Wed
Jun 20 2012 10:00am

Picturing Summer, a Solstice Celebration

It’s the longest day of the year and I, for one, love all the hours of warm daylight. Following up on Picturing Winter and Picturing Spring, I asked a bunch of artist friends to send me the paintings they thought best represented the season. It’s a great collection of images full of the contradictions of summer — active and lazy, sticky and pleasant, hellish and full of vacation and family memories.

Starting up top with Gerard Dubois’ stubborn lifeguard.

Goni Montes chose Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June. “I grew up next to The Ponce Museum of Art and this painting is what I could categorize as my first close encounter with art. At the time, and probably to this day, the museum is stuffed with Pre-Raphaelite work, and this one specifically jumped out due to its colors. I remain fascinated.”

 

 Joaquín Sorolla, who came to my attention via Teetering Bulb.

 

William Merritt Chase, from Dave Seeley, “Classic summer daze... New England sea shore. I can feel the breeze in my hair, and sun on my face. When I first saw these paintings, they took me back to my own childhood, head on the sandy dune... slightly itchy grasses against my skin. Now, as father, I’m thinkin’... Lyme disease! and ‘Keep off the dunes!’ Ahhh, nostalgia.”

 

A summer nap. Truly, is there anything better?

 

Zelda Devon chose this John Singer Sargent.

 

Greg Manchess picked out this stunning Winslow Homer, “Summer Evening is classic warm evening faire, and the sweet dance of the carefree...not to mention it’s killer moonlight reflections.”

 

One of many great beach landscapes from Lyonel Feininger.

 

Science fiction is so often dark and gritty, I love that Moebius let the future be such a clean, bright, and beautifully designed place.

 

Carl Wiens, “I think about night paintings when I think of summer. It’s the time to get out and enjoy the moonlight, to escape the heat of the day. I like Hiroshige’s woodcut of A Man Horseback Crossing on a Bridge.”

 

Carl Wiens also picked Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, “You can sense the warmth of the day radiating up into the cool night sky. You could build a whole library of Van Gogh’s summer paintings from southern France. The fields, the sunflowers. Another great summer painting is Terasse Cafe.”

 

Donato chose Joan of Arc, a subject he has recently tackled himself. This one by Jules Bastien-Lepage — a highlight at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Chris Buzelli selected this surreal landscape by Ben Blatt.

 

Continuing our night theme, Allen Williams chose this one from Zdzislaw Beksinski.

 

Bill Carman on Wayne Thiebaud, “Almost anything he does can say summer to me. I grew up in California and his work just hits home.”

 

Sam Wolfe Connelly picked out what is many fantasy artists’ favorite, The Lady of Shallot by J. W. Waterhouse. “No words...just one of my all time favorite paintings”

 

Greg Manchess says, “To me, Clyde Aspevig captures that endless grassy plain, baked under the heat of a South Dakota sun.”

 

Kekai Kotaki picked George W. Lambert’s Across The Black Soil Plains. I’d love to see this in person.

 

Bill Carman points us to what must be the best summer reading group, from Shaun Tan.

 

Gary Rudell spent the first half of his career painting SFF book covers. He has since turned his attention to gallery painting, to stunning results. He’s done many paintings of families in and around water....each feels like a faint memory.

 

I saw an exhibit of Lyonel Feininger last summer. If you get a chance to see these originals, take it! The vibrancy of the color and geometric abstraction makes for mesmerizing landscapes. Each one a window to someplace you really want to be.

 

Jeff Jones’ starman on what looks like a starry summer night, Earth or otherwise.

 

Greg Manchess, “Elena Zolotnitsky infuses summer into these roses with edited shapes and subtle colors without grass or beaches or clouds.”

 

Summer driving on a lonely road, vertical heat radiates from a hot two-lane blacktop, perfectly displayed here by Nathan Fowkes.

 

John Jude Palencar picked this provocatively titled Distant Thunder and the one below by Andrew Wyeth. (Palencar, who loves Wyeth just as much as I do.)

 

 

Edward Hopper, the master at portraying loneliness and isolation, here showing us a hot day in the city. 

 

Gary Kelley and one of his many great city scenes.

 

Scott Brundage, “Perhaps an obvious pick for summer, but seeing Leyendecker paint toes is a treat.”

 

Moebius, gliding on a summer breeze.

 

Some summer heat by Greg Manchess.

 

Both Zelda Devon and Lars Grant-West picked Mending the Sails by Joaquín Sorolla. It’s now becoming one of my favorites as well.

 

I stumbled into Alexander Kanevsky while losing my way to another exhibit. I was so glad I did. Here’s the quintessential summer activity of drying laundry on the line.

 

 Ivan Shishkin, picked by Justin Gerdard.

 

This is a stunning and simple N. C Wyeth, chosen by John Jude Palencar...

