Sunday, 31 July 2011

Section 9: Expressionism

Expressionism first emerged in the early twentieth century. It is an artistic style in which the artist attempts to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouses from a persona perspective. It is depicting moods and ideas. This can be  accomplished through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of formal elements.

The result can be as abstract and vivid as Franz Marc’s ‘Fighting Forms’.

And as intensely intimate as Egon Schiele’s ‘Friendship’

‘The fighting forms’ expresses such energy and turmoil.  He achieves this by using various techniques; Colour: complimentary colours enhance each others vibrancy, nearly every inch is covered in strong hues.
Composition: the composition does not allow the eye to rest; spirals and jagged lines push us this way and that, the two halves literally fight for attention.
Application: I have not seen the painting in real life, but the strokes appear to be large, dynamic and swift, only allowing rough blending here and there.

‘Friendship’ on the other hand, appears understated by the lack of colours. They emphasize a quiet moment, but the colour red brings attention to sensitive areas all over the body. The way he draws the forms is also vital to the expression. The body’s not very anatomically correct, making them fit together better, making it hard to see where one body stops and the other begins. This painting is all about touch and the sensation of skin against skin.

In some ways these paintings do make me feel slightly uncomfortable. Not for the feelings they express but because something as intimate as ‘Friendship’ makes me feel like I am intruding slightly. But they also touch me deeply.
For me one important aspect of art is about voice. The artist shares his unique viewpoint, those who feel the same take comfort in sharing; those who don’t might achieve better understanding of a fellow human being.
That is what expressionism is all about.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Classic Illustration

One more for the road. This time it's my own design. Quite happy with it, but now I want to do one for Luna...

Potions - Watercolour and Ink

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Too e-asy?

Too e-asy?

Look at that. I'm a little famous :o)
A very nice article by Elizabeth Underwood.
And thanks to Penny for telling the OCA about my book.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Outdoor Practice

I better start sketching outdoors to get ready for the Plein Air painting.


A few plants in my garden done with the yummy Inktense pencils.

Charcoal Sketch from the back yard,
Colour study 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Old Fashioned Illustration

I wanted to try ink and watercolour in a style close to Arthur Rackham, one of my all time favourite illustrators. I've never done ink and watercolour together before and it's been ages since I played with either medium, so I decided to start with a copy and see where it got me.

This is a loose copy done from a another hero of mine, Justin Gerard. I just adore his style. Loose, whimsical, yet with a drawing skill that just nails the subject every time. Here's the original. No comparison of course, but if I keep practising... :o)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

John Martin Exhibition, Millenium Gallery in Sheffield

John Martin (1789-1854), English Romantic Painter & Illustrator

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
This was a fantastic exhibition. Lots of engravings and small paintings giving a good overall impression of the painter, but first of all it is so lovely to be able to see the large doomsday paintings that he is so famous for. The largest of them must have been about 5-6 meters across.
I had never seen his work before to my recollection and the thing that struck me the most was how modern they seemed to me to be. They remind me very much of matte paintings used in fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings. They have the drama of modern photographs and nearly always a fantastic depth with the landscape dropping away into mountains and huge skies in the distance, lending them a true epic feel. And it certainly was epic situations he liked to depict. Biblical scenes mostly but also other legends and poems.
I like the intense colours and harsh contrasts. He uses rim lighting and reflected colour to great effect.
He seems to have been hugely popular with the general public for his dramatic pictures, but disdained by the art institutions, but that just makes me like him more.
Look at the fantastic bolt of lightning coming down to strike Lot's wife above.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Al Gury Study 2

One more. I'm more happy with this one, although I'm not sure what happened to the neck. Managed to get thicker paint in and to keep the different planes of colour more defined.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thoughts on Feedback

Once again, she is spot on with a lot of things.

She again reminds me to use the paint more thickly and I want to, but it doesn't come at all natural to me.
The comment on general colour I hadn't thought of myself, but I can see that it is true. I am a bit lazy sometimes and don't get the subtleties right.

Lots of different greens in a landscape. Yes, that would have definitely made the picture more interesting. Again laziness I'm afraid.   Oh, and time pressure. The stated time for each project is never ever enough to work on these kinds of details, but I guess I'll just use more time than it states.

Must try harder :o)

Tutor Report on Assignment 4

My tutor writes:

Overall Comments
I can see that you really enjoy working from the figure and this is reflected in your competent figure studies.   When painting you tend to use a general colour to sometimes to describe an object and I feel you need to look more closely at the subtle changes in colour.  I would like you to experiment with more ways in which you can apply the paint.

