Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Harry Anderson website

Collector Jim Pinkoski has just set up a new website to feature the illustration art of Harry Anderson (1906-1996)

Harry Anderson (not to be confused with another illustrator Harold Anderson) did a lot of calendars, advertising art, and story illustrations for the American women's magazines. Later he gave his talent to religious painting. All of these categories are well represented on Jim's website.

Anderson's people always have a lot of warmth, sympathy, and animation, and he became known as a specialist at painting children.

He worked in water-based paint because he was allergic to oils. His fluid, relaxed paint handling and attention to edges shows his admiration of Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Sargent, and Anders Zorn.

New website Harry Anderson Art
Jim Pinkoski's website on John Berkey
Another collection of Anderson art by Leif Peng
Book (mostly his religous painting): Harry Anderson: The Man Behind the Paintings


Tom Hart said...

Thanks to you and Jim Pinkowski for bringing these paintings back to light/life. I love the warmth and the presence that the best magazine illustrations of that era evoke. Let those who skoff at these idealized images (e.g. those who demean Rockwell) skoff on. These are great paintings.

I'm fascinated that these are all water media too. I'd love to know more about what he used. Any ideas?

Keith Parker said...

Tom check out the pages 10 and 11 of Color and Light.

James Gurney said...

Tom, good question. Here are my thoughts, though I would love someone who knows more than me to set me straight.

In the 1976 Harry Anderson book, which was done with his cooperation, it says he works in casein. I identified the piece in the C&L book as gouache because that's what the illustration historian and dealer Walt Reed said about that piece, but I think it's really casein.

The difference is casein has a bit stronger emulsion, often from an milk-based binder, which lets you lay color over color without picking up previous layers. Acrylic came in in the late 1960s, replacing casein for a lot of artists, though its handling properties are different. A lot of the older artists used the terms "gouache" and "tempera" synonymously, but they're a bit different, too, I believe.

Keith Parker said...

Fasinating. In the famous artist course the refer to water based media as wash. I guess they were referring gouache...perhaps just generalizing. When I was in art school one of my teachers was a bit older. In his early seventies now, but when he was a young man he actually went through the famous artist course at a school in California. I wonder if he would know anything about that...

James Gurney said...

Keith, in the case of the FAC, I believe "wash" means transparent black watercolor, usually lampblack or ivory black. A lot of renderings were done that way, sometimes with touches of white gouache or "body color." Casein, tempera, and gouache are all opaque.

Keith Parker said...

Oh. Much thanks. Whatever he was using, he was obviously very good with it. If it was gouache, it's very impressive...not to say other paints aren't also challenging. Come to think of it, I don't know of any water based media that is very forgiving.

Smurfswacker said...

Just for the record Jim Pinkoski spells his last name without a "w."

Casein is interesting stuff. Its unique feature is that you can re-wet and re-work it like gouache while you're painting, but after the paint dries completely it becomes waterproof like acrylic. One can also use it as an underpainting for oils (you need to seal it first with casein varnish).

I messed around with casein on and off for years. There seemed to be only one company making the stuff--Shiva--and the pigment quality of their newer paints wasn't as good as the old tubes I had. However a company called Jack Richeson & Co. has taken over the Shiva brand and is now selling caseins mixed to professional standards.

Casein is a niche product for sure, but some artists might enjoy giving it a try.

Roberto said...

Casein is used quite a lot in the decorative arts. Although it is opaque, it can be built up over many, many very thin layers. The top layers reactivate the lower layers as the Smurfswacker said... and form a very hard, thick, and super-glossy paint surface. (it makes a very beautiful under-painting for decorative faux finishes such as marbles, stone, or quartz.) Casein is used extensively in the repair and refinishing of antique furniture because of it’s ability to build up and hide repairs, cracks, and blemishes… even better than plaster, and stronger too. As pointed out above, it needs to be sealed w shellac, or a varnish, or a vinyl coat, before it is over-painted with oils (or egg-tempera, gouache, or acrylics). You can create a similar painting experience by mixing acrylic gesso into your acrylic paints.
Because casein creates such a hard (crackable) surface… it should only be used on a rigid support, such as panels (or canvas glued to a panel). Thanx for the journey. -RQ