Saturday, December 13, 2008

Color Theory Basics Part II

Armand Cabrera

Atmospheric effects on color
Colors do not just gray as they move away from the observer, they also change temperature, hue and saturation. You cannot get good color without paying attention to all these shifts.

Colors reside in a natural place on the value scale; this spot is where the color is at full saturation. If you look on most tubes of paint they will tell you what the value is for that color. If I look at the colors of my palette the values are , Ultramarine 2, Cobalt 3, Alizarin 2, Cad Red 5, Cad Yellow 7, Cad Lemon 8, and Titanium White 10.

As things move away from you they lose saturation and they cool, how much depends on the angle of light and the atmospheric condition and other variables but this is an observable phenomenon. The contrast between the lights and shadows also diminishes.

This does not mean cool colors recede. A blue box and orange box on a shelf both appear as close. Ruskin proved this idea 150 years ago but people still repeat the ‘everything is blue in the background idea’. The best way to dispel this notion of things turning blue is look at white and yellow as they recede. White shifts towards red and so does yellow.

So if you have similar colors in the foreground and the background, then background colors have to lose saturation and they also cool which means they move through the spectrum. Depending on their value they will also lighten or darken with great distance. This is observable with all colors when compared to similar colors in the foreground. So forget about pure color everywhere, that’s wrong. Pure saturation everywhere has the opposite effect; it flattens the space.

Instead instead of pure saturated color, focus on clean color and its relationship to similar colors in the scene. Clean color means a discernable color family in relation to other color families.
Remember compare lights to shadows for the overall effect; then compare shadow to shadow and lights to light within the effect to find chroma, temperature and value for the appropriate color note.

Friday, December 12, 2008

William Wendt

Armand Cabrera

William Wendt was born in Bentzen, Germany on February 20, 1865. At the age of fifteen, he immigrated to America, working in Chicago as a staff artist and illustrator. He attended night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, but was primarily a self-taught artist. While working as a commercial artist, Wendt was also exhibiting in Chicago area art shows where he won Second Place in the prestigious Charles T. Yerkes Competition from the Chicago Society of Artists in 1893.

It was in Chicago he met the plein air painter, Gardner Symons. The two became friends and traveled to California to paint; it was the first of many trips there. They also traveled to the Saint Ives Art Colony in Cornwall, England in 1898. In 1906, Wendt married Julia Bracken, a sculptress. The couple moved to California where they spent the rest of their lives.

In California, Wendt spent his time painting the landscape outdoors. His art was an extension of his religious beliefs. Wendt had a deep respect for untamed nature and found not only peace and comfort, but the manifestation of the Creator. His feelings are reflected in the titles of his paintings that use poetic--- almost biblical style phrasing like, ‘Where Natures God has Wrought’ and ‘I Lifted Mine eyes to the Hills’. He became a founding member of the California Art Club, and in 1911 was elected as its 2nd President serving until 1914. He later served as President from 1917 to 1919.

In 1912, the Wendt’s moved to Laguna Beach. He was a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association. Wendt was also elected to the National Academy of Design as an Associate Member the same year.

During his career, Wendt won many prestigious awards including a Bronze Medal in the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, Silver Medals in the 1911 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and 1915 Pan-American Exposition in San Francisco and a Gold Medal in the 1925 Pan American Exposition in Los Angeles.

During his lifetime, William Wendt became known as the Dean of the Southern California landscape painters. He influenced generations of painters with his monumental canvases filled with bold bravura brushwork, strong color and design. William Wendt died in Laguna Beach in 1946.

A Special Note:
From November 9, 2008 - February 8, 2009, The Laguna Art Museum will host In Nature’s Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt. It will be the first, full-scale retrospective on the art of William Wendt. This exhibition will be accompanied by a major 164-page color catalogue with a 50-page essay by Guest curator, Dr. Will South.

California Impressionism
William H.Gerdts and Will South
Abbeville Press 1998

Plein Air Painters of California
The Southland

Ruth Westphal
Westphal Publishing 1982

QuoteHere away from conflicting creeds and sects, away from the soul destroying hurly burly of life, it feels that the world is beautiful; that man is his brother; that God is good.

