Monday, July 24, 2017

New Members!

In an effort to keep things fresh, informative, and as relevant as possible, we are always adding new members to our Muddy Colors roster. We are extremely proud to say that in the next few days and weeks, you will be seeing the first posts of several new contributors.

We are just as excited as you are to see what they will be bringing to the blog. So please join us in welcoming these amazing artists to our Muddy Colors Family...



Charles Vess


Charles graduated with a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and worked in commercial animation for Candy Apple Productions in Richmond, VA before moving to New York City in 1976. It was there that he became a freelance illustrator, working for many publications, including Heavy Metal, Klutz Press, Epic Comics and National Lampoon.

Charles' art has been featured in several gallery and museum exhibitions across the nation including two exhibitions in New York City: "Modern Fairy Tales" with Michael Kaluta at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art" at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. In Europe he has shown in Paris, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK.

Charles' awards include the Ink Pot, three World Fantasies, the Mythopoeic, two Spectrum Annuals - a Gold and a Silver, two Chesleys, Locus (Best Artist), and two Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.




Julian Totino Tedesco


Julian was born in 1982, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he currently lives.

Julian got his start doing concept art for commercials and painted backgrounds for animated movies. But in 2009, Julian began doing comic covers for Boom! Studios, and has never looked back. For the past several years, he has been doing covers for companies like Marvel, DC, DarkHorse, BOOM! Studios and Valiant Comics, making one of the most recognized talents in the field.




Heather Theurer



Heather’s paintings are the product of decades of observation of people, environments, animals and textiles. Although she was not able to obtain a formal education in art, all her studies of the natural world in addition to the works of great artists including the renaissance masters, the pre-raphaelites of the late 19th century and modern masters have influenced her work in a way she couldn’t imagine getting in a classroom.

Themes in her work include religious symbolism, fantasy realism, equine and wildlife, and bold reworking of Disney characters. Her process in painting is constantly morphing as she applies new techniques, but most often consist of a multitude layers of paint and glazes (as many as 20 or so in some cases) to reach the desired depth and detail that dominates her work.

Shared and collected around the world, Heather Theurer’s paintings are constructed in the midst of a bustling family with five children in Las Vegas, Nevada. Regardless of the challenges, her art has gone on to get the attention of USA Today and the LA Times, garnered contracts with Disney Fine Art and Fantasy Con, and received recognition and awards from respected organizations such as Art Renewal Center, Artist’s Magazine and Spectrum, among others.





Jeff Miracola


Jeff began his career in 1993 as a freelance illustrator for many role-playing/collectible card game companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Upper Deck, Blizzard and White Wolf. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, and his art and tutorials featured in publications such as: Advanced Photoshop, Expose, and ImagineFX magazines.

Jeff is a Silver Medal Winner in Spectrum: the Best in Fantastic Art and was the 2011 Guest of Honor at GenCon, the longest running gaming convention in the world.

Jeff is very passionate about sharing his knowledge of art techniques through his popular YouTube channel, which currently boasts more than 31,000 subscribers and 1.5 million views. His feature-length art instruction DVD series for Fantasy Art Workshop received rave reviews from ImagineFX Magazine, Video Librarian, and more.

When Jeff isn’t creating art for himself or clients, he loves to travel and work out with his wife, with whom he has three children.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Artist of the Month: Frederic Church

-By William O’Connor



Almost ten years ago I moved with my family to live on the Hudson River about 20 miles north of Manhattan. As an artist I was immediately struck by the beauty of the river and came to realize the extensive artistic heritage of the Hudson. This week I was finally able to realize an item on my art wish list and took a trip up the river to visit the historic Olana Estate, the home of 19th century American Master of the Hudson River School Frederic Church (1826-1900).

Many times in the past in this series I have talked about the tumultuous events of the 19th century, Romanticism, The Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. The social, political and subsequently artistic changes were radical. Most of the posts I have written however have looked at this change from the European perspective. By looking at Church we can see the same changes reflected by the American artist. Church’s career encapsulates the most revolutionary generation in American history, stretching from a pre-Civil War agrarian society, to a trans continental superpower in less than 40 years.

