Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Painter's Sampler


Nowadays we might show a prospective client a folder of images on an iPhone. But in 1860, William Trost Richards (1833-1905) created this "Painter’s Sampler," to show what he could do.


Thirteen miniature canvases are mounted up together. They show a range of conventional landscape compositions. I can just image him saying... "I can paint you a Hudson River sunset, or a summer meadow, a nautical, or a cabin in the woods, or a forest interior...."
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This comes from a private collection and was exhibited at a Hudson River School exhibition called "American Scenery" at the Dorsky Museum of Art

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grinnell Light


I painted a mysterious light on Grinnell Street yesterday.

I drew in the lines on a page primed with blue and orange.

With a big flat brush and gouache I started establishing the houses.

I painted out the truck and put in the trees.

I added the street pole and the porch.

Detail of the effect area.

The light and color were all in my head. 
It was really a sunny afternoon in Rhinecliff, New York.

Here's what I was looking at. I was using the forms I saw to paint an imaginary light.

Scroll back up to see the finish, or you can click through the sequence on my Facebook page.
Art Supplies
Winsor and Newton gouache
Moleskine watercolor notebook
Caran D'Ache watercolor pencils
Schmincke Watercolor Pocket Set,


Monday, April 21, 2014

Eugène Burnand's World War I Portraits

Ben Cassam

Between 1917 and 1920, Swiss artist Eugène Burnand (1850-1921) drew over a hundred portraits of the various allies in World War I.
Serraghi Cherrif
He drew them with Wolff pencils. The color was added with Hardtmuth hard pastels. Burnand's keen observation was shaped during his training at the École des Beaux-Arts with Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Jean Bellac
Many of his subjects posed for him while they were recuperating between deployments,.

Tirailleur Famory
Burnand was interested in the various ethnicities and facial types of the military men.

Mohamed Ben Binhouan
He drew them all with sympathy but also objectivity.

Lé Naplong
Most are shown with indirect light, and with an upshot angle, increasing the sense of dignity.

Lé Tiep
He often subordinated the edges around the neck and shoulders, and concentrated the attention on the eyes and mouth.

Private Roshan Dean
It's a genuine accomplishment in portraiture to capture the uniqueness of the individual's physiognomy but also their universal emotion.

Auxiliary Chan Mohamed
He got to know each of them first and developed a relationship of trust. Sometimes the sitting became more like a confessional.

Rev. Père Rouillon
He offered to pay them for sitting, but many of them refused to accept the money, as they felt honored to pose.

Serbian infantry private
Resources to learn more:
See the rest of Burnand's WWI portraits online 
Drawings on display Museum of the Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur) in Paris.
The drawings were published in 1922 a book called Les alliés dans la guerre des nations.
Here's a modern book that includes the work from Les Alliés Dans La Guerre Des Nations.
Review by Gabriel Weisberg of a catalog of a 2004 exhibition of Burnand's work.
Eugène Burnand on Wikipedia

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Images of the Resurrection



William-Adolphe Bouguereau The Three Marys at the Tomb, 1876
Eugenè Burnand, The Disciples Running to the Sepulchre, 1898.


Happy Easter, everyone.
Thanks, Unknown for the link to the large file of John and Peter.
Images from Herman Toit, BYU

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Snakes in the Art Class

Patrick O'Brien invited live snakes, iguanas, and hissing cockroaches into his classroom at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). 

His digital students sketched them from life, gathering inspiration for an assignment to create a poster for the reptile house at the zoo.


The animals came from The Drawing Zoo, a company in the Baltimore area that specializes in bringing exotic animals into schools for drawing. The animals move, but not too much, and they don't mind the attention. They're experienced with people and completely non-aggressive. 

The team from the Drawing Zoo has experience in both art and animal handling, and their subjects are well cared for. They say that "snakes, spiders, lizards, frogs etc. make great models because they are easy to transport, handle and care for, both inside and outside of the classroom." 
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All the photos are by Patrick O'Brien

Friday, April 18, 2014

Focus on Nature XIII Exhibition

Yesterday we attended the preview opening of Focus on Nature XIII, the exhibition of natural science artwork at the New York State Museum in Albany.
The show presents 91 illustrations by 71 illustrators, hailing from 15 different countries. Many of the artists attended the event, some traveling all the way from Australia and Spain.

The art is juried in on the basis of both artistic and scientific merit, and the show includes both digital and hand-painted images.

Artists were invited to share some stories about their work. Dorie Petrochko brought an actual horsehoe crab exoskeleton as she explained the creature's unique biology and how its blood is drawn for the medical industry. "This creature sacrifices a lot for science," she said. It's the oldest living fossil, and has survived twelve mass extinctions.

I was surprised and thrilled that my painting of Kosmoceratops for Scientific American won a jury award. I described how I made a maquette of the dinosaur to study the cast shadows and the dappled light in the forest interior. 

The show also includes my original gouache preliminary study for the Australian dinosaur stamps.

All the attending artists had a wonderful opportunity to visit behind the scenes at the museum, and we had a look at the Native American artifacts in the archaeology collection. 

The New York State Museum also has a very large insect collection well arranged in glass-topped boxes. Any artist or art student who would like to draw a study of a particular insect, plant form, or other biological specimen can make arrangements to visit behind the scenes in the collection. It's good to know in advance exactly what you're looking for because they have so much.
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Focus on Nature XIII officially opens to the public tomorrow and will be up through January 4, 2015 at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. Admission is free.
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Download the PDF of the full catalog of the show.
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Dorie Petrochko is launching a natural science illustration program at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. 
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There's a detailed making-of video of my painting Kosmoceratops, that you can order on DVD from Kunaki.com (shipped internationally) or from Amazon.com, or you can get the digital download of the video from Gumroad.