Saturday, 27 October 2012

Jan Van Kessel,

(information from (Wikipedia) 
Above is a portrait of the artist Jan Van Kessel by artists, ‘’Hubertus Quellinus ( print maker) ; and  Jan van Meyssen (artist)’’. The title is ‘’Flemish flower painter Jan Van Kessel’’ and it was printed in the book, ‘’Het Gulden Cabinet, by Cornelis de Bie’’, dated 1662. It is a hand coloured print. 
And this is the signature of Jan Van Kessel. 
This is the first one of his paintings that I came across. I loved it on sight because it has forget-me-nots beautifully drawn at the bottom, and because now I know forget-me-nots have been exactly as they are for hundreds of years. This is one of the best forget-me-not paintings I have ever seen, they are so realistic. 
I’ve not found very much written information about him or his work but I’m assuming these are all little oil paintings. 
I like them for so many reasons, imagine how perfectly they must be painted and cared for to still be here over 300 years later, and think about the continuity of life. In these little detailed drawings are insects and plants that we can still find in our gardens today, they are instantly recognisable. 
And I find it a comfort to know what roams in my garden today, happily roamed in other gardens 300 years ago. There are other little insects that are not so easily recognisable, maybe they don’t exist in today’s gardens, and if that’s the case, we have Jan Van Kessel to thanks for keeping them alive and looking as if they just crawled across his page. 
I admire this mans technical expertise as a painter, but I admire him as a man for his obvious love of nature. These are tiny things, little ‘crittes’ that most folk would not even see, he not only saw them but was interested and observant enough to make detailed drawings and paintings, he’s my kind of man. 
Taken fro Wikipedia;  Jan van Kessel, senior (Antwerp, 1626-idem, 1679) was a Flemish painter of still lifes. He was the father of another painter with the same name Jan van Kessel (junior), and Jan Brueghel the Elder's grandson. 
He became a member of the Antwerp painters' guild and was influenced by Daniel Seghers (1590–1661). According to Houbraken, he was famous in his lifetime for the neatness of his flower paintings and Cornelis de Bie wrote a poem about him. 
He joined the Antwerp painters' guild in 1645 and specialised in small-scale pictures of subjects gleaned from the natural world such as floral still lifes and an allegorical series showing animal kingdoms, the four elements, the senses, or the parts of the world. 
Obsessed with picturesque detail, Van Kessel worked from nature and used illustrated scientific texts as sources for filling his pictures with objects represented with almost scientific accuracy. Jan van Kessel painted many animals (especially insects) and flowers, as well as some mythological and biblical scenes. His choice of subject leaned towards those which included animals and plants.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Natalia Richy, Russian born , UK based artist.
Natalie Richy is Russian artist, born in Belarus, grown and educated in Latvia, living and working in London, UK. I think this is another lady artist who uses herself as her main model.
Natalie is a professional figurative Fine Artist and a co-founder and tutor of the Web Art Academy

13:35 21/10/2012

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Art Sunday; Phil Schirmer


If you wonder what technical perfection looks like, it looks like this. This man is the undisputed expert in the egg tempra method. There are very few artists who use this method, probably because it’s difficult and time consuming. He is a self taught expert whose work speak for themselves.


His actual subject matter is varied; he is so versatile that every one can find something they like among his works.  I like the sea scenes, especially the beach pebbles that glisten with the sea, but I also like the portraits, but that’s because I always favour the figurative work.

Info on egg tempra here.

His web site is great, well worth a visit, so much to see there.

This is what the artist has to say about himself.
‘’I graduated from college with a degree in English Literature and then spent ten years working cash registers, pasting up advertisements for newspapers, and even, for a short spell, making miniature carousels. In my mid-thirties I was still scanning help wanted ads.
Someone suggested I try to make a living as an artist. I went out and bought some books and taught myself egg tempera, a medium that takes a minimum of 3 lifetimes to master.
Twenty years later, I have accepted the fact that my life is, and always will be, out of control.’’

I love his seaside scenes

Friday, 5 October 2012

Gaela Erwin

Gaela Erwin

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is a triennial event that invites figurative artists to submit entries in all media to be considered for prizes and display at the National Portrat Gallery.

This is ‘Baptismal Self-Portrait’ by  artist Gaela Erwin, Pastel on paper, 2006-2007, winner of the 2009 competition.
WWhat the artist says of herself;

‘’I am a perceptual painter. What I see before me in the mirror is what I paint. Though my methods and techniques have not changed drastically from those artists who lived centuries before me, I am an artist of my own time. I borrow from the great portraitists of the past to first seduce and then challenge contemporary viewers to catch a glimpse of their own anxieties mirrored in my work.

For ten years themes of self-portraits as saints emerged sporadically and eventually dominated exclusively all of my oil paintings. Why self-portraits as saints? Using my own image virtually guaranteed a contemporary point of view in my interpretation of the saint as subject matter. The death of a spouse, moreover, encouraged the exploration of the timeless theme of suffering death and redemption. Finally, there are the considerations of economy and availability in being your own model.