~ William Wendt

Sidney Laurence

Armand Cabrera

Sidney Mortimer Laurence was born on October 14, 1865 in Brooklyn, New York. There are few confirmed facts about his childhood and early adult life; it is believed he studied painting with Thomas Moran’s brother, the marine artist, Edward Moran.

In 1888, Laurence studied antique drawing at the Art Students League of New York. In 1889, he married the artist, Alexandrina Fredericka Dupre. The couple moved to England. Their first home was in the St. Ives Artist Colony on the Cornwall coast.

Laurence became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in England and the Salmagundi Club in New York. Laurence was an artist correspondent and produced illustrations of the Zulu War for Black and White Magazine in London and images of the Spanish American War for the New York Herald.

In 1904, Laurence left his wife and two sons in England to become a prospector for gold in Alaska. During the next ten years, he continued to prospect and paint. Eventually, painting won out and by 1923 he began painting fulltime. Laurence opened a studio in Los Angeles. In 1926, Carl Block, an Illinois store owner, asked Laurence to provide him with as many paintings of Alaska as Laurence could produce. With the success of his painting sales, Laurence split his time between Anchorage, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Laurence was not the first artist to paint Alaska, although his work stood out among others because he actually lived in Alaska. He was not just a tourist, as were other artists like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Hill. Primarily a marine and landscape painter, Laurence had the ability to capture the grand scale of the Alaskan Wilderness. In his paintings, the human elements seem fragile, their hold on the environment temporary and insignificant. He used old European motifs and applied them to the Alaskan backcountry, creating an art that was his own.

Sidney Laurence died in Anchorage, Alaska in 1940 at the age of 75.


Sydney Laurence Painter of the NorthKesler E. Woodward
University of Washington Press 1990

I was attracted by the same thing that attracted all the other suckers, gold. I didn’t find any appreciable quantity of the yellow metal and then, like a lot of other fellows I was broke and couldn’t get away. So I resumed my painting. I found enough material to keep me busy the rest of my life and I have stayed in Alaska ever since.
~Sidney Laurence

Arthur Wesley Dow 1857 - 1922

Armand Cabrera
Arthur Wesley Dow was born to a poor family in Ipswich, Massachusetts. After Dow graduated from High School, he was unable to afford to go to college. He did, however, receive further training from Reverend John Cowles, a retired seminary teacher, who taught Dow Latin, Greek and Mathematics.

Dow’s interest in art led him to study with James Stone and also to befriend Frank Duveneck. Stone and Duveneck had both studied in Munich, Germany. In 1884, Dow set sail for Paris to study at the Academie Julian under Jules Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger. Dow studied diligently in Paris, setting his goal of 18 sketches a week. In 1885, Dow traveled to Brittany, staying in the small village of Pont Avon. It was there that Dow embraced the Barbizon aesthetic of painting from life. In 1887, his Brittany painting, A Field in Kerlaouen, was accepted into the Paris Salon. In 1889, two of Dow’s paintings were accepted into the Salon in addition to a piece being accepted into the Universal Exposition, where it won an “Honorable Mention”.

Dow returned to the United States in 1890, settling in the Boston area. He was artistically influenced after seeing prints by Japanese artists in a book. In 1893, he became Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Museum of Fine Art under the Director, Ernest Fenollosa. Fenollosa mentored Dow, helping him to refine his appreciation for Asian art.

Dow’s interest in Japanese art enabled him to write his monumental book, Composition, first published in 1899 and still in print today. Dow set forth a radical idea for the time--- art need not imitate nature, but should develop organically from the formal abstract relationships of line, hue, and notan (a Japanese term referring to light and dark patterns within a picture) to improve upon nature to evoke feeling--- Dow did not merely borrow the forms and style of Japanese art; he sought a blend of Western and Eastern art. His landscapes and prints were based on studies of nature using this synthesis.

In 1903, Dow became head of the art department at Columbia University Teachers College. Over a 30-year period, he taught at Columbia University Teachers College, The Arts Students League, Pratt Institute, and his own, Ipswich Summer School of Art.
Dow‘s teachings rejected the accepted concept that painting and sculpture were of a higher level than the applied arts, such as ceramics, furniture, jewelry, and photography. In his classes, Dow taught all these art forms. For Dow, all arts and crafts were of equal value and should be simultaneously beautiful and functional. This became a basic tenet of the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

Shortly after delivering a lecture on Dec. 13, 1922, Dow suffered a heart attack and died.

