Monday, April 30, 2012

The Beauty of a Second

-By JJ Palencar

A few months ago, the company Mont Blanc, makers of fine writing instruments and timepieces held a competition titled “The Beauty of a Second”. The challenge was to create a film lasting only one second. Mont Blanc created this competition to celebrate the 190th anniversary of the chronograph. The resultant one second clips (films) are truly inspiring. Strung together they make for a wistful experience.

As artists and illustrators our goal is to distill an image, to freeze it, to create a feeling and ultimately make our own one second image in paint. More often we tend to over study the image but if we retain the initial impression, the fragment that captured our attention, then we will have the raw essence and foundation to create a memorable work. Each of these clips could easily become an illustration or a painting. Are not our lives a series of images, fragments and sense impressions, strung together to form a life?

The competition is now closed. I could find four compilation groups on YouTube and I think there were two winners.

Below are the four compilations, the awards ceremony as well as a few other videos that I could find.

The music is by Marcus Lober, from the album “The Beauty of a Second “ soundtrack, created especially for the competition.

From Mont Blanc: 190 years ago, Nicolas Rieussec recorded time to an accuracy of a fifth second for the first time - the chronograph was born. To celebrate this unique invention, Montblanc created the one-of-a-kind "The Beauty of a Second" short-film contest presented by the famous film director Wim Wenders.

One Second Website

1st round compilation - From YouTube
2nd round compilation - From YouTube
3rd round compilation - From YouTube
4th round compilation - From YouTube
Winning Clips - From YouTube

Friday, April 27, 2012

Microvisions 7 ... NOW LIVE

Check out the auction HERE.

Twin Peaks

by Eric Fortune

 For any fans of Twin Peaks, you may be interested in the 20th Anniversary group show at Copro Gallery. Here are a few pieces from the show. There's even a mono print by David Lynch.

                                                                      Dan Quintana 

                                                                     Martin Wittfooth 

                                                                      Chris Buzelli 

                                                                      David Lynch

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Visit to the Metropolitan


Once every couple of months I love to take a Friday afternoon and evening off from the studio and stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see some old 'friends', and discover some new ones.

It is always a wonderful visit, with a quartet playing in the main lobby entry hall, and most of the crowds off to dinner.  For not everyone realizes that the Met is open until 9pm on Friday and Saturday.  It is an excellent time to have the art to yourself and a few other die hard 'cognoscente'.

Enjoy the tour!


The Room of Rembrandts

Edwin Austin Abbey

John White Alexander

A new Sargent in the American Wing!  A brilliant piece...can you spot the two deer in the dappled light?

Here is a hidden secret.  On the second floor of the American Wing is one of the storage areas which is glassed in.  There is some amazing art to discover in these corridors!

One of these discoveries . H.O. Walker...who?  Stunning work none the less by a previously unknown artist to me.

One of the Met's Maxfield Parrishs.  You can see how they rate illustrators as I have never seen this image out on the main floors, but there is always space for plenty of deserted rooms filled with modern art.  Don't get me started!

I always have to nod hello to the knights in armor.

Lastly, this entryway to the American Wing says it all.
Many have passed before, and many more will do so in the future.  I am grateful to have the chance to live in this city with institutions that share the best of what artists have offered up to the world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


-Jesper Ejsing

It still feels like I just got back from the beautiful Stockholm. Even if it was already 2 days ago. I was teaching at a workshop there, called Northern Light. My great partners in crime of teaching were Petar Meseldzija and Justin Gerard. The reason why it feels like I am still kind of there, is because I brought one of the teacher back home with me.

These days I am enjoying the company of Justin at the studio. We are painting right in front of eachother and share thoughts, technic and criticism as well as bad jokes and stupid remarks…well I keep to the last and Justin handles the intelligent parts.

What is so great is that the both of us shows the other one what each of us thinks is so great about each other's technique. We are equally amazed at what the other one is doing.

I am trying to teach Justin to eat and drink like a Dane, and he strangely enough haven´t passed on anything I served him (even stuff no sane Dane considers real food).

It is a pleasure to have him staying and I wish he wasn´t going back when the week drags to an end.
More than ever, I regret that I am not attending the Spectrum Live.

Demo painting in Stockholm. Notice Justins ref of hairless monkeys. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Silmarillion: Glorfindel and the Balrog

By Justin Gerard

Microvisions 7

For those in the NYC area, the Microvisions 7 exhibit is currently hanging at the Society of Illustrators. In just a few days, the auction for these miniature works will go live. All profits from the auction will go to scholarships for deserving art students across the country. Thus far, the Microvisions auction has raised over $35,000 these students.

