Tue
Mar 20 2012 10:00am

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Last December I called a bunch of artist-friends and asked them to share their favorite winter paintings for an article celebrating the winter solstice. I didn’t expect to make it a series at the time, but the post was too much fun to put together and I learned way too much not to try it again.

To be honest, when I started I worried that spring would not have the gravitas that winter does, however now that it’s here the exuberance of spring is a delight. It has been a mild winter here in the American northeast, but the promise of warmer weather, longer days, and a gentle breeze are irresistible.

Without further ado, here are the joys of re-awakening.

Kurt Huggins picked Pan, shown at the top, by Walter Everett, “An illustrator I love and who I can barely find any work by. I love his compositions and his simple planar approach to painting.”

Greg Manchess, no stranger to chunky brush strokes himself, picked this Abbott Handerson Thayer. “The man who created camouflage, captured how Spring melded into   similar tones, created the feeling of new birth by using different  values and temperatures of green. The lack of detail is scrumptious.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Richard Anderson, more commonly known for concept art and fantasy book covers, showing he can hold his own among any landscape artist, past or present.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Nathan Fowkes picked the semi-abstract landscape from Randall David Tipton.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

A quiet spring from Jean baptiste Camile Corrot.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Dave Seeley, “Here in Boston, we’re always late to the party, so when I think spring, I think of that kelly green from first buds on still-diaphanous trees and just an early bloom or two. Too many of blooms puts me into summer already.  This sweet Hugh Bolton Jones painting gets it perfectly for me.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

John Jude Palencar introduced my to Giovanni Segantini in the winter post and I am thankful for it. Here are two he picked for spring.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

The great John Singer Sargent with “Carnation, Lilly, Lilly, Rose.” (Trivia: Sargent’s grand nephew, also John Sargent, is the head of Macmillan, and therefore my uber boss.)

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

N. C. Wyeth. Migrating birds. This feels so much like those nights you revel being just a tad cold — finally shedding winter, and hoping to put off summer just a little while longer.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Rick Berry chose this Mary Cassat. And what can be more Spring than new life —  a sweet testament to the present and future.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

John Jude Palencar with this lovely and semi-heartbreaking John Everett Millais, “The Blind Girl.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

And simply “Tulips in Bloom” by Ben Aronson, suggested by Rick Berry.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Zelda Devon found this one by Paul Albert Besnard. I have never heard of him before, but I’d love to live in this painting.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Arnie Fenner and Greg Manchess picked this J. C. Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post cover. I love how pagan it is next to his quiet and proper Easter cover below. (The Easter cover is a recent acquisition of Society of Illustrators and it’s fantastic in person.)

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Charley Parker (of the must-read art blog Lines and Colors) picked out two Daniel Ridgeway Knight paintings. This “Hailing the Ferry” and ‘Spring Blossoms’ further down. Parker says, “Knight was an under-appreciated 19th century American painter who studied and lived much of his life in France. His understated scenes of peasant women in atmospheric landscapes are marvels of muted value contrasts.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Chris Buzelli, suggested these two lonely-yet-sweet paintings from Aron Wiesenfeld.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Marc Burckhardt. Normally you don’t root for the snake above the bunny but...those poor eggs.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Arnie Fenner chose this Thomas Blackshear — pretty with just a touch of fierceness in the eyes.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Michael Kaluta with J. N. Hunt and the very picture of relaxation.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Astronomical artist Ron Miller picked two fantasy pieces from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The first, Stephen Hickman depicting Galadriel and her harp, the second by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt .

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

John Jude Palencar chose two from John Everett Millais.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

It’s true. I stole this Georg Janny painting from Charles Vess’ Facebook page. I never heard of him before, but I’d sure love to see more.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Charley Parker’s second Daniel Ridgway Knight choice, “Spring Blossoms.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Scott Bakal, “I thought for this inclusion, I would pick one my favorite painters to put in, Vincent Van Gogh. This painting, ‘Orchard in Blossom, Painted in Arles’ was painted in March which is perfect for this post and to me this piece looked perfectly like Spring. His choice of colors and subject matter. The light greens and sparely leaved trees just about ready to fully pop into life says Spring to me. I also have some fondness for where this painting was created, Arles France. I was lucky enough to spend nearly a month in this city and got to see all the places that Van Gogh had painted.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Alphonse Mucha is so well known for his amazing line work, many overlook his great painting skills.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

From Zeldon Devon, “Craig Mullins, that guy knows something about how light works. Oh, and (surprise), one of his main influences is Sargent.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Chris Buzelli brought up this background from Fantasia.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Byam Shaw’s “Rising Spring,” via Micahel Kaluta.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Cyril van der Hagen picked Bouguereau’s Nymphs and Satyr. Bouguereau’s skin tones often make him an artists’ favorite.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Greg Manchess, “Unfamiliar as I am with Thomas Millie Dow, I couldn’t resist the overwhelming solitude created by the mass of green, perfect detail, and delicate sun.”

 

Jon Schindehette, “Spring always brings the farm to life, and the idea of fresh spring milk is always something I looked forward to. Always loved the atmosphere and light in this N. C. Wyeth.”

 

Zelda Devon, “Joaquim Sorolla was a master of dappled light, evocative of bright new warm weather.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

....and this watercolor from John Singer Sargent.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Charley Parker, “J. W. Waterhouse was fond of the theme of young women picking wildflowers in the Spring and returned to it often. I love the frequently overlooked backgrounds in paintings like these. His line of trees looks almost like an Art Nouveau pattern. His style is much more painterly than the work of the Pre-Raphaelite painters with whom he was associated.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Todd Lockwood chose the “Promise of Spring” from Alma-Tadema.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Czech painter, Antonin Slavicek and a hypnotic brich forest.

 

Frederick Walker’s Spring.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Kurt Huggins on this lovely Claude Monet. “I’m sure like most people spring makes me think of the return of color, and it’s hard to think of someone more obsessed with color than Claude Monet. I love the glowing pink in this as well as the spots of dappled light...I could probably write something more articulate but honestly, spring is a season that should be seen rather than talked about.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

John Anster Fitzgerald’s the Fledgling.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Michael Kaluta picked Swedish fairy tale artist John Bauer. I dind’t look up the title to this one, namely because I find it to be such a funny and charming iamge on it’s own. I almost don’t want to know the original context is.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Jon Schindehette, on Norman Rockwell’s Springtime.  “You can’t forget the epitome of the Americana spring image. I always wondered what she was whispering to him to illicit such a wistful look.” (Whatever it is, it does not look like a frivolous secret.)

 

Charles Vess is an artist fully atuned to nature and creates trees that often feel sentient.

 

Alphonse Mucha, blossoming, via Arnie Fener.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Spring or Summer? I’m not sure but, any excuse to look at the Maurice Sendak. This one from Dear Mili.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Arnie Fenner, publisher of many volumes on Frank Frazetta picked this expression of pure joy.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

...and spring showers from James Jean.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Even robots can delight in fireflies. Concept artist Fujita Goro has done dozens of super-charming robot speed-paintings. If you ever need to smile, check him out.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Stephan Martiniere’s cover for Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price Quartet. . There are summer, winter, and autumn volumes that are just as great.

 

Dan Dos Santos, “ ‘Totoro’ has a lot of spring themes. This shot in particular makes me think immediately of spring. You can feel the coldness in the air.’’

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Honestly, I can’t tell if this is fall or summer but the idea of climbing trees, tire-swings, and the promise of skinned knees, makes me crave a summer to come. So, ladies and gents, the great Jillian Tamaki.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Teresa N. Fischer has been doing a great series of paintings that bring an inexplicable narrative to old toys. And what can be more spring than a bird song?