Arthur Wesley Dow His Art and Influence
Various contributing essayists
1999 Spanierman Gallery LLC

Arthur Wesley Dow
1899 New York Doubleday

Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts and Crafts
Nancy E. Green and Jessie Poesch
1999 Abrams

Art is the most useful thing in the world and the most valued thing. The most useful is always that which is made as finely as possible and completely adapted to its purpose: the most valued because it is the expression of the highest form of human energy, the creative power which is nearest to the divine.
~ Arthur Wesley Dow


Armand Cabrera

Brushstrokes carry a message whether you will it or not. The stroke is just like the artist at the time they make it. All the certainties, all the uncertainties, all the bigness of their spirit and all the littleness are in it.
~Robert Henri

Brush Calligraphy is the stylistic application of your paint.

The paint is applied without overworking it once you have laid it on the canvas. Brush calligraphy can be instinctive as an outgrowth of your style…or an intentional approach to strengthen the composition and design of your painting. Brush calligraphy shouldn’t be haphazard. In other words, a conscious approach to your brush application is always preferable to an unconscious one. Effective brush calligraphy is often a valuable way of intensifying passages of interest and design overlooked by many artists who restrict their thinking in terms of color and value.

Many times, a small sketch has more life than a larger studio painting because of brush calligraphy. The quality of a stroke you make with the flick of your wrist on a small painting becomes a challenge to reproduce on a larger scale because the effort of your whole arm is needed to gain the identical outcome. When you consider the relationship between the size of the stroke, relative to the size of the canvas, you will understand the challenge when using a large brush with adequate paint for the result you wish to accomplish.

Paint strokes are not just about direction or size…they also encompass the thickness of the application. When thicker passages of paint are applied to a painting surface, you create a sculptural effect. The combination of these effects takes your painting beyond the idea of reproducing what you see. Brush calligraphy offers the viewer layers of interest beyond the initial two dimensional image and the ability to render it. A purposeful approach to brushwork makes a painting a forceful statement.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Color Theory Basics Part I

Armand Cabrera

Color is hinged on value. To have good color, you must have accurate values. To have accurate values, you must get the correct relationships between the colors and values right. Colors and values seen by the human eye are hundreds of times greater than what is available in your pigments. Because of this, you must get the differences correct.

EXAMPLE: For measurement, we will use a value scale of 10 places, where 0 = black and 9 =white.
Let’s say all the things you see in the sunlight are at a range of 6, 7 and 8 on the value scale. All the shadows are at a range of 3, 4 and 5. Therefore, all the colors in the sunlight or shadows must be in their respective value range--including white and black.
So…white in the shadow cannot be lighter than a 5 on the value scale.
Black in the sunlight can’t be darker than a 6.

It’s futile to copy the color you’re seeing unless you compare it to every color around it. To compare something, you must first have something to compare it with, right?
I always start with the thing I ‘m sure of…so if I am sure of the color and value of the sky, I start with that. If I’m sure of the color and value of the grass, then that will be my starting point.
I then evaluate all my other colors and values to my initial choice.

So how do you make the range of different colors you see in nature fit into the limitations imposed by your pigments? This is where you can use the other aspects of color to show the variety of your scene without compromising the value differences.
The other aspects of color are saturation, hue and temperature.

When faced with a slight change in value, see if you can use a hue change or temperature change to capture it. Save your value changes for the great division of light and shadow.

Geometric Planes in Painting

Armand Cabrera

Have you ever noticed that even though some artists have painted areas of light and shadow in their paintings, their pictures still seem to have no unifying sense of light? That is because they have incorrectly painted the planes that make up the objects in the painting.

Planes, as they pertain to painting, are one of the most essential concepts for creating a sense of light and space in your work. Planes help create the illusion of form. It is the ability to correctly identify where the planes are on a form and their angle to the light that helps to make a successful painter. Whenever you see a plane change, you must also change the hue, temperature or value to record it. Imagine the facets of a diamond. The flattened areas are planes. By observing the way light changes on these planes, you can create a believable form.

