Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ben Blatt [feedly]



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Ben Blatt
// lines and colors

Ben Blatt
Benn Blatt is a dimension-hopping xenobiologist/dreamscape botanical artist based, perhaps fittingly, in Brooklyn, NY.

Blatt takes natural forms of flora and fauna — both real and wildly imaginary — bits of architecture, sculptural elements, jewelry and metalware; filters them through his fascination with 15th and 16th century masters like Bosch and Brueghel, 20th century Dadaists and Surrealists like Max Ernst and DalĂ­, throws in a good dose of 17th century Dutch still life and 19th century botanical illustration and perhaps a touch of Tantric art; and weaves them into intricate bio-architectural wonderlands of Boschian delights.

Blatt studied Fine Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, and is now on the Illustration faculty there. His pieces, which are large, but perhaps not as large as one might expect, are primarily done in varying combinations of watercolor, gouache, ink and colored pencil.

The online gallery on his own website is somewhat limited and poorly arranged for browsing; you will find abetter selection on his Picasa gallery, as well as on the sites of the Halsey McKay Gallery and Half Gallery.

The largest and best reproductions of his work are to be found on Monster Brains.


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Irving at Illustration Master Class [feedly]



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Irving at Illustration Master Class
// Gurney Journey


This is Irving M. Caldwell, one of the students trying to blend in at Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Irving M. Caldwell, gouache, 5 x 8 inches, by James Gurney
I painted this as an hour-long demo yesterday, trying out the idea of combining observation with imagination in an on-the-spot painting. 

Right before the demo, I borrowed some Super Sculpey (thanks, Alex!) and made a tiny maquette. 

I held the maquette on the easel clamp in front of me and rigged a light on him. I then used the studio clutter behind him as raw reference to construct the scenario.

I constructed most of the easels and people in the background with big brushes, using semi-abstract strokes, but keeping the strokes carefully in perspective.

Meanwhile, Brad Kunkle (kneeling, lower left) was demonstrating how he does gold leaf. Photo by Irene Gallo.

There are about 100 students from all around the world here, representing both digital and hand-painted techniques. In between long hours of working on their week-long fantasy paintings, they attend lectures and demos. One student told me she learned more in this week than she did in years of art school. The workshop sells out every year.


To celebrate after my demo, I challenged Chris Kalin to a tournament of unicycle jousting, which ended—not surprisingly for an art event—in a draw.
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Illustration Master Class faculty this year includes: Brad Kunkle, Greg Manchess, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Donato Giancola, Mike Mignola, Iain McCaig, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Dan DosSantos, Scott Fischer, Mark Chiarello, Greg Ruth, Matthew Kalamidas, Irene Gallo, Jon Schindehette and Jeremy Levine.

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New Book Spanning Wayne Thiebaud’s Career Gives a Peek Into His Slanted and Heavily Shadowed Landscapes [feedly]



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New Book Spanning Wayne Thiebaud's Career Gives a Peek Into His Slanted and Heavily Shadowed Landscapes
// Colossal

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Bright, thick, and severe, Wayne Thiebaud's landscapes veer far from his well-known paintings of common objects and sweets. These works feature steep inclines and long shadows, providing a dramatic new perspective to seemingly banal landscapes and cityscapes.

Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1920 and during his early career spent time in the animation department of Walt Disney Studios and the Special Service Department as an artist and cartoonist in the Air Force. Thiebaud studied at both San Jose State University and California State University in Sacramento, and had his very first solo exhibition at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento.

Although Thiebaud is often associated with the Pop art movement, many of his early works pre-date classic pop pieces and he personally rejects the association. "I don't care for pop art at all," Thiebaud told The Wall Street Journal last year.  "Pop artists just appropriate. They steal too much for me."

A new book scheduled for publication this fall by Rizzoli will span the length of Thiebaud's career, covering his work from the 1950s until today. The 94-year-old artist selected all the works in the monograph and also wrote a reflective introduction. The book will include his dessert, candy, and common object still lifes while also taking a look at as his landscape and cityscape paintings that tend to focus on the Sacramento River valley and San Francisco. You can pre-order the book "Wayne Thiebaud" on Amazon now, and see more of his work on Artsy. (via B-sides)

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Painting in Gouache on a Dry Day [feedly]



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Painting in Gouache on a Dry Day
// Gurney Journey



Last weekend we helped out with spring shearing at our friend's Icelandic sheep farm. They still had a couple of lambs on the bottle, and I fed one of them.

Last Shearing, June 6. Gouache, 5 x 8 inches
While everyone worked, I painted the shed in gouache, just a quick impression. The challenge was that it was a dry day with low humidity, and the sun was beating right down on the paint. The paint dried practically as it left the brush, so I had to work fast. 

More than 30 years ago, I tried painting in gouache on a hot, dry day in Death Valley, California, and it was insane how quickly it dried. You can combat the problem somewhat by squeezing the paint out on a damp paper towel and spraying the palette with a mist of water once in a while. 
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Gouache Week starts June 22 on the blog and on my YouTube channel, with the release of the new video "Gouache in the Wild."

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