Impressionism is not dead, nor is it’s modern application a sentimental reflection of 19th century fine art. I am a modern Impressionist painter and fine artist. This is a simple statement of who I am. As a modern Impressionist painter, I ‘see’ the environment differently, expressing my interpretation of the land and sea using Impressionist techniques and theories. As a fine artist I create paintings that are ‘historically reflexive’, and according to Beardsley “capable of affording an aesthetic experience valuable for [their] marked aesthetic character” (Davies, 2002. pp. 171-173). This may appear to be an outdated way of thinking confining me to a narrow perspective of who I am and what I do, but it is my opinion that an artist must develop a clear understanding of themselves and their work, to place them in context with (or against) the broader ‘Artworld’. This is in contradiction to Lieu, who states that the distinction between fine art and other definitions is artificial and that most art can be placed into any category (fine, visual, illustration) (Lieu, 2013. p. 5). Davies also argues that with the introduction of ready-mades by Duchamp in the early 20thcentury, the definition of art has only become more difficult. Their opinions, however, do not mean that I have to agree with them. As an informed and experienced artist, it is more important, in my view, to clearly establish my identity and purpose, whilst remaining mindful of the movement and artists that have inspired me.
Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category
Why Reading the Labels on your Tubes of Oils is Important
You may have noticed that oils come in averiety of ‘series’. The number of the series reflects the quality and intensity of the pigment, and the amount of them used in each colour. A good quality oil paint will have a nice buttery thickness as it comes out of the tube, and only a small amount will reveal a strong intense colour when mixed with white.
The Third Workshop Semester 2 with David Chen
The topic for this workshop was controlling tone. In a tonal painting you decide if you want to complete a dark, medium or light toned painting, you also decide on the temperature of your colours, which can be either overall warm or cool. The overall colour of the painting is decided as well.
So what you may decide on, depending on your preferences and taste as a painter could be an overall tonal painting that is in the cool reds and a middle to dark tone, to create some richness and drama.
Scumbling is a method used when painting that I have recently taken up as part of my repertoire for gaining depth and unity within a painting.
It could be compared to glazing, as the use of transparent and semi-transparent paints is involved. The difference however, lies in laying down a darker background, then adding a transparent white, waiting for it to dry, and then ‘scumbling over darker transparent colours to either unite the painting with a similar tone or temperature, or to create a specific colour impression.
One of my best examples of scumbling was used in a very large work over 4 canvasses. I wanted to give the painting depth and pull it together with the use of scumbling with lighter and darker alternate cool and warm tones. This also gave the impression of the metal objects in the painting, which I was very pleased about.
I use a mix of Liquin and Linseed oil to get a little more drying time, but if you want one layer to dry very quickly, use the Liquin on its own. Liquin dries fast, sometimes in a matter of hours, so you need to be sure about what you are doing.
If you want to watch a short video about this method of painting look at:
Odds & Sods. 2015. Oil on 4 90x90cm canvasses. © Janice Mills.
The First of Five Workshops with David Chen
Last semester ended with us understanding more about skin tones and how to use edges, tone and colour to place the model into a scene.
This semester we began by going over David’s philosophy for the workshops and his experience as first, an art student learning Academic Art Training at university (something that is not widely covered in Australia) and later as a practising artist and art teacher.
The technical issues that David has overcome during his 40 years as an artist and teacher are invaluable for students to learn as we take on the difficult subject of the human body.
The Final of Five Workshops with David Chen
During this workshop, we learnt about another method of working the model into their surroundings. Rather than having your subject, be it a human figure or even a still life or an animal, looking like they are part of their surrounds, and keeping the painting interesting takes planning and often altering what you see to what you want. During this workshop, we could either take from the objects surrounding the model and apply our imagination to make them work, or use vignetting (leaving areas of the canvas white) to merge parts of the model into the background and surrounds.
Adding depth and texture to your paintings
If you like the texture of paintings that shows mounds and gullies of paint rather than the flatter surfaces typical of traditional tonal paintings, you may want to consider using modelling paste with your acrylics.
A similar product is available for oils, and is as easy to use. It is typically called impasto. Both of these products added to the paint will add a large amount of volume without taking away from the intensity of the colour. If it does change to another brand. Good quality ones which I have used are Winsor & Newton and Atelier.
The Fourth of Five Workshops with David Chen
This workshop followed on fromthe previous subject about “loosening up” your painting style. One thing that I have noticed over recent years is how edges can make or break a painting. The softer and “looser” result that you may be looking for has to do with how you approach painting edges, particualrly those on you main subject in relation to the surrounding composition.
There are a few different methods to help with creating interesting edges that also bind your subject to their surroundings, rather than having them look like cardboard cutouts.
The Third of Five Workshops with David Chen
When I began training with David Chen, my goal was to not only learn the principles of Modern Impressionist painting, but also to ‘loosen up’ my style a bit from what i saw as sometimes ‘stiff’ and contrived results. Sometimes the details become so important that I forgot to place the subject within and connected to the foreground and background in which it was situated.
Context is just as important as your focus and main subject, and when the subject began to look disjointed, unrelated or worse, like it has been stuck or pasted on top of an unrelated scene, is when I start wondering how this could have been avoided. My thought was that if I could put more planning and less effort into my paintings, that would be a start, but what kind of thought and what kind of effort?
How Important Are They? Why do they deserve your suppport?
There may be a lot of people who wonder why we have public and regional galleries. Surely they are just for people who love art or who are in the arts professions? What is not always explained about visual art in particular, is that even if you are not an artist or even in an accepted creative profession, or learning one, the methods of creative thinking and problem solving that artists do, is also useful in science, engineering and other professions.