Monday, May 16, 2011

W. J. Aylward, Old salt from Wisconsin....























It seemed like a fair moment to share with you some of the work of one of my favorite marine painters, and by the end of the post, it'll be clear as to why.

In previous VIEW postings, we've already looked at Gordon Grant, and Anton Otto Fischer, both excellent marine painters. There was plenty of work depicting shipping during the Golden Age, it is a subject that has it's own tricks, and for those that "knew the ropes," there was plenty of work to be had. The next in the seafarer's group is W. J. Aylward. (1875-1956). Aylward was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The son of a ship-builder and lake captain, (for those who didn't do well in geography, Milwaukee sits on the southwest edge of Lake Michigan, and is actually a port city in middle America...) Aylward's fondness for marine subjects stayed with him his entire career.

Aylward was a Brandywine Alumni, and was fortunate enough to receive one of Howard Pyle's career-making "field trips". Pyle had helped arrange for Frank Schoonover to get to the Canadian wild, and for N. C. Wyeth to travel out West. He helped Aylward get assigned (through President Roosevelt, no less) to write about and illustrate an incredible sea journey, with the floating dry-dock "Dewey". The culmination of this project came to be printed in the May 1907 issue of Scribner's Magazine, with 20 pieces of work, four of them full page.

Aylward did lots of magazine work, for the likes of Youth's Companion, Scribner's, and Harper's Magazines, among others. Books too, where the story was right—In the early part of his career, 1904— he caught a big break in getting an assignment to do Jack London's Sea Wolf. 20 years later was the other end of that run, with the 1925 edition of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
In 1950, while still teaching, he published a small book through Pitman Publishing—Ships and How to Draw Them, though somewhat light in the way of instruction, it has some nice grayscale work, and if you're interested in the material, could be worth tracking down. (see the "Looking Forward" illustration, above)

There's a nice start at looking up Aywlard on Paul Giambarba's great site, 100 Years of Illustration and Design

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In Dover News- Friday I got my hands on an advance copy of A Dulac Treasury. It'll be trickling out soon, and I'll let you know as soon as it is attainable. Shakespeare Illustrated is currently at press, and Great Illustrations by N. C. Wyeth, whew, that's almost wrapped up. Next post, I should finally be able to give you some news about the new season of Calla Editions.

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And in a week of nautical art— it's worth a mention that my own sea-faring work is currently being shown at Krab Jab Studios, in Seattle, if you're out in that direction.

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