Monday, December 19, 2016

Illuxcon Main Show Artists Announced

Armand Cabrera

Once again the Illuxcon show will be back in Reading PA, October 18- 22 2017 for a week of the best in the contemporary traditional imaginative art field. Illuxcon is now the largest showing of contemporary imaginative realism in the world.

 I am honored to have been juried into the main show once again with this fine group of talented artists. This will be my 5th year showing in this venue.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday

Armand Cabrera

I promise to get back to demos and art discussions soon but a boy has got to pay the bills and I don't make anything blogging.
We've updated the Warehouse site with more landscape paintings to choose from

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Deals!

It's that time of the year and to kick it off I am having a sale of paintings. Check out the deals here

Also, my print stores at Fine Art America and InPrnt are offering free shipping worldwide.

Fine Art America the free worldwide shipping is today only.

The free worldwide shipping for  InPrnt is through Monday

On all three sites, you will find a mix of traditional paintings and imaginative realism.

Monday, November 7, 2016

IX 9 Post Convention Report and a Rabies Story

Armand Cabrera

This is a week late. Sometimes life gets in the way and things like this blog get waylaid. Most people don’t know but Diane and I rescue animals when we can. We have a few cats and a dog here.
We also tend to collect strays; not permanently, but on occasion, if we see abandoned animals we get involved and try and help them either get back to their owners or get them to a rescue where they can be adopted.


   In the weeks leading up to the Illuxcon show, we were involved with rescuing a mother cat and her kittens. The mother had been abandoned in our neighborhood. It was only after we started to interact with her that we found out she had kittens. Before we could trap them and rescue them they were attacked in the woods behind our house. We thought they had been killed but over the next few days, the mother brought them to our garage. Unfortunately, one kitten subsequently died while we were caring for them and tested positive for rabies forcing both Diane and myself to undergo rabies vaccines.

R.I.P. Shilo

All of this was going on while I am preparing for one of the biggest shows of the year for me. I literally had to get one of the shots the day before I drove up to the show with all of my stuff so that I wouldn’t break the vaccine schedule and then I had the last shot on the Monday I drove home after the show.

 the surviving kittens

Once I arrived though everything that had been a worry seemed to melt away as I entered the bubble of goodness that is the IX show. The Goggleworks in Reading PA is the new venue for the show for the next five years. The space is much bigger and allows for more work to be shown by the artists in attendance. 
photo by Will Dudla

The new Hotel is a great space with plenty of nooks around the lobby and conference rooms for casual conversations between small groups of people.

All of the volunteers work very hard to get the artists the help they need to set up and break down as well as any other things that may arise during the five days of the show.

Meeting other artists, catching up with old acquaintances, and making new ones are what make this show special for those lucky enough to be juried in.  Pat and Jeannie Wilshire have built something truly amazing and it is reflected in its success with sales now topping half a million dollars.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Illuxcon 9 Pre--convention Post

Armand Cabrera

Illuxcon 9 is Oct.19-23. I will be there from Wednesday through Sunday. I'll have 26 new oil paintings for the show. these were painted in between my regular gallery work during this year. I hope people will come out and see the work of the artists there. I am honored to be included in this show with such talented people.

I will post some images and a write up after the show, probably next Tuesday since Monday is a travel day for me.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Abend Inner Visions Contemporary Imaginative Realism Show Catalog

Armand Cabrera

The reception for the Abend  Inner Visions Contemporary Imaginative Realism Show is this coming Saturday, October 8th.

There is a full-color catalog that accompanies the show that can be purchased from the gallery; here is a link to the online preview of the catalog

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Inner Visions: Contemporary Imaginative Realism

Armand Cabrera

I am pleased to announce I will have two of my oil paintings in the upcoming Inner Visions show at Abend Gallery in Denver Colorado. 

The following is one of the press releases for the show.

Inner Visions: Contemporary Imaginative Realism
October 8th through November 11th

Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct 8, 6-9 pm
A show curated by Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire, Directors of IX Arts

 Armand Cabrera   'Ice Station' 18 x 24 oil

Imaginative realism, as the cutting edge of contemporary realist painting, combines classical painting technique with postmodern narrative subjects, focusing on the unreal, the unseen, and the impossible, offering visions of humanity’s mythic past, its unexplored future and, in some cases, it’s terrifying present.

Armand Cabrera   'First Light Dragon Hall' 20 x 24 oil

Inner Visions brings together over 70 artists covering the gamut of contemporary imaginative realism, showcasing the remarkable diversity of work being created under its banner. The show includes upcoming young artists side by side with award-winning, world renowned painters with multiple monographs dedicated to their work. Their work hangs everywhere from galleries and museums to major private and corporate collections.

“Imaginative realism satisfies a dual urge in the viewer, “says co-curator Patrick Wilshire. “It meets the viewer’s desire for aesthetic quality and appreciation of technical skill, but also provides the opportunity to experience narrative, character and concept within that technically-skilled framework.”

