Thursday, January 8, 2015

Golden Age Pen and Ink Illustrators

The artist Robert Henri is quoted in the book "The Art Spirit" telling his students"..all the past is yours." I think about this when I look at the work of past masters. Fine artist and illustrators, there is so much work there. So much that gets forgotten and rediscovered and then buried again

The work of past pen and ink artist come to mind. At one time names like Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll, Charles Dana Gibson were widely known, not just by artist and art students but by the public who read the periodicals that published their drawings. Artist still use pen and ink and there are a number of really great illustrators using the medium but the golden age of the pen and ink illustrator is gone. Thats not to say that the medium will never see a revival. Who knows, it just may be that artist can turn another page and and show that there is still more to be said. I enjoy using the medium and will continue to do so, but for this post I will include the works of some of the best masters of the medium from it's golden age.

Joseph Clement Coll






















Edwin Austin Abbey

















Franklin Booth





















Charles Dana Gibson





































Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oil Painting on Paper.






My first painting of 2015 actually was supposed to be a pen and ink drawing.

I started with a careful pencil outline on a sheet of Strathmore rag bristol board. I placed a sheet of tracing vellum to make a few quick pen and ink warm up drawings. I accidently got some of the ink onto the sheet of bristol board. Rather than start all over again I decided to coat the
paper with acrylic medium, a clear gesso which would allow me to see the pencil drawing and seal it from the oil paint's I used to finish the work.

If this would have been my original plan instead of the ink drawing I would have probably done a more careful pencil drawing. I didn't stop to think that I could have worked it out a little better ( probably my disappointment that I was not able to use it for the ink drawing ).

I learned to use the acrylic medium over a pencil drawing from watching videos made by artist James Gurney.  I highly recommend purchasing his videos and/or his books. You can view his blog HERE or his YouTube Channel HERE

The image at bottom left shows the progression of the painting reading each row from left to right.

I'm glad I did this piece in oils. I think for 2015 I will return to the medium more often.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End Of The Year Art Blog Post



It's been a few years now that I started this blog. When I started it I was in a rut artistically. I had let go of my dreams and as a result I felt like I had neglected a part of my soul. I feel that I am a long way from when I started but still a long way from where I would like to be. It has however been a great if sometimes frustrating, humbling and challenging journey so far.

When I look back at the post I made when I started this blog I'm a bit embarrassed by some of the work, but we all start from that point of where we are. It's where we end up that matters.

Makes me think of one of my all time favorite art quotes from the Japanese Master Katsushika Hokusai,

“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.” 

Looking forward to the New Year and working harder and better.

P.S.
Please stop by Society 6 and take a look through Prints of my work as well as other sale items with my work on it. Your purchase's will help support my work.






Click HERE for Society 6



Monday, December 15, 2014

Drawing It Over 7 Times (Pen and Ink)




It's been a while since I've really focused on the Pen and Ink medium. I've done a bunch of sketches but this is the first time in a long time I reached for my steel nib dip pens. Not entirely happy with the results but I enjoyed doing this recent drawing.

I'm probably going to have another go at this. The image is too good and worth fighting to make a better drawing of it.

I remember a long time ago an art instructor told this story about an illustrator whose Art Director told him that if he did his drawing over 7 times that he would be more satisfied with the final drawing. At first the illustrator was angry and dismissive but eventually he did the 7 drawings and was happy with the result and made it a common practice after. The art instructor talked about how when he heard the story he did the something and his work was better for it.

I also remember having a conversation with the son of a teriffic watercolorist in which he told me that his father would reuse figures from previous paintings and each time he would refine the figure making it better and better.That watercolorist was David Levine. A great pen and ink artist as well.

Come to think of it I've done images of this person in different mediums in similar or different pose's.


The drawing at left is from my sketchbook done in a little (just a bit) loser or freer style. Maybe something to shoot for.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pen And Ink Sketchbook







One of the first mediums I was attracted to was Pen and Ink. As a kid I spent hours and late nights (sometimes sleepless nights) copying my favorite drawings from the pages of comic books. I used brush, pen and ink to copy the works or imitate the styles of John Busecema and Alfredo Alcala, Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Frazetta. Latter on I discovered the works of the great pen and ink artist of the Golden Age of American Illustration. Charles Dana Gibson, Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll, Harrison Caddy, Etc.

Pen and Brush and Ink is the medium I turn to when I sketch from imagination. Its fun.
Lately I started doing an exercise using this medium. I collect refference from the internet on subjects I enjoy. I love history (not that I'm a history buff, I just like the romance of earlier times), I have collected some photos of Civil War and  Medieval reenactors, Roman reenactors. I use them to make warm up sketches in pen and ink. I play with it using several sources for one figure or face. Exaggerating or adding features like beards or aging the characters, etc. I also use refference photos that I have taken myself for earlier projects.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rethinking The Gouache Medium

Gouache was a medium widely used long ago but is so little respected nowadays. Great artists such as Albrecht Durer, Anders Zorn, Winslow Homer, J.M.W. Turner, Francois Boucher, etc. made terrific works in this medium. Illustrators have made works sometimes indistiguishable from oils when seen on the printed page.

On a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City I saw a small piece executed in Gouache that made me think that I was not giving the medium the respect it deserves.

I have been looking at other artists work in this medium so that I can get a better understanding of how to work with it. I also looked up some illustrations done in Gouache.  The work thats out there really makes me wonder why the medium is not so widely used. In all honesty I would probably do more Oil painting if I had the room but because I like switching mediums I would still continue to use Gouache.

The images on this post were made at a time when I am relearning and rethinking how to work in this medium. The painting on the bottom was done on a toned paper which was too thin . The painting above and at right were done with Strathmore 500 Bristol Board. The painting on the right was done on a 4-ply sheet (the thickness of four boards), The heavier the sheet the better. I've also used 300 Lb. cold pressed watercolor paper.




Thursday, November 27, 2014

Free Online Sketching from the Model

Great news for those who find it difficult to find models to draw from. There are two YouTube channels that offer either still images of models  or filmed the model as he/she posed. You start out with a series of short poses leading to 10 minute poses.


The first Channel is On Air Video



This Channel records their models in real time doing 1, 2, and 5 minute poses.








The other channel is New Masters Academy


New Masters Academy offers still images of the models posing for 1, 2, 5 and 10 minute poses.