My latest work has been a series of self-portraits in pastel on paper ranging from paintings based on historical portrait paintings of the 18th century to a contemporary series of individual self-portrait heads with blue eye-shadow to self-portraits that include portraits of my mother. 

Thematically, though, the pastels and the oils have a commonality in consistently exploring the painful gap in our psyche that is the unbidden place where we hoard that sense of loss, suppress thoughts of mortality and deny reflections of our sexuality. 
The motif may be my face and body but if any are to be judged successful, they will have transcended my own life and physical particularities.’’
—    Gaela Erwin

About the Artist

Gaela Erwin has lived and worked primarily in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. She received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 1973 and her MA from the University of Louisville in 1983. In the summer of 1988, she studied with Robert Beauchamp through the Studio Art School of the Aegean in Samos, Greece. In 1989, Gaela studied with Jack Beal at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Currently she has a studio in Louisville and teaches at the Allen R. Hite Institute at the University of Louisville.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Leonardo Drawings at McManus Gallery

The other major exhibition we went to yesterday was an exhibition of ten original  Leonardo drawings. The information there said that the reason these small drawings have survived for 5oo years is that Leonardo used Italian paper that was made from old cloth fibers and not ( as is the case today) from wood pulp.
There is no way I could describe these drawings, they are part of the royal collection and very rarely seen by the public. This is the only venue in Scotland to host this exhibition and it was well, well worth the visit. 

The drawings themselves are truly exquisite, when looking at a reproduction you don’t appreciate how tiny these drawings are and what depth of detail they contain. The drawing of the head is the one used to promote the exhibition. In life, that one is  no bigger than an average sized notebook ( A5 size), but the detail is so perfect it has been enlarged to bill board size and even at that size, possibly a magnification of 100, it remains a beautiful detailed, delicate, drawing. 

From the local newspaper ‘The Courier’

The 10 drawings, which have been cared for by the Royal Collection since 1690, are to travel round the UK as part of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations.

The director of the Royal Collection, Jonathan Marsden, was at the McManus on Monday to talk about the event and says it will bring Dundee to international attention.

He is ''truly excited'' at the prospect of one of the world's most important art collections coming to Tayside, and is keen to get local people, from school age to pensioners, involved.


''This matches perfectly our mission at the Royal Collection which is to promote as wide an audience as we possible can,'' said Mr Marsden.

The drawings depict each area of Da Vinci's life and reflect his extraordinary talents.

Mr Marsden said: ''You can see through the drawings his thought process and this is particularly true in working out how the human body works in his anatomical drawings, his engineering drawings and his botanical studies.

''I don't think you have to be an art gallery-goer to find these completely compelling.''

Beyond a handful of paintings, most of Leonardo's great projects were never completed and, according to Martin Clayton, senior curator of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection: ''We can often grasp the true nature of Leonardo's intentions only through his drawings.''

Mr Clayton told The Courier: ''We are very fortunate to hold this exhibition in a venue such as the McManus. It is a very special collection.

''These drawings were carried out by Leonardo himself and you can see his hand at work and understand what he was doing.''

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A day around the galleries.

I’m just back from staying with a very good friend of mine in her cottage deep in the Angus countryside. We’ve had a bit of a sightseeing day today, we drove up to the glens, admired the view, watched the sheep and caught sight of a red squirrel playing by the side if the road. But yesterday was spent visiting a couple of galleries in the area. First on the list was the relatively new gallery space at the Dundee Botanical Gardens. We went there because my friend is having an exhibition of her work there in a couple of weeks and she needed to leave flyers and posters. We had a quick look around; there is an exhibition of figure work by local Dundee artist John Stour. I loved his work, probably because when I draw or paint, life study is my favourite subject and I truly appreciate how difficult it can be. These pictures do not do justice to his work; it is so much better when seen in the gallery. And these paintings are not the same as the ones we saw yesterday but they do give you a taste of what he can do.

Botanical Garden gallery Dundee John Stoa



We also visited a tiny gallery in Dundee called The Queens Gallery. Here we saw work by Scottish artists Heather Soutar and Hulka Macintyre. Heather paints intricate fantasy images resembling fairy tale characters journying into unknown lands on whimsical vehicles. She usually paints in Acrylic on board and her paintings tend to be mostly in shades of blue.
Hulka produces wood cut prints, paintings and ceramic tiles but it was her ceramic work that was on display yesterday. I’ve seen her work before, I like it, it’s completely original and full of unexpected surprises.

Queens Gallery, Dundee; Hulka Macintyre

 Queens Gallery, Dundee; Heather Soutar

Lastly, we visited the most recent exhibition at the Meffin Gallery in Forfar where we saw the work of Louise Ritchie. I loved her colours, her work brought a smile to my face on a cold windy day.

Meffin Gallery Forfar Louise Ritchie