Australian Fine Artist

Archive for the ‘Research and Analysis’ Category

When White Isn’t Just White

Titanium White vs Zinc White in Winsor & Newton Oils

You may have grown up like me, thinking that there is just white. What could possibly be the difference between whites in paints, surely they are all the same, but possibly with different pigments or mediums to blend them with.
In this quick blog, I will discuss the differences between the two most commonly used white in oil paints and how you can gain best use from each one.

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A Brief Comparison of Texts Regarding Artist Jane Sutherland

A Commentary Comparing Views and Comments
(Written without Prejudice)

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke

“How can you tell the story of a culture when you don’t include all the voices within the culture?”

Khalo (Gorilla Girls)

While it could be said that since the beginnings of the Australian Feminist movement women have made inroads into professional acceptance, this may not be the case for generations of women artists. Depending on the sources that the general public may read, a vastly different view of a particular artist may be perceived, and resulting impressions swayed by the research position, personal biases, or emotive rhetoric by the writer. Although I believe it isn’t possible to completely omit a personal interpretive lens, as far as possible, I will endeavor to critically analyse the comments and conclusions made about artist Jane Sutherland in the texts reviewed in this commentary.

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Understanding Black

Blacks in Oil Paints

When I first began painting I was told to avoid using black. It was a colour (or tone) that was to be avoided in preference for colours. It was never really explained to me, I just accepted that it was the case.

Without really examining paintings from the past, and how blacks have been used by master artists like Rembrandt, it could be easy t take the word for a well-meaning teacher or colleague about the use of black, but it is there in the paints, for a reason.

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Painting Workshops – Ethics and Copyright

Many of us who are training to be professional artists, or are keen amateurs attend regular workshops with professional art teachers.

Learning from established artists is a long tradition going back to prior to the Renaissance. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was common for artists to take on apprentices who over years learnt about the materials as well as methods and techniques to painting and drawing. Later in their training, they were allowed to participate in completed works with their ‘master’. Leonardo da Vinci is a prime example, whose marks are clearly seen in a couple of paintings done by his tutor.

The difference between then and now, is that copyright and intellectual property are more strictly enforced now than they were then, and because of social media and the growth of on-line sales what is done at a workshop, and touched by your tutor may not be yours to sell without their permission, or to say is your own creation.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The Second of Five Workshops with David Chen

Have you ever noticed when you paint a subject, that it looks like a stencil sitting on top of the surrounds? Painting along the edges when we paint can result in the subject, in this case, the figure, looking like it is popped on top of the background with no relationship to it.

There is a place for edges, or clear defining changes of colour and tone in a painting, but suing them all through the work can result in somethign that looks ‘stiff’ and lacking in life or movement.

How to avoid this when painting, so that the model is placed within the context of the background and a narrative is created is something that we see in the examples of artists that we admire in galleries, and somethng that we can achieve if we work at it.

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Acrylics and Colour Change on Drying

I have been using acrylic paints for several years now and something that I have known about them but have not investigated is why some acrylics tend to change colour when they dry.

You may have had this experience before. You mix a nice bold colour and apply it to your painting, then when it is dry, the colour has lightened or changed in some way, becoming less vibrant for example.

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Views of the Universe from Van Gogh to the Hubble Telescope: A Comparative Study of Sublime Beauty

Essay for Bachelor of Fine Art and Visual Culture Curtin University 2017

The sublime fascination with the night sky began very early in human history, evidenced by early records of the movement of the stars, moon and sun in stone monuments. The dwelling place of the gods in ceilings of the tombs in Egypt later became the firmament of heaven for Christianity, and with the advent of the telescope, the night sky increasingly became a place of investigation into our place in the universe. During the 19th century, the paintings of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) revealed his fascination with the night sky inspired by literature, religious beliefs, and prominent artists like Rembrandt (1606-1669) and Whistler (1834-1903). An examination of van Gogh’s three most prominent night scenes contrasted with contemporary 19th-century paintings, historic and contemporary sources, and current views of deep space will argue that the Sublime beauty of the universe is clearly evident in his paintings and that they are forerunners to the images viewed by the Hubble telescope. It will provide evidence of how visions of the night sky have expanded from ideas based on myth or religion to a broader interpretation of the Sublime, and comprehension of a universe in which the earth is but a tiny spec.

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Advanced Seascape Painting

Final in the Series of Five Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Loosening up Versus Painting Against the Contour

If you are like me, and admire the work of the Impressionist painters, you may look atyour work and think that it looks too ‘tight’ and wish you could ‘loosen up’ your method of painting.

Like me, you may also be confused as to how you go about doing this. This is where the concept of loosening up is usually confused with the method of painting against contours.

In this final workshop for the semester, this very portant method, that will help your paintings to gain some of that more immediacy and freshness, so often seen in the finest impressionist artworks, can begin to be understood and applied.
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Advanced Seascape Painting

Fourth in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Relating Objects in the Background to Those in the Rest of Your Composition

Most of us are aware of the concept of the foreground, middle and background divisions in compositions. These planes help the artists to create depth in a scene so that the viewer gets the impression of looking into a painting, not just at a two dimensional flat surface.

When creating these planes, however, we need to think about the relationships between items and objects in each of these areas. without a flow, or reltaitonship in a painting, we end up with a load of disjointed and unrelated objects that have no ‘conversations’ going on between them.
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Portrait Painting for Artists

Workshop Number Four of Five 2016

Tutor: David Chen

In this session we discussed the difference between painting portraits using high key colours in contrast to low key, and where these methods have been and are used. Since the Impressionists began using colour so much more dramtically, and the invention of many new colours during the 19th and 20th centuries, high key, or colourist paintings have become the trend for painters. This is in contrast to the low key, and dramatic portraits of artists like Rembrandt, who used a limited palette, a strong single light source from a window for example, and dark simplified backgrounds.

Modern painters often use the wet in wet technique to complete portraits in a single sitting, and the strong use of light and shadow is dismissed for use of colour. This can sometimes mean that the dramatic shadows in paintings of the past is missing, resulting isn a ‘washed out’ look.

Building up a painting by creating a tonal underpainting in a single colour (like a burnt sienna) means more time to create and complete a work, as the undertpainting needs to be allowed to dry bofore the colour layer is added. A telented colleague of mine Cathy van Ee uses this technique very successfully.

To see some of Cathy;s work go to her site at: http://www.vaneegallery.net.

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