Impressionist Cityscapes by Eugenio and Nemo

Galerie Beauchamp, in old Quebec, had a lot of really fantastic contemporary art, ranging from abstract to photo-realistic. Seeing Liudmila’s european city/landscape paintings opened my eyes to the possibilities that landscape painting had to offer. These two artists opened them further.

Vertical reflejante 162706, 40 x 30 in, oil by Eugenio

Vertical reflejante 162706, 40 x 30 in, oil by Eugenio

Eugenio‘s paintings are a rainy blur of bright colors and lights. Big cities have so much going on that they can easily become overwhelming for those not accustomed to the bustle; by painting the details with splotches of colors, he unifies the space. One of the things that’s intimidated me about painting landscapes or city scenes are the thousands of little details, whether it’s the leaves, grass or the windows and straight lines that make up rows of buildings. Simplifying the process by painting the colors that make up these little details makes me feel like I could actually handle a project like this.

Seeing the boring made exciting is a huge creative booster shot. Like in the painting below, see how he makes the cobblestones tell a story about the city through their reflections. The scene is warm and exciting; the bar signs serve to guide your eyes through the streets lit by old-fashioned lanterns toward the crowd of people making their way up the street.

Perspectiva reflejada 163081, 36 x 24 in, oil by Eugenio

Perspectiva reflejada 163081, 36 x 24 in, oil by Eugenio

Nemo‘s work caught the eye of both myself and my husband; we were very tempted to take one home with us! If only I wasn’t about to be an art student… anyway, he brings cityscapes to life through use of mixed media. There is much to take in between textures, landmarks, and reflections. The foggy atmosphere gives a dream-like effect to his work. If you look at his paintings closely you’ll see that some parts are more in focus than others; this helps to guide your eye around the frame, taking everything in.

Let it be 4, 40 x 60 in, mixed media by Nemo

Let it be 4, 40 x 60 in, mixed media by Nemo

42nd street, 30 x 72 in, mixed media by Nemo

42nd street, 30 x 72 in, mixed media by Nemo

More and more I see cities painted with strips of color. Some areas, like the sky and background, are left out of focus on purpose because your eyes can fill in those details on their own. The mix of old weathered colors and bright primaries gives an interesting divide to the subject matter, calming it down.

Le rétro at night, 48 x 24 in, mixed media by Nemo

Le rétro at night, 48 x 24 in, mixed media by Nemo

The painting above lets the artist’s lines show through to the finished product, allowing us a glimpse at how he created the piece. It’s a bold move, but since the city is built on so many lines I find these elements work well together.

Tim took lots of lovely photos of the cities we visited, and over the summer I hope to take one or two of them and attempt to recreate them in an impressionist style. Though I’m not sure what materials to use (brush or palette knife?) I’m ready to jump right in! Landscapes can certainly be boring subjects, but I’m learning that it’s up to the artist to make them exciting, whether it’s through the use of color, embellishing details or by making them tell a story.

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Naoko Takeuchi and Sailor Moon

I’ve mentioned Sailor Moon before on this blog, via an alternate look at her fashion and while discussing Ai Yazawa’s art & manga. Recently I decided to read the manga in full, as previously I’d only seen the anime (the american dub, at that). I enjoyed it much more than I thought possible and it brought back a lot of memories of my middle school and high school days.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

I won’t elaborate too much on how it changed my style since I’ve done so in previous posts, but I distinctly remember the moment I first saw Sailor Moon (even the episode, the one where she was worried about her weight so she started dieting) and how much it changed me. I’d only been exposed to american comics up until that point which were fairly realistic in nature, sticking close to anatomic rules. Well… sticking close to the anatomy of the “ideal” man and women, at least.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

The Sailor Moon manga took those rules and ran with them. The women have ridiculously long legs and full heads of flowing hair, never a piece out of place. Their eyes are huge and super reflective. They are all slender hour glass figures and even the children are elongated and wispy. All of this should be wrong, off balance and look terrible… but I don’t care. This manga takes the reader to a completely different universe chocked full of pretty soldiers fighting the forces of darkness. Ribbons, tiaras, skirts, wings, sparkles… the art is saturated with everything girly.

The story is typical of a shojo manga. A school girl obtains magical powers to save the universe with her friends and with the help of a mysteriously handsome boy. The plot doesn’t break the mold, but it doesn’t really need to. It’s fluff, plain and simple, and that’s okay with me. The manga spans 18 volumes, plus side stories, plus art books, so there is plenty to take in. It has recently started a reprint and is available pretty much anywhere you can find books.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

The art books are the real find. Fortunately, they’ve all been scanned and are freely available on the internet. Normally this would be frowned upon, but the books are out of print and are very rare; I tried to hunt them down on Ebay and found one selling for over a thousand dollars! I’d love to own them (maybe if I win the lottery, someday…) because they’re a true showcase to Naoko’s art. At first, I figured that she probably used simple pens and watercolor, but was surprised to discover that she enjoyed mixing media, employing markers, pastels, pasting designer tissue and even gluing beads into some pieces. Her washes of color are breath-taking.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

I remember this image fondly; in grade 7 I wanted to experiment with watercolor painting and chose this image as a study. The art room in that school is still clear in my mind, as well as the feeling of putting color on a page for the first time (with watercolors, at least). That euphoria hasn’t changed at all. I still get that when I mark the page or canvas with that first stroke of color. To know that after all this time, I still enjoy art as much as I used to, if not more, is invigorating. This is so much more than a silly girl story for me. It’s a confirmation of my life as an artist.

After reading through this manga, I have an intense desire to start working with tones, watercolor and even spray. Maybe it’s time for me to do some new fanart for a series that’s been such a heavy inspiration in my art. Sailor Moon is the definitive shojo manga and simply cannot be overlooked.