Sunday, April 29, 2012

Get Your Paint On: Week 2

It is week 2 of Get Your Paint On with Lisa Congdon and Mati McDonough. Our assignment this week was to find a painting by another artist and take an aspect of that painting (imagery, color, or technique) and apply it to my own painting. I took a combination of Derain, Monet, and Turner as inspiration. You can see their paintings below. I tried to apply some of their techniques, and a somewhat muted version of Derain's color palette, to a local view in spring. This is a north-facing view so the sun would never be there, but I felt like the painting needed a focal point and a contrasting color. For me, this assignment was harder than the geometry of last week. And it was hard for reasons I didn't expect.

I realized (shame on me!) that I don't usually look at art that closely. Sometimes, if I'm curious as to how something was created, I'll take a closer look, but usually, I make a judgement based on whether I like the picture or not. This week, I spent some time looking more closely at the art history books I have and deciding what I liked and didn't like and why. 

Andre Derain, "Effects of Sunlight on Water," 1905
It's not perfection that attracts me to a painting. This surprised me a little bit because I always want to try to make art that is true to life and get frustrated that my drawing skills aren't good enough to do that as well as I'd like. It turns out though, that I prefer art that isn't so exacting and photo-perfect. I like the hazy impressionism of Monet, the fog of JMW Turner, the surreal architecture of de Chirico, the simplicity and color of Rothko. Landscape, architecture, color, and geometry are what attracts me, not perfection.

Claude Monet, "Impression Sunrise," 1872
Layering is what makes a painting great. With the little painting I've done, I've always tried to keep the colors from touching, afraid of what might happen if they blend or if I overpaint an existing color. Funny, because probably the best drawing I've ever done was with colored pencil, blended, mixed, and colored over bunches of times until the color, shading, and shape were just right. I think the wetness of the paint intimidated me from using the same process. 

JMW Turner, "Rain, Steam and Speed -
The Great Western Railway," 1844
Patience makes a painting. With dry colored pencils, you can keep drawing until it's just right. No waiting. Painting is all about the waiting. Which is good because it slows you down and gives you an opportunity to think about your next step. But it's hard if you're impatient like I am and want to see the final result NOW!

Still reminding myself that this is for me and that it's just important that I get out there and practice, practice, practice. My paintings will get better with time!

1 comment:

  1. I like the first 3 paintings but that last one???
    It's a good thing it's got a title because I never would have figured it out (wouldn't even consider giving it house room even if it is supposed to be an old-time train!)