Louise Moillon, Baroque still life painting

Louise Moillon, Baroque still life painting

Louise Moillon was a French still life painter active in the 17th century. Though she lived in Paris, where still life painting had yet to become accepted as a respected genre, she painted in the Flemish Baroque style of still life that was becoming popular in the Netherlands.

Her work includedd elements of trompe l’oeil along with arrangements that sometimes feel stylized and artificial; that, combined with her superb feeling for the texture and color of fruits and leaves, often gives her paintings something of a magic realist quality.

I particularly admire her renderings of plums, in which the sheen of the skin and the dimensionality of the forms show her skill at its best.



Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching (details)
Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 8 inches (14 x 20 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; downloadable large image on Wikimedia Commons

Zorn is one of my favorite etchers (after only Rembrandt and Whistler), and his mastery shows here in his portrait of his friend, Irish/American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens.

In a tour-de-force of etching chiaroscuro, Saint Gaudens’ face is revealed in half light, and the figure of his model emerges gradually from the background darkness. Zorn’s seemingly casual lines sweep across the figures in sections that vary in direction and textural effect.

Zorn has not used aquatint here, the gray tones appear to be achieved by the way the print was inked and wiped.

For more, see my post on Anders Zorn’s etchings.



Artur Sadlos, concept art

Artur Sadlos, concept art

Artur Sadlos is a concept artist, designer, art director and photographer, working primarily in the gaming industry.

His concept art often has an appealing playfulness in the lighting, with sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic lighting effects in key parts of the composition. It is also often nicely textural, particularly in his rendering of stone and rock.

In addition to the work visible on his website, Instagram and Twitter feeds, you can also find prints on his society6 page.



Boating on the River, Emilio Sanchez Perrier, landscape painting

Boating on the River, Emilio Sanchez Perrier, landscape painting (details)

Boating on the River, Emilio Sánchez-Perrier

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable image on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, which also has zoomable & downloable images.

Sánchez-Perrier’s landscapes have a wonderful visual softness. They exhibit a masterful use of soft edges that is somehow different than that of Inness and the American Tonalists. For me, it creates a feeling of quiet and contemplation.

There appears to be a band of lighter color through the trees and bushes in the center of the image that corresponds roughly to the background color along the horizon. I don’t know if this is a pentimento or something else. The museum’s website doesn’t mention it.

For more, see my previous post on Emilio Sánchez-Perrier.



Argon Zark! webcomic remastered

Argon Zark! webcomic remastered

A long time ago (on an internet far far away), I created one of the earliest webcomics, Argon Zark!, a cyberpunk humor/adventure story about a computer geek who has invented a way to be physically transported into and through the World Wide Web.

For a long time I thought it was the very first online comic — simply because I couldn’t find any others for comparison or inspiration — but as search and internet history improved over time, I found there were a couple of others that preceded it by a few months.

Argon Zark!, however, was certainly the first long-form (comic book or graphic novel style) webcomic, the first drawn in a format specifically for the computer screen, the first drawn entirely on the computer and the first to incorporate elements of animation and interactivity.

I pursued the project for a number of years, but I was finally worn down by my inability to make the comic pay for the enormous amount of time it demanded. Selling a few T-shirts here and there didn’t cut it, and the fun wasn’t enough to sustain me through the huge number of hours required to maintain progress.

Weary and somewhat defeated, I felt I had to put the comic aside for lack of funding. It’s been dormant now for more than ten years (sigh).

Since then, however, things have changed. The size and activity of the web has increased by orders of magnitude since the mid 90s, and not only are there now hundreds (if not thousands) of webcomics, there are new resources for funding such projects — notably “crowdfunding” sites, and in particular, Patreon.

Patreon allows those who wish to support a creator’s work to contribute a small amount each month on an ongoing basis. With sufficient numbers of patrons, this can give a creator the leeway to put dedicated time and effort into their project. It’s explained in more detail on the new Argon Zark! Patreon page.

So, I’ve relaunched the comic, with the intention of trying that avenue, and in the process, I’ve taken the interactive elements of the pages out of Flash (which limited its availability on iPads) and put them into HTML5.

I’ve also gone through all of the pages in the most recent, ongoing story, and made them 50% larger, as well as adding to and revising many of the “special features” incorporated into the comics pages.

Some of you who are long time Lines and Colors readers may remember the strip, and even if you’ve read the story thus far, you may find it enjoyable to go back and reread the newly enhanced version.

(You can also still read the original first Argon Zark! story, though it is still at its original size to fit the small resolution of mid-90s computer screens.)

I’m working on a new page, and will post notices on Twitter and on the Patreon page (a day in advance for second level patrons) when new pages go live.



Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing (details)

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn (II)

Ink and chalk drawing, roughly 15 x 10 inches (36 x 25 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable version on the website. You can download high-res images if you get a free Rijksstudio account.

Dutch painter and printmaker jacob de Gheyn II, who was active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, had a wonderful drawing style, both bold and subtle at the same time.

I had the pleasure of seeing this drawing in person some years ago (at the Morgan Library, I think) and I was really taken with the way De Gheyn used his pen lines both to create texture and to define the volume of the tree. I love the contrast between the areas of trough bark and the smooth section on the trunk and under the branch that faces us.

The figure (presumably that of another artist sketching) is almost incidental, but still holds visual interest, particularly in the folds of the coat.