The auction will go live on Ebay this Saturday, April 26th at 7pm EST.
If it is anything like last year, the bidding for each piece will start at just $50!

Here is a preview of all 12 pieces that have been donated:

Peter DeSeve

Scott Gustafson

Dan dos Santos

Scott Bakal

Brian Despain

Chris Rahn

Terryl Whitlatch

John Picacio

Rebecca Guay

Nathan Fowkes

Scott Brundage

Julie Bell

Monday, April 23, 2012

Robert E. McGinnis

-by Arnie Fenner

Since John Jude recently gave a nod to Mark English here at MC, I thought I'd shine the spotlight on one of Mark's contemporaries, Robert E. McGinnis. I've talked about him before and I'll be delighted to talk about him again: I grew up a fan of Bob's mystery covers and movie posters (particularly those for the James Bond films) and consider myself lucky to have worked with him on his first art book, Tapestry, and a calendar in 2006.
Renowned for something like 1200 book covers and over 40 movie posters (plus stacks of editorial and advertising art), his body of work is astonishing, both for the quantity and quality. Whether painting hardboiled gumshoes, femme fatales, scenes from the old West, movie stars, or sensuous nudes, Robert McGinnis is simply one of the best—and his recent covers for the Hard Case Crime series shows that, even in his 80s, he hasn't missed a beat.

Donald M. Grant Publishing has a new book of Bob's paintings of women in the works, both from his mystery covers and from his gallery shows: I'm looking forward to that.

Bob's website is still under construction, but keep an eye on it to see when it becomes active.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Conan commission – final part

-By Petar Meseldzija

The Frost Giants, oil on mdf board, 65 X 50 cm / 25 1/2 X 19 1/2 inch

The Frost Giants painting is finally finished. It has been a gigantic struggle, partly because of the sudden and significant shift in the composition, that took place due to the change of the background;  and partly because of the fact that I was not able to work on this painting in one piece, but had to interrupt the process many times. It was a real struggle and, to be honest, I don’t know who won the battle, the painting or me.

However, I would like to say a few words about the composition of the piece.

This is basically a central composition that is slightly shifted to the left in order to create a subtle and  necessary imbalance, for when created consciously and in the right way, imbalance stimulates the energy flow (motion) through a painting.  
There are four major directions along which the energy flows through the painting. I call it the “energy flow”, but I suppose it could also be called  “directing the spectator’s  attention, or gaze”.

The first is the circle (white arrows) that is created by the sword and the axe of the back giant, the Conan’s sword, and partly by the sword of the collapsing giant. I said “partly” because this last sword is positioned in a way that creates an opening in the circle. This opening allows the energy of the blow of the Conan’s  sword to break through and to flow out of the circle.
Secondly, The sharp edges of the cape of the falling giant, the outstretched giant’s left arm,  the bottom edge of the glacier (iceberg) behind him,  the giant’s hair and the long line of the cape (red arrows) are pointing out the direction of escaping energy. Following this last line created by the giant’s  hair and the long edge of his cape, the energy flows out of the circle but, because of a gentle curve at the cape’s end, it goes back  to the center of the composition via the outstretched left giant’s leg.  The general form  and  the direction of the glacier in the background, and the positioning of the snow-covered hill slope beneath the feet of the three figures (pink arrows), emphasizes the direction of energy flow of the Conan’s sword.  I could depict this movement even more dynamically, but I chose to use a more subtle solution, for I believe that this subtlety penetrates deeper because it is mostly subconsciously perceived.

Thirdly, the figure of Conan, with its outstretched left leg,  pierces like an arrow the central, relatively compact mass created by the giants. The energy (the spectators gaze) flows from the lower part of the leg, via the four points of highlight (blue, 1,2,3,4) towards the top of Conan’s helmet. It ends up in the center of the composition, but then  via the highlight 5, the energy moves further down the Conan’s arm, and at the highlight 6 it turns sharply to the right and goes to the red top of the sword. Than it follows the circle ( white arrows), or it goes back to the center of the composition via the line cape-curve-leg, or it takes the shortcut via the line cape- hair.
Fourthly, the major highlights are the three  green circles that form a kind of triangle. This triangle allows the energy to bounce back and forth between these three central points of attention. This, in combination with the previously mentioned lines of the energy flow, enables the energy to stay inside and to circulate freely through the middle part of the composition, instead of being scattered all around the painting. This scattering of the energy usually creates a pictorial cacophony which, if not consciously intended, reduces the impact and the general quality of the painting.  

At the end, if you think that I premeditated all this, you are wrong. I did it intuitively and later on, when I was halfway, I realized what I did and why… and it felt good. For me, this is the right way to do it. First feel, than rationalize.