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

To bring it back to fantasy, Kekai Kotaki with one of my favorite Tor covers, The Unremembered.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

John Jude Palencar selected this Claude Monet.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Dave Seeley, “Robert McGinnisStrip for Murder, where she and her shirt...are the first bloom.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Andrew Wyeth. I just love the warmth in this. Wyeth is a master at making you fall in love with stark, lonely spaces just like this.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises. Of course.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Vanessa Lemen. I was asked why this reminds me of spring...I find it fleeting and transitional and seems to be on the verge of flight, just like spring.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Robert Hunt picked an Andrew Wyeth, “One of the first books I ever bought was The Art of Andrew Wyeth. I wore that book out, I studied every picture and started to develop almost a psychic attachment to the bleak rural landscapes in his egg tempera paintings. This painting always felt like the turning point of the seasons to me, some warm sunlight leaking into a corner of a stark Pennsylvanian winter.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Greg Manchess picked ‘Arques-la-Bataille” by John Henry Twachtman, “The beauty of this painting lies in it’s subtle understatement. Quiet,  like spring, it feels as if it’s waiting to sprout into full bloom,  but I love the waiting. Those reeds are the best of Japanese print  influence. Gentle and graceful.” (It is hanging at the Met. If you are in New York City, go and see it in person.)

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

From Dan Dos Santos, “Bouguereau’s “Birth of Spring” is one of my favorite paintings of all time.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Cyril van der Hagen picked J. W. Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Canadian artist Tom Thompson, one of my favorite landscape artists. True to nothern climate, it’s a sunny and bright spring but you can feel the bite of the arctic in this painting, “Spring Ice.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Rick Berry, “Berthe Morisot is definitely my first pick. I love her work and have always felt she was overlooked.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Once Chris Buzelli brought up Fantasia, I thought of this sketch from Bambi. If you ever want to see pure drawing chops, look at concept artists.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

Sam Burley, a young New England artist brought up this Hudson River School painting from Thomas Cole, ‘The rain, the mist, the colors, the sunrise, the birth of humanity. It’s not his best piece, but it’s one of my favorites just the same and it evokes spring (albeit a harsh spring) on so many levels.”

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

“Allegory of Spring’’ from Botticelli , via John Jude Palencar.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 

And to send us off, the dissemination of dandelion seeds from Fantasia, via Chris Buzelli. Make a spring wish...and may they all come true.

Picturing Spring: An Equinox Celebration

 


Irene Gallo is the Creative Director of Tor.com and Tor Books and is very much looking forward to summer.

33 comments
Kate Nepveu
2. katenepveu
Wow! My day is now much improved (which it needed). Thank you for all the work that went into sharing this!
James Whitehead
3. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Thanks for the post. Gorgeous pictures. Here is a poem that my mum would recite when spring came when I was a boy:

Daffodowndilly, A. A. Milne

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down. She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour: "Winter is dead."

Kato
Stephen Heigh
4. Stephen Heigh
Beautiful collection of works with a nice mix of classic and contemporary. Love the Disney concept art as well.
Stephen Heigh
5. Darren A. Jones
That was absolutely terrific. Thanks for showing us Spring through so many lenses!
Stephen Heigh
6. robert crawford
Just beautiful! Thanks, Irene. There went my morning.
Stephen Heigh
7. Elizabeth McLaren
I shared this with the artists in my office. Everyone's cheerier for it. Thanks for the compilation. :)
Stephen Heigh
8. mike-ptda
Fantastic, matches the beautiful day we are having here in New England. Thanks Irene

~Mike
Irene Gallo
10. Irene
Thanks, guys. I’m really gald you like it. These posts are fun to do....it’s gratifying to know others enjoy them as well.
Stephen Heigh
12. tom_nackid
Irene, I think you need to write an art book! (or two or three.)
Stephen Heigh
14. R i c k B e r r y
This is such a wonderful and enriching thing you've done. It's such an active demonstration of the power of art to change your world in the simplest and most practical of ways — a kind of practical magic if you will — suddenly and seemingly without effort you walk away from this recharged and ready to do and do. ...It's also not lost on me that you could easily loft these "seasons of art chosen by artists" as an anthology project for print...
Stephen Heigh
15. Die Rote IRis
Wow, that’s a great collection!
I liked especially the migrating birds.

