Friday, January 25, 2008

Painterly Realism

Rocky Coast
7 x 10 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa
A big part of my artistic journey is to discover my style. I thought I had it figured out until I started this more formal quest. Now, I am somewhat confused again. Since I started daily painting, and subsequently this blog, I have really begun to study art history, as well as artistic skills. There are some very fine blogs and websites to use as jumping off points. Most of them are listed on the right. I am, by way of earning money, a librarian so I have access to great books that supplement our meager collection. This self styled course has really been an eye opener.
I have always responded to art without thinking about it. I liked it or I didn't. My husband and I have an agreement that we won't invest in other people's art unless we both really like something. We are very different people, so that rarely happens. Anyway, I never stopped to examine why I liked one painting and didn't like another. This was really apparent at juried shows when I couldn't understand why the painting I thought was the best in the show didn't win an award and something I thought was perfectly awful did. Since I began this search for my favorite style, I have learned to look a paintings with much more than gut reaction, even though that remains vitally important to me.
I first came upon the idea of painterly realism when I discovered Mian Situ. His work is stunning. He is true to his impression of what he sees, and represents it in a very painterly style. (I will have to have a future discussion about painterly.) He almost makes me want to switch to oil painting. His brush strokes are such an important part of the painting. At least, they are to me.
The other person who I have come across, don't laugh, is JMW Turner. I may be the last artist in the world to have discovered him, but I am glad I finally have. It is so interesting to see the progression of his own style from very realistic to abstract. I discovered him while learning more about the impressionist movement. Interesting.
As a result of all this, I decided to try doing a painterly realistic painting this morning. For me, that meant small strokes, some broken color, and no - absolutely no - blending with fingers. I have a long way to go to get comfortable with this style, but I think I am going to try a few more things this way.

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