Monday, 26 March 2012

My painting on the cover of JMCP

A few months ago, a non-profit pharmaceutical magazine titled JMCP (Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy) contacted me and asked if they could use a reproduction of my “Cable Car Ride” painting for the cover of their March 2012 issue.

Some copies of JMCP that arrived in the post last week-end

The magazine is published nine times per year, and features a different work of art on every cover. The magazine’s audience is mainly pharmacists and physicians and the circulation is close to 20,000 copies.

They were looking for a painting of San Francisco because the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy AMCP is holding a conference in this city in the spring.

They also wrote a nice full page article with an interview. The editor did a great job reviewing my website and past articles on the blog before asking me a number of questions.

Article by Sheila Macho published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy - March 2012 

It is always very exciting to see your work in print!

You can read the article in the March issue of JMCP which is available online as a PDF on the website of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Inspiration in nature

Morning sun - photo © 2010 Benoit Philippe

“There is no designer more gifted, brilliant, and inspiring than Mother Nature. Look at the patterns of branches reaching into the sky, check out the color combinations in the fall, take note of how many shades of green there are in a single tree, study the sleek lines in a pigeon or a falcon.”

Steve Gordon, Jr, RDQLUS

(In 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative)

The book

If you are in the US (Amazon affiliate link)

100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative

If you are in the United Kingdom (Amazon affiliate link)

100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative (100 Habits): Insider Secrets for Working Smart and Staying Creative

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Monday, 19 March 2012

Hong Kong Central

Hong Kong Central - Oil on canvas panel (8" x 6") by Benoit Philippe

Continuing my series of painting on Hong Kong.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Subversive art

“When I paint, I always try to give an image people are not expecting and, beyond that, one they reject. That's what interests me. It's in this sense that I mean I always try to be subversive. That is, I give a man an image of himself whose elements are collected from among the usual way of seeing things in traditional painting and then reassembled in a fashion that is unexpected and disturbing enough to make it impossible for him to escape the questions it raises.”

Picasso, quoted by Françoise Gilot in “Life with Picasso” (English translation by Carlton Lake)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Putting perspective into perspective

This article was first published in my newsletter "Notes From My French Easel" – February 2012 

In his book “The Elements of Drawing”, John Ruskin declared that:

“No great painters ever trouble themselves about perspective, and very few of them know its laws; they draw everything by the eye, and, naturally enough, disdain in the easy parts of their work rules which cannot help them in difficult ones. It would take about a month's labour to draw imperfectly, by laws of perspective, what any great Venetian will draw perfectly in five minutes, when he is throwing a wreath of leaves round a head, or bending the curves of a pattern in and out among the folds of drapery.”

I was almost outraged when I first read this statement. But, after reflexion, I believe Ruskin’s observation to be true… for most part.

Staircase in perspective by Luciano Testoni

It is true that, in practice, artists often forego the formal construction of perspective with a ruler and vanishing points. Ruskin observed with irreverence that: “Turner, though he was professor of perspective to the Royal Academy, did not know what he professed, and never, as far as I remember, drew a single building in true perspective in his life; he drew them only with as much perspective as suited him.”

At times, when drawing buildings for instance, a formal approach to perspective makes sense. For most subjects (clouds, people, trees…) a more hands-on approach does perfectly the job. A good eye and an acute sense of observation go a long way.

It does not mean that studying perspective is useless. I would argue this is one of these disciplines you must practice and assimilate to make it your own and then forget about it. It should be there, in the back of your mind, as all objects are subject to the rules of perspective.

When you tackle a complex cityscape or paint from an unusual viewpoint, taking the pain to construct perspective lines will save you time in the long run. Another instance where formal perspective should be brought back in is when you feel something is not quite right in your painting. In this case, check with a ruler in hand that you applied correctly the laws of perspective. 

Otherwise, go with Turner and draw only with as much perspective as suits your needs.

Related resources

If you are in the US (Amazon affiliate link)
The Elements of Drawing by John Ruskin

If you are in the United Kingdom (Amazon affiliate link)
The Elements of Drawing by John Ruskin

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Monday, 12 March 2012

Hong Kong Tram II

Hong Kong Tram II - Oil on canvas panel (8" x 6") by Benoit Philippe

This is the second tram painting from Hong Kong, after Hong Kong Tram that I posted last week. The canvas  on this homemade panel was rough but I used smaller brushes to paint on it.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

An original brush rest

I was looking for a brush rest. They have some in artists’ supply catalogues but the choice is limited to a boring white ceramic model. Not very exciting...

A brush rest prevents the wet brush from touching the table or rolling on it. This is exactly what a chopsticks holder does. And now, by looking at chopsticks holders, I had a vast choice of brush rests.

I bought the one in the photographs below at a street market in Hong Kong. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Hong Kong Tram

I like trams. They are colourful, add mouvement to cityscapes and when they stop have many people around.

Hong Kong tram - Oil on panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

For this painting, I made a precise preliminary drawing because the scene is quite complex. I simplified some elements, by removing people from the scene for example.

I then put on my palette a blob of Ultramarine Blue and one of Yellow Ochre. I proceeded with a value rendering of the scene.

After I established the values, I added to the two colours used to block values some Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Crimson Alizarin and Titanium White. I reduced my usual palette on purpose. There is no Cerulean or Manganeze Blue; or any Viridian Green (That I like to mix with Crimson Alizarin to get a deep black).

Looking at the finished painting, it does not seem that any colour is missing. The reduced palette gives the painting more unity.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Exhibition at the Merlin Gallery

I am taking part in an exhibition at the Merlin Gallery with other artists of the Swindon Open Studios.