Monet‘s ‘Rouen Cathedral’ employs the impasto effect. He appears to have built up the layers in a rough way, as he explores the light and dark areas of the cathedral wall. He did a series of these to explore the light at different times. Impasto would be a would way to describe rough stone wall that needs a textured, grainy look.
Pissarro: pontilism, impressionism. Pissaro used both of these. He seemed to use visible strong brushstrokes and some impasto effect. I found a lot of work with frost and snow, which he describes beautifully. In ‘White Frost’, I particularly like the sunlight on the frosty fields, almost like an animal has scratched across the painting. Bush strokes are visible and the sky continues this, with the colours as well. He makes you feel the rough, hardness of those frosty clods of earth by using strong, rough brushstrokes. and long strokes for the spikey, bare trees.
‘The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short “broken” brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour – not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary – to achieve an effect of intense colour vibration.’
Your eye mixes the colours.
Cézanne: impressionism, post-impressionism, cubism. I was excited to find Cezanne’s skull paintings. Cezanne made several skull painting near to his death, like an acceptance of the inevitable. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne
Two of the skulls seem to be looking at the viewer, there is one at the back which has fallen down. They seem to be in a cave or on some rock and this background echos the structure of the skulls. I note the bold brush work and the strong light and dark areas. There is a roughness to this brushwork that mimics the rough stone behind and the dry, porousness of the skulls.
I wonder how he came into possession of them; not so many regulations in those days! I am unlikely to ever have the privilege of painting a human skull.
van Gogh: “Sometimes the subject calls for less paint, sometimes the material, the nature of the subjects themselves demands impasto.” Van Gogh in a letter to his brother source: http://blog.vangoghgallery.com/index.php/en/2012/12/17/van-goghs-painting-technique-impasto/
Van Gogh seem to have used impasto to add not only dimension but to emphasise for example the swirling clouds in the sky in ‘Starry night’. In ‘Bell lilies in a copper vase’, he has really managed to describe the texture of the beaten copper and the dull glow of the colour. source: http://store.vangoghgallery.com/showprint.aspx?pid=155770
He appears to have echoed the surface of the pot on the background and then it contrasts with the rush mat, for which he has used long, rough strokes. It gives a good effect of the light bouncing off the copper. The bells of the flowers look heavy with the thick paint. I wonder if he used a knife and some other objects for the small points of light and to scratch into the surface.
‘Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism%5B4%5D
So they are presenting a distorted reality to show their ideas.
‘Self portrait with blue irises’. image taken from ‘The A-Z of art’ , Nicola Hodge and Libby Anson, Carlton Books. With a limited pallette, she conveys such feeling in this self portrait. The eyes are huge and haunting, the expression is open and vulnerable, and yet knowing. I have noticed in self portraits I have a tendency to paint the eyes larger than life, without realising what I’m doing; probably because the eyes are where the expression and feeling in the face is shown.
Franz Marc: I am drawn to his painting, ‘The Large Blue horses’.
I like the rounded shapes formed in this, and the power of the horses, somehow held in check by their bowed heads. He is using primary colours in this and it is to striking effect. Strong, solid, round shapes.
‘Blue Horses in symbolically bound to certain of the originating conceptions of the contemporaneous Blue rider group: in the symbol of the horse as a vehicle of breakthrough, in the emphasis on the spirituality of blue, and in the idea of spirituality battling materialism. That Marc had employed four horses in his earlier composition of the Lenggries Horse Painting and reduced the number to three in 1911 may reflect the further influence of Kandinsky, who, following theosopyical practice, employed three instead of four horses as reflective of the apocalypse. But the absence of a rider is in keeping with Marc’s own belief in the supremacy of animal spirituality over that of humans.’
…or maybe he just thought this would look amazing if I painted using just primary colours and made the horses blue… 😉
By coincidence, and I LOVE coincidences, as I am looking and experimenting with impasto work, in the novel I am currently reading (A spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore) there is a lovely description of some impasto work.
‘But there were the pictures. They were so alive that they seemed to vibrate on the wall…the bright leafless trees shone as if they had been polished. The strokes that made up the painting were thick and very noticeable: it looked as if you were meant to be able to see how the paint had been put on…this painter had a different idea of reality…’
This research sections also asks that I look at 20th century pastel paintings, but I have not really found anything of note, and am going to look at Toulouse-Lautrec (19th C).
I have not myself really got to grips with pastels, and I will experiment in this section of the course with them again.
This is a beautiful, deceptively simple sketch of a dancer. Lautrec has employed a variety of lines and strokes to achieve the gauziness of the net dress and the shine of the tights on her legs. It is quite linear as well, with strong bold outlines. I love that she is lost in thought, gazing to her right. I think pastels are good for fast, on the spot sketches.