Tuesday, November 13, 2012

J. C. Leyendeckers Sketch Canvases

Long ago when I attended art school a friend of mine got a gift from an artist. It was a portrait sketch done in oils by our instructor. I remember he said he loved the fact that it was a sketch because it revealed to him more clearly than a finished piece how the artist was thinking. When my friend said that it immediately hit me how true his words were. To this day I continue to enjoy the sketches and preliminary works that an artist makes sometimes more so than their finished work.

 It’s not that their finished works lack for anything, it’s just that the sketches leading to the final painting seem more like a conversation, “will this work”, “ I want to try and get this just right” Or as my art teacher,(Greeny), used to say, “What If?’. What if I move this over here, what if I make this darker or lighter, or what if I add or take some element from the composition?

Among the sketches I particularly enjoyed were the sketch canvases of the illustrator Joseph Christian Leyndecker. I have always marveled at how every single brush stroke in his paintings have seemed so perfectly placed and you can see in his sketch canvases how he has worked out the details and considered the placement of every stroke of the brush.

An example of J. C. Leyendecker's finished work. He was the cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post Long before Norman Rockwell. Rockwell's hero as a matter of fact.