When painting the landscape, the idea of planes still applies. Think of the earth as a large, horizontal plane. Trees and buildings would be upright planes and hills and mountains would be inclined planes. We know that light from the sun falls in parallel rays. When this light falls on different objects in the landscape, it is the direction of the light in relation to the angle of the plane of the object that determines the brightness. When the plane of an object is perpendicular to the direction of the light---that place is the object’s brightest point. It is the consistency with which you paint this relationship that creates a unifying sense of light in your work.

The outdoor painter has the added challenge of atmospheric recession and the suns movement across the sky. As the sun moves, the angle of the light changes…and changes the way it interacts with the scene. This is why it is imperative to lock in the essential divisions of light and shadow as quickly as possible when painting from life.

October Harvest Demo

Armand Cabrera
I was drawn to this image of this old tractor with the pumpkins in the foreground. It has a timeless quality to it. Because this was on private property I first asked permission to paint there. The owner was very accommodating and allowed me to go ahead and set up and paint.

I set up and chose an 11x14 panel. I wanted the tractor to be the main focus with the pumpkins leading you into the painting. I started by massing in the main areas of the painting with some perspective lines for the foreground.

I am careful to get the value of each area correct. These flat poster-like shapes of value are what hold the areas together and will still be visible in the finished painting.

I work large to small so once the main shapes are established I begin to model the smaller areas and forms within the big shapes. I look for hue, temperature and saturation changes as opposed to more value changes. Most of the time painters break up the initial value pattern with too many value changes, this fractures the over all composition and weakens the paintings unity. To avoid this I constantly check my choices comparing their relative color and value and size against the rest of the established areas.

I’m ready for the pumpkins; I begin with a mid-tone color for their group mass and then model the pumpkins forms add some more modeling to the vines and tilled ground. I now soften edges throughout the painting where appropriate.


Armand Cabrera

Outcome is more important than Process
Many people delude themselves into believing that a painting is successful because they’ve worked so hard on it. We have all heard the sad tales of the weeks, even months, of work that have gone into the completion of a painting. Unfortunately, these artists have often ignored the outcome, focusing instead on the effort spent on the process.

In art, only the results count
Only a conscious effort towards a predetermined goal with a successful result can create anything worthwhile; anything else is merely an accident---not art.

Becoming a successful artist requires years of practice. The old adage applies to any career or profession---success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. It is most disappointing that, particularly in the field of art, many artists believe they shouldn’t have to practice because art is “creative”. This unfortunate philosophy was launched by the modern art movement and continues today to the detriment of all artists.

To achieve successful results, practice with specific goals in mind

An artist must recognize where they are deficient. It’s not productive to say,
“I’m going to paint better”. That is a meaningless statement. Instead, ask yourself, “How can I improve my paintings?” Isolate your problems and then take a class or workshop from a professional who can successfully target your particular challenges. Insist that your instructor demonstrate how to help you to correct your inadequacies.

When you think you have acquired the new skills, continue to practice. Remember, it might take five or six hundred paintings before you have truly achieved your goal. This is the effort required to become a successful painter. If possible, show your work to your instructor and ask if you have met your objective. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you are successful just because you have worked so hard!
Focused perseverance will undoubtedly produce the desired results


Armand Cabrera

When painting from life, the first concern of the artist should be capturing the character of the person, place or thing depicted. The character of an object is often ignored when painting. Any sensitive observation to the character of objects adds interest and raises the quality of the art. By using intuition and deduction, you will find the important aspect of the things you wish to represent. This is no easy task. Regrettably, so many artists exaggerate to compensate for their lack of ability.

How do you find the character of something? You do it by comparison. When comparing objects, you will become aware of their similarities and differences. It is these differences that give the objects their uniqueness, their character.

Differences can be the color, texture or shape of something. An object’s color is relative to the things around it. The components of an object’s color are its temperature, value, saturation and hue.

All objects are dependant upon the light falling on them, which defines their forms. By observing how rough or smooth an object is you can discern its texture. The shape of something is carried by its edge; how complex or simple that edge is helps to define the form. How solid an object appears and how similar it is to the area around it establishes its edge quality, the softness or hardness of an edge.

Often an object or objects have a line of action. In a moving object, it is the direction, speed and balance of the thing. The course of a river has a speed to its line of action; we say a lazy river when it winds excessively. It is a swift river when its course is more direct. Even stationary objects follow a line of action; the angle a tree grows or the direction of a stand of trees growing on a hillside.

