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Why Aren't Trees Black?

If trees were more efficient solar collectors, the leaves would be black instead of green. They'd look more like solar cells, which are black so that they can absorb as much light energy as possible. James Gurney, River Suir, Ireland,...Show More Summary

Evolving the Camera Lucida

For centuries, artists have developed devices to help translate what they see directly onto paper. One of those tools is the camera lucida, which has remained popular even after the invention of photography.As you look through the viewfinder,...Show More Summary

Molyneux's Problem

Here's a philosophical question:Let's imagine a person born blind had learned to distinguish shapes by the way they feel. If you could surgically bestow sight on that person, would he or she correctly identify those same shapes by sight alone, without recourse to touch?People argued about this question for centuries. Show More Summary

Eye Candy for Today: Hiroshi Yoshida spring woodblock print

Spring in a Hot Spring (Onsen no haru), Hiroshi Yoshida Woodblock print, roughly 11 x 16 inches (27 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; also on Ukiyo-e Search. With the visual appeal of both a drawing and a painting, Shin-hanga master Hiroshi Yoshida also combines the sensibilities of […]

Should you serve on an art jury?

Salon Jury, 1903 In a letter to the director of the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Mary Cassatt (1824-1926) declined to be a juror for their annual exhibition. Here's why:"In regard to jurys of artists, I have never served because I could never reconcile it to my conscience to be the means of shutting the door in the face of a fellow painter. Show More Summary

Gran Torino in Gouache

While waiting for my car to be inspected, I do a gouache sketch of a Gran Torino. That car was produced by Ford in the early 1970s, with Coke-bottle styling and the long-hood-short-deck look. I mention to my mechanic, who modifies and races Triumph Spitfires, that the Gran Torino looks like a pretty hot car to drive. Show More Summary

Barefoot Pianist

James Fitzwilliam accompanied the Bard College Symphonic Chorus in a concert last night. I painted him in watercolor and gouache from the fourth row of the audience. Fitzwilliams is a dedicated barefooter all year round, including in the winter. Show More Summary

Art Museum Day 2017

Tomorrow, Thursday May 18, 2017, is Art Museum Day here in the U.S. Organized by the Association of Art Museum Directors, it’s an event in which participating museums open their doors for free and often feature events, tours and museum shop discounts. Unlike the broader Museum Day, organized by the Smithsonian and generally held in […]

Old-School VFX: Cloud Tanks

When the Barbican Centre museum in London wanted to develop imagery for its upcoming science fiction exhibition, they used an analog technique: a cloud tank. Cloud tanks were used on such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Independence Day, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Never-ending Story, and Poltergeist. Show More Summary

Eye Candy for Today: Francis Hopkinson Smith watercolor of Venice

“Over a Balcony,” View of the Grand Canal, Venice; Francis Hopkinson Smith Watercolor; roughly 32 x 21 inches (80 x 53 cm); in the collection of the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. On their page, click on “Explore Object” at the top of the image for a zoomable view, or use the “Download Image” link. This […]

Tepper and Avati in Illustration Mag

The new Illustration Magazine (Vol. 14 #56) has feature articles on Saul Tepper and James Avati. Like Dean Cornwell and Harold von Schmidt, Saul Tepper (1899-1987) was a student of Harvey Dunn. James Avati (1912-2005) was best knownShow More Summary

Laura Coombs Hills

Laura Coombs Hills (American,1859-1952) excelled in three fields: portraits, illustration, and flower painting in pastel. Margaret Curzon Hale, 1907: MFA Boston After a visit to England at age 22, she figured out the method for painting miniature watercolor portraits on ivory. Show More Summary

American Watercolor Exhibit in Philadelphia

Jeanette and I visited Philadelphia yesterday to check out the blockbuster exhibit "American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent," which closes tomorrow.The exhibition focuses on the period between 1860 and 1925. During that time...Show More Summary

Article on Combining Gouache and Watercolor

The new issue of International Artist features an article that I wrote about combining gouache and watercolor. I'll share some insights about watercolor and gouache formulation, tips for adding white, and information about reactivating colors in pans. Show More Summary

Ignat Ignatov

Originally from Bulgaria, where he also received his initial artistic training, Ignat Ignatov is an artist now living and working in California. Ignatov paints landscape, wildlife, figurative and still life subjects with a painterly and at times gestural, semi-abstract approach. I particularly enjoy his figurative and portrait subjects, in which he often plays with moody […]

Venus Effect

The Venus Effect is a perceptual illusion based on classic paintings that show Venus supposedly admiring her own reflection in a mirror. The viewer, seeing her face in the mirror, may naturally assume that Venus is looking at herself. Show More Summary

Oil Painting Sequence

Here's a step-by-step sequence from a plein-air oil study I painted a few years ago. All through the two hour process, I was eager to paint in the tiny flecks of foamy bubbles and the highlights along the waterline, but I held off on...Show More Summary

Tenggren's Concept Art

During the 1930s, Walt Disney evolved the look of animation from simple black and white cartoons to richly imagined worlds that seemed to leap from the pages of illustrated books. Disney's interest in illustrated children's books intensified after a trip to Europe where he bought many books illustrated by artists such as Dulac and Rackham. Show More Summary

The Lonely Rectangle

(Link to video) A story of shapes, spaces, and a happy ending.

Preview of CGI Tech at Siggraph 2017

(Link to YouTube) Every year at the Siggraph conference, pioneers in the field of computer graphics share their new technology.This geeky preview highlights the technical accomplishments that will filter down to the visual effects we see in movies and animated TV commercials. Show More Summary

General Visual Arts
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