Painters I should Have Known About (003) Martin Lewis

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Fifth Avenue Bridge, Drypoint, 1928

MARTIN LEWIS, printmaker. 1883-1962

OK, so he wasn’t strictly a painter, because the majority of his work was printmaking, but he did paint too, as you will see.

I can’t remember how I stumbled on Martin Lewis’s work, but I do remember being immediately impressed by his handling of tonality. The more I looked at his work the more I was struck by the use of light over dark / dark over light, and his bold, almost industrial strength tonal compositions.

You quickly get a feeling that Lewis was really close to his human subjects, and felt a sort of matey parity with them.

A few pictures to get a sense of the man and his work. (These are not sorted by date or any other formal system!) Titles under the thumbnails.

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Bedford Street Gang Drypoint and sand ground, 1935

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The Orator 1916

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Shadows, Garage at Night Drypoint, 1928

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Spring Night, Greenwich Village Drypoint, 1930
(Some delicious detail in this one)

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Suburban Evening Drypoint, 1925

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Subway Steps Drypoint, 1930

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The Great Shadow Drypoint, 1925

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Above The Tracks, Weehawken
Now see the reverse view worked in colour:-

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Railroad Yards, Winter – Weehawken

And here to round out this crop of pictures, an almost abstract composition.
Originally it was titled Black Magic – Gashouse District

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Now it’s called: Shadow Magic

Ive put a couple of quoted bios below the fold, but this liitle detail from somewhere stuck in my mind:

He taught his friend, the great American Realist artist, Edward Hopper, to etch.

Continue reading Painters I should Have Known About (003) Martin Lewis

Storyboarding Tutorial

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Skwigly Animation Magazine has posted a storyboarding tutorial.

A quote:

Have you ever walked through an animation studio and conducted a poll as to who is a storyboard artist, and who is not? I have, and the results were staggering. Apparently, EVERYONE is a storyboard artist. Or rather, everyone THINKS they are a storyboard artist. Have they ever done it professionally (gotten paid for it) though? Probably not. Have they actually seen one of their storyboards put together on an editing suite, complete? I doubt it. One cannot be an effective storyboard artist without learning the rules of storyboarding from people with experience, and by making mistakes themselves and realizing those mistakes. Also, the best storyboard artists are people who have been animating for a number of years because they are more able to assess what will be the best angle to animate, and what will be too hard to animate.

There’s a printable version of the whole piece. Thumbs up Skwigly!
Why not join their discussion forum while you are visiting?

The Beekeeper at the Door (2)

Yesterday, I posted a piece about a stranger at the door collecting a pair of orange overalls from me.

So, who was the mysterious stranger?

beeShe’s Marion, a member of Freecycle, who had put out a plea in her local Freecycle group message board for a pair of overalls that she needed to protect herself from her bees. She is just starting out with beekeeping.
It so happened that I had a pair of very good overalls that I had bought way back in the 80’s that were now too small for me, and as they were still good for a few years’ use and not too heavily paint covered, I’d been wondering how on earth to dispose of them without just chucking them in the bin. They aren’t really the sort of thing that charity shops will take in, so I was delighted to see Marion’s request in the daily digest of Freecycle offers and requests.

Here’s a quote from the main page of their website that explains what Freecycle is all about:
Continue reading The Beekeeper at the Door (2)

Google SketchUp Free!

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Here’s the news about Google’s free version of SketchUp.

Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program that enables you to explore the world in 3D. With just a few simple tools, you can create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects – even space ships. And once you’ve built your models, you can place them in Google Earth, post them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies.

Google SketchUp is free for personal use. No registration is required.

For those people who have not yet tried the downloadable demo, I guarantee you will have a lot of fun with this little app.

There’s a video here that shows Sketchup in action, and how it integrates into Google Earth.

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80 Prints = 15 Seconds

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Jesse Ledoux has produced a run of 80 prints, drawn over them, filmed them in sequence and shows the resulting 15 second animation here.

Jesse says:

The print was created at the start of 2005. It was printed in the Spring. In the Summer, I used each print as an animation cel to draw on (there are 80 prints total). After an Autumn hiatus, I finally photographed (please pardon the less-than-perfect lighting) and compiled each print to make the animation you see here now. The result? A mighty 15 second cartoon!

Roberto Parada

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Homer Simpson, 1999.

” This was done for Esquire. The article was about how many animation families are more realistic than most of the “real families” on television sit-coms. I didn’t think it would be possible to make him actually come to life. I have stressed ??? Andrew Wyeth and his drama with light was a very big influence.”