An object has an essential element that defines its character better than its other parts. Each artist will respond differently to what is beautiful and what is ugly; what is important and what is not. A great artist paints the essential by using emphasis and avoids exaggeration and affectation.

Seeing Clean Color

Armand Cabrera

When most people first attempt to paint in oils, they see gray and brown everywhere and they paint shadows black and lifeless.

To keep your paintings from being dull, forget about grays, browns and blacks.

Get in the habit of thinking of color in terms of primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. All other colors are simply combinations of these primary colors. By staying with primary colors, you have a clear color choice from which to relate. It is a subtle difference, but an important one. Once a color choice is decided upon, you can determine its value, saturation and temperature relative to the colors around it. Mixing clean color comes from understanding which primaries are needed in its creation.

To see clean color, you need to carefully consider your palette. To get a more personal color sense, remove all the secondary and tertiary colors from your palette. Mixing the color you see from a limited palette will force you to think about the color you mix and its relationship to the colors around it. This process helps the artist obtain a better understanding of color. I suggest a palette of warm and cool primaries, plus white.

Titanium White
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson Permanent
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Yellow Lemon

If you’re really serious about accurately mixing color, limit yourself to one each of blue, red , yellow, plus white.

Here’s the palette I choose:
Titanium White
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson Permanent
Cadmium Yellow Medium

Remember to always use real pigments and not hues. Because of the composition of hues, they are not reliable for accurate mixing.


Armand Cabrera

I believe value to be more important to the success of a painting than the actual color used. While we can key a painting’s value to use a limited part of the total value scale, we cannot manipulate values in the same way that we can manipulate color. All good paintings start with good value plans. This arrangement is what gives strength to your paintings.

The Value Scale

The value scale is the scale that we are limited to in pigment between black and white. While we can divide the scale into as many steps as we want, usually it is divided into ten steps or less. I divide this scale from 0 (black) to 9 (white).

A good value plan in a painting usually has four values. When creating a value plan it is better to let one value dominate. The other three values, in total, should make up an uneven division of space, less than the dominant value. With this plan it is a good idea to reserve two values for the light areas and two for the shadow areas. This would be a light and a light halftone and a dark and a dark halftone.

The amount of variety is infinite once you start modeling the large masses and manipulate edges to soften or harden shapes. Remember---the strength of a painting comes from its organization and a unifying idea. It is the way you manipulate reality to get that idea across. Value, more than color, helps you achieve this.

*Frederick Judd Waugh

Armand Cabrera

Listen as a podcast on YouTube

Frederick Judd Waugh was born in Bordentown, New Jersey on September 13, 1861. He was the youngest of five children. His father, Samuel Bell Waugh, was an accomplished portrait painter.

At nineteen, Waugh attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for three years, studying under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anschutz. Upon his graduation, Frederick sought further study in Paris at the Academie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau and Robert Fleury.

In 1892, Waugh married Clara Eugenie Bunn, a fellow art student from the Pennsylvania Academy. In 1893, the couple moved to the Island of Sark in the English Channel where they stayed for two years. It was on this island Waugh began his study of the sea. According to the artist, the island was a model for most of the conditions the marine painter needed to study.

In 1899, the Waugh’s moved to Hendon, eight miles outside of London. Waugh began working as an illustrator to support his growing family of four. In 1907, he entered two pieces into the Royal Academy show. They were both rejected, so Waugh decided to return to America.

Waugh and his family settled in Montclair Heights, New Jersey. He found a studio nearby in Montclair. It was the former studio of Gorge Inness Jr. and could accommodate the large paintings Waugh had planned to paint. The artist bartered his rent for one painting a year.

In 1910, Waugh won the Thomas B. Clark Prize at the National Academy of Design show. Over the next seven years, he established himself as the most popular marine painter in the country. Waugh was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design. He continued to paint the sea in all its moods and glory, winning many awards in his lifetime.

Waugh always painted from direct observation, but these studies were not for sale. Instead, Waugh used the studies, along with his memory of the experience to create finished paintings in the studio. His large studio paintings have a power and majesty rarely captured by most marine painters.

Frederick Waugh died in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Sept 10, 1940, at the age of seventy-nine.

