Friday, November 30, 2007

Man With Guitar

graphite and ink
35.6 x 29.2 cm (14" x 11.5")

This was probably a thirty to forty minute study. It was done three or four weeks ago.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frida No.3

16.0 x 8.6 cm (6.3" x 3.4")

This is the third drawing of Frida Kahlo by a Winnipeg artist who prefers to remain anonymous. The two other drawings were posted last Saturday, November 24th. Of the three drawings, this is my favourite. You wouldn't necessarily recognize that it's a portrait of Frida Kahlo. It doesn't matter. It's an honest drawing not spoilt by technique.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


graphite, ink, and charcoal
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

Although the model is nude, this drawing is more a portrait than a figure study.

The model is an accomplished artist aside from being an excellent model.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Still Model                         

graphite, charcoal, and conté
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

The hands and the legs are a little confused in this drawing, but that doesn't seem to have much effect on the overall impression.

I liked the restrained pose and the image of stillness it portrays.

The drawing was done in about twenty minutes

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something different today: two watercolours of Frida Kahlo from a Winnipeg artist who modestly prefers to remain anonymous.

Frida No. 2

17.8 x 12.7 cm (7" x 5")

Anonymous artist. Collection of the artist.

This is the first of two delightful paintings of Frida Kahlo. Frida No.2 has an iconic simplicity that I find quite attractive. It captures the essential look of the older Kahlo.

Frida No.2 is posted below. It may look less like Kahlo, but it is nonetheless an attractive painting. The simplicity of expression is something which is beyond most artists.

Frida No. 1

17.8 x 12.7 cm (7" x 5")

Anonymous. Collection of the artist.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Back to normal today with a drawing done a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A. Seated

graphite, charcoal, and conté
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

Not a bad drawing. The face is perhaps a little severe, and the left arm and leg may be a little off.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


oil, colored pencil, colored paper, and rubber stamp on paper
29 1/4 x 21 3/4"

Cover drawing for The New Yorker, October 21, 1972
The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Saul Steinberg. The Saul Steinberg Foundation.

Another wonderful Steinberg invention. 'Wit' would be the verbal equivalent of Steinberg's visual style.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Untitled, 1961
ink on paper

Saul Steinberg (1914-1999). Originally published in The New Yorker, July 29, 1961. © The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Steinberg is often referred to as a Romanian-born American illustrator.
Simply, artist, would be a more accurate description.

Steinberg is always a delight. There's not as much of his work online as I would like to see. The Saul Steinberg Foundation is a good place to start, however.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Pont Neuf, 1906
oil on canvas
50.2 x 61.3 cm (19.75" x 24.125")

Albert Marquet (1875-1947). National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Marquet is usually, if not always, grouped with the Fauves - the wild beasts - Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Braque, and others who, along with Marquet, exhibited in the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1905. He seems to be seen as a minor member that group, and a minor painter in general, and particularly minor in comparison to his friend Matisse.

Myself, I've never regarded him as minor in anyway, and despite liking Matisse a great deal, I've always preferred Marquet. There's something to be said for understatement and simplicity, something that I find quite appealing. I never tire of Marquet. He always improves my outlook on the world.

A later work by Marquet (1945) is immediately below.
Soleil Levant sur le Port d'Algiers, 1945
oil on canvas
72.7 x 81.0 cm (28.675" x 31. 825")

Albert Marquet (1875-1947). Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.

This is a much later work than The Pont Neuf. The style is essentially the same, though. The drawing is a little more refined, and the handling of the atmospheric perpective a little surer, but overall the effect is much the same as in the earlier painting. If anything, the refinement, slight though it is, detracts from the painting. But who am I to argue with Marquet.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Juan de Pareja 1650oil on canvas
81.3 x 69.9 cm (32" x 27.5")

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 – 1660). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Yesterday I mentioned August Sander and Diego Velazquez in the same breath. With allowances for differences between their two media, photography and painting, I think that they are trying to tell us the same thing about their subjects. You be the judge.

I'll have more to say about photography and painting in a future post.

Philip IV at Fraga 1644
oil on canvas
129.8 x 99.4 cm (51.1" x 39.1")

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 – 1660).The Frick Collection, New York.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


gelatin silver print

August Sander (1876-1964)

I must confess that August Sander is my favourite photographer. Seemingly nothing more than snapshots, Sander's photographs portray all of his subjects simply, without artifice, but with great dignity. Not much more can be asked of a photograph, or of a portrait.

Sander strikes me as the photographic equivalent of Velazquez. The same compassion and empathy are evident in the work of both artists.

Two other Sander photographs are posted below.

Fine Art Photography has a particularly good portfolio of Sander's work.


gelatin silver print

August Sander (1876-1964)

Circus Performer

gelatin silver print

August Sander (1876-1964)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1956
gelatin silver print

This is an earlier photograph by Diane Arbus. The despair and hopelessness, that are so evident in her later work (Wednesday's post), are apparent in this photograph as well. The feeling is not as intense as in her later work, but it's there nevertheless. There's a general disquiet to this photograph, which, of course, is why it's such a good photograph.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Untitled #3
gelatin silver print
37.2 x 37.2 cm (14.6" x 14.6")

Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

Has anyone been able to capture absurdity and despair better than Diane Arbus?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Taking on Wet Provisions, 1903
35.5 x 55.7 cm (14" x 21.75")

Winslow Homer (1836-1910). Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York.

Notes on Winslow Homer's technique:

The technical strength of Homer's watercolours lies in their simplicity. Only what is essential to the image, or essential to conveying Homer's impression of the scene, is included.

In Taking on Wet Provisions the colour scheme has been reduced to three or four colours. The sky and the sea are monochromatic, and the drawing has been reduced to a minimum, as witnessed by the figures or the ship's rigging. It would be difficult to take anything more away from the painting, as a Picasso or a Rauol Dufy certainly would have, without the painting as a whole having a different effect. Similarly, if more were added to the scene, as a marine painter would do, the effect again would be different. A marine painting would be more about the ship and the sea, and less about the experience of having seen the ship. As it stands, the painting nearly perfectly conveys Homer's intentions. Nothing more is needed. All of which is why this painting stands as a technical masterpiece.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Key West, Hauling Anchor, 1903
33.6 x 52.7 cm (13.25" x 20.75")

Winslow Homer (1836-1910). National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Homer has long been regarded as one the masters of watercolour. This watercolour and others he produced in Florida and the Bahamas are certainly masterful watercolours. Beyond the technique though, there's something else, something which I find hard to put a name to, except perhaps to say, that for me, there's a great humanity in these works, which makes them among the greatest works of art ever produced.

I'll have a little more to say about Homer, along with another of his tropical watercolours, in my next post.