Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Dmitry Kustanovich: Melding Techniques to Create New


The art of Dmitry Kustanovich (1970-) brings to mind the techniques of Van Gogh, as a Post-Impressionist with his use of impasto to create a 3-D effect. Yet, there's also the melding with Pointillism more reminiscent of Seurat or Signac with their daubs. Add to all that, a dynamic sense of movement or immediacy and you have a skilled contemporary artist.





A Belarusian by birth, Kustanovich trained in art in his homeland and in Russia. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, where in 2009, he opened the Kustanovich's Gallery as a cultural center. There, evening events include music, creative expression and the artist himself teaching master classes in art. 


Getting back to his technique, he is considered to be an originator of not only the amalgam of techniques, but also to accomplish them using palette knives instead of brushes. As he states on why he prefers palette knives, his reply is:



I model the space with the palette knife expressing its to-day state, its momentous, its current minute. This is my technique. It is emotional. It has its own philosophy. The world expressed through it is manifolded. It is different.


All of his originality, combined with recognizable techniques and subjects means that 100 galleries have featured his works over the past 30 years... even in his flora!


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer: Exceptional Colorist

Nothing prepared me for the exhibit at the Musee d' Orsay of the pastels of artists known to me and unknown. The museum has almost 500 of 19th century pastel paintings! They are rarely on display given the fragility of the papers and the special lighting required to keep the colors from fading. 

There was one pastel that spoke to me so much I had to write down the name of the artist so I could research him. His name was Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (1865 - 1953) and the gorgeous pastel was his most famous La Femme à la Médaille ou Mystère (1896). I could not get over my awe for the way he understood color with the pale skin-tones and the background in tones that reflected the colors of her bonnet. Then, there was the complete control of fine detail including her fingers and eyelashes.


When I arrived back home, I did research Lévy-Dhurmer. He was known as an expert in painting - (especially as a colorist), drawing, drafting and ceramics. He is considered to be a Symbolist - artists of the late 19th century who find inspiration in mythology, poetry and music using metaphorical images. They might use women, animals, heroes or landscapes as representative.


Lévy-Dhurmer was so talented that I'm including some of this works that represent Symbolism, but also ones that represent a wider example of his skills, including his exceptional color knowledge. He frequently created an entire painting using a single color changed tonally showing prime examples of his understanding of color. 

The one to the left is "Silence." Such a mysterious and muted pastel.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Dylan Eakin: Master of Charcoal Photorealism

 After the invention of the camera, there was a question about the need for artists to paint fine detail anymore. After all, portraits of wealthy people with their riches on display could be memorialized by the camera. Yet, certain artists continued to work successfully in the technique of photorealism. 



These artists caused viewers to wonder in the hand/eye skills of the fine details no matter how subtle. The technique brought into photorealism the knowledge of art, draftsmanship and media such as paint or pencils. (



Recently, I learned of an artist, Dylan Eakin, who uses charcoal as the base for his portraits. Charcoal for photorealism seemed messy and inexact.  Eakin, who graduated in sculpture, but by 2016 began to train himself in charcoal portraiture also uses graphite for fine detail. 

With the amount of detail that each piece requires, Eakin spends about 200 hours on a single 18"x24" piece. That is the equivalent of almost a month!

Here are examples of his portraits of  faces and hands... truly a master!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Chie Hitotsuyama: Sculpting from Old Newspapers!



It never ceases to amaze me how artists can find art media in the humblest, most common of materials. This blog is about an artist who makes wonderful animal sculptures from tightly rolled newspaper strips. Her name is Chie Hitotsuyama (1982-) As a child, her family ran a paper mill and she was quite familiar with paper processing. 


 After graduating with a degree in design, Hitotsuyama began her artistic career as a two-dimensional illustrator. In time, she began to follow her interest in sculpture. She was so familiar with the way her family turned old or discarded newspapers into strips. That inspired her to take it a step further and and roll the strips into "strings."

Hitotsuyama figured out that by  bending and contouring the strings, the strings begin to take on the shape or form of an animal she had sketched. Her first completed newspaper-string figure was of a rhino.She would continue to build animals, including groupings, such as monkeys and walrus.


She finds so much inspiration in animal sculptures, to quote: "... I have continued to sculpt forms of animals and while doing so I have become acutely aware of the life force in all beings. I admire the animals I study. I am in awe of their strength and survival in unforgiving nature.”

Below more of her finished animals. Do you have a favorite?

(You can view her processes in online videos.)