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Back From the South

My body is trying to readjust to the cold and I’m not helping the process. I dipped down in a hot tub earlier today and then relaxed in a steamy sauna. I’m just not built for the cold. I think it’s all genetics. My dad’s ancestors were the Choctaw from the bayous of Louisiana, so a predilection for heat must be in my blood. Still, it’s nice to be back home.

Today I ran into one of my old professors and we were talking about the art I saw on this week’s trip. Here are a few of my favorite paintings:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Bellona – Rembrandt

I saw this painting and immediately fell in love with one thing: that shield. Rembrandt’s mastery of light is quite apparent in the shadowed face of the Medusa and the slow progression of scattered light over the shield’s surface. It feels so metal and yet so real. But I could only stare at it for so long before I had to move along. If the week was a whirlwind, our museum trips were super-cyclones. We tried to see as much as possible before moving on to the next stop. I don’t regret that. It was what I wanted to do. But I also look forward to the vacations where I can relax in these museums and take time to study the art.

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Chrysanthemums in the Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers – Gustave Caillebotte

The photograph doesn’t do this painting justice. Of course, I could say that about every painting. This photograph just doesn’t capture the transitions from light to dark. It was great to see how Caillebotte dealt with lights in the dark and darks in the light. And I just love how the canvas is almost split in half at a diagonal by the light.

Marie Julien

Marie Julien – Vincent van Gogh

I’ll admit that I wasn’t always a van Gogh fan. Back in school we would look at his paintings and I’d struggle to see what the big deal was. Then I saw his other paintings. That’s when I started loving van Gogh. Take this painting for example. It’s a blend of texture, large shapes, small shapes, line, saturated color, and complementary and contrasting colors. There’s something firm and solid about the painting and yet it is built up by small brush strokes.

Irises

Irises – Vincent van Gogh

I saw a lot of van Gogh on my trip. And I came to like his flower paintings the most. I’d like to incorporate more flowers in my own paintings.

The National Gallery of Art

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The Island and Bridge of San Bartolomeo, Rome – Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

On our way back north we stopped in DC and managed to spend a little time in the National Gallery of Art. It felt quite small compared to the MET.

I like this particular painting because it is able to represent a city with simple shapes.

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The Tragic Actor – Edouard Manet

I see this painting as a counter piece to James McNeill Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 1. If only because of its heavy and all encompassing use of black. I’ve lately been intrigued by paintings that focus mainly on one color.

edgar-degas-girl-in-red-ca-1866Girl in Red – Edgar Degas

Degas’ technique attracted me to this painting. Everything seems scraped and blurred to the point that the colors flicker and glow. It’s as if the colors bleed through each other.

A21167.jpgInterior, after Dinner – Claude Monet

I first saw this from across the room and then was surprised at how loose it was when I got closer. It works well from afar because of Monet’s use of light. The mind fills in the small details that the large shadows don’t distinguish. It would really be a great painting to do a study of if I could get into the museum with my easel.

Inspired by all the art I saw, I made sure to get some drawings down in my sketchbook.

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On Monday we journeyed from Columbia to Charleston and relaxed on the beach. We were there for four hours while I worked on the above sketch. I’m not exactly pleased with how it turned out, but I learned I was really working too big to be effective with markers.

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We arrived at 12:30am and the beach was mostly empty. It didn’t stay like that. For the rest of the day I had people asking me questions about my drawing. One guy asked to take pics of me drawing so he could prove to his art teacher friend that not all students were getting non-stop wasted on spring break.
spring break me1I applied and reapplied sunscreen all day long and I still got burnt. The backs of my knees and my ears got the worst of it.

Man my neck looks weird and elongated in this photo. I definitely was standing too close to the drawing.

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When we were done with the beach we drove into Charleston proper. The city is like a beautiful movie set. I’d love to live there some day.

Because I was unsatisfied with my beach drawing, I drew a portrait of my girlfriend as we waited for dinner at Kickin’ Chicken. Then it was a two hour drive back to Columbia, where we fell immediately asleep and woke up early for more fun.

On Tuesday we went to Congaree National Park and explored the swamps and hanging moss. We didn’t have real hiking equipment and thus were confined to the boardwalk. Though were still able to take in a huge chunk of the park’s beauty. I’d like to go back and travel deep into the swamp and see the amazingly tall champion hardwoods.

From there we went to the Riverbanks Zoo.

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There were very few people at the zoo and we only ran into crowds when we crossed paths with school groups.

