Sunday, July 17, 2016

Eugene Laloue 1854 -1941

Armand Cabrera

Eugene Galien (Gallien is also used as an alternate spelling) Laloue was born in 1854 in the Montmartre area in Paris, France. His father died when he was 16 and Laloue enlisted in the army fighting in the Franco Prussian War. After the end of the conflict Laloue decided to become an artist and in 1874  was hired to work as an illustrator for the French Railway. Little is known about his training. His father was a set designer and it might be that he was given some basic art education from him.
He worked in oil, watercolor, pastel and gouache although he preferred the latter because because the faster drying times allowed him to produce more work to sell.

The period 
Laloue painted during in  Paris is known as La Belle Epoque. It was a time of great optimism. It stretches from the end of the Franco Prussian war in 1871  to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It was a time of great prosperity and innovation for the region and Laloue captured its growth and success brilliantly with his paintings.  

Most of his motifs center around city scenes and architecture but he was also adept at quieter images of the countryside.  His figures are lively and immediate and his sense of lighting is superb. Laloue worked under a number of pseudonyms during his lifetime. The reason for this is a bit of the mystery and is not completely explained by his eccentricity and reclusiveness. Records have confirmed he had at least three other names he used and historians think there are probably more.

 A very private person Laoue had few interests besides his paintings. He did marry, but he did not seek the company of other artists. He worked outside to establish the basics of his paintings but then would retreat to his studio to finish them in private.

Laloue continued to paint his popular city scenes until  1940 when he had to stop after breaking his arm. He died in 1941 at the beginning of the second World War.


Eugene Galien Laloue
The Triumph of Paris
Alexander Kahan Fine Arts, 1999

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mixing Greens part 5

Armand Cabrera

Summer is here. It’s not just the excessive heat and oppressive humidity and proliferation of insect life that we have to deal with. Once again and many people are dealing with summer greens. I’ve covered this subject quite a bit in earlier posts and while those ideas may overlap with some presented here, I think there is always something to add to these types of discussions.

When I teach, the biggest problem I see with people painting a monochromatic landscape is artists ignore the forms of objects robbing their subject of some of its subtle diversity. Light and shadow are always important but especially in a monochromatic setting.

A limited color setting turns the focus to other painting aspects. It raises the importance of lighting (value) and shape (design). It becomes more about how you organize what you are seeing. This is because we can rarely mimic with any accuracy the visual range presented to us in nature. With less variety the limitations of pigment become exaggerated. Remember careful choices in subjects will lead to better painting outcomes.

Whenever you have areas of light and shadow in a painting you have an opportunity to introduce color shifts relative to the surrounding area by paying attention to all of the aspects of color, hue, value, chroma and relative temperature. It is possible to tease out more interest from a subtle painting, heightening its impact. Bright sunny days will give you a greater range of value for your contrast overcast or cloudy days will give you more chance for subtle shifts.

Shape and pattern help add interest in monochromatic paintings when the colors are subtle and similar. When you are using patterns, think about using small shapes against big shapes varying your brushwork accordingly. Large marks against smaller tighter marks and hard edges and against softer ones.

The concept should drive your choices for the painting. Design helps to decide on the approach to the subject and composition is your arrangement and editing of the pieces. Together they all allow for something that permits you to capture the unique essence of that time and place on canvas.

Monday, June 27, 2016

New York Botanical Gardens Paint Out

Armand Cabrera

Last weekend I participated in the first New York Botanical Gardens Paint Out. 25 invited artists were given the opportunity to paint for a day in one of 28 formal garden settings on the 250 acre property. The paintout was the idea of James Gurney and the staff at the New York Botanical Gardens- Miriam Flores,Gayle Schmidt and Sarah Henkind.

We all gathered in the morning for an orientation meeting where we went over the rules for painting and received our swag bags and prepared lunches followed by a photo op. We then were shuttled by golf cart to our respective sites.

At the end of the day we got together again at one of the onsite restaurants for a light meal and beverages and socialized a bit before we all headed home.

Our badges gave us access to the Impressionist show of 22 paintings in the Library building and the impressionist flower gardens planted in the conservatory. The paintings were top notch with work by Sargent, Chase, Hassam, Lawson, Twachtman and a few others. The flowers gardens were beautifully arranged with plants that were popular in the 19th century like Holly Hocks, Fox Glove and Lillies.

I was in the Home Garden center where they had some smaller gardens like a rose garden with arbor and flowering herb garden.

Garden and formal outdoor botanical arrangements can be a little harder to capture than a natural setting. The reason for this usually is the smaller area of the arrangement allows more details to be observed. There are usually formal perspective problems or architectural additions associated with the layout too which adds a level of complexity to the scene. 

flower beds 8 x 10 oil

When painting these kinds of subjects I focus on the differences of shape, color, pattern and edges within the setting.  Organizing things in a way that lets me paint in a broad manner without getting bogged down into fussy details but still give the overall impression of the scene.

Rose Arbor 12 x 16 oil

Greens are important in these motifs. I mix all my greens so I can control the subtle shifts their color aspects in light and shade.

Roses and Lavender 8 x 10 oil

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New York Botanical Gardens Plein Air Invitational

Armand Cabrera

I will be participating in this event on Sunday June 19th, 24 artists have been invited to paint the Gardens from 11am to 5 pm.  Unofficially I will be there on Saturday too, painting and picking out spots for paintings on Sunday.

The event coincides with Impressionism American Gardens on Canvas a display of more than 20 Impressionist paintings with work by artists William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, William de Leftwich Dodge, Maria Oakey Dewing, Matilda Browne and others. The Impressionist show runs through September 11 2016.

All of this is part of the 125 anniversary of the New York Botanical Gardens. I want to thank James Gurney who is Artist in Residence at the Botanical Gardens this year for putting this together and inviting me to participate.

Monday, May 30, 2016

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Armand Cabrera

John Atkinson Grimshaw was born in Leeds in 1836. His father worked for the Great Northern Railway and secured a job for his son as a clerk when John was 16 1852.  Grimshaw was interested in art but his parents did not support his choice to become an artist.  His parents were strict Baptists and discouraged the boy from art. His mother went as far as destroying his paints. In 1856 he married his cousin Frances Hubbard and the couple had several children together.

Grimshaw quit his job as a railroad clerk in 1861 to paint full time; he sold his work in Leeds in galleries and book shops gaining a following with collectors there. His early work was mostly highly detailed landscape and still life paintings and a few portraits. His success grew in the 1870’s and he was able to rent a second home in Scarborough overlooking the ocean. He dropped the John from his signature and began signing his work as Atkinson Grimshaw. His success pushed him to expand his subject matter and he painted society women, historical subjects, fairy paintings and moonlight scenes.

Today Grimshaw is remembered for his nocturnes and a few iconic images of fairies. The nocturnes range from moonlit seascapes to city scenes at twilight all painted with an exquisite sense of light and mood. Financially successful, Grimshaw had little time to paint for exhibitions. He was painting private commissions for art patrons most of his life.

In 1893 John Atkinson Grimshaw died of cancer at the age of 57. Four of his children, Arthur, Louis, Wilfred and Elaine were also painters and continued his artistic legacy.


Atkinson Grimshaw
Alexander Robertson
Phaidon Press Ltd. 1988

Popular 19th century painting
A dictionary of European Genre painters
Phillip Hook and Mark Poltimore

Antique Collectors Club press 1986