Articles from May 2015

Maryland Art Schools

There are several art schools in the Baltimore area that teach oil painting and other disciplines. There are colleges such as MICA, Maryland Institute, College of Art. And there is the high school made famous by the movie Step Up, The Baltimore School for the Arts. The high school focuses on all areas from dance to music to painting and sculpture.

Art Classes for Individuals

But what about for individuals who want to improve their skills. The best know of them are the Mitchell Art School, The Schuler School of Fine Arts, and Zoll Studios. Zoll is known for teaching the techniques and materials used by the European masters in creating fine oil paintings. The Schuler school developed from Hans Schuler who was a well know sculpture as well as a painter. The Mitchell School was started by a wonderful woman, Elizabeth Byrd Mitchell who was one of the top portrait artists in Baltimore.


A recent reception and show at Zoll Studios showed a range of talent, but also impressive talent. The teachers and the students displayed their work. Naturally, the teachers work tended to be better, but some of the students were quite good as well. Most amazing was the work done by children 8-12 years old. If they keep with it, they could be masters some day. These were not simple stick figures. Some of the work they did was quite impressive.


The Schüler School had a competition that they do annually and it just ended. They accepted paintings to the competition not only from their students but anyone who wanted to enter. All the paintings had to be of animals. Some seemed like they wanted to jump out of the painting at you.…

Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has just completed a major renovation of the American Wing. They did a wonderful job. For years you could only go in through the new wing, not surprisingly right by the gift shop. Now you can also enter through the original main entrance which is quite grand and imposing. It takes you right into the American Wing.

Chronological and Contextual Organization

It is generally light and inviting. A number of the rooms were taken from history houses of different time periods so you could see how people lived and what the styles were at different times. But then they have larger rooms with paintings and sculptures in them. They generally have them organized chronologically by room. Even some of these large rooms were taken from or modeled on large mansions from the Baltimore area.

In addition to paintings and some sculptures, you get a sense of the era because there will also be exquisite period furniture. Tables, chairs, desks, cabinets, etc. There will also be wall lights and chandeliers and mirrors. It is very well done.

Since the pieces usually have come from different people’s homes, they decided to set up the new exhibit as if you were visiting someone’s home. So it has the furniture, lights and art all in a natural setting.


The museum has an amazing collection of silver. There were a number of great silver smiths in Baltimore and many examples were on display. Many were amazingly intricate and very impressive. The one that was not on view was temporarily at Pimlico Race Track. It was the trophy that goes to the winner of the Preakness. Actually the winner gets a smaller replica and the original goes back to the museum.

While the rooms with pieces from the 1600s, 1700s and early 1800s were interesting, the late 1800s and 1900s were perhaps more interesting because it represents life more like today and therefore perhaps more relatable. However, it was fascinating looking at the older paintings around Baltimore and seeing scenes with some buildings that still exist, but it shows them in country settings and now they are in the middle of the city.

There is one room with a lot of Tiffany glass including two large columns on either side of a large stained glass window. They take your breath away.

Picknell’s Paysage

One piece of art is particularly arresting, especially the longer you look at it. It is William Picknell’s Paysage, or A Winter’s Day in Brittany. Part of its appeal might be because of its size. It is probably four feet high and five feet wide. But besides its size, it is just a magnificent painting. You can see it on the blog page of the BMA. It depicts a man on a horse going down a dirt road in the country. The road has some tall pines along it on the left and some in the distance, but of a type that looks kind of like a loblolly pine where there are no branches on the lower two thirds of the trunk. There looks to be fields on either side of the road and it is a wet dreary day. The road has puddles. You feel like if you touched the painting it would be wet.

But, then go up close and look and you will be surprised. The surface of the painting is very rough. The artist used a pallet knife to put most of the paint on. Pallet knives come in a variety of shapes that allow the artist to get different effects, but typically some look like tiny mortar trowels and others look like dinner knives. You use them typically when you want to get a heavier paint layer than you can with a brush. It also allows you to get different textures than you can with a brush.

So then stand back and what looked like blobs of paint becomes a very realistic painting that is full of life and vitality.…

More Top Digital Artists

Here is another list of 10 interesting digital artists from Behance.