Thanks!
Irene Gallo
16. Irene
Thanks again guys!

Rick -- Eloquent as always. You made my day.
Stephen Heigh
17. dwndrgn
I'm a big fan of this new feature! I enjoyed the Winter post very much and this Spring one made me smile too.

I love art in all its shapes and sizes but I rarely get to see any - visiting museums is something I don't do often enough and I certainly don't own a lot on my own, and while I could search out art on the internet, unless I know what I'm looking for, that could be a frustrating search. This is just a wonderful way to introduce some artists that we may already know or may not have heard of yet.

Thank you!
Stephen Heigh
18. AlBrown
I loved the Winter pictures, and was pleased to see these Spring pictures. Please make this a regular feature on Tor.com. Not only are the paintings gorgeous in their own right, but it is interesting to see what paintings are picked by which SF artists, and what influences them.
I saw that Thomas Cole painting in the Peabody Essex gallery in Salem, MA, last summer, along with the others in the Course of Empire series, and it absolutely blew me away. So glad I decided to turn my back on the witch kitsch that day, and get a little culture!
Stephen Heigh
19. Dave Dubé
I'm here via Charley Parker - whom I follow somewhat blindly. Wonderful series.
Leigh Butler
20. leighdb
Gorgeous, Irene. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Jeff Schweer
21. JeffS.
Disparate styles,
common theme
beautiful...


This is wonderful. I missed the Winter group so now I'm off to dig in the archives. Wait! You linked in the intro. Fabulous.
Off to head back into the Winter Solstice.
L K
22. ayo
What a wonderful post! I somehow missed the winter post, so I'm going to go look at that now. I'd really love to see this continued into the other seasons.
Stephen Heigh
23. Ruth Armitage
Love this post.... thank you for initiating it... so many ideas of spring, always a welcome season.
Irene Gallo
24. Irene
I definetly have summer on my mind....and even looking at a few autmn paintings.
Stephen Heigh
25. emjay
I've never seen Migrating Birds by Wyeth before. Is that oil?
Holly Bird
26. HollyBird
Every bit as wonderful as Winter! Great to see Tom Thompson's Spring Ice in the mix too. Thanks, Irene!
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
27. tnh
One of the things I love about Andrew Wyeth is his feel for late winter/very early spring, when the snow is still melting off and the world isn't quite awake yet:

February 2nd, 1942
Groundhog Day
Spring Fed
Long Limb
Anna's House
Stephen Heigh
28. eilidhdawn
wow

thank you great work
Stephen Heigh
30. jsmetzger
The Bambi concept art is by Tyrus Wong.

http://www.waltdisney.com/content/tyrus-wong-and-art-bambi
Stephen Heigh
32. JohnnyMac
I look forward to these posts of yours, Ms. Gallo. They are truly feasts for the eye. I would like to second the motion by tom_nackid @12 that you should be putting these collections into book form. I would pay good money for a well printed set of books. Or look into the possibility of putting them into ebook format.

By the way, I think that second Tolkien piece, the one by the Hildebrandts, is of Old Man Willow by the River Withywindle in the Old Forest.
Pamela Adams
33. Pam Adams
Lovely, lovely. Now. which one to pick for my desktop......
Alan Brown
34. AlanBrown
It would be nice to see newer pieces among the ones you presented last year. Kind of like the way George Lucas kept adding and changing things each time he re-released the Star Wars movies. (Oh, on second thought, maybe that isn't the greatest analogy...) ;-)
Stephen Heigh
35. filkferengi
Thanks for putting these together; you rock!

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