Friday, February 6, 2009


by Armand Cabrera

(All Images by Armand Cabrera)

If you should ask me to define conventionalism, I should say it is the substitution of an easily expressed falsehood for a difficult truth.~ Asher B. Durand ~

Those words by Asher Durand were spoken over 150 years ago. Unfortunately, many painters today have fallen prey to exactly what Asher Durand was cautioning artists about in 1855. To avoid this sloppy approach to painting, I recommend painting studies directly from nature.

My definition of a study is a painted statement of a particular thing or group of things. A study ignores complex, picturesque composition in exchange for a sharper scrutiny of a single item or group of items. Keeping Durand’s statement in mind, a study seeks to capture an uncompromised, truthful depiction of the thing observed.

Studies were popular in the 19th century by artists who created finished works in the studio. They collected their studies of trees, rocks, and other topographic and meteorological information and composed a larger painting from them.

Studies are an excellent way to improve outdoor painting skills. Regrettably, artists often bypass these studies and their work is sad evidence to this shortcut. If done properly, studies can quickly help you to get the desired results. Studies give an enhanced understanding of the thing or things depicted. They help to focus all your attention on some fleeting aspect of nature---completely avoiding ‘an easily expressed falsehood’.

A study can also be used to hone some aspect of painting that you might find difficult. Try painting a simple statement of an object, just using a handful of brushstrokes. Alternately, you can practice painting the object using a more deliberate approach to drawing. The idea is to focus on one thing at a time, until you solve that particular challenge.

Paint studies and I know you’ll find greater facility of painting and a resultant truthfulness in your work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dean Cornwell paintings for City of the Great King

By William Lyon Phelps 1926

City of the Great King and Man of Galilee proved Dean Cornwell's mastery of color and design
The images of Christ and the Holy Land are a tour de force of iconic western religious imagery. They are the stained glass windows of a church in paint.

The Street of David

There Were Shepherds in the Fields

The Carpenter of Nazareth

The Way of the Cross

A Copper Shop in Jerusalem

The Golden Gate

The Dead Sea and the Living Water

The Sea of Galilee

The Pot-Seller of Bethlehem

A House in Nazareth

The Road to Damascus

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dean Cornwell Paintings for 'The Man of Galilee 12 Scenes from the Life of Christ'

from the book by Bruce Barton 1928

The Baptism of Jesus

The Woman at the Well

Nicodemus Calls at Night

Feeding the Five Thousand

The Man Who Was Rich but Not Wise

The Healing of the Sick

The Good Samaritan

The Prodigal Son

The Washing of His Feet

Weeping Over Jerusalem

Christ Before Pilate

The Crucifixion