My first few sketches didn’t turn out too bueno, but I hit my stride once I got to the flamingoes.
springbreak2015003I enjoyed the reptile house since those lizards were kind enough to hold still for me. My favorite drawing of the day is the one of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana.

springbreak2015004Later we passed through the aquarium section and I found an unlabeled fish that was happy to patiently pose for me.
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After seeing all the animals, we went to the flower garden and I got in a quick sketch of a brick arch and its surroundings. We were exhausted at that point and called it quits for the day and returned to Columbia. The rest of the trip we drove from city to city without a home base to return to at night. We arrived back at my parents’ house at 2am on Friday. It was a hectic end to our week, but I’m happy with all we got to see.

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Four Artists to Follow on DeviantART

I’ve been on DeviantART since 2008. At first I only submitted poems and short stories. I was still in high school at the time, and I didn’t draw as much as I do now. For a long time I used the website to keep track of artists I liked. I’ve since transitioned from submitting literary works to submitting artwork, but I still use it to follow artists. I watch hundreds of painters, illustrators, stencilers, and photographers from around the world. Here are four artists I think deserve a little more attention:

FRANCO E

Franco has a style that is reminiscent of Disney concept art. He works digitally, using soft brushes and bold shapes. I’ve been a Disney fan since I could walk and talk, so I am naturally drawn to his art.

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Pink Lady

Thankfully, Franco is not merely a Disney school cutout. There is not always a storybook lesson attached to his illustrations. His works explore a range of subjects, people, and places.

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Coddy and the…

There is plenty to ogle in each of Franco’s works and I often zoom in to see just how he worked out a particular finger, tree, or shirt sleeve.

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Looking at the Sky

I’ve been following Franco for a while now and it’s been interesting to see how he develops. At first he was posting mostly single characters sans backdrops. Now he’s moved on to beautiful spreads that incorporate characters and backdrops seamlessly.

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The Butterfly Collection of Mr. Emmerson

Franco updates often on DeviantART and can also be followed on his website.

LOIS VAN BAARLE

Lois van Baarle goes by loish on DeviantART and is one of the first artists I started following on the site. She works digitally, mostly drawing portraits of women.

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Glow in the Dark

 A couple years ago when I was taking Intermediate Drawing I was talking to a fellow student about our favorite artists. After discussing a couple artists, the other student turned on her phone and said, “Hold on. I wanna show you someone I think you’re really going to like.” When I saw her phone screen turn the classic DeviantART green I asked “Are you looking for loish?” Turns out she was and we spent the next few minutes discussing van Baarle. I’m not sure this story has much of a point, but it’s something I always remember whenever I see a new van Baarle piece. I suppose it shows how art can unify people and spark discussion.

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Minimalists

While van Baarle tends to focus on drawing long-haired women (she is truly great at painting hair), I enjoy more her pieces that explore large environments with muted palettes. She is great at using color harmony to evoke emotion.

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Meeting

Like Franco, van Baarle’s illustrations remind me of children’s books. But there’s a darker, more emotional quality in her works, as though her illustrations belong in a picture book for adults.

Morning

Morning

Lois van Baarle can also be followed on her website.

FRANCOIS BEAUREGARD

Francois Beauregard is an architect who posts both his real world drawings and his fantastical sketches to DeviantART.

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Design Sketch for House #56

I’ve always been fascinated by architecture and it’s fun to follow an architect who is able to make his drawings become reality.

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Original Design for a Hilltop Village

Beauregard’s drawings feel as though they’d be right at home in a fantasy novel or a video game’s loading screens.

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Castle-Village Number Four

Every time Beauregard posts a new sketch I am reminded of the cross section books by Stephen Biesty that I used to read when I was little. Perhaps because they both draw medieval style buildings and perhaps because they both love to incorporate crazy detail.

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Portrait of House Number 500

Francois Beauregard does not seem to have a permanent website besides DeviantART, but if you’d like to have your next house designed by him you can reach him by email: beauregard.francois@yahoo.com.

DAVID CHEIFETZ

David Cheifetz goes by turningshadow on DeviantART, a name that evokes the image of a round object being rendered or described by the sculpting “turning” of a shadow across its surface. Quite the artistic name.

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Chameleon

Cheifetz paints a variety of subjects. Portraits, cityscapes, and landscapes are all in his repertoire, but he really shines through his still life paintings.

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The Spire

I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from Cheifetz, particularly for this painting. He has an incredible eye for composition. Additionally, he plays around with techniques, creating paintings that analyze color, value, subject, and composition.

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Value v. Color

Most of his paintings are done with a palette knife, though he also uses brushes. Cheifetz is one of my main inspirations due to his ability to live off his original artwork.

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Phantasm

David Cheifetz can also be followed on his website. I highly suggest subscribing to his mailing list. He sends out biweekly updates that break apart his painting process step-by-step.