Monday, October 15, 2018

The Floral Art of Raymond Booth

Raymond Booth (1929-2015) was a botanical artist who created meticulously realistic images of flowers.

He grew up in England, studying at the Leeds College of Art. His technique documents the shapes, textures and structures of the individual leaves and petals.

Booth's images typically show layers of detail, not only the foreground flowers, but the textures and details of the ground beyond. Most botanical paintings show the specimen against a simple white background. 

Booth was also an expert horticulturalist, raising exotic and unusual flowers in his own garden. 

He was an intensely private man. Not even his wife or his parents were allowed into his painting room.

His magnum opus was the elephant-folio sized hardback book about the flowers of Japan called Japonica Magnifica, which includes 85 paintings, plus graphite drawings.

Another gorgeous production is the oversize book Raymond Booth: An Artist's Garden.

Learn more about Booth's art and life at:
Fine Arts Society
Botanical Arts

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Book on Zorn's Etchings Arrives in a Month

A month from now, Dover Publishing will release a book on the etchings of Anders Zorn (1860-1920), for which I wrote an introductory essay. 

It's 128 pages, softcover, 8.2 x 10.9 inches. You can pre-order now on Amazon: Anders Zorn: 101 Etchings, edited by James Gurney

Saturday, October 13, 2018

René Gruau's Elegant Simplicity

René Gruau (1909-2004) simplified his designs to the point of elegance.

His father was an Italian count and his mother a French aristocrat. When they split up, he went with his mother to Paris, where he became a leading illustrator for haute-couture fashion designers such as Christian Dior. 

In the high fashion world, outfits are made by hand specifically for the measurements and even the stance of a given model. 

As early as the 1930s, magazines started using photography to represent fashions, so artists needed to come up with a distinctive look that photos couldn't compete with.

His artwork defined both the fashions themselves and the imagery used to market them.
René Gruau on Wikipedia

Friday, October 12, 2018

American Masters Show Tonight

The Catskills plein-air painting “Old Mill Falls” is on exhibit now at the American Masters show in New York City through October 26.

I’ll be there for the gala tonight, October 12. I'm honored to share the walls with a group of first-rate painters, such as Joseph McGurl, Christopher Blossom, Sherrie McGraw, Garin Baker, Don Demers, Adrienne Stein, and Quang Ho. 

Flight Past the Falls, 20 x 24," oil on canvas mounted to board
I'll also be offering an important Dinotopia painting "Flight Past the Falls," which appeared in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

The American Masters Show is at the Salmagundi Club in NYC. Those wishing to have the first opportunity to purchase artworks must purchase either a ticket to attend the Gala & Sale or an absentee ballot. The show will be up through October 26.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What colors can horses see?

Horses don't see colors the same way humans do. Like other non-primate mammals, they can distinguish yellow and blue, but they can't tell the difference between red and green. 

"A study has shown the orange framework on the right-hand fence is actually seen as
a shade of green by horses as in the left image." Image courtesy BBC and BHA.
Red or orange colors, commonly used for jumps, blend into the background from a horse's point of view. When takeoff boards are painted white and the hurdles are made a bright yellow, scientists at the University of Exeter discovered that the horse will jump farther. 

As a consequence, the British Horseracing Authority is revising the standard colors that it uses for the obstacles and frameworks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Greenwich Alley

In Greenwich, Connecticut we stand up to sketch an alley with two parked cars. I like the way the alley goes down into shadow and then back into light in the distance.

The casein underpainting color gives me cool borders and a warm center patch of light, and you can see the glow of that priming peeking through the final sketch. 

Thanks to everyone who came to the talk last night at the Bruce Museum, and to everyone at the Museum who hosted us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lecture tonight in Connecticut

With Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum,
and expert on Pelagornis, which I illustrated for Scientific American
Thanks to everyone who attended the sold-out workshop last night at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Tonight at 7:00pm I'll be back to give an illustrated lecture called "How I Paint Dinosaurs: Art, Science, and Imagination."

Come at 6:30 for the reception, and stay afterward for the book signing. Reservations required.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Haddon Sundblom Book Review

A new monograph on the art of Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) is now available.

Sundblom was dominant in the field of advertising illustration, expressing the exuberance and confidence of mid-20th-century American society.

The 224-page hardback monograph continues the splendid series from the Illustrated Press spotlighting notable American illustrators.

Born of Swedish immigrants, Sundblom's cheerful, colorful oil paintings were influenced by Anders Zorn and John Singer Sargent. He was a famously fast painter, producing complete illustrations alla prima.

He is best known for his portrayals of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola, basing the character described in Clement Moore's original poem, but making the character more human-sized and rosy-cheeked. His neighbor posed for many years, and later the artist used his own face as reference.

In addition to his advertising art, Sundblom made significant contributions in the field of dramatic story illustrations. He also influenced a generation of other illustrators in the Chicago area. His circle of friends, colleagues, and students included Harry Anderson, Andrew Loomis, and Gil Elvgren.

The book has a brief biography and 300 illustrations taken from both original art and tear sheets.

224 pages, 9x12 inches, hardcover with dust jacket. $44.95 (U.S.)
Haddon Sundblom on Wikipedia
You can get The Art of Haddon Sundblom at Amazon
The standard edition also available at the publisher's website
You can preview the book online here
Another book: Dream of Santa: Haddon Sundblom's Advertising Paintings for Christmas, 1932-1964
Magazine: IIllustration Magazine with features on Haddon Sundblom, James Avati, and Jack Faragasso

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Salmagundi Club Show Opens Tomorrow

This Dinotopia painting will be on view at the American Masters exhibit starting tomorrow October 8, 2018 at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. (link to FB vid)

"Flight Past the Falls" 20x24 inches, oil on canvas over board.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Boldini's portrait of Sem

Giovanni Boldini, portrait of the caricaturist "Sem" (Georges Goursat, 1863–1934)
In 1876 Boldini visited Holland, where he studied paintings by Frans Hals. Afterward he developed a style that featured boldly slashing brushstrokes and subjects in informal, offhand poses. A 1933 article in Time magazine called him "The Master of Swish."

Artists were always painting and sketching each other when they got together. Sem caricatured his friend Boldini in return.