Illuxcon 6

Armand Cabrera

I will be attending Illuxcon 6 starting this Wednesday, the 11th of September. Illuxcon which is being hosted by the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown PA. is the premier event for imaginative traditional painting and sculpture and I am very pleased to be a part of the show.

Patrick and Jeanie Wilshire have built a show that respects traditional narrative painting. Illuxcon displays quality work created by artists who choose to work in commercial fields and sets  high standards for excellence.

You can find samples from the participating artists on the Illuxcon website

as well as information on show times and programming tracks for the week.


Hans Heysen

Armand Cabrera

Hans Heysen was born in Hamburg Germany in 1877 his family moved to South Australia in 1884 when Hans was 7. In 1899 he was sent to Europe by four local patrons in exchange for the work he would produce there. Heysen studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens and the Academie des Beaux Arts.

Heysen returned to South Australia in 1903 and He started a studio in Adelaide where he taught art classes and displayed his paintings. . In 1904 he was married to Selma Bartels. After a few successful exhibitions Heysen was able to purchase a home near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills which he called the Cedars. The couple raised their eight children there. He built his studio on the property with limestone from the local quarry. 

He made many trips into the countryside to paint and draw the landscape. Heysen worked in watercolor and oils. His watercolor paintings of Eucalyptus were highly sought after. His paintings won him many awards during his lifetime including nine times for the coveted Wynn prize for best Australian Landscape.

The 148 acres Cedars property is a museum today and contains hundreds of works of art by Heysen and his daughter Nora, who was also an artist. The house and studios of both artists are preserved along with the gardens and can be visited by the public.

Heysen was made an officer of the British Empire in 1945 and he was knighted in 1959. Hans Heysen died in 1968 at the age of 90.

Here is a link to The Cedars Museum for people interested in finding out more about this artist and his work.

Hans Heysen

Andrew MacKenzie

Oz Publishing 1988

Battlefield Bluebells Demo


Armand Cabrera

Every Spring I make a point of painting the bluebells when they come out and bloom. They never last more than a few days once they peak and so depending on the weather you can miss them completely if you don’t check on them. I know every April I need to make a trip to my bluebell spots and see what kind of a year it will be.

This year they weren’t as thick as in years past but they were still good enough to paint. I set up at my favorite spot at the Manassas Battlefield, the path along the stone Bridge at Bull Run.

The afternoon light is my favorite for this spot because I’m looking into the sun and everything is backlit on a sunny day. I found a place not too far off the trail and got to work.

The first thing I did was to establish the tree line.

 Next I blocked in a medium tone for the bare trees in the distance.

Then I blocked in the ground plain keying it to my tree color.

Now using the scene I design the trunks of the trees in my middle and foreground. I want to vary their placement angle and individual widths so they aren’t too static.

I move to the background again and start designing my sky holes in the background tree color already on the board. Once I have that in I carefully move forward in the picture plane marking key elements like the color of the bushes in the understory and the trail through the flowers.

With my big shapes locked in I start modelling the areas building a sense of light and form to the individual elements without obliterating my groundwork for the structure of the painting.

I spend the last 45 minutes unifying the whole picture adding details where it enhances the mood simplifying areas that distract from the feel.

The finished painting, ‘Battlefield Bluebells,’ 12 x 16, oil on board. The total working time was 2 hours from start to finish.

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.