Kris Parins

Kris Parins watercolor
Kris Parins watercolor

Kris Parins is a watercolor painter who is originally from Wisconsin, and now shares her time between a studio there and one in Florida.

Her bright, crisp watercolors reflect a love of the natural world as exemplified by both places as well as the play of light and shadow to be found in urban environments and still life objects.

Her approach varies, at times areas of color are abstracted to the point of giving the work a seirgraph-like appearance.

Her website portfolio is divided into ranges of subject matter. In addition, there is a section for prints, and a video in which she talks about her inspiration and process. The Articles section includes articles Parins has written for Watercolor Artist Magazine.


Bernard Völlmy

Bernard Vollmy, watercolor
Bernard Vollmy, watercolor

Bernard Völlmy is a Swiss painter, now based in France, who works primarily in watercolor, but also in monochromatic and color watercolors combined with graphite.

His watercolor themes often include subjects with water — creeks and streams, small runs or even reflective puddles. These are approached with an eye to texture and interesting value contrasts.

Völlmy’s website is in French, but is relatively easily navigable by non-French speakers. The link I’ve posted takes you directly to his watercolor on paper gallery. You can find other galleries of images under the “Bernard Völlmy” menu tab. Among them is a section for his sketchbooks.


Bing image search vs. Google, Yahoo & Tin Eye

Bing image search interface

As you might imagine, in the course of writing Lines and Colors I do a fair bit of searching out art images on the web — whenever possible searching for the largest examples of images of artwork that I can find.

One of the ways I do this is to use the “image search” features of the major search engines. Unfortunately, Google Image Search, which used to be the standard, has been diminished in its usefulness, as Google, perhaps nervous about copyright issues, has gotten namby pamby about searching for large images and taken away the ability to search for images in extra large or custom, viewer chosen sizes.

I have of late switched the majority of my art image searching to another search engine.

Bing Image Search

OK, I hear you snickering (Bing, really? BING?). Yes, Bing, Microsoft’s seldom used (but actually decent) competitor to Google’s overwhelming dominance of the search arena.

While Google hamstrings its image search, Bing offers a full featured image search, that not only allows you to search for extra large images, but offers a few features Google’s version never did.

Unlike Google’s typically spare opening page, Bing Image Search is crowded with suggested images of pop stars, cute animals and a bunch of other pop culture garbage you’re sure to be fascinated by. (I think if you’re logged into a Microsoft account, it may remember your own recent searches.) The simple search field is at the top.

In the initial search term result (images above, with detail crop; I’ve searched for “Dutch landscape painting”), click on “Filter” to the right, and in the sub-navigation that drops down, click on “Image Size” at the left. You’ll have a choice for Small, Medium and Large, as with Google, but in addition you can choose “Extra Large”, or enter custom size parameters in the provided fields. I often search for 2000 x 2000 pixels. (The little icon in the right side of the search bar is for “search by image”.)

The filtered page will show large images with the size displayed over them. If you click on the hamburger menu at the upper right, you’ll have the option to display information from the page under the images.

Clicking on an image gives a close up. In the column to the right, the first two entries are ads, the third is the link to the originating age for the image, Under that are buttons for “Visit site”, “Pages” and Image sizes”, and below that similar images (related, but not the images in question) and related searches.

Clicking “Pages” produces a list of pages that display version of that image.

Clicking “Image sizes” organizes the image sources by the size of the image (largest is not always best as some may be watermarked or less accessible than others, you can also have multiple choices for the same size image).

The little icon in the search field at the top of the page (that I assume is supposed to be a camera) opens a Visual Search box. It offers you the option to upload an image, or enter a link to one, and search for other, hopefully larger, versions of that same image. It also allows you to search for a page with additional information about an image you’re trying to identify.

Google Image Search

Google image search interface

The Google Image Search initial returns on a search is similar to Bing’s. A link for “Tools” on the right drops down a sub-navigation from which you can choose “Image Size” on the left, with choices only for Small, Medium and Large as well as “All”.

The filtered returns show page location under them, image size is not available.

Google image search interface

Clicking on an image shows a preview in a right hand column, with the page name and link below it. In this case, the size is available by rollover. Under that are “Related images” (similar but not copies of the same image), and “Related Searches”.

Google image search interface

The Camera icon in the search bar is for visual image search. Upload or paste the URL of an image (the image itself, not a page containing an image), and returns an array of copies of the image with the source page underneath.