Feedback on assignment
Developing a short hand -The pencil study of your bed and bedside table works well compositionally but the painting has been changed by altering the angle of the bedside table, reducing the book in size and removing one of the objects.  The result of this is that compositionally the painting looks as if it is divided into two.  I like the study where you explore the texture of the wood and I think this could have added more interest to the painting.  I also like the character you give to inanimate objects as in the drawing of the bedside table. 
The wooden table feels solid in the painting but the bedding although well drawn needs more texture with the use of brush strokes and paint to bring out the folds.  
Using photographs – You need to experiment with lots of different greens in a landscape otherwise it becomes a bit monotonous.  The greens in this landscape are a bit acidic adding some brown to the mixture would tone them down a bit.  In a landscape you tend to use cooler colours in the distance and warmer in the foreground and distant objects have less contrast. The distant hills could be paler. The area behind the fence should be darker.  It would have been interesting to have made more of the shadows especially across the path.  I like your handling of the flowers and trees but the foreground grass needs more work.  You could experiment with a painting knife to apply paint and scratch into it, or try a textured surface to paint on.
Squaring up – I like the composition and the way you have brightened up the painting.  Overall it works well but I would have left out the telegraph pole all together.  The pavement slopes downward in the foreground it may have been better to angle the brush strokes across more horizontally.  The car is leaning slightly.  Although the lamppost isn’t quite straight I don’t mind this.

The figure -  Your figure studies are very good and you clearly enjoy this subject.  You have done very well in attempting to paint a child sitting at the table as they never keep still for long. This convincing painting is well composed and painted.  The only area I feel is a bit distracting is the brickwork on the corner of the window it would have been better without the dark lines delineating the bricks.  I really like the way you have painted the fabric on the window sill and the bowl of fruit, these are very well seen and work perfectly.  I also like your handling of the table.
You have captured the child’s concentration very well and you have picked up on the subtleties of her skin colour.  The hand with the pencil is a bit too small when compared with the other hand. 
Artist and model – I like your use of colour when the black is taken out in your painting.  The scumbling under the tops, links with the board colour well.  The figures are well drawn and convincing.
I think the figure standing up would perhaps have been better slightly further to the left hand side of the painting or the composition would be improved by leaving out the objects on the left.  The face of the figure sitting appears like a mask cut out because of the dark edge around it.  Perhaps adding more shadow on the underside of the hair on the far side of the face will help.
A reclining figure – I like your idea for the reclining figure but overall it needs a bit more contrast. The thickness of the paint works and I would have liked this extended into the face as this looks a bit flat.  The figure is well drawn but should be lighter on the back.  The back leg needs more modeling and shadow on it from the leg crossing over it. The arm that the head rests on needs more shadow and the dark shadow of the armpit is too big making this arm look too small.  The draping fabric and lion skin need more substance and shadowing.

Learning logs/blogs/critical essays
I think you can expand more on your analysis of artists work explain more about why you think things work.  I like your attempt at copying  Al Gury, he applies the paint more thickly.
Suggested reading/viewing
Patrick Caulfield is a painter you may be interested in; he created artificial constructions and invented images.   Jenny Saville, Lucian Freud and Euan Uglow are interesting portrait painters.
In answer to your questions, I use liquin to speed up the drying time of my paintings and this gives a fairly matt finish to the oil painting.  The paintings dry in about half the normal time.
Something in between acrylic and oils are gryfin alkyds which are ment to dry more quickly but I think they are the same as using liquin but I haven’t tried them.

Monday, 4 July 2011


Quick study of an Al Gury. I really like the way he works with planes, simplifying the colours. I didn't get it right at all this first time. Will try again.

Friday, 1 July 2011

the Frog King

I forgot how much I enjoy illustrating fairy tales. Such a delight, Here's the final line drawing:

I originally set out to do full shading on paper before I went to the computer. I thought there'd be less chance for me to mess up the colours then. But then this developed and so reminded me of the style of Mucha that I decided to try and colour like he does; fairly flat, but with nuances in each colour. So I ran with it. This in an A3 drawing and I only have an A4 scanner so I had to scan it in three stages and then patching to eliminate the gradients that always creep in.

I think now the illustration is done. I coloured it in Photoshop. Took me ages, but I this kind of thing always does. I expanded the sides a bit, because she felt rather cramped in the coloured version.