Participating artists:
Linda Adair, Julie Bell, Steven Belledin, Rick Berry, Laurie Lee Brom, Scott Burdick, Armand Cabrera, Jeremy Caniglia, David Cheifetz, Sam Wolfe Connelly, Jeff Easley, Bob Eggleton, Craig Elliott, Jody Fallon, Fred Fields, Scott Fischer, Marc Fishman, Donato Giancola, Erik Gist, David Gluck, Mark Harrison, Michael C. Hayes, Richard Hescox, Greg Hildebrandt, Luke Hillestad, Kelly Houghton, Bruce Jensen, Steve Hickman, Steven Kenny, Vanessa Lemen, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Travis Lewis, Martin Llamedo, Travis Louie, Don Maitz, Susannah Martin, Brian Mashburn, Menton Matthews, Gianni Monteleone, Matt Mrowka, Aaron Nagel, Vince Natale, Odd Nerdrum, Billy Norrby, Tammi Otis, Anthony Palumbo, David Palumbo, Ryan Pancoast, Jim Pavelec, Shane Pierce, Marc Potts, Omar Rayyan, Rob Rey, Tooba Rezaei, Larry Schwinger, Dave Seeley, Tenaya Sims, Britt Snyder, Annie Stegg, Christophe Vacher, Boris Vallejo, Dorian Vallejo, Eric Velhagen, Jeffrey Watts, Michael Whelan, Eric Wilkerson, Jeremy Wilson, Martin Wittfooth, Chie Yoshii, and Mark Zug

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teaching Art

Armand Cabrera

Art is a big tent as the saying goes. Under the idea of art there are an infinite number of ways for artistic expression. Everyone who decides to make art chooses their particular means of expression based on their personality. It’s easy when making art to get trapped into another us against them mode. Modernism against traditional art, art for sale against art for art’s sake, the list of reasons to denigrate another type of art is as endless as art itself.

The same applies to teaching art. When I teach, I focus on craft. I teach mechanics of picture making based on my own particular style of painting. I also try and instill a sense of curiosity into my students and give them the tools I think they need to explore art making for them and take it as far as they choose to take it. I don't want my students to paint the way I do. I want them to be the best painters they can be irrespective of the style they choose for themselves.

I constantly hear from students that my teaching style is unique and they learn more from me than any other teacher. I think one of the reasons this is true is I teach how to problem solve. Yes, I teach the mechanics of craft and some ideas about how I solve problems along with demos to back up what I say but I am more concerned with how to approach problem solving than the answers themselves. My approach came about in response to my own experiences as a student.

I am primarily self-taught. When I did start taking workshops and classes I was already making my living as a professional artist. I found most teachers even when they were good painters to be bogged down in narrow dogmatic approaches to process. I call this approach the “my way or the highway” school of teaching.  Since it was their class I would follow the directions I was given completely, after all I was there to learn something new. Working as a professional with my own career, I did not need to adopt everything I was taught. While I respect my teachers and their abilities as artists my style is my own.  I kept what was important to improving my way of painting and discarded the rest.  The outcome of that is I don’t paint like my teachers. I’m proud of the fact that no one has ever thought of my style as a copy of someone else’s work.

I despise authoritarianism and dogma in regards to teaching art. In my opinion it’s the laziest way to teach anything. Second, it doesn’t produce better results than a more nuanced, individual and thoughtful approach does.

Having made my living as a professional artist for many years now I know for a fact there are many paths to success. Teachers who demand a certain style from their students and ignore individual expression fail to realize this and do their students a great disservice.

If you're interested in taking a class with me, I will be teaching a watercolor class next year at the Bascom in Highlands North Carolina August 2-4 2017

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Paintings 8-2016

Just finished up these four paintings for Tirage Gallery in Pasadena, CA. I will be sending them out later this week. All are 12 x 16 oils

 Big Rock Ridge Afternoon 12 x 16 oil

 Fading Light Eaton Canyon 12 x 16 oil

 Loma Alta Evening 12 x 16 oil

Wildflowers 12 x 16 oil

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Book Review: Adolph Menzel: Drawings and Paintings


Armand Cabrera

Adolph Menzel: Drawings and Paintings
Edited by James Gurney and Christian Schlierkamp
Dover Publications 8.5 x 11 Softcover
116 pages with 130 images including 32 in color 

This book of drawings and color sketches showcases Menzel’s talent to record the world around him. His realism is honest and straightforward and transcends the timeframe it is created in because of Menzel’s prodigious abilities with the media he uses, pencil, ink, etchings, lithographs, pastel, watercolor, and gouache. The book is put together by James Gurney and Christian Schlierkamp and you can tell from the quality it was a labor of love for both of them.

 His personal motto was “Nulla dies sine linea” (“not a day without a line”) and you can well believe he lived by those words. Over his lifetime Menzel Produced some 15,000 drawings which are now part of the Berlin Museum collection.

The book's information is well researched and most of the images are printed full page.The reproductions are crisp and clean allowing the viewer to see Menzel’s virtuosity in detail. If you are a fan of sketching and drawing this book is a must have. 

The book is available from James Gurney's website and Amazon.

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