Art or Illustration

By Armand Cabrera

 

       N.C. Wyeth

The conversation about art and illustration keeps coming up. People want to draw a line making one better than the other. I think this is foolish.

Since I work both sides of the fence as it were, I thought I would lay out a couple of things I’ve noticed about the different disciplines and maybe help dispel some myths about both along the way.

Aldro Hibbard

First myth, gallery artists have to sell which means they have to paint what people want and that means they are just like illustrators. Wrong. In gallery work people may commission you to paint a painting, they may even ask you to paint a specific scene but what they don’t do is ask you to submit roughs, then color studies and then fiddle with your picture as you paint it. Gallery artists paint what they want to paint and then take it to a gallery that sells it for them. No one has ever told me to fix or change a painting that I have delivered to a gallery. This happens all the time in illustration. Very few illustrators get a phone call for work, come up with an idea and paint an image for the client without outside feedback on that image.

Second myth, gallery artists are more artistic than illustrators. Wrong. The level of artistic accomplishment lays with the individual not the profession. Many golden age illustrators have stood the test of time and the works they created are now considered art. I would argue their work was always art. Their work has transcended the original intent of the painting. Some gallery work on the other hand has not done so well because of its trite treatment or overly sentimental subject matter.

Jeff Jones

Third myth, if you take money for your art you are selling out. Wrong. Selling out is a term that gets thrown about quite a bit in the artist versus illustrator discussion. Artists look at illustrators as sellouts for offering their work as a commodity designed by a committee. Those same artists have no problem giving up their self-respect begging for grant money to fund their projects or going to openings trying to sell paintings at a show of their work. I think selling out is copying another artists style for monetary gain. Neither profession can claim the high ground here. And both fields have their hacks that chase the style of whatever artist is commanding the most work and highest prices. I see it in galleries and illustration.

People who respect their craft and their profession create things worthy of any museum; to label it unworthy because of the original intent is ignorant. All creative work is communication and will be judged by the ability to reach other people. An artist must impart truth to what they create for it to have value beyond the moment. Successful artists must satisfy the needs of their profession and the desires of their soul if they wish to survive and continue to create works that can stand the test of time.

Dennis Miller Bunker

All art for this article is copyrighted to the respective artists, their estates or the artwork owners

Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered

By

Armand Cabrera
This week I had the pleasure of seeing the Howard Pyle Exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum. The Preview and show were well attended proving once again how starved the public is for this type of art. The exhibit really shows his range as an artist.
This is the largest showing of his work since his death 100 years ago. The museum also displayed the work of some of Pyle’s students, showing his influence as a teacher. Walking around with the other artists we were all struck by his use of color and value and his great eye for unusual compositions.
5am. When I was younger I would’ve been coming home at this time

In Chads Ford, 10 miles away at the Brandywine River Museum they also had a tribute to Pyle and some of his students, plus all seventeen of N.C. Wyeth’s Treasure Island Paintings on display.

Margo, myself, Jeanette, James, Jean Baptiste, Lester
My trip started with a 5:30 am Friday morning drive up to the Brandywine River Museum to meet James Gurney and his wife Jeanette, Jean Baptiste Monge and his wife Margo and Lester Yocum when the museum opened at 9:30am. Jim had these little pieces of paper with 11 on them and at 11:11:11 on 11/11/11 we took a picture of ourselves. I think it caused a rip in the space time continuum somewhere. 
Myself and Garin and our portraits
After seeing the show we went and had lunch and were joined by two other artists Kevin Ferrara and Garin Baker.While we all  talked James painted watercolor portraits of me and Garin.

At 5pm there was a 2 hour preview party at the Delaware Art Museum which was very well attended.
Afterward, we left James and Jeanette who had prior committments, and found a diner and talked art for a few hours.
                              left to right, Garin Baker Kev Ferrara, Margo and Jean Baptiste Monge
Saturday, I was back at the Delaware to get an early look at the show before James Gurneys lecture. People were waiting for the Museum to open when I got there. As I was walking around with James and Kevin we met Noah Bradley who was up for the Lecture and show as well as Patrick O’brien. I was also introduced to John R. Schoonover and Ian Schoenherr.  James Gurney gave a 45 minute talk on Howard Pyle and Composition Techniques to a packed crowd.

Kev Ferrara briefly eclipsed by Garin Baker and Noah Bradley

Afterward, a few of us took our lives in our hands trying to caravan to the diner we had been to the night before. After a few close calls we finally made it and enjoyed a simple lunch with more great conversation.