1. JR Schmidt – Some of his work looks like creations made with psychedelic colored Lego blocks. Others look like landscapes in video games. Not sure why this work was rated so highly. But his specialty is 3D art and motion graphics which do  not come across in the single frames looked at.

2. Steve Fraschini – He does a lot of work with logos like those of Nike, some where he riffs on the logo itself and others where he incorporates it into other pictures. He does a few with no logos.

3. Andrea Mancuso – Where to start? Some of the most interesting are of figures that look like they are melting. There are some scifi  and fantasy figures. Some look kind of like the minions in Despicable Me. Then a range of others too diverse to describe.

4. Chris LaBrooy – Once again an interesting range of work. Depictions of cars or trucks bent or modified in interesting ways. A Time cover showing Made in the USA. Cheese, cheese and more cheese for Pringles. A sculpture of sneakers made with metal in front of a high rise building. Very effective. A number of pictures with letters in them in different ways. The letters are in different textures and materials. One might look like plush toy material, another food, another metal.

5. Victor Ortiz – A lot of 2D poster art style work. Very stylized. But within that constraint a wide variety of designs.

6. Justin Maller – Feel like a broken record. Once again a range of styles and subjects. Some of stylized sports stars. Others with lots of angles, a bit like cubist, more like the crystal woman in the X-Men but with color. Animals, people and objects like shoes depicted this way. There are several paintings / creations that look like glowing crystals. They are extremely captivating. A range of other styles/subjects as well.

7. Benjamin Voldman – A lot of art that looks like Claymation with some of the characters looking like minions from Despicable Me.

8. Dennis Mundt – A creature that looks like it came from the Simpsons, Star Wars type characters, Sponge Bob, animals dressed in odd ways.

9. Obery Nicholas – Mostly in black and white. Some fine portraits of Stephen King and Salvador Dali. Very detailed animal drawings, sometime with things on them, not sure what, not excactly clothing. Some women and other more abstract drawings.

10. Timothy J. Reynolds – 3D of buildings, but looking like the models built up from foam core. Others that would fit in in Saturday morning cartoons. Stylized landscapes and buildings.

Till next time!…

Some Top Digital Artists

Hate to give a plug to another website but Behance has come up with a list of artists they think are some of the best.

1. Evgeny Parfenov – He has a distinct style that reminds us of some of the poster art from the World War II era.

2. Alberto Seveso – He has a wide range of styles but several of his works are somewhat reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch with maybe a little Salvador Dali thrown in. Others look fairly straight forward while some look like depictions of the blobs in lava lamps.

3. Anton Semenov – Most are faces with a fixation on the mouth in many. Some quite ghoulish. One that is fascinating is a face made up of many small arms.

4. Natalie Shau – Most of her work are just the heads of girls/women. Many are stylized with large eyes. Some are very frilly, others look like they are out of a horror movie.

5. Melvin Zelissen – Very well done. If you like science fiction and fantasy you will like his work. Some are transformers, some look like Vikings, others out of video games.

6. Bram Vanhaeren – Uses Illustrator. Almost looks like pen and ink sketches with some color thrown in. They are more minimalist and simple in character than many of the others.

7. Aaron Campbell – Wide range of styles. Some look like Salvador Dali on drugs if that is possible. One landscape looks like something done by a WPA artist. Very much that 1930s style. Others are illustrations for books or video games (in the style of Super Mario). One beautiful one called Sea of Glass Campaign depicts whales and seals and other undersea creatures.

8. Richard Davies – Amazing portfolio. He does mostly faces and frequently you don’t even see the entire face. Many are well known and are action heroes like Captain America and Daredevil. There is also Chevy Chase from Christmas Vacation, characters from Mad Men and many more. He portrait of Debbie Harry is beautiful, haunting and sexy as hell.

9. Martin Grohs – How do you categorize him? One compelling painting is a woman whose bottom half is an Octopus. Another is a beautiful pen and ink sketch. Others are different still. Google him and see for yourself.

10. Aleksi Kostyuk – Another wide range. Some of beautiful women, mostly neck up. Some of characters from the Slash movies. And an odd one, a Darth Vader Mickey Mouse.

Will hit some more on the next go round.…