Monday, 24 February 2014

Pete "The Street" Brown paints plein air

This is a video of a very hard-working plein air artist - Peter Brown NEAC ROI RSPP PS aka "Pete the Street".  You can see his artwork in the Annual Exhibitions of various national art societies at the Mall Galleries including:
He's based in Bath and can often be seen painting on the streets of Bath.  To my mind he paints with what I'd call a "very English palette" - lots of muted coloured greys.

There's an article about him in the February 2014 edition of Artists & Illustrators Magazine - available in print and digital versions.

Click the link in his name to visit his website.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Landscape Pictures - Notes #1

"Landscape Pictures" is a new type of post for this blog. The aim is to have a periodic round-up about recommended blog posts and articles about landscape art - with an emphasis on those with decent images and places you can see landscape paintings. It will also allow me to highlight blog posts by artists just because I like the painting!


Prolific plein air painter Haidee-Jo Summers artist reviewed her plein air painting year and exhibitions in four posts which include lots and lots and LOTS of plein air landscape paintings
Michael Chesley Johnson (A Plein Air Painter's Blog)has a post which lacks visual interest but reflects on which of his blogs posts in 2013 have been of most interest to Plein Air Painters - see Top 10 Posts for A Plein Air Painter's Blog
Galley Hill Allotments in the snow by Haidee-Jo Summers 
Winner of The Best Picture (Landscape) 2013

In my Making A Mark Art Blog Awards - on Making A Mark
He regularly includes lots of very useful tips relating to plein air painting and painting generally - and very obviously thoroughly enjoys his plein air painting. This particular post A Plein Air Set Up For Watercolor  (posted last month) almost deserves an award all to itself! 
  • The 2013 winner of The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy was Pete Scully (Pete Scully)
He draws the routine and the mundane in the area where he lives and the places he visits and makes most places look interesting. He opens my eyes and remind me again and again about how sketching starts with learning how to see.



The 2013 Fleurieu Art Prize claims to be the world's richest landscape painting Prize (AU$60,000) and attracts both Australian and International Artists. Do you know different?  To see the list of 2013 finalists go to the Finalist Page.

Two competitions/exhibitions for landscape photographers:


America’s Forgotten Landscape Painter: Robert S. Duncanson is a blog post by the site.  Robert Seldon Duncanson is a 19th century African American artist I'd never heard of before who trained in painting in Glasgow, Scotland.  You can see more of his work on Wikimedia Commons.

Robert Duncanson - Land of the Lotos Eaters
Robert Duncanson - Land of the Lotus Eaters
Two paintings by Claude Monet of the cliffs at Etretat
One of the enduring motifs of landscape painting on the coast of Normandy are the famous chalk cliffs and stacks of Étretat. Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) has done a very interesting post which displays paintings by various different Painters of the cliffs of Étretat

The Standard Examiner has a fascinating piece - sadly with no images - about Top of Utah Voices: Landscape painting in the round.  However the word pictures are stunning!
Painters who utilized the art form and travelled with their depictions faced a daunting task of transporting these large works of sometimes dozens of paintings attached to each other and unrolled scene by scene. Some were advertised as being three miles long and taking over an hour to view. Usually 12 feet in height and rolled up on poles which, when unrolled by an assistant, gave the viewers a tour of the chosen scenes the painter portrayed while the artist (standing on a platform) described them.


Art In Liverpool's post 'Turner: Travels, Light and Landscape’ at the Lady Lever highlights an exhibition which runs from 14 February to 1 June 2014 at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight Village, Lower Rd, Wirral CH62 5EQ.  Turner: Travels, Light and Landscape comprises some 30 watercolours, paintings and prints, drawn from the National Museums Liverpool’s own Turner collection.
Paintings such as 'Margate Harbour' (1837) and 'Linlithgow Palace' (about 1807), will be shown alongside prints and watercolours that are rarely displayed due to their light-sensitivity. This will include the watercolours 'Dudley' (about 1830-33), 'Off Dover' (between 1820-1827), 'Wells Cathedral' (1795-96) and 'View of the Mole' (about 1818).
New Turner exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight - opens 14th February 2014

