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Showing posts from January, 2009
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From a life drawing session back in 97.
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STERLING HUNDLEY

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I like the kind of art where you can tell that the artist has a pulse. This passionate image by Sterling Hundley for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is a prime example:



Hundley's theatrical posters are not only impassioned, they are smart, too.


Marat Sade


Death of a Salesman

He has created posters for theatrical productions around the country. These projects give Hundley creative freedom which he uses to maximum advantage, developing his own themes and putting his human imprint on his subject. His illustrations also appear in publications such as the New Yorker and Rolling Stone, and accompany his own stories in Virginia Living magazine.

Like his theatrical posters, his illustrations tend to be emotionally complex and beautifully designed:









Hundley's pictures don't move, blink, or explode. They have no digital soundtrack or 3D glasses. Instead, they come from the tradition where the picture holds still and your brain moves. Such art is in short supply these days.

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Backyard flower. Watercolor on arches paper.
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ANDREW WYETH, ABSTRACT PAINTER

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This week we lost Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009), noted abstract expressionist painter. A formidable artistic source, his work was comparable to some of the most avantgarde work of the last century.

For example, contrast this painting by Wyeth...



...with this image by famed abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell:



Or, compare the shimmering effect of this painting by Wyeth...



...with this very similar painting by radical artist Jean Dubuffet:



Here, a painting by Wyeth...



...might be compared with this work by famed minimalist sculptor and video artist Richard Serra:



Some people even insist they can find realistic images hidden in Wyeth's lovely designs.  


As for me, I'm not sure I see it.  But I guess abstract art is kind of like a rorshach test. Everybody sees something different.
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Currently at DreamWorks we have a specialized department that handles the matte paintings for all our shows, they do outstanding work. In the past though, we in the art department of each show would do them ourselves. Though I prefer color roughs and looser concept pieces, I miss the occasional matte painting. They were a nice change of pace and style. Here's one I did for Shark Tale.

PASSING THE TORCH

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The illustrations of William A. Smith capture the mood of his era. I especially like the gritty, urban paintings he did in the 1940s and 1950s which have a tough, noir feeling. Here, one of his preliminary studies transports you back to a 1940s barbershop at Christmas time:



His artist's eye picked up those little details which are so evocative of his time and place. Note the the hue of the street light on shoppers rushing by outside:



The bored little boy waiting his turn in the barber's chair:



The cluttered array of tables lined up against the wall:



Smith's daughter Kim watched her father work and was inspired to follow in his footsteps. She learned traditional art skills from him. "He gave me LOTS of advice," she recalled. "He talked about composition quite a bit. Also, that the whites of eyes aren't white at all. He taught me to make a good green from yellow and black." Kim learned to draw beautifully at a young age and went on to learn painting, pri…
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Toucan. Done in watercolor from photos taken on a trip to Costa Rica.
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Happy New Year!

It's ironic to me that 13 years after we started the Prince of Egypt, the art department of my current show consists entirely of Prince of Egypt veterans: Paul Lasaine (production designer), Christian Schellewald (art director), Marcos Mateu-Mestre (Location design and layout) and Patrick Mate (character design).


Above is a scene from the film for which I painted the color key and background.

Copyright DreamWorks Animation.

CALCULATING THE MARKET PRICE FOR BEAUTY

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In my opinion, Adrian Gottlieb is one of the finest young figurative painters working in the classical tradition today.



His elegant, timeless designs speak with quiet authority.





By contrast, the most financially successful figurative painter working in the classical style today is John Currin:



Currin lacks Gottlieb's talent, but this painting recently sold for $5,458,500-- hundreds of times more than a painting by Gottlieb.



Compare the work of these two artists and see if you can explain this huge disparity. I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with the quality of the images.



Mia Fineman, art critic for Slate, offers the following explanation for why the art market adores Currin:
This year, the name on everybody's lips is John Currin, whose midcareer retrospective recently arrived at the Whitney Museum. By now, the major critics have weighed in on Currin's slyly satirical, figurative paintings, and the reviews have been unusually enthusiastic. There are some wildly di…