Roberto Parada is an illustrator / painter whose work is reflecting the tumiltuous changes happening in his personal life.

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Roberto comments that:

Upon graduating in 1991, I went head first into the editorial illustration market. My early clients ranged from The National Review to Playgirl magazine. At this time I was working in acrylics and repeatedly changed and updated my portfolio to target more portrait illustration assignments. Things dramatically changed for me and my career with a phone call to the great illustrator, Tim O’Brien. I felt the need to distinguish my work from what was out there and being an oil painter himself, he gave me the confidence to make the switch to oils instead of the water based mediums I had been working with. The work and the clients followed once I began refining my style with oils. These clients included Esquire, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine to name a few.

In October 2003, at the age of 33 and with his career starting to take off, Roberto learned that he had contracted Severe Aplastic Anemia (bone marrow failure). It was highly likely to have been caused by exposure to benzene.

After an agonizing wait of several months, a donor was found for a bone marrow transplant, his only hope of a cure. Fortunately this transplant was successful and, once recovered, Roberto started to go through some major changes in his work that reflected the enormous changes he had been through in his life. ( Read his news here.)

Link to Roberto Parada gallery of illustrations, and the paintings he is doing now.

Recovering from a serious illness can make an artist turn from studio bound exercises in technique to a fundamental reappraisal of style, content and meaning in the work, echoing a similar shift of focus in life.

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge.

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(This next one below is for Sarah, if you’re sneaking a look at my blog instead of working!)

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Join me in wishing Roberto a long and happy life painting, please.

The Beekeeper at the Door

When Rene Magritte was a small child, he heard a strange sound outside the door of his nursery. He looked through the doorway and was astounded to see a man coming down the stairs who he had not seen going up.

Even stranger was that the man was dragging behind him a huge bag, that slithered and rustled as it cascaded slowly down the stairs.
Unbeknown to the future surrealist staring in amazement through the nursery door, the man had crash landed a hot air balloon on the roof, and had managed to enter the house through a skylight, tugging the deflated envelope of the balloon behind him.

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My four year old son, fresh from his bedtime bath, must have been equally bewildered this evening when at around 8 o’clock, a woman that neither he nor I had ever met before, knocked at the front door and announced: “Good evening, I have come for the orange overalls”.

I then gave her a pair of faded orange overalls. Thanking me briefly, she turned and disappeared iinto the night.

What was going on?
Answer: Continue reading The Beekeeper at the Door


TEST-TUBES AND TANTRUMS is a series of short (15 min.) programmes from the BBC Science unit outlining some of the historic battles between scientists.

The series is being broadcast Monday to Friday, 24 to 28 April 2006 3.45-4.00pm, but if you miss any of this riveting and entertaining series, you can always listen again for 7 days after the original broadcast.

When great science minds collide, the insults traded and the bile spilt has been both personal and scandalous. But all too often, the victor’s reputation is scrubbed clean by the passage of history. William Hartston rakes up some of the muck that has always been part and parcel of the nature of scientific practice, but that few of us know about.


ReFrederator Daily Cartoon Podcast (2)

UPDATE: Newly discovered graphic of the rostrum set up for this short”thumbnail of Popeye 1

In yesterday’s post you would have seen this week’s schedule for the ReFrederator Daily Cartoon Podcast.

I’d just like you to zoom in for a minute on today’s cartoon, Little Swee’ Pea.

Now I like Popeye well enough, and I’d even say that Dave Kirwan has chosen one of Popeye’s more charming cartoons, if you accept that Popeye could ever be charming. (It must be due to the presence of Swee’ Pea, who was making his screen debut in this short.)*

What really grabbed me, charm and wiggly babies aside, in one of those grip-the-edge-of-the-desk-in-utter-astonishment kind of ways, was the sudden appearance of three dimensional backgrounds. It must be my past as a background artist that provoked my strong reaction.

Have a look at these grabs, and take note of how the perspective changes in the background objects. The backgrounds for the entry to the zoo sequence are fully modelled 3D B.G.s!
This is 1936, long before the birth of Maya, XSI and 3D Studio Max.

Amazing! You can see the effect clearly in these thumbnails:

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Better still, have a look at the whole film.

*(Note to self: Check with renowned Swee’ Pea expert Dave Elvin at Blue-Toe Studios if Swee’ Pea is male or female.)

UPDATE: Take a look at this page from a contemporary issue of Popular Science Monthly that shows this very 3D setup, all laid out in a nice educational stylee.

Rostrum Camera Setup

For higher resolution versions, the kind folks at Modern Mechanix have the full scans available here and here.