Frederick Judd Waugh,
American Marine painter
George R. Havens
University of Maine Press 1969

QuoteI say if you can do so, grab the whole thing in one continuous period of time. Your work will have the vitality and snap it needs to convey its full significance.
~Frederick Judd Waugh

G Redmond

Granville Redmond

Armand Cabrera

Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond was born on March 9, 1871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later changed his name to “Granville Redmond” when he began his professional career.

Granville became deaf when he contracted scarlet fever at the age of 2 ½ years and he never again gained the ability to speak. His family moved to San Jose, California when Granville was four. Granville boarded at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California from the time he was 8 until he graduated at 19. Upon his graduation, Superintendent Warring Wilkinson convinced the Board of Directors at the school, in recognition of Granville’s artistic and academic achievements, to pay his tuition to the California School of Design and let him continue to board at the California School for the Deaf.

Granville received the W.E.B. Award for Life Drawing in his second year at the school. The award gave him free tuition for a third year at the school. At the end of his term at the California School of Design, Granville had few prospects and knew he needed to continue his education. Once again, the Superintendent for the California School for the Deaf intervened and on Wilkinson’s recommendation, Granville was granted a two year loan by the Board of Directors to study in Paris.

Granville studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul-Laurens. After three years of study in Paris and only moderate success, Granville returned to the United States in 1898, settling in Los Angeles. He opened a studio and began painting and creating illustrations for magazines.

In 1899, Granville married Carrie Annabelle Jean. The couple had three children. In 1910, the Redmond’s moved to Menlo Park, just south of San Francisco. In 1916, the family moved again to Belvedere in Marin County on the San Francisco Bay. World War I started, Granville’s sales dropped and he obtained work as a silent actor signing on with Charlie Chaplin’s studio in Marin County. He continued both professions for the rest of his life.

As his success as a landscape painter grew, Granville focused his subject matter on the California coastal range from Marin County in the North to Laguna Beach and Catalina Island in the South. His style ranged from Tonalism, (an almost monochromatic look), to a bright Impressionist palette with broken color.
Granville Redmond died of heart failure on May 24, 1935 at the age of 65.


Granville Redmond
Oakland Museum 1988
Plein Air painters of the Southland
Ruth Westphal
Westphal Publishing 1986


It is impossible for artists to succeed in art unless they work with thought and true insight…one must as he paints on a canvas try and put his soul into the work.
~Granville Redmond

A B Durand

Asher B. Durand

Armand Cabrera

Asher Brown Durand was born August 21, 1796, in Jefferson Village, New Jersey (now called Maplewood). Durand was one of eleven children. When Durand was 16 years old, he apprenticed as an engraver to Peter Maverick, studying for five years. He then became a partner in the firm, running the New York branch. After he contracted to make an engraving of the painting of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, Durand secured his reputation as one of the finest engravers in the country.

Durand helped found the New York Drawing Association in 1825. The next year, the Association was renamed the National Academy of Design.

In 1835, Durand was commissioned by art patron, Luman Reed, to paint portraits of the first seven Presidents of the United States. The commission was instrumental in establishing Durand’s reputation as a painter. After Reed’s death, Durand began corresponding and painting with landscape painter, Thomas Cole. Durand’s interest in landscape painting grew with Cole as both his friend and mentor. Thomas Cole was the finest landscape painter in America at that time. Durand and Cole often traveled together to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to paint outdoors.

Durand exhibited his studies from nature in the annual National Academy of Design (NAD) shows. Critics responded favorably to the fresher, naturalistic views. This break from tradition established him as a modern painter. Durand became President of the National Academy of Design and held the post from 1845 until 1861.

In 1848, Thomas Cole died unexpectedly. Durand was crowned his successor in the national press.

Durand authored ‘Letters on Landscape Painting’ --- a series of nine articles for the magazine, The Crayon. Durand’s philosophy about landscape painting resonated with the press. For years, there had been a cry for American art, separate from European ideology. Durand’s insistence on the study of nature as the source of truth in landscape painting gained a following among younger artists. He continued Cole’s legacy, promoting an American school of art with landscape painting at its forefront. Where Cole’s landscapes were still painted in the European tradition of allegorical reference, Durand’s ideal embraced a more naturalistic approach. He set the stage for the Barbizon and Impressionist aesthetics that would overtake the Hudson River School romanticism.

