Friday, February 23, 2018

Twilight in Bonabba

Bonabba is one of Dinotopia's pod villages. Its biomimetic architecture is based on plant forms. 

The human dwellings are raised off the ground on central stalks. You can climb into them via the ladder.

"Twilight in Bonabba" 
I imagined Bonabba at the magic hour of twilight. There's mist in the air, the humans and dinosaurs are settling in for the evening, and the lights in the pods are coming on. The image appears as an establishing shot in my book Dinotopia: The World Beneath, 

I've just been updating the store on my website. Thanks to a warehouse find, I've got some art prints of "Twilight in Bonabba" available now. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Repin portraits vs. color photos of the same model

Color photograph of Andreyev
Leonid Andreyev was a Russian writer who experimented with early color photography, taking selfies between 1910 and 1914. 

These are true color photos using the Autochrome method, decades before Eastman Kodak's process.

Oil painting of Leonid Andreyev by Ilya Repin
Andreyev was also a friend of the great artist Ilya Repin, who painted several portraits of him. 

So we have the rare treat of being able to compare color photographs of one of Repin's models with some painted portraits. 

They're not in the same poses, not taken at the same time, and Repin didn't use these photos as reference.

But it's remarkable to see how Repin stayed true to the essential character of the sitter, clarified the structure of his face, and presented him in an interesting way.
Book: Photographs by a Russian Writer Leonid Andreyev: An Undiscovered Portrait of Pre-Revolutionary Russia
Leonid Andreyev - his Autochromes, and two portraits by Repin
Previously: How Sargent Interpreted Carolus-Duran

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sight-Size or Comparative Measurements?

Patrick Room from Vienna asks:

"When you go outside to do a sketch, how do you scale down the view so that it fits into your sketchbook? Do you establish an anchor point and connect all the measurements to this point, or do you place your sketchbook far enough away and then measure the subject with your outstretched arm?"

Patrick, that's a good question. Ideally I set up my easel so that the view is sight-size, and I place the easel as close as possible to my line of sight. On a few occasions I have experimented with a sight-size grid viewer to assist with very complex subjects.

But frequently the subject is too far away for sight-size to be possible. In that case I use comparative measurements. I establish a unit of measurement in my view of the subject using a pencil held at arm's length. Then I look for other examples where that unit appears.

You can see this approach in action in my YouTube video "Street Painting in Indiana."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Animal Linocuts by Norbertine Bresslern-Roth

Norbertine Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978) was an Austrian printmaker who specialized in animal subjects.

Her preferred medium was the linoleum block print, which suited her strong sense of design.

She studied at the animal painting academy of Hans von Hayek, where students painted landscapes and animals on farms near Dachau. 

She was inspired by a trip to Africa, and later by trips to the zoo. Most of her African compositions are based on her deep knowledge of animal anatomy, with poses that could never be taken directly from photography. 

She often used the linoleum reduction process, where the same plate is used several times for progressively darker ink runs. With each color run, more and more of the block is cut away. 

Even for a simple subject, this process requires careful planning, and since you destroy the plate, you can't go back and print more.

Her birds, fish, and insect subjects, show striking color combinations. Her art is well known to lino-cut artists, but not as well known as it should be to painters and other artists.
Wikipedia (in German) Norbertine Bresslern-Roth 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Building Dinotopia in Lego

Seattle area builder Shawn Snyder recreated the saurian-themed architecture of Dinotopia in Lego bricks.

The gold trimmed details of the pediment use dinosaur-shaped motifs, and pterosaur finials hover over the towers.

The dinosaur firefighting rig was based on a page spread from Dinotopia: Journey To Chandara.

The firefighter has his tools mounted on the side of his Triceratops saddle, with the hose reel right behind him.

More Lego creations on the site Brothers Brick 
Thanks, Michael Lynch

Sunday, February 18, 2018

'Still Going Strong'

J.C. Leyendecker, "The Open Road," 21 x 37 in.
This intense fellow, with his goggles, cap, and gloves, would have seemed amusingly old-fashioned when Leyendecker painted this ad for Amoco around 1942.

The shapes are lovingly crafted, from micro to macro. Note how the red necktie and the fringe on the scarf flap back in the wind, but the mustache juts forward. The little light spots between strokes add sparkle.
More info about the original painting