If you right click (or Control-click on Mac) on an image in Google Chrome, you will see a choice to “Search Googe for image”. There are plugins that provide the same functionality for other browsers.

Yahoo Image Search

Yahoo Image Search interface

Yahoo Image Search exists. Why, I’m not sure.

The initial search term results look much like Bing or Google, but there is no page or size information. Clicking on “Advanced” at right provides filters for color, size and image type. Sizes are S,M,L. (The others let you search by color as well, from the sub-menus.)

Clicking on an image returns a detail panel with the page and size info and the option to “Visit page” or View image”. There is no visual image search that I can find.

Tin Eye reverse Image Search

Tin Eye reverse Image Search interface

Tin Eye is a venerable visual image search engine that provided that service before the big guys, um… borrowed the idea. I mention it primarily out of respect for that. It still does a good job in its initial mission, but there is no provision for image size choices. Tin Eye offers plugins to put their reverse image search in browser menus. Tin Eye offers a service to track your own images and notify you if it finds they’re being used elsewhere, but the service is expensive, probably mostly of use to corporate intellectual property holders.

Tip for searching by site

All three of the above major search engines allow you to search for images (or other content) from a particular site. In the regular search bar, enter the search terms, followed by a space and then the word site, a colon (no space) and the URL of the site. For example: “dutch landscape paintings”. This will return a page with results for that topic only from the Sothebys auction site.

Other sources for high res art images

General search engines are just one avenue for searching out art images on the web. Another, often more fruitful way to find large art images is to do local searches on the sites of major museums, or on art image agglomeration sites, such as the Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons of the Art Renewal Center. These should be the topic of another post.

Happy image searching!

(Oh yes, and Time Sink Warning!)


Alex Warnick

Alex Warnick, watercolor paintings of birds
Alex Warnick, watercolor paintings of birds

Alex Warnick is an artist who specializes in watercolor paintings of birds. Her website portfolio is divided into sections for Painting and Illustration, though her technique seems basically consistent.

She combines a naturalistic approach to the birds themselves, setting them off with bits of flora that act as design elements.

In addition to her portfolio, you an find additional examples of her work in her website’s “Store” section, as well as on her blog.

There is a relatively extensive interview with Warnick in an episode of Andrew Tischler’s The Creative Endeavour Podcast (YouTube).


Eya Candy for Today: Stillman’s Love’s Messenger

Love's Messenger, Marie Spartali Stillman, watercolor and tempera
Love's Messenger, Marie Spartali Stillman, watercolor and tempera

Love’s Messenger, Marie Spartali Stillman, watercolor, tempera and gold paint on paper, 32 x 26 inches (116 x 100 cm).

I’ve stood in front of this beautiful painting in the Delaware Art Museum more times than I can count, marveling not only at the beautiful composition and subtle color, but at the remarkable painting technique and the delicately textural surface.

It appears to be a stipple technique often used by late 19th century British watercolorists, to wonderful effect.

For a long time, I remember the medium listed as simply “watercolor”, and I assumed the obviously opaque passages, such as the white highlights on the bird’s head and wings, were gouache. The museum’s webpage for the painting now lists the materials as watercolor and tempera. I’m still unsure what that means, exactly, as the term “tempera” is often applied to paints other than egg tempera.

For more, see my previous posts on Marie Spartali Stillman.


Eye Candy for Today Mrs Smith watercolor of plums and caterpillars

ranch with a cluster of ripe plums and caterpillars, botanical illustration watercolor by Mrs. Smith
ranch with a cluster of ripe plums and caterpillars, botanical illustration watercolor by Mrs. Smith

Branch with a cluster of ripe plums and caterpillars, Mrs. Smith; watercolor, roughly 10 x 10 inches (25 x 25 cm). Link is to the image page on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

The image is credited to “Mrs. Smith”, based on a pencil signature at the lower right of the paper. Neither Wikimedia Commons nor the museum offer any clue as to who “Mrs. Smith” is, and I can find little elsewhere. The painting is dated 1830 and country of origin is listed as the UK. Beyond that, we’re on our own.

We can assume Mrs. Smith was a botanical artist of some skill if not of particular note.

Close up, she has used broad, painterly and seemingly casual marks to define her subject, but when seen from a normal distance, her colors and values are so accurate that the representation of the fruit, leaves, branch and insects is wonderfully naturalistic.