 

...and because there really is no such thing as too much Wyeth. Also chosen by Charlie Parker.

 

Carl Wiens, “Grant Wood’s Young Corn brings long driving trips through the rolling countryside to mind.” 

 

Tristan Elwell reminds us that “it’s hot up here”  with one of  Georges Seurat’s most famous works, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

 

More N. C. Wyeth.

 

John Jude Palencar picked out these two by Thoams Eakins.

 

 

....George Bellows’ take on the subject: “Forty-two kids, scrambling about a dock, skinny dipping and causing mayhem,” Carl Wiens...also picked by Greg Manchess.

 

Kinda like a dragonfly chase, only bigger. By Heather Theurer.

 

Of course we were excited to include Michael Whelan’s Summer Queen, the companion to his Winter Queen painting. Both for Joan Vinge book covers.

 

Justin Gerard chose one of Scott Gustafson’s many wonderful fairy tale paintings, “His work has this wonderful sense of perpetual summer to it.”

 

Teresa N. Fischer selected this lovely portrait by Joseph Todorovitch. “ I love his work, but this portrait in particular is breathtaking to me. Feels like that moment in the warm sunshine, when you close your eyes, feel the warmth, and breath the fresh Summer air. Breathtaking indeed.”

 

Kinuko Craft’s book cover, Grail of Summer Stars, for an upcoming Freda Warrington novel.


Scott Brundage chose this one from Kadir Nelson, “Even with a crapload of unbelievably vibrant blue, I still feel like I should be sweating with this piece.”

 

Arnie Fenner, “Phil Hale’s Johnny Badhair is almost always bashing robots shirtless and in shorts, so how could it not be a summer ritual?”

 

Brad Holland with some sea action, freaky googles, and a great splash of orange.

 

Donato Giancola lets us stumble onto a little dragon fight in a sunny glade, like you do.

 

It‘s not often that you get to see spaceships in season but here’s a great summer evening by John Berkey.

 

Another by Alexander Kanvesky.

 

Tristan Elwell says, “If you want hot and humid rather than hot and dry, here’s some Brachiosaurs cooling off in a lake by Zdenek Burian. Scientifically inaccurate by today’s standards, but wonderful nonetheless.”

 

A true classic of American illustration, Howard Pyle’s Marooned.

 

David Grove’s Lincoln Park.

 

Bernie Fuchs

 

Scott Brundage picked this Inka Essenhigh painting.

 

Arnie Fenner, “I have no idea whether H. Beam Piper was writing allegories with his Little Fuzzy stories, but do know that Michael Whelan’s cover for Golden Dream is expansive and buoyant-and the sun peeking between the mountains reminds me of the annual summer photo-op at 2nd & 5th in NYC as the sun sets between the skyscrapers.”

 

Scott Brundage, a watercolorist himself, picked Josè Segrelles, “I’ve seen only a handful of his work, but it’s amazing. And somehow he does it in watercolor.”

 

Scott Brundage, “Brom’s Dark Sun art. He created a convincingly uncomfortable, dry, sun bleached world. His characters seemed to be the only creatures that could possibly exist there, toughened and weathered like Floridians on steroids.”

 

Jon Foster picked The New Novel by Winslow Homer. It got a strong second by Doug Alexander Gregory. (Doing these posts is making Homer one of my all time favorites.)

 

Charley Parker, from the indispensible art blog, Lines and Colors, picked this Mucha. “Alfons Mucha created at least three different series of posters depicting the seasons as embodied by his graceful Art Nouveau women. They remain among his most popular works. Here are his figures for Summer from 1896 and 1900.” These were also a favorite of Tristan Elwell’s.

 

Arnie Fenner brought up the “joyful innocence (provided no one gets stepped on!) of James Gurney’s dinos & kids ocean-side romp.”

 

Bill Carman chose this Robert Cunningham painting, “When I first saw Cunningham’s work it screamed warm, clean summer.”

 

Erwin Madrid with some cool light on the laundry.

 

Christopher Silas Neal picked out Bigger Splash and others from David Hockney, “I love how they capture time and movement while at the same time have an exhaustive sense of stillness. I hope that makes sense and that I’m using the word ’exhaustive’ correctly. More simply put, they embody both movement and stillness simultaneously.”

 

Steven H. Stroud, a contempoarry landscape artist. 

 

Bill Carman, “Richard Diebenkorn’s earlier paintings also capture that Cal summer thing for me.”

 

“Summer = hot, and John Schoenherr’s Dune paintings are some of the hottest ever painted,” Tristan Elwell.

 

I can always count on Bruce Jensen to take us a bit further away. He picked The Surface of Mercury by Chesley Bonestell.

 

Okay, it’s true that I took a break for thirty seconds to check Facebook, but I just ran into this beauty from Sergio Lopez.

