I think of these effects as highy sophisticated. When you look at the work from early in his full time period as an artist, how rough and basic it was, and compare it to the work in his later years (less then 10 years later), the progress he made as a determined self-taught artist is remarkable.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Leonardo metalpoint drawing

tudy of a woman's hands, Leonardo da Vinci, metalpoint drawing
tudy of a woman's hands, Leonardo da Vinci, metalpoint drawing

Study of a woman’s hands, Leonardo da Vinci; black chalk and metalpoint on paper, roughly 8 x 6 inches (21 x 15 cm). Original is in the Royal Collection Trust in the UK; their website has both zoomable and downloadable versions of the image. There is also a version on Wikimedia Commons.

The drawing is actually not of a single pair of hands, but is two drawings of crossed hands, with one hand emphasized in each version.

When the description says “metalpoint”, the most likely actual medium is sliverpoint. Prior to the discovery of graphite, artists would ordinarily draw with charcoal, chalks, ink or metalpoint (for the moment, leaving aside printmaking). Metalpoint, though expensive, was preferred for the most delicate, exacting drawings.

In silverpoint, the artist draws with a thin silver wire, arranged in some kind of holder, on specially prepared paper. Over time, the silver lines oxidize to a warmer and more visible — but still delicate — line.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some master silverpoint drawings (though not this one), and it’s difficult to convey their subtlety in photographs. The only linework I’ve seen that might be comparable is in etching, whch is done with a needle.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Francois Bouçher chalk drawing

Francois Boucher chalk drawing of a male nude figure
Francois Boucher chalk drawing of a male nude figure (details)

Male Nude, Francois Bouçher; red chalk over black chalk on paper; roughly 20 x 13 inches ( 50 x 33 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY. There are both zoomable and downloadable imges on their site.

18th century French artist Francois Bouçher, who is more commonly noted for his Rococo drawings and paintings of sensuous women, here gives us a straightforward male nude study.

The forms of the musculature are so clearly defined that the drawing could be used as anatomical reference. He also gives the figure a sense of dimension and solidity, as well as a feeling of gravity in the leg that is supporting most of the model’s weight.

As was common with master chalk drawings of this time, the tones are rendered with hatching rather than being smoothy blended. Notice also the way he has accentuated parts of the outline of the figure, again contributing to turning the form and suggesting weight and volume.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Franklin Booth Esty Organ advertisement ink drawing

Franklin Booth Esty Organ ad pen and ink drawing
Franklin Booth Esty Organ ad pen and ink drawing (details)

Advertisment for Esty Residence Pipe Organ, pen and ink illustration by Franklin Booth, as it appeared in the November, 1923 issue of Country Life magazine. I don’t know the dimaneions of the original art. Link is to the Organ Historical Society.

Interesting to compare this illustration to another of his for the same company.

Who knew a pipe organ could be so transcendent, etherial and vaguely suggestive?

Franklin Booth was a master of pen and ink with a unique style – formed by his missinterpretation of woodcut illustrations as pen and ink when he was learning.

He was absolutely brilliant at creating a wide range of tones from hatching. I love the way he has so effectively and sparingly used areas of pure white — from the light globes to highlights on the figures to the emphasized area of the checkered tile floor.

 
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Dave Malan (update 2023)

Dave Malan
Dave Malan

Dave Malan is an artist an illustrator I’ve featured twice before, most recently back in 2015. Since then he has updated his website with more of his delightful illustrations, portraits, and drawings.

As you might guess from my choice of example images, I’m particularly fond of his pencil portrait drawings. These range from brief sketches to more developed drawings, but in all of them he combines solid draftsmanship with lose, gestural rendering — to wonderful effect.

His website doesn’t mention his old blog, which hasn’t been updated since 2017, but it’s still online and worth a visit, as it contains even more of his pencil drawings and other work. You can also find more on the social media accounts linked at the top of his website.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Dante Gabriel Rossetti pencil portrait

Portrait of Mrs. William Morris, née Jane Burden, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, graphite on paper
Portrait of Mrs. William Morris, née Jane Burden, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, graphite on paper (details)

Portrait of Mrs. William Morris, née Jane Burden, Dante Gabriel Rossetti; graphite on paper, roughly 13 x 11 inches (33 x 29 cm), in the colleciton of the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable image on their site.

Though nominally the leader of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti has always been my least favorite painter of the core group.

However, I love this drawing. I love the simplicity, the graphic appeal, the almost Asian feel of the composition and the intensity of the sitter’s gaze.

 
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