Durand continued to paint outdoors into his eighties. He died at the old age of ninety. He attributes his long, healthy life to embracing Sylvester Graham’s system of vegetarianism and clean living.


The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand
John Durand
Kennedy Galleries

Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American LandscapeLinda S. Ferber Editor
Giles Limited Publishing

QuoteI would urge any young student in landscape painting, the importance of painting direct from nature as soon as they have acquired the first rudiments of art.
~Asher B Durand

P S Kroyer

Peder Severin Kroyer

Armand Cabrera

Peder Severin Kroyer was born in Stavanger, Norway on Midsummer Eve, 1851. Midsummer Day traditionally is recognized as June 24th---the Feast of John the Baptist. His mother suffered from manic depression and was unable to care for little Peder. He was raised by his mother’s sister and husband.

Peder attended the Academy in Copenhagen, receiving a Gold Medal for painting upon graduation. He was twenty-two. His first trip abroad was in 1875, traveling first to the Swiss Alps and then to Germany.

In 1877, Peder entered Leon Bonnat’s class in Paris. In this class, Peder learned to simplify his painting technique, going for the big overall effect. This was contrary to his former training, which focused on modeling each form, one at a time. While studying with Bonnat, he made trips in the summers to other parts of Europe, visiting Brittany, Spain and Italy.

In 1881, Peder returned to Copenhagen and opened a studio. In 1882, he visited the artist colony at Skagen---a remote fishing village in Northern Denmark. He painted genre scenes of the villagers during the summers and returned to Copenhagen, painting formal portrait commissions in the winters.

In the 1880’s, Peder was influenced by the Impressionists and his palette became lighter and more colorful. His open air genre scenes garnered him much praise and attention and he received many portrait commissions. In 1889, he married Marie Triepcke. Peder began suffering severe bouts of depression, hospitalizing him for months at a time. He had inherited the same mental instability that had afflicted his mother. In 1905, his marriage fell apart.

The last ten years of his life, Peder’s eyesight deteriorated until he was completely blind. Even though he was in poor health, he painted almost to the end of his life. Peder Kroyer died in 1909 at the age of 58.


The Painters of Skagen
Knud Voss
English Translation by Peter Shield
Published by Stok-Art


What one does on the spot in the nervous ardor is always better than what one does the day after in the tranquil light of the studio. When one is sitting outside and one knows that in ten minutes the atmosphere will be gone, one does not argue, one works away with raging zeal. ~Peder Kroyer

J Peterson

Jane Peterson

Armand Cabrera

Jane Peterson was born “Jennie Christine Peterson” in Elgin, Illinois in 1876. She began her formal art studies at the Pratt Institute of New York City under Arthur Wesley Dow. Before her 1901 graduation, Peterson taught classes in painting at the Institute. She next studied with Frank Vincent DuMond in Boston. She saved enough money to travel abroad to continue her schooling. Overseas, Peterson studied first with Frank Brangwyn in London and then Joaquin Sorolla in Madrid. Peterson’s return to the United States was recognized with shows in 1909 in both Boston and New York.

Peterson taught at the Art Students League of New York between 1913 and 1919. Peterson painted with John Singer Sargent, Maurice Prendergast, Childe Hassam, Joaquin Sorolla and Louis Comfort Tiffany. She painted in Europe, Turkey and Africa.

Peterson was recognized for masterfully blending her academic training with impressionist and post impressionist styles. She had a strong sense of design and a bright palette. Her brushwork was bold and confident.

After marrying in 1925, Peterson devoted most of her time to painting floral subjects. The artist painted in her beautiful gardens at her estate in Ipswich, New York. In 1946, she wrote a how-to book on painting flowers---“Flower Painting”.

In her lifetime, Jane Peterson had over 80 one person shows. She was a Fellow at the prestigious National Academy of Design and a member of many art organizations, including The American Watercolor Society, The Allied Artists of America, The National Association of Women Artists and the Pen and Brush Club.

Jane Peterson died at an old age in1965.


Flower PaintingJane Peterson
1946 Leland Brent Publishing

Jane Peterson an American ArtistJ.J. Joseph Patricia Jobe Pierce
1981 Privately printed

I paint flowers because they are my friends and I love them. They have personalities just as animals, birds and people.Jane Peterson