Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bernie Wrightson October 27 1948 – March 19 2017

by
Armand Cabrera

Comics legend Bernie Wrightson passed away this weekend. His impact on the comic book world and horror comics cannot be overstated.  Anyone growing up reading comics and especially things like the old Warren comics will be familiar with his work. He was co-creator of Swamp Thing for DC along with writer Len Wein and had a long award-winning career.

In 1975 Wrightson was a co-founder of the studio with artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith.  Wrightson worked outside of the comics industry too, producing posters and calendars, working as a concept artist for films like The Thing, Cycle of the Werewolf, and The Mist and illustrating books and album covers.

One of his crowning achievements was a graphic novel version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Wrightson spent seven years creating the fifty pen and ink images for the book. Wrightson’s work on the project is reminiscent of other pen and ink greats of the early 20th century like Franklin Booth and Joseph Clement Coll. 

Wrightson was one of those artists that helped kindle my early love of art. The work he and the other artists of the Studio did for comics was always a cut above their contemporaries.  He will be missed.











Sunday, February 12, 2017

Chauncey Foster Ryder 1868-1949

by
Armand Cabrera

Chauncey Foster Ryder was born in 1868 in Danbury Connecticut. Ryder studied at the Art institute of Chicago and at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens. Ryder is most often associated with the Tonalist and Post-Impressionist art movements. His work leans toward abstraction without giving up representational depictions completely.  A strong sense of design and powerful brush calligraphy are apparent in both his oils and watercolors. His use of greens and grays led to the term Ryder Green in his paintings.




 Ryder was equally skilled as a watercolorist and oil painter. Starting around 1910 he also made etchings and lithographs. He kept studios in both New York and New Haven.He was honored as an Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1914.







He is represented in over 50 Museum collections with three paintings in the Smithsonian collection. During his career, he was awarded many gold medals for both his oils and watercolors.  Some of his awards were from the National Academy, the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, The National Arts Club, The American Watercolor Society and The New York Watercolor Society.
Chauncey Foster Ryder died in Wilton, New Hampshire in 1949.






 Bibliography
A History of American Tonalism: 1880–1920
Cleveland, David Adams
Hudson Hills Press 2010



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dean Cornwell Book Second Printing

by
Armand Cabrera


The illustrated press has decided to publish a second printing of their Dean Cornwell book. The first printing sold out quickly so if you missed out you still have a chance to get a copy. The standard edition of the book will be limited to 1000 copies and there will be a slipcased edition of the book limited to 100 copies.

Check out their Kickstarter for the book here


If you'd like to read my review of the first printing of the book you can find that here

Monday, January 30, 2017

Still Life Paintings in the Studio

By 
Armand Cabrera


The month of January is usually a winter wonderland with many opportunities for making art but this year not so much. It's just dreary outside. There is no snow for interest and so when things do not inspire me outside I stay inside and work. The last few days I’ve been painting small still life paintings. It’s fun to set them up and just not have to worry about changing light or weather for a day or two at a time.


 Blue and Gold 12 x 9 oil



 Hot Stuff 8 x 10 oil



The pepper Pot 8 x 10 oil

Monday, January 23, 2017

Making Art That Matters


By
Armand Cabrera


I was having an online discussion about artists trying to make a difference with their work. Some people believe that art should be used to create change. While I agree that is a noble endeavor I don’t think intent plays a role in the influence of art on a viewer.

 In my experience a viewer responds to the abilities of the artist, not knowing anything about the artistic intent behind the image.  As a matter of fact, most art that carries a message comes up short for most viewers unless of course that work is handled with expertise. The proper handling conveys the experience, not the artist's beliefs.





Artists are notorious for their human failings. The fact that Caravaggio used his favorite prostitute for a commissioned painting of the Virgin Mary doesn’t keep religious followers from weeping at the  powerful depiction. His religious beliefs or lack thereof did not affect the viewer’s enjoyment. This same scenario is played out over and over again throughout art history. The impressionists known for their paintings of bucolic scenes and idle bourgeois life did so at the height of the Franco-Prussian war. Paris was under siege and fell to opposing forces.  The war took the life of Frederic Bazille one of the founders of the Impressionist movement.




Art is uncompromisingly democratic in this respect, the work once finished stands on its own merits and is judged by its artistic qualities, not its creator's personality. While honesty and fidelity to craft are important for the creation of any work of art, the artist’s intent, beyond its successful execution, is not a real consideration.


The public’s response to the work carries the final decision of its success and that can change over the life of the piece as social changes in taste affect the thoughts of the viewers.
An artist is better served by learning all about their craft in the creation of work that instills a lasting impression on the audience. 




A high degree of expertise in technique has always had, and always will have, a predominate place in art. The subject, in itself, has value only according to the mode of the day. Tomorrow it will be superseded by a new fashion or fad. With the passing of time, the subject loses much of its meaning. But the fine execution of that subject retains its value. ~ Nicholai Fechin