The Art of Charles Sovek

Lessons from the Easel | Why This Painting Works

Painting - After Edward SeagoCurrent Lesson - "Seago's Spectacular Seascapes"

Edward Seago was a dyed in the wool location painter. All of Europe, the middle and far East, every nook and cranny of England, his homeland and even a stint painting from the deck of an ice cutter of the coast of Antarctica were familiar territory. Watercolor and oil were his essential tools, and few plein air artists handled them with more facility.

After MonetPainting #1 - "Figures in Sunlight" (After Claude Monet)

Claude Monet could paint light better than any artist before him and most of the painters that followed. And while impossible to secondguess his approach, there are various devices he employed to help capture the remarkable quality of existence most of his paintings display.

After CorotPainting #2 - "Saint-Andre-Du- Morvan" (After Camile Corot)

Camile Corot was a magician at transforming a hand full of tones into an eye full of sparkling shapes and arresting patterns, not to mention an enormous feeling of space and dimension. What were his secrets and how did he approach making such timeless works of art? Some factors are impossible to second guess. But certain devices are evident and just as timely as when Corot put them into practice over 150 years ago.

After CorotPainting #3 - "Interior" (After Wassily Kandinsky)

Kandinsky was far ahead of his time in both color innovations and compositional solutions. His early work in particular, bears close scrutiny by any student looking to understand the beginnings of making color, not tone, pattern or even subject matter, the rationale for making a painting. "Interior" was painted in 1909, just a few years after Matisse pioneered similar innovations during his Fauve period.

After Winslow HomerPainting #4 - Homer's Patterns

Winslow Homer continues to be an inspiration to painters of all visual persuasions. His masterful sense of composition and near poster-like simplicity in the treatment of both figures and architecture have secured him a permanent niche as a quality picture maker.

Matisse and MarquetPainting #5 - Matisse and Marquet

The chemistry between Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet was more than friendship. Each played off the other and pushed the borders of both color and composition resulting in some of the most provocative picture making of the early 20th Century.

Painting - After Joaquin SorollaPainting #6 - Sorolla's Light

Few painters before or since Joaquin Sorolla could capture the illusive effects of the sun as convincingly as this truly remarkable Spanish Impressionist. Splashing lights and darks and warm and cools onto his canvas with seemingly reckless abandon, the artist captured both time and place and the glowing sun that illuminated it all.

Painting - After Edward PotthastPainting #7 - Potthast's People

Like Joaquin Sorolla, Edward Potthast enjoyed the beach. Unlike Sorolla, however, Potthast had a singular way of staging his figures. The artist's uncluttered compositions remain as fresh as the day he painted them and students can benefit much from a careful study of the work of this important American Impressionist.

Painting - After Edward HopperPainting #8 - Hopper's Spaces: Part 1

Edward Hopper has been a hero of mine for nearly a half century. I own just about every book published about him, have seen nearly every original work available and have painted some of the very same Cape Cod motifs that Hopper did. Here are some of the pictorial insights I've come away with that may give some clues into what made this superb painter tick.

Painting - After Theodore RobinsonPainting #9 - The Elegance of Theodore Robinson

Of all the American Impressionists, Theodore Robinson was the most cosmopolitan. European trained, a buddy of Monet and a member of the upper rungs of the Boston art scene at the turn of 19th century, the artist had it all. And a study of his work reveals not only a sophisticated choice of subjects, but a masterful painter in command of his canvas.

Painting - After Andrew DasburgPainting #10 - Andrew Dasburg and the Cubist Landscape

The history of landscape painting is full of pioneers who weren't afraid to innovate new visions. Andrew Dasburg was one of those pioneers. Building on Cezanne's idea that a landscape painting can be both "timeless, like the masters" as well as fresh and immediate, like his contemporaries Monet, Pissarro and Sisley, Dasburg forged a sense of imagery that continues to be both fresh and enduring.

Painting - After Georges SeuratPainting #11 - The Classical Simplicity of Georges Seurat

George Seurat was both an exemplary and innovative colorist and an elegant draftsman. Cutting through the sparkle and dapple so important to the Impressionists, the artist looked instead at classical painters like Raphael, Ingres and Puvis de Chavannes. But of his own time, he also incorporated Impressionist principles of color and light but instead of trying to emulate natural effects, he forged an art form uniquely his own.

Painting - After Camile CorotPainting #12 - Corot's 1, 2, 3 Approach

This is my second article on Camile Corot and a dozen more could follow and we still would have an abundance of lessons to learn from this gifted French master. This piece concerns his methods. And, like his paintings, appears to be a straightforward 1, 2, 3 procedure.

Painting - After Camille PissarroPainting #13 - Pissarro's Masterful Streetscapes

Hopefully this will be a continuing bundle of articles on one of my favorite painters. To say Camille Pissarro endures is an understatement. His work continues to reveal new layers interest, beauty and power. And every painter interested in interpreting the varied effects of nature can well benefit with a study of his paintings. As a kick-off article, I'm focusing on the artist's street scenes which, of his entire repertoire is possibly the strongest. But stay tuned, there will definitely be more to come.

Painting - After Edward HopperPainting #14 - Hopper's Spaces Part 2

Edward Hopper could set a mood like nobody's business. He's been copied, both by other artists as well as movie makers, but never quite duplicated. "Early Sunday Morning" is a fine example of the painter's perfect sense of selection, arrangement and lighting. Without a single evidence of a person or even cat or pigeon, we feel the gritty realism of the urban landscape Hopper has managed to monumentalize in this 1937 masterpiece.

Painting - After August GayPainting #15 - "August Gay's Wonderful Colors"

August Gay holds a unique place in the development of modern American painting. A shape maker and colorist by heart, the artist was the complete antithesis of the European trained cadre of painters so prevalent in California during the early 20th century. Yet his strikingly fresh solutions to landscape continue to inspire and strike notes over and above the more mannered and polished works of his more conservative contemporaries.

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