Monthly Archives: January 2011

Evolving and Never Finished

Pierre Bonnard, the great neo-impressionist, internationally renowned French painter was observed sneaking paints and brushes in the inside vest pocket of his suit jacket in order to make changes to his paintings as he found them in one of the … Continue reading

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The Essential Opposition (vol.I)

 In 1847 Sir Charles Eastlake published his two volumes, Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters.  Today it has been reprinted by Dover in paperback.  Among his insights into the techniques of  Renaissance masters were observations … Continue reading

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What time Is It?

          Here are two maternity paintings, two Madonnas, each reflects their time and each reflects some shared symbolism, in terms of color, subject, posture and design.  In Gerard David’s Maternity painting, painted around 1500, Mary wears blue, ultramarine blue. She … Continue reading

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Unity Through Opposing Directions(with the help of a triangle)

Ancient Greeks spoke of the perfection of basic geometric shapes( Socrates via Plato), the circle(sphere)and the square(cube) and others. Leonardo da Vinci relied on the unifying compositional effects of the triangle. Many paintings’ design unity is owed to geometric shapes like the … Continue reading

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Painting Winter

   When Monet decided to paint winter he looked for snow because, the glare of the yellow light of the sun on the snow causes us to see an after image of blue-violet. The subject was loaded with possibilities for … Continue reading

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Leonardo da Vinci’s Best Advice or, Working Backwards

      Leonardo had written advice to artists on many subject in his treatise on painting.  Artists like J.M.W. Turner and John Constable read his work and responded in paint and conversation to the most controversial  aspect of da Vinci’s … Continue reading

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Revisting the Ideal Landscape

             In the 17th century in Italy were many great landscape painters, Domenichino, Carracci, Dughet and the two most influential, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.  They all operated with a formula of composition that descended through … Continue reading

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Turner’s Doubt

    I credit J.M.W. Turner with a great deal of influence in art history.  His watercolors and oils fascinate me. Naturally, I am interested in what he had to say about the process of painting. If I were given … Continue reading

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Graduating Space

With the development of linear perspective  artists became more aware of the compositional possibilities  to be found in the principle of  the  relative diminishing size of objects toward infinity.  They observed that all things big and small, diminished in proportion … Continue reading

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Combining Design Principles, Curvature, Radiation and The Meander

I have previously written to you about several design principles but, not yet discussed how to  synthesize three or more principles into the same painting to improve unity.  There are other unifying principles, color, contrast, various forms of harmony, themes, perspective systems … Continue reading

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