Showing posts from January, 2011

ARTISTS AT WAR, part two

The illustrator Harry Everett Townsend (1879-1941) was born on a small farm in Illinois. As a young boy he showed early talent, painting signs for local farmers on the delivery route for his father's peddling wagon.

But farm life was too confining for Townsend. As a teenager, he struck out on his bicycle for the big city and when he got to Chicago, enrolled in the Art Institute where he studied under
Lorado Taft. But Townsend remained restless and after two years he moved on to Wilmington Delaware where he trained under the famed Howard Pyle. From there he made his way to Europe to study briefly at the Academie Moderne in Paris.

When he turned 25, Townsend married and seemed to settle down as an illustrator working in New York for magazines such as
Scribner's, Harper's and Century.

Century Magazine

But Townsend remained hungry to see the larger world, and when World War I flared up, Townsend volunteered to cover it. He wrote, "I had gotten drunk, as it were, with the f…

Color Workshop February 12

The use of color is critically important for the working artist; well designed color can make your work powerfully compelling and will reach your audience at an emotional level that moves them. That will be our topic of study for this year's Color Workshop on Saturday, February 12, 12-8pm. So whether you're a landscape painter, figurative or entertainment artist, if you're in the LA area I'd love to see you there.

Here's what we'll cover:
The fundamentals of color theory for painters (traditional and digital).
The emotional impact of color and lighting to create mood and environment.Principles for organizing the complexities of color into pleasing harmonies.Strategies for solving color problems quickly and effectively.Color exploration exercises.Painting from a costumed model in a theatrical, colored light environment.

To enroll contact the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art at 877-695-2232. Their site is


At long last, a book devoted to the life and art of the great illustrator Robert Fawcett has been released by the art publisher, Auad Publishing.

It is a hard cover 9x12" book with a dust jacket, 182 deluxe pages, and a special foldout for Fawcett's well known Civil War panorama. The book was a labor of love for the publisher, who selected and edited the numerous color and black and white images used in the book. Those who know Mr. Auad know he spent years tracking down hard-to-find tearsheets and originals of Fawcett's art in order to make this the definitive collection of the famed draftsman's work.

The book has an introduction by Walt Reed and the text is by yours truly. For a look at sample pages, or to order the book, go to the Auad Publishing web site.
Quicksketch class demo in watercolor and gouache.


What topic has been more intriguing for artists than the sympathy of mortal flesh for mortal flesh?

From the beginning it has been Topic A: "Always Interesting."

Prehistoric kiss, 3500BCE

Nefertiti's kiss, 1350 BCE

John Gannam, Good Housekeeping 1954

While the ballet between living organisms continues to fascinate, the more recent relationship between organisms and machines has emerged to command the attention of artists, sometimes in profound ways.

After the industrial revolution, artists began to look at engines, gears and wires (which were born with a function but no inherent design) and integrate them into nature's laws of design as if they were some new species of flower. For example, the first locomotives were raucous, clanking intruders that frightened horses and scarred the landscape but artists such as Turner and Monet began to place them in an aesthetic framework.

And consider how artists projected notions of beauty onto flying machines:

Illustrator Henry Reuterdah…
Charcoal and pastel on Strathmore charcoal paper.

One resolution I have always kept...

A few a day, every day no matter what.



[Blogger reports that today is my 300th post. I never expected to take this blog past 50, but what started as a fun way to highlight some under-appreciated artists, tell a few truths in support of those who already know them, and share some good stories became an unexpected source ofstimulating dialogues and rewarding acquaintances. Many thanks to all who have participated, and happy new year to all!]
Ralph Waldo Emerson just couldn't get over how cool a library is: Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries in a thousand years have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible, solitary and impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words for us. Today it's even better. We not only access the "wisest and witties…