Heading home, I had plenty of time to think about Pyle and his legacy that still touches artists of all ages to this day.
If you are on the East Coast it is a must see show.

Walter Hunt Everett

By Armand Cabrera

Walter Hunt Everett was born on August 20 1880. He spent his childhood on a farm in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In his teens he attended The Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art. Sometime later he attended the Drexel Institute and studied under Howard Pyle.

He began getting professional work in his early twenties. Everett worked for The Saturday Evening Post, Scribner’s Monthly, Women’s Home Companion, McCall’s, Collier’s,Ladies Home Journal, and illustrated a number of books. He provided color frontispieces for the eighteen volume set of The Works of Louise Muhlbach.

Everett also taught briefly at the Spring Garden Institute and The School of Industrial Art from 1911 to 1915 but quit when he felt teaching was too confining.

Everett’s early work shows the influence of Pyle and other successful illustrators of the day like E.A. Abbey. The designs while strong are simple and the color is subdued.
As he matured his work became more personal. He developed an intricate sense of design and color and he incorporated more figures in his work. His later work becomes more focused on flat planes of painted color and even more sophisticated designs. His brushwork is bold and free but never sloppy or haphazard.
Although he was in demand as an illustrator through the 1920’s and early 1930’s, his temperamental nature and perfectionism caused him to miss deadlines. In a fit one day he burned most of his life’s work and very few originals survive. He was married briefly but his wife left him when he continually failed to pay bills and rent on time. He ended up moving in with a brother in Pennsylvania sometime in the 1930’s and spent the end of his life painting for the pure joy it gave him. Walter Hunt Everett died in 1946 at the age of 66.

Bibliography

Walter Everett Forgotten Master
Step by Step Graphics Volume 4 Number 1
Benjamin and Jane Sperry Eisenstat

200 Years of American Illustration

Henry C. Pitz

The Illustrator in America (3 volumes)

1900-1960, 1880-1980, 1860-2000
Walt Read
I want to thank Kev Ferarra for some of the Everett pictures and information in this article.
Other Articles on the web about Walter Everett

The 2013 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction

by
Armand Cabrera

The 2013 Coer d’Alene Art Auction has just wrapped up pulling in a nice 28.5 million in sales for 2013. The auction is a mix of historical and contemporary western art. Peppermill Resort Spa Reno, Nevada. Of the top prices paid for paintings Howard Terpning is the only living artist included in the 5 highest sales for 2013 coming in third and fourth at 1.5 million and 900,000.

Highlights of the hammer prices  included


 
 Frederick Remington $5 million


Norman Rockwell $3.8 million



Howard Terpning $1.5 Million





Howard Terpning $900,000





Charlie Russell $600,000



You can see all of the paintings that were for sale and what prices were paid for them 

Orson Byron Lowell

By
Armand Cabrera
For the month of October my articles for Art and Influence will focus on past masters of pen and ink in honor of Inktober, an art challenge started by Jake Parker in 2009 that asks artists to draw and post a pen and ink drawing a day for the month. The challenge has participants from around the world that post work online.  In conjunction with my articles here I will also be posting work from a different pen and ink artist every day on my Facebook page.

Orson Byron Lowell was born in Iowa in 1871. He was the son of Milton H. Lowell and landscape painter. At eh age of 16 Lowell attended the art institute of Chicago studying under J.H Vanderpoel. In his last year of school he began to receive profession work from local 
magazines.

 In 1893 he moved to New York to establish his career. By 1905 he was a highly sought after illustrator making enough money to purchase a house in New Rochelle an artist’s community that included Norman Rockwell, Joseph Leyendecker and Franklin Booth.

 Lowell worked for all of the top magazines of the time. Primarily known for his work in pen and ink, he also worked in watercolor, Gouache and oils.  He was praised for his original style and line work and a keen eye in regards to social commentary. Orson Byron Lowell died in 1956.

Bibliography
The Illustrator in America 1900-1960
Walt and Roger Reed
Reinhold Publishing 1966
The Illustrator in America 1880-1980
Walt and Roger Reed
Madison Square Press 1993
The Illustrator in America 1860-2000
Walt and Roger Reed
Collins Design 2003
200 years of American illustration
Henry Pitz
Random House 1977
Masters of American Illustration:
41 Illustrators and how they worked
Fred Taraba
The Illustrated Press 2011