Category Archives: Painting

Abstracting The City

We have varieties of tools to begin abstracting a forest, a city street, a stream, a still-life, a nude.  Tools like brayers or squeegees can pry us away from dogmatic representation.  Photo software can provide freedom to improvise with images … Continue reading

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Deliberate Confusion

Organizing chaotic territory is a joy of art.  Arranging notes into a pattern packed with surprises sustains the attention of the artist as well as the audience.  Finding a visual field which threatens to dissolve into chaos offers a delicious … Continue reading

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Evolution of Rocks and Waves

Early in the 19th Century English artists like Turner, Bonington and Constable focused on the shore, its vicissitudes of weather, its reflective sunlight, its human drama.  By the late 19th century Americans like Winslow Homer had simplified their designs to … Continue reading

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Search For Water

Hints require guessing. Guessing is a game and purpose of art. In painting we forever try to find something, some mental anchorage. In the late 19th century we learned to make the guessing the central theme of painting.   The artist … Continue reading

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Mosaics in Paint

Using delicate and dense micromosaics (example 1) Ancient Roman mosaic artisans mastered resemblance to paintings at distance of just a few feet.  At larger scales mosaics were a model for stained glass windows with their arrangement of fracture lines carefully … Continue reading

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Turning Blue

Woad, Indigo, Lapis Lazuli, Azurite, and Smalt, were all sources for blue since antiquity. Blue was viewed skeptically by Romans because their enemies to the North possessed unfamiliar blue eyes. Blue, a color for the mischievous Krishna as the 8th … Continue reading

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Decalcomania Painting

Earlier in the 20th century, before surrealists like Max Ernst discovered the magical effects of decalcomania other artists from as early as the 1500’s had tested its possibilities. At its core, decalcomania begins as a type of transfer or monoprint. … Continue reading

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Cutting the Light

Sequencing empty or negative shapes can be used to create space and rhythms such as a circling pattern around an ancient Greek bowl.  2500 years ago Greek artists appreciated defining forms with negative and positive shapes.  When the artist arranged … Continue reading

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Sunlight and Atmosphere

In the 1600s Claude Lorraine experiments with light, atmosphere and distance. He observes that foreground information can be tucked into shadows with deep darks broken by a few sharp light edges. He further concludes that a feeling of great distance … Continue reading

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Overlapping Rhythms

We cannot ignore the small flicker of a candle in a darkened room or the motions of a distant headlights in the night. Small light shapes pop against darkened backgrounds. They are the break-spots, the anomalies that steal all our … Continue reading

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