Recording Britain is a touring exhibition organised by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. It can be seen in the Sir William Harpur Gallery at The Higgins in Bedford until March 20th 2014.
At the outbreak of the Second World War an ambitious scheme was set up to employ artists on the home front. The result was a collection of more than 1500 watercolours and drawings that make up a fascinating record of British lives and landscapes at a time of imminent change.
I've already bought the catalogue for the exhibition and it's absolutely fascinating.  I think this is one exhibition I'll definitely be going to see.  I'll be writing more about the project on this blog.

A National Art: Watercolour & the British Landscape Tradition can be viewed at the Wixamtree Gallery at The Higgins Bedford until Sunday 27th April 2014
The exhibition, drawn entirely from the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery collection of works on paper, explores the landscapes of the late 18th century and early 19th century watercolourists and how they influenced their 20th century counterparts. The work of Cotman, Girtin and Turner will be shown alongside that of Nash, Ravilious and Piper in a celebration of the British landscape and its ideal medium, watercolour. It is part of a season of exhibitions exploring the idea of landscape, which includes Recording Britain and Bawden's Britain.

This one takes some beating when it comes to exhibitions of landscape art. Culture 24 introduces The best art exhibitions to see in Wales in 2014 and starts with a new exhibition in Cardiff thus 

How about this for a new take on landscape painting? National Museum Cardiff’s Wales: A Visitation. Poetry, Romanticism and Myth in Art, (February 22 - September 7) takes the neo-Romantic work of David Jones, Graham Sutherland, Richard Long and contemporary abstract landscape painter Clare Woods and wraps it around an LSD-infused trip to Wales made by beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1967.


Katherine van Schoonhoven (Art and Music) has an interesting review post of a trip to the coast of California when she painted the same place at different times of the day. The timescale panorama in learning from the plein air line up
is fascinating.

"View of Pescadero" Mexico, plein air, landscape painting by Robin Weiss on the In Plein Air blog is a great visual report of a landscape painting

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tate Pictures: Winter Solstice

Click the frame icon above the small thumbnails
to see the paintings in large slideshow
Tate has put up a themed collection of artwork on its website relating to the theme of Winter Solstice

It includes a number of landscapes and streetscapes of places in winter and by artists of different eras and styles.

Click the box icon to see the slideshow version which is excellent.

The paintings are:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Paintings of Australian land and landscape at the RA

You can read my review of the new exhibition 'Australia' at the Royal Academy of Arts here - Making A Mark: 'Australia' Exhibition at the Royal Academy - review.

It includes paintings from 1800 through to this year's winner of the Wynne Prize.

Left - Australian Impressionists
Right - Federation Landscapes - in watercolour

'Australia' at the Royal Academy - 21 September 2013 to 8 December 2013
Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia
Given the narrative covering the last 200+ years, I'm aiming to revisit specific aspects of the exhibition on this blog.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Angela J Simpson's plein air painting kit

Angela J Simpson's Plein Air Painting Kit

Angela J Simpson is an artist, illustrator and landscape architect who works from her home in in the Scottish Highlands. Recently she has been challenging herself to produce a daily pochade which she then posts on her "diary without words".

Last month she wrote a post on her blog about My kit for painting outside in which she explains what she takes and why.

I love her additional photo of her thumb box and explanation - very funny!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Corn Harvest by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Corn is harvested in August - however what's in the landscape painting of a corn harvest varies according to where the artist painted (see explanation at the end).  In Europe corn means grain.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder- The Corn Harvest (August)
 Die Kornernte  (1564) by Pieter Breugel the Elder (1526 - 1569)
(a.k.a. The Harvesters / The corn harvest / The grain harvest)
Oil on wood,
Overall, including added strips at top, bottom, and right, 46 7/8 x 63 3/4 in. (119 x 162 cm);
original painted surface 45 7/8 x 62 7/8 in. (116.5 x 159.5 cm)
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paintings of the Corn Harvest in August

The most famous  painting of a corn harvest is that shown at the top of this post.

