Archive for October 24, 2012

Artist of the moment…..Jason De Graaf….

This hyperrealist painter is best known for his paintings of reflections of glass. In this clip you can see my favorite painting of his, the painting with the reflections of pine trees. The actual images start at 44 seconds into the clip. The show took place at Jacana Gallery located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jason De Graaf paints with acrylics on canvas.

The painting with the pine trees is my favorite work by the artist and is 24 by 36 inches going for $5,900. Painted in acrylics.

Jason De Graaf was born in Montreal, Canada in the year 1971. He currently lives and works out of Quebec, Canada. The artist works with photos and applies his own color technique. He enjoys painting items that are transparent such as glass, water, and marbles.

For his artistic education De Graaf attended Dawson College located in Montreal, Canada.

Some other photorealists artist would be Don Eddy, Robert Bechtle, Richard MacLean, Hilo Chen, Ralph and Mark Goings. Two galleries that do a great job of showing high quality photorealist works would be the Louis K. Meisel Gallery located in New York, New York. The latter gallery would be the Plus One Gallery located in London, England.  Jason De Graaf is featured at the Plus One Gallery.

Meisel Gallery:

Plus One Gallery:

A link for the artist’s own website:

Lets take a closer look at some paintings. Its very easy for the viewer to find the subject of the painting. Often its the largest object in the work, located in the middle third of the painting, and has the brightest reflection of light.  De Graaf is a master at mixing organic and geometric shapes, such as the cylinder shape of a glass and the fun shapes that evolve when water is forced to leave the glass. Or the abstract patterns that exist on crumpled up aluminum foil.

Another interesting aspect of his method is the use of black. Many painters don’t like to use it, for fear of taking the color out of the picture. My favorite painter of the western theme, Howard Terpning, prefers to mix his own black using burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

Although working from photographs the artist isn’t bound to them from start to finish. He uses colours by intuition and tries to capture the beauty of everyday things. Be it a drop of water, the reflections that appear on foil, or even the reflections that exist on the surface area of a still glass of wine. Each is brought to life and given a splendor usually reserved for painting living items.


Artist of the moment….Hughie Lee Smith…..

The artist was born in Eustis, Florida in 1915.

He was known for being one of few african american artists dealing with surrealism.

A clip from the Detroit Artist’s Market show featuring the artist from 2008. This was done by an art fan and its her trip thru the gallery, pictures start at 1:11 into the clip if you are impatient to wait for the artwork like myself! Also in this clip are some of his lithograph works.

For his art education Smith attended the Cleveland Institute of the Art. He finished his degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Smith was elected to the National Academy of Design.

From a design standpoint two other artists come to my mind. The first being Ed Hopper. Hopper was best known for his portrayal of light that took place on the coastal lands of Maine and northeast. When I look at Hoppers paintings I feel the stillness and calmness of the surrounding ocean. I get this same sense of calmness and peace from the works of Hughie Lee- Smith. Hopper’s work also had an intense feeling of isolation. That you were spying on someone as they went about their daily life. Its this same feeling of “I don’t care if you watch me,” that I get from Smith’s artwork.

Another artist that comes to mind would be Robert Vickrey. Vickrey is a master of light and shadow who often paints surreal scenes with some of the same objects as of Hughie Lee Smith such as balloons and circular shapes. Both artists also took pride in depicting brick walls taking advantage of the repeating rectangular shapes and the fun texture. Vickrey painted mainly in egg tempera and passed away in April of 2011.

Here is a great work from the late Robert Vickrey. A great sense of timelessness here, I would venture everyone adult has blown at least one bubble during their lifetime!

For all three artists,  Ed Hopper,  Robert Vickrey, and Hughie Lee Smith, each does a great job at freezing the moment and emotion at the time. Its like with an Andy Warhol, a sense of time stopping allowing the viewer to take it all in!

He went on to teach at Wayne State and also was a dancer.

Hughie Lee- Smith was also a product of the WPA, or Works Progress Administration, this was a government sponsored part of the New Deal. It encouraged and promoted new buildings and for artists opportunities to create public murals or sculptures. Hughie Lee Smith worked in Ohio and in the Navy for the WPA.

1958 the artist moved to New York beginning a teaching position at the Art Students League where he taught classes for fifteen years. Painted the offcial portrait of the New York city Major David Dinkins in 1994.

Low price range: Pencil works from $1400 to $ 8500. Ink works from $400.

High price ranges: Watercolors from $2,500 to $10,000. Original oils from $10,000 to $102,000.

Lived and worked most of his life out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He died of cancer in Albuquerque in 1999 at the age of 73 years old.

This artist was great in his subject matter and I highly respect his advances into Surrealism. I enjoy the sense of calmness and timelessness the artist brought to his works!