Sunday, January 30, 2011

Len Chmiel

Sizes: 16 x 22, 12 x 12 inches

Len Chmiel states on his website that he aims to convey the subtle beauty of nature without being too literal. He tries to push the boundaries of reality rather than just depicting it. 
I love the sensitive painterliness and mark-making in these works.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Magic Realism

Rockwell Kent, American, 1882-1971, lilacs, c 1968, 24 x 34 inches.

In works of fantasy or surrealist art the  supernatural is usually immediately obvious, but in Magic Realsim a dream-like or mythic dimension is only subtly implied within a realist framework.
Formalist qualities such as the centrally placed figure, simplified repeated forms,  and the roof lines converging at the point of interest, where the flower is being plucked, produce a kind of dream-like, surreal or magic realist effect. They are a little too synchronistic to be true.
The subject is apparently mundane, but the formality, and stage-like lighting, suggest an event of mythic importance or something occurring in a dream, the significance of which escapes  the conscious mind. 
A touch of Magic Realism can give a landscape a fascinating edginess.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Buildings can give a landscape painting a geometrical element or pattern, an opportunity to introduce colours and shapes not found in nature. 
The proportion of built to natural environment can be played with. These two landscape paintings have an almost even balance between buildings and nature, creating an interesting tension. 
The townscape or cityscape, is a subgenre of landscape painting that emerged in the seventeenth century.

The top image is a detail from a painting by the Danish artist Christen Kobke.
The lower work is unknown.