Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Great John D. Batten

John Dickson Batten (1860-1932) has been a favorite illustrator since I was a kid. While not as celebrated as many of his contemporaries, his pen work illustrations and works in tempera are amazing. This image of a group of frog-like goblins remains a favorite of mine; its weirdly cheerful atmosphere--and especially the goofy expression on the middle figure--cracks me up.

Nosing through a used bookstore while in art school, I was fortunate to find this old edition of Joseph Jacob's English Fairy Tales from 1891. It contains many of Batten's greatest images--plus this sweet cover!

Here's one of my all time favorites!

My parents gave me a set of illustrated books early on. This is the Batten image that first caught my eye as a five-year-old.

Characters (and musician characters) give me a charge, and Batten drew many.

He also painted dramatic works using tempera on gesso.
The painting of Snow Drop and the Seven Little Men can be seen large and gorgeous here:
Hope you enjoy Batten's works as much as I,
and thanks for checking out my blog!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Preliminary Sketches

I'm working away at a bunch of paintings for an upcoming solo show at Helikon Gallery.
One of my favorite ways to relax away from the studio is adding pen-work to my preliminary sketches for those paintings.

 The original prelims are most often loose, red-pencil drawings on toned paper. I do a bunch, and they simply help me in thinking out compositions.

But when hanging out at home, I like to sit on the couch, pull out one of the preliminary sketches, and then apply outline and value using a brush pen, white highlights, and pen and ink. It's meditative (like fishing!) and a great way to unwind from a day at the studio.

 You'll be able to check out all the prelims and finished art this coming June at the show, and I hope you'll join me!
And thanks for checking out my blog :)

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