What do we know about 'The Corn Harvest'?

  • This painting was painting by  Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1564, when he was nearly 40 years old - some 4 years before he died in 1569.
  • It's one panel in a famous series of six paintings by Bruegel called "The Months". These paintings each different times of the year. This is the fourth panel in the series and represents late summer (July/August).  See also other paintings in the series which have featured on this blog.:
  • The "Months" series were commissioned by Niclaes Jongelinck and were used as a frieze for a room in his home.  Jongelinck was a merchant, tax collector and art collector who lived in Antwerp
  • The painting is a view of "what is" in terms of real life.  There's no sense of a need for a religious story or pretext for painting the landscape.  The emphasis is on realism rather than the religious. This is the case with all the paintings in the series - which is why Bruegel's landscape paintings are said to represent a watershed in the history of Western Art.   
  • The landscape is a dominant theme within the painting - but it's animated by the people who populate the picture plane.  The painting focuses on the harvest - the harvesters are in the foreground, their community, their church and nature in general are in the background.  The workers in the field are depicted in a naturalistic way - they are shown working, exhausted, lying or sitting, eating or sleeping.  As with all other paintings in this series there is a dominant colour - in this instance it's the yellow of the grain crop being harvested.  
  • This painting now resides in the Metorpolitan Museum of Art in New York (Other paintings in the Months series are located in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and Lobkowicz Collection, Prague)

The meaning of corn

"Corn" means different things in different countries.

  • In the USA the term refers to maize (i.e. sweet corn)
  • however in Europe, the older use of the word "corn" relates to grain and cereal crops - such wheat, oats and barley (ie maize is called maize and corn on the cob is called corn on the cob!).  That's because Europeans didn't have a name for the maize crop when they first encountered it in the New World.  So it acquired the generic name for all grain crops!

Here's the definition of corn from Cambridge Dictionaries online

B1 [U] UK (the seeds of) plants, such as wheatmaizeoats, and barley, that can be used to produce flour:sheaf of corngrains of corn [U] US the seeds of the maize plant, or the plant itself

Friday, 26 July 2013

'July' by Pol Limbourg (Summer Landscape #1)

I'm returning to the representation of the seasons and months of the year in paintings of landscapes.  In part, I do this because I very much enjoy records of the land at different times of the year but also as encouragement to landscape painters to create more paintings recording the land in specific seasons and months.

This is Juillet (July) in the body of work known as Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry created by the flemish painters, the Limbourg Brothers working for John, Duc de Berry (1340-1416) the third son of King John II of France. It's been identified as the work of Paul (or Pol) Limbourg.

Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry Folio 7, verso: July
illumination on vellum
Height: 22.5 cm (8.9 in). Width: 13.6 cm (5.4 in)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France
This particular painting is painted as a miniature illumination on vellum (note the size) and was created sometime between between 1412 and 1416.

 It shows sheep being sheered - using big sheep shears - and grain being harvested using a sickle.  The sky is of course blue and the clouds are high and sparse as one often gets in mid summer.  A translation of a description in French (now updated as per Alyson's comment) reads as follows
"The labours of the month of July show the harvest and shearing of sheep. Two characters mow the wheat, each using a volant and a stick. A volant is a long, open sickle with the handle at the corner of the flat of the blade. With the help of the stick, they separate a bunch of wheat stems which they then cut with a pass of the blade. The harvesters advance by going around the outside of the parcel of land, working towards the centre. One of the harvesters has a whetstone on his belt. Two other characters, one of whom is a woman, use shears to cut the wool of sheep. With the exception of the imaginary mountains, the landscape shows, in the foreground, the Boivre River where it flows into the Clain, near the palace of the Count of Poitiers."
In the background is the Palace of Poitiers - which was rebuilt by Jean I, duc de Berry between 1384-86.



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