Three Bears


9 X 12
17 X 20 Framed

In stock

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b.1822 - 1888

Born in 1821 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Felix Darley “can well be considered America’s first important illustrator.” (Reed 17) He was self taught and highly prolific during a long career that included being a newspaper staff artist, illustrator for book publishers and for famous authors including Washington Irving, Henry Longfellow and James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens.

With illustrations for these writers, Felix Darley popularized such American icons as the Pilgrim, the Pioneer, the Minuteman and the Yankee Peddler. Western art collectors covet his illustrations depicting the settling of the West, the early life on the plains, the Indians, the white settlers, trappers, and hunters. He was especially adept at portraying the dramatic action of the Indian buffalo hunt.

Darley’s fame was so great while he was alive that many books were advertised as “illustrated by Darley”. His talent was that of bringing life to the scene, whether his medium was pencil, ink wash, or oil; he brought the reader into the story. He was also part of the first generation of American illustrators that successfully challenged the dominance of English and European mid-19th Century illustration.

Darley’s first independent projects, published in 1843, were a series of outline drawings depicting the “noble savage” in “Sketches in Indian Life”, and pen drawings of Philadelphia street life for a publication, “In Town and About”.

His fame was a reflection of the company he kept, and notable people chose him to illustrate their books and magazines. A high point of Darley’s career was his illustration project for the complete works of James Fenimore Cooper, involving designs for 64 steel engravings and 120 wood engravings. This led to the publication of ‘The Cooper Vignettes’, which showcased Cooper’s works.

Felix Darley resided in Philadelphia, his birth place, until 1849 when he had gained a strong recognition. He had used his spare time to create woodcuts for magazines, and took money he saved to finance a sketching trip, which convinced him of his artistic talents.

He moved to New York City, thinking that if he became more well known he would be closer to the publishers. There he created designs for bank notes and exhibited at the National Academy of Design. His designs were reproduced with all the leading graphic techniques—lithography, wood engraving and steel engraving. His style was very linear and did not have a lot of shading. He “drew in a free, spontaneous manner and a romantic spirit, invariably capturing the essential point or flavor of the scene to be portrayed.” (Baigell 85). Normally he worked with pen alone but also did flowing sepia with pencil outlines.

He later moved to Claymont, Delaware, after marrying Jane Colburn in 1859, to reside at his studio/estate, “The Wrens Nest”. It is believed his move to Claymont was to seek a simpler life that would include cows, horses, rivers and streams simply a slower pace. He lived there until 1888, when he died, pencil in hand.

Howard Pyle, a well-known Delaware artist and instructor to N.C. Wyeth, was seven years old when Darley moved to Delaware. Some historians think that Darley influenced the young Pyle, although he evolved into a different style of illustration.

Felix Darley Printmaking, Etching 9 X 12 (Interest categories: Etching, Hunting, Historic, Printmaking, Works On Paper, Fine Art, Art Gallery, Felix Darley Artist)

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Monday – Saturday 9:30AM-5:30PM
Sunday: 9:30 AM-5:00PM

Workshop Materials List

1. Clay – Chavant Le Beau Touche. Get the regular clay, not HM (high melt).
2. Clay warming devices, a metal bucket with a clamp on heat lamp or 100 W bulb works great.
3. Tie wire.
4. Aluminum foil.
5. Scissors.
6. Favorite sculpture tools.
7. Plank of wood (pine) approximately 8″ x 8″ x 2″.
Bring as many planks as you wish…the wood is used as the base for your sculpture.
8. Plumber’s pipe, 1/2″ threaded: Bring several different lengths…up to 10″…not PVC pipe.
Plumber’s pipe T joint.
Plumber’s pipe couplers.
Plumber’s pipe flange.
9. Screws and screwdriver to secure the flange to wood…this may be done before you arrive. (Place flange in the center of plank)
10. Wire cutters
11. Needle nose pliers
12. Rubber mallet.
13. Spatula
14. Measuring devices such as rulers, measuring tape, dividers, and calipers.
15. Because we concentrate on BIRDS IN FLIGHT, live models in the classroom are more distracting than useful. I will demonstrate the technique of constructing a cantilevered bird armature that can be used for many different bird species and will show you how to assemble shapes to capture the “gist” of the specific bird.
16. Bird field guides such as Peterson, Stokes, Golden, or Sibley. Sibley’s Guide to Birds (not Sibley’s Guide to Bird Life and Behavior) is best if bringing only one field guide. This popular book can usually be purchased at any bookstore.
17. Bring your laptop to the class if possible.
18. Bring your sketchbook.

1 Lake Circle Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906