John Ciardi once said, “Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves they have a better idea.” Since we've been rambling for the last few weeks about modern art trends, I thinks it makes sense to heed Ciardi's advice and spend a moment visiting the paintings of Erich Sokol, the gifted illustrator / cartoonist for Playboy magazine.
Sokol had a splendid sense of light, color and atmosphere. He was far more talented than traditional pin up artists such as Vargas, whose uninspired paintings now sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Note the confidence with which Sokol handles the stripes of light on the beach in the following painting, or his treatment of the foliage in the background. Nothing is labored, and no unnecessary details.
Although the beautiful girl was always the centerpiece of the cartoon, if you look closely you will see that Sokol had more fun painting the male counterpart-- the fat doctor, the grizzled farmer, the blustering general all left him more room for creativity.