 

Arnie Fenner, of Spectrum picked these two beach scenes. The ominous noir-pastiche from Greg Manchess for Hard Case Crime....

 

...and the full-on playful pin-up by Gil Elvgren.

 

Bill Carman said of this Wayne Thiebaud, “I could not only eat the cake, but even more so the paint.”

 

And I’ll leave you with a quiet sun drenched moment from Gwen John.

17 comments
Kate Nepveu
1. katenepveu
Oh, wow, so much good stuff! Just to pick two--

I love the delicate greens in the Alexander Kanevsky drying laundry painting; obviously I don't know what the texture is actually like but it reminds me of thin thin layers carefully built up.

And the light through the trees in the Bernie Fuchs fishing from the banks picture!
Patricia S Bowne
2. Patricia S Bowne
Thanks for running this series. Now I have a bunch more artists I have to look up!
Patricia S Bowne
3. Michael Wm KAluta
Ah! Though I'm a confirmed Autumn Person, this panoply of art is going to help me slide through these next three days of predicted 95+ degree weather... we'll have fireflies!!! Happy Summer!
Holly Bird
4. HollyBird
Ooh! I was waiting for your latest Celebration installment today! Thank you so much. Great paintings — both wonderfully familiar and new (to me)!
T S Davis
5. tee+D
Love, love, love this art series - feel like I have just been rolled in beauty and remain slightly bemused and awed. Gorgeous plays of light, color, and water.
Patricia S Bowne
6. seth e.
What a lot of great art.

I love the Bernie Fuchs, the Robert Cunningham, and the Kadir Nelson. It's interesting how many of these aren't particularly saturated in color, which is something I associate with summer and unbearable heat. And it's interesting also how few of them show people working in the summer.

I also always love Winslow Homer, but it's strange to hear any of his paintings described as carefree. Even his earlyish, post-Civil War paintings, when he was trying to be carefree, seem sad to me.

Homer had a strategy at that period of obscuring his subjects' faces, in order to make them more generic and, theoretically, more open for the viewer to imagine themselves in that position. (Traditional Japanese illustration does something similar, but I don't know if Homer was aware of it was a bit early for Homer to be aware of that.) But because he was painting realistically, the only way he could do that was to paint everyone with their faces in shadow, or turned away. The effect is that even the sunlit paintings are very melancholy.
Patricia S Bowne
7. mike-ptda
Thanks Irene. Fantastic, wonderful painitngs that bring back memories of so many summers past and hopefully fulfilling dreams of many summers to come.

Cheers,

Mike
Patricia S Bowne
8. mike-ptda
Thanks Irene. Fantastic, wonderful painitngs that bring back memories of so many summers past and hopefully fulfilling dreams of many summers to come.

Cheers,

Mike
Patricia S Bowne
9. Mary Louise
I am absolutely in love with your seasonal galleries! If I could add one, it would be perhaps obvious: Waterhouse's "My Sweet Rose." Yummy.
Patricia S Bowne
10. AlBrown
I love it when you do these seasonal collections, Irene. Not only is it great art, but it is fun to see which paintings my favorite illustrators pick as their own favorites. It gives me some great stuff to use as background on my computer desktop.
There are so many good ones here that if I started listing what I liked, I would mention almost all of them. I think my favorite of them is the Wyeth painting of the egrets (that man sure loves his birds).
I will mention two favorites of mine that I think would have fit into this fine company.
In your past collections, you have often had Thomas Cole paintings, but you missed an appropriate one this time. The Consummation of Empire, from his Course of Empire series, always makes me think of summer, filled with sun-drenched optimism, and crowds of joyful people in the streets of a civilization in its happiest days.
And I was surprised that, among the Homer paintings you showed, no one nominated one of his watercolors (Fishing Boats, Key West being one of my favorites). I will never forget when I first saw his watercolor work, bright, bold, impressionistic and bursting with color. I thought it was a different artist than the one whose oil paintings include so many dark and brooding depictions of unhappy sailors in their oilskins.
Leilani Cantu
11. spanishviolet
Loved looking through this post ... If this were a museum exhibit, I could spend all day there.
kathlyn smith
12. castiel
thank you SO much for those gorgeous warm paintings. cheered me up no end (through the floods and torrential rain here in England!!)
lauren snyder
13. apo.pigeon
oh, i adore mucha. and i love dinotopia!

great list. thanks for sharing.
Patricia S Bowne
14. filkferengi
What an incredible variety! Thank you for putting it together & sharing it!
Patricia S Bowne
15. Clamarnicale


Another Homer painting. Certainly captures summer to me.
Pamela Adams
16. Pam Adams
Now for the challenge- which one to set as wallpaper.......

Love the collection!
Edward German
17. Captain48
Some great art work here. I like one from John Brekley and Cheste Busnstel.

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