Church was born into a traditional monied family in rural Connecticut before steam locomotives began to transform New England. As a young man Church became the pupil of Thomas Cole, a British landscape painter who founded the Hudson River School. Cole’s Romantic style (like Friedrich, Martin  or Turner -click on link to see those Artist of the Month’s) exalted and celebrated in the power of nature over man. The landscape painting became the source by which an artist could pay homage to the beauty of God’s creation. Under Cole’s tutelage Church adopted this Romantic style.

In 1861 America underwent a violent transformation. The industrial revolution pushed the traditionally agrarian nation to a breaking point as to what kind of country it would be in the future. An expanding, modern world power, or a traditional farming society. The American Civil War separates America’s 19th century experience from that of its European counterparts by catapulting the nation into industrial superpower status practically overnight. Less than four years after the end of the war the transcontinental railroad is completed; before the end of the century the United States will double in population (30 million to 60 million) and would add a dozen new stars to its flag. Expansion and growth socially, technologically, societally and of course artistically were transforming the nation at an unimaginable speed.

Church was as transformed by the war as the country. Before the war he had traveled extensively to Europe and South America to study the majestic landscapes, most famously for his painting “The Heart of the Andes” 1859. At ten feet wide it was a work so meticulously detailed that it served as a botanical guide, and so luminous it was presented to the public like a modern day blockbuster film, with audiences queuing to get a look at the famous painting with opera glasses at a railing, as if gazing out a picture window.  The sale of paintings like Heart of the Andes and others made Church famous and rich.

Only a few years after the war Church began the Olana estate on the Hudson in the very region where he had studied with Thomas Cole. Church, the Hudson River School and the American Frontier had become a powerful brand. The American vista had become something to claim as America's Manifest Destiny. Whereas in Europe artists were depicting their imperial legacy with Victorian paintings of  Roman bath houses and picturesque landscapes of ruins and cathedrals, in America the landscape was its legacy, its panoramic natural splendor was its cathedral bequeathed to a fledgling empire by God. American Nationalism was tied to its landscape with Church and other contemporary artists like Albert Beirstadt painting a bright future written across the sky (literally and figuratively). In his later years Church's artistic output diminished and the Hudson Valley School went out of style sending Church into semi retirement. After his death large landscape paintings fell out of fashion for most of the twentieth century. Today a renaissance of academic 19th century art has renewed interest in The Hudson River School and Frederick Church leaving an artistic legacy uniquely American.

For those artists, and art aficionados, living or visiting the American East Coast and New York City, I highly recommend the artist’s trail along the Hudson River, from the Brooklyn Museum, to the Hudson River Museum  in Yonkers, up to Storm King Art Center  in New Windsor, NY, The Dia Museum  in Beacon and up to Olana Mansion in Hudson NY.

Get out there and explore!

Enjoy

WOC

Below is a selection of Church paintings as well as a link to the photos of my trip to Olana State Historic Mansion

"The Heart of the Andes" 1859

"Aurora Borealis" 1865




"Niagra Falls, from the American Side" 1867

"Olana" 1870


Friday, July 21, 2017

Tadema and the Victorian Obsession

--by Howard Lyon

Last week there was a post by Dan Dos Santos about a new Alma-Tadema exhibit at the Leighton House in London. Tadema is one of my all time favorites and I hope to be able to make it to the show. There is no substitute for seeing the original, but if we can't make it there, major exhibitions usually come with high quality books and reproductions made from excellent photography.

After seeing the post I went in search of the book that would accompany the show and I found it.  It does not disappoint. It is a nice sized book with excellent reproductions and some large prints.  The text of the book is excellent as well, showing the arc of Tadema's career and how he influenced other artists of his time. We also get some insights into his working methods and family.  I can't recommend the book enough if you are at all a fan of this amazing artist.



Here is a flip-through of the book:


You can order the book on Amazon here: Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity


I found another book while in France at the Musee D'Orsay bookshop.  I couldn't find the book in english in the shop, but a quick search on Amazon dug one up.  The prices are all over the place, which suggests that the supply is limited and when it is gone, the book may be in high demand.  The book catalogs another Leighton House show.  This time it is the collection of Pérez Simón who loves the late 19th century Victorian artists.  This is another fantastic book with a great variety of artists represented.  Tadema is again a well represented, but so are Waterhouse, Godward, Leighton, Millais, Poynter and many other greats.




Here is another flip through:



And you can get this one on Amazon as well: A Victorian Obsession

It is limited in supply, though there are a dozen or so copies below $40 as of this writing.