Cashmere; John Singer Sargent

This Week’s Art: Processions in the art of John Singer Sargent

As I was looking at John Singer Sargent’s work, in anticipation of writing today’s article about his wonderful “Cashmere” painting below, I started looking at many of his other works. Now, that’s not at all unusual, I find myself leaping down the rabbit hole when it comes to art most of the time, and looking at Sargent’s art definitely piques my interest.

As I was admiring his detailed, and yet impressionistic, strokes, I started to notice differences in how Sargent dealt with a procession of people. “Cashmere” has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but seeing his techniques and ideas evolve over time became more interesting than just another discussion of the cool art of the moment.… Read the rest

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Bashi-Bazouk, Jean-Léon Gérôme

This Week’s Art: Gérôme’s “Bashi Bazouk”

When I talk about art, and believe me that’s pretty much every day of my life, I often touch on the things that I really love about particular pieces. Sometimes it’s composition, or texture, even just a color within the piece. Sometimes I get very technical with it, often it probably comes across more like, “I dun like it lots.”

But sometimes there are those few pieces where there is something more, something that exceeds what is normally given. Take Bashi Bazouk for example. Portraits are a dime a dozen, and much like landscape watercolors here in the western U.S.… Read the rest

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Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl, Souls on the Banks of the Acheron

This Week’s Art: Souls on the Banks of the Acheron

Welcome to the first of what I hope are billions of words about art, and mostly what I think about certain pieces.

Before I get started, let me just preface the whole works with the idea that the wee image here probably isn’t going to do much justice to the work. So, on all of the pieces I’ll be talking about, I’ll be including a link to a larger version of it somewhere online. While it’s nothing like seeing a piece of art in person, at least a larger piece can help you see SOMETHING that I’m talking about.… Read the rest

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Original art is always better than a reproduction

The transcendent experience of seeing an original piece of art in a museum is substantially better than any reproduction could possibly be. Seeing the original artwork in a museum offers reflection, education, and admiration that a reproduction can not provide. The unique crafting of the original artwork piques interest for further works by the artist, and similar artists and movements, far more than any reproduction can match. This article was originally written for my classwork with CSU-Global, a portfolio project. I have adapted it from a strict APA style to a more web-friendly style.
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This Week’s Art: Beksiński

I’ve been a big fan of the works of Zdzisław Beksiński for a long time. They are like dreams and, often, nightmares, come to life. Beksiński himself even said as much about his own work, and from what I’ve read about him he was a fascinating person. Especially in the many ways that I feel the same way about art as he did.

One of his great quotes about his own work fits perfectly with how I think of mine: “I cannot conceive of a sensible statement on painting.” I’ve never been able to come up with an, “artist’s statement”, because I don’t think mine would make any sense.… Read the rest

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This Week’s Art: Cornwell’s $2,000 Reward

I love the illustrators of the early-mid 20th century. Rockwell, Wyeth, Pyle, and many more, they just have this great sense of drama and storytelling in their work. Even without knowing the stories that they went with, as is sometimes the case, the images still cause a reaction.

Case in point, this image by one of my favorite illustrators, Dean Cornwell. Cornwell had a great way of fitting in to nearly any subject, and still bringing beautiful, emotional work to the table. Here’s his painting $2,000 Reward (Oil on canvas, 1921), featured in Cosmopolitan in 1924 with a story by Alma and Paul Ellerbe.… Read the rest

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Vasily Polenov, Birchwood Alley

This Week’s Art: Polenov’s “Birchwood Alley”

The first of my renewed “This Week’s Art” articles, where we discuss a particular piece of art, is Vasily PolenovBirchwood Alley (Oil on canvas, 1880). Here’s what it looks like, and click on it for a larger version.

19th century Russian art is something I’ve become more and more intrigued by over the years, and this image is one of the reasons for that. The Russian painters of that era just had a wonderful sense to their pieces. They could be dramatic, or mysterious, or even happy. Even in paintings that are mostly nature, there’s an emotion there that doesn’t always exist with other groups of painters.… Read the rest

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This week’s art: Myasoyedov’s The road in the rye

I think it’s important as an artist to look at various kinds of art each day. Just as it is important for graphic designers, filmmakers, authors, and anyone with a creative side, seeing the works of others can help a creative person learn more about what they do.

In that respect, I used to write long articles (here!) about different pieces of art. I learned from writing them, as much as I think others did as well when they commented on the pieces themselves. Over time, that activity was replaced with the quieter activities of resharing what others posted, or of posting to my Pinterest “Inspiration” galleries.… Read the rest

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New art and experiment: The All-Mighty Dollar

For awhile now, I’ve been interested in trying new materials to work with, something other than canvas or paper. A few artists that I know paint on wooden skateboard decks, and I thought that would be something very interesting to try.

My friend at the local Rendition Gallery (go check it out folks) ordered a few skatedecks for the upcoming show at the gallery, so I picked one up from him to get started.

It’s a bit of a departure from the canvas I’ve been painting on (with acrylics).… Read the rest

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Experimental Alphabeasts: I is for Id

For my Alphabeasts entry this week, being still in an “experimental” mood after that last painting (here), I went with a different effect than I normally have.

Usually, I have quite a lot of crosshatch marks on my inks. I decided this time to try something with far less lines, but with just as much planning and reliance on the contrast in the image. It wasn’t easy, but I think it worked out fine.

One of my favorite films is the sci fi adventure Forbidden Planet. Especially the scene(s) with an invisible monster known as the “id”.… Read the rest

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Digital art and using the right texture

One of the great things that I like about digital art is the ability for programs (I use Photoshop) to let different layers of art interact. For example, I can have a painting of a character on one layer, with all the shadowing, anatomy, and so on, and on a different layer I can have a texture. By using different abilities in Photoshop (namely Layer Blending Modes), I can use the texture layer to give the character a different sense.

Now, that can mean a lot of things. The character might be dirty, or bloody, or dripping with water.… Read the rest

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Technology and Art: Google Earth

Recently, a client of mine (who I used to do plenty of graphic design for) asked me for something a little different. Instead of the graphic design work that I’ve been doing for many years for her, she asked if she could commission a full painting from me instead.

Being unemployed and poor, I made sure to answer, “yes, of course I can do that”.

She’s also known me long enough to know that, when I’m not doing corporate, business-like graphic design work, that I’m a genre artist. But, she wanted a special painting, in traditional media, and she has faith in me to pull it off.… Read the rest

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Seeing it in a museum

I think it’s important as an artist to look at a lot of art, and in fact I love nothing more than to flip through the many art books I have on the shelf. Seeing different styles, different techniques, and just appreciating what others have done is a great way to learn more about art, and to think about doing it better.

Books are great, but to really see a painting I also think it’s important to get to museums. Seeing the real art in person gives you a different look, something that books just can’t do.… Read the rest

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