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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. Show More Summary

A. J. Casson

Alfred Joseph Casson was a member of the Group of Seven — likeminded Canadian landscape painters active in the early part of the 20th century. Casson worked in watercolor, oil and printmaking, capturing in his landscapes both the nature of the land, and his own fascinating vision — in which the shapes of trees, rocks […]

Jan van Eyck’s Crucifixion

This painting by the 15th century Netherlandish master, assisted by members of his workshop, is part of a remarkable set of two panels (thought to be originally a triptych, of which the third panel is missing). Each panel is only 22 by 7 inches (56x20cm). The other panel depicts the Last Judgement (more on that […]

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. Show More Summary

Skan Srisuwan

Singapore based illustrator and concept artist Skan Srisuwan has, in many of his pieces, a fascinating way building up waves of objects, mostly machine-like, that roil through the compositions like flowing, cubist shards of metal or plastic. In Srisuwan’s digital paintings, it looks at though he has divided up his space into forms, then divided […]

Dennis Nolan and the Hartford Art School

Yesterday I visited the Hartford Art School in Connecticut, part of the University of Hartford, to give a lecture about picture making and world building. After the talk, a group of about 50 students invited me to do a watercolor demo. Show More Summary

Eye Candy for Today: Vermeer’s Delft

View of Delft, Johannes Vermeer On Wikipedia, original is in the Mauritshuis. Sometimes overlooked among the enigmatic Dutch master’s oeuvre of striking paintings are Vermeer’s three known landscapes (or more properly, cityscapes), only two of which are existing: The Little Street and View of Delft. Aside from the simple fact that View of Delft a […]

Zen Pencils (Gavin Aung Than)

Zen Pencils is an online comics feature by cartoonist Gavin Aung Than, in which he interprets inspirational writings, sayings and quotes from various sources in the form of comics. The main page of the site is arranged as a blog, and the strips are intermixed with supplementary commentary and other material. New readers may want […]

Street scene with a cool underpainting

Warm air from the south has arrived in the Hudson Valley. The last remnants of winter have nearly vanished, except for one small pile of snow at the end of my neighbor's driveway. I'm thinking about fire devouring ice when I start this street scene. Show More Summary

Still more “not the usual Van Goghs”

Most of these can be found on WikiPaintings. See my previous posts on the subject, below.

Eye Candy for Today: Gibson ink drawings

Various drawings, Charles Dana Gibson From the Toronto Public Library. Gibson was one of the great masters of pen and ink and a major early figure in “Golden Age” illustration. Look at the head of the “Gibson Girl” the center, and the variety of lines, from the short, fine pen strokes around the eyes and […]

Pictures that Tell Stories

Gabriel von Max, Monkeys as Critics Blog reader Sean Oswald asks: "I was exploring some narrative artworks, and I wanted to ask if you would point me towards some resources that would help me learn about narrative art making. I want to know more about story and how it has been used in visual art to communicate ideas. Show More Summary

Self-portraits #12

More “selfies” from the hands of artists from the past. Nary an iPhone among them. Images above (links to my posts): George Hendrik Breitner, Amedeo Modigliani, Arthur Rackham, Marie Bashkirtseff, Cornelis Visscher (with detail), Frédéric Bazille, Lorenzo Lotto, Pieter Claesz (with detail).

Morot's device for capturing motion

Aimé-Nicolas Morot (1850-1913), provoked a lot of discussion at the Salon in 1886 with his painting of a cavalry charge, because it changed how people thought about galloping horses. Aimé-Nicolas Morot: Charge of the Cuirassiers at Rezonville...Show More Summary

Easel-Mounted Diffuser

Getting the best light on your artwork while sketching outdoors makes a huge difference for seeing color. Ideally you want soft, diffused white sunlight at a level close to the brightness of the scene itself. The worst thing is cast shadows or dappled light across the painting. Show More Summary

Priscilla Wong

To be fair, I haven’t see the new movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but as a fan of the original Peabody’s Improbable History animated shorts from the Rocky and his Friends TV series, I wouldn’t be inclined to think of recasting the very 2-D, very limited animation series — in which writing and voice talent […]

Can three artists work simultaneously on one picture?

This Australian street scene was painted on one giant piece of paper by three master watercolorists: Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castagnet, and Herman Pekel, who call themselves "The Three Caballeros."Fortunately the fun was captured on 24 minutes of mesmerizing video. Show More Summary

Eye Candy for Today: William R. Leigh portrait

Sophie Hunter Colston by William R. Leigh In the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In addition to the larger image on the SAAM site, there is another image on Wikimdeia Commons. Though the latter is cropped, slightly soft in focus, and has a bit of glare, I’ve used it for the detail crop […]

Eric Wert

When I first encountered the still life paintings of Eric Wert, I was struck by his use of color: vibrant and intense, yet controlled and always in the service of the composition. I then was impressed with his handling of complex detailed compositions, often with multiple elements in front of intricate background patterns on wallpaper, […]

Visualizing sound waves

Scientists have devised a way to visualize the propagation of sound waves, using a technique called Schlieren Flow Visualization combined with slo-mo video. (Direct link to video)

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