Monday, August 8, 2022

Menzel's Skull Studies

 Skull studies, Adolph Menzel, charcoal with white gouache highlights

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Warm Winter Scenes

Some of the most effective winter scenes are essentially warm in color. 

John Everett Millais - Glen Birnam

The camera doesn't usually see it that way. Cameras would probably see the fine branches as blue.

A City Fairyland Winter 1886 Copley Square Boston by Childe Hassam

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Palace of the Fine Arts

Palace of the Fine Arts, a remnant of the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exhibition.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Arcane: Documentary on the Making of an Animated Series

Arcane is an animated series on Netflix based on a video game called League of Legends. The series was a big hit for Netflix and for Riot Games.

It was an artistic breakthrough too, weaving existing characters from the game into compelling story arcs, and mixing 2D and 3D animation in a way that made it look like paintings come to life.  

Nine months after release of the TV show, they have released the behind-the-scenes documentary on the story of the making of the show, and the documentary is free to watch on YouTube.

As behind-the-scenes documentaries go, this one covers all the beats: interviews, studio shots, and informal scene setting. They went the extra mile here, with some really intriguing camera angles and settings, and creative editing. There will be additional episodes of this behind-the-scenes series, and the first one ends with a good cliffhanger.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

It's Hard to Classify Will T. Bradley

Will T. Bradley (1868-1962) was the highest paid American artist in the early 20th century*, but don't feel bad if you haven't heard of him.

At a time when magazines were the chief vehicle of cultural expression, Bradley was a prolific and noteworthy cover artist. 

His style featured simple shapes, smooth lines, and large areas of flat colors, which lent itself not only to covers, but also to posters.

When he wanted to, he could draw in a more ornate pen-and-ink style, influenced by Aubrey Beardsley and Alphonse Mucha.

Bradley was a type designer he created the original version of what is now known as Bradley DJR (designed by David Jonathan Ross.) And he was also an art director for Hearst films.
*More about Will T. Bradley at Wikipedia 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Chainsaw Trike with Robot Driver

Check out this YouTube video of an RC motor sled with robot "driver" as they rip through a suburban neighborhood.


Danny Huynh Creations built this radio controlled tricycle with a chainsaw-powered front drivetrain and steerable rear stabilizer wheels. The robot seems to be actuated by the steering and acceleration servo motors but there must be at least one more servo for side to side action, plus he bounces with a lot of procedural secondary action. I think the eyes are moving passively with the wind.

The low-level shaky-cam POV makes the scale seem much bigger than it really is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Mind of a Butterfly

 How does a butterfly see the world?

It almost sounds like a joke, but I was surprised by some of the revelations in the following podcast about what's going on inside the mind of an insect.

 The podcast is based on the book The Mind of a Bee by Lars Chittka

Monday, August 1, 2022

Animated Quaker Oats Man

Does the Quaker Oats man look OK, or is he a little too....animated?

You can auto-animate a portrait for free using the "Deep Nostalgia" app at

My oil copy is based on the original by Robert Bonfils / Haddon Sundblom. More about that painting on a previous post or at TriviaHappy.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Spontaneous vs. Controlled

Nita Engle (American, 1925-2019) was a watercolorist who combined wild spontaneity with a controlled focus.

In her book "How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself," she says: "My method of working consists of two parts: a wild, spontaneous phase, in which I aim to create a field of texture that will give the illusion of, say, water, a daisy field, trees, or whatever; and a realism phase, in which I select small areas, usually in the foreground, and add careful detail so the viewer's eye will read the rest as reality."

"In the first phase I apply the water and paint and follow it wherever it leads with no censoring....After the paint is dry, the thinking phase begins."

Book: "How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself" by Nita Engle