Sunday, May 12, 2019

John Gannam's Watercolors of Motherhood

John Gannam, watercolor and gouache on board, 13 x 11.5 in. 
(33 x 29.2 cm.), illustration for Pacific Mills, 1945

John Gannam (American, 1907–1965) painted images of mothers and children for American magazines after WWII.

The Society of Illustrators writes: "John Gannam was the ultimate illustrator’s artist. A funny looking, baldheaded little guy, he painted beautiful women with a love and flow of sensitivity."

According to Walt Reed, "Gannam worked at his paintings almost vertically, very freely, his brush loaded with water."

"He was after the broad, but exact, effect. He was little concerned with details or with corrections that could be made later, if needed, with opaque."

"Light—that's what fascinates Gannam; light, color, values." observed Ernest Watson. "He talks about values more than anything else, declaring that 'in watercolor, values practically do the trick.'"
There's no Wikipedia page on John Gannam. Would someone out there like to start one?
Flickr setcollected by Leif Peng
Online bioHe was honored in Society of Illustrator's Hall of Fame.
Book: Forty Illustrators and How They Worked
Magazine: Illustrators 51 with article on John Gannam (free digital preview with option to pay for download)
Previous posts which mention John Gannam


Timothy Bollenbaugh said...

"He talks about values more than anything else, declaring that 'in watercolor, values practically do the trick.'"

This is a nice compliment to the very nice post and comments of April 27h.

CerverGirl said...

Thank you for posting these. Nostalgic for me to see the beauty, surroundings and feel of the era around my childhood. A great time to be a child. How he worked nearly vertical and kept things so clean is wonderful.

CerverGirl said...

I forgot to mention those shimmering blanket edges--I can feel them!

Penny Taylor said...

I'm new to painting. Have no idea what I'm doing yet, but the controlled lines, etc. make me question that he really worked both "almost vertically" with "a load of water." I can see him painting vertically, but see more control than I think would be possible with a water loaded brush vertically. (Anyone w/ more experience have a take on this?)

David Webb said...

Penny, perhaps he had a looser watercolour technique as well as the examples shown here. As an artist who does work vertically (out of necessity) when demonstrating, I usually apologize in advance for the inevitable drips down the paper.