Claude Monet 1840-1926

18-19/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

Famed for his en plein air paintings, Monet painted many scenes time and again. In around 1876, with a growing reputation, Monet was determined to paint several pictures of Gard de St-Lazare. According to his friend Renoir, you may have heard of him, Monet dressed in his finest clothes and addressed the director of the Western Railways, introduced himself as “The Painter, Claude Monet” and informed him that he had chosen his station to paint. This eventually resulted in the station being closed, trains being fired up producing clouds of steam, just for Monet’s sole purpose of painting. Now, that is overcoming the challenges of a busy station! Not sure I’d get away with that at Waterloo – anyway I digress.

Haystacks by Monet

Images from top left clockwise:
Haystack, Snow, Overcast Sky;
Haystack in Sunshine;
Haystacks in Thaw at Sunset;
Haystack in the Snow, Morning
By Claude Monet 1891

Monet started producing series of paintings in earnest around the 1890s. Beginning with the haystacks, he produced sketches and painted studies that became finished works.  Always in a setting of the field with distant buildings indicated, as Monet said himself, the subject was not the objects in front of him as such but the conveyance of “what is alive between me and the subject”. Atmosphere, light, weather conditions etc all became the “subject”.

Going on to spend approximately two years painting the west door of the 12th century Gothic Rouen Cathedral in many different guises.  The views are all very similar, although not identical, as he rented a small room opposite to work from – he did not manage to keep the same room for the project’s entirety.  In the end he painted 30 different canvasses, ranging from morning sunlight to dull overcast days and the myriad of changing light in between. Monet did spend the following year re-working and adding to the paintings in his studio emphasising mood and atmosphere and giving balance.  I have seen a selection of these displayed in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and it is striking how different in appearance and feel each is to the other.

rouen cathedral x 6

Top row – left to right:
Rouen Cathedral in the Morning. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance in the morning sun. Harmony in blue;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in the morning. Harmony in white.
Bottom row, left to right:
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in bright sunlight. Harmony in blue and gold;
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower on a dull day. Harmony in grey;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance. Harmony in brown.
By Claude Monet, 1894

Detail of previous image top left.

Detail of previous image top left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the challenges Monet faced in working outside, he painted in all weathers rain, snow, wind and blazing sun and was accustomed to working swathed in coats and blankets, being battered by the sea’s spray and whatever else nature could throw at him.  Aside from the practicalities of maintaining body temperature and keeping dry, all these things are the very essence of Monet’s painting “what is alive between me and the subject”.

Research and photographs of images from Monet by Christoph Heinrich Published by Taschen 1994

 

 

Paul Cezanne 1839-1906

13/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

From what I can gather from books on Paul Cezanne, he was, what you might call, a very cerebral artist. By that I mean, he seemed to have to get a scene right in his mind before he began the physical process of interpreting it in paint. He took his selection of subject very seriously and scoured the countryside for his “perfect” subject.

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

 

 

 

 

 

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cezanne is well known for his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, Aix-en-Provence in France. In this dominant shape he saw the ordered and balanced motif he was searching for, and set about his task of expressing it in its variety. He liked to select an object in nature that wouldn’t change in itself but that provided, seemingly, infinite compositions regarding colour and its surrounding environment.

When painting outside, Cezanne was fairly unusual for his time in using watercolour to make studies. It allowed him to be more spontaneous in his work, employing speed and expressive mark making without the, as he allegedly considered, more laboured approach of oil paints.

Arc Valley and Mont Sainte Victoire

Sketch of the Arc Valley 1885-87 and painting of Mont Sainte-Victoire 1885-87 Oil on Canvas

Cezanne returned to subjects often, and when making sketches, they sometimes appear very sparse in information eg The Arc Valley 1885-1887, yet the painting of a similar view is rich in subject matter – Mont Sainte-Victoire 1885-1887. This begs the question whether they were both made in situ or if the memory a regularly painted subject was so strong he just needed small reminders of the scene.

Research and photographs of images from:

Cezanne by Ulkrike Becks-Malorny Published by Taschen 1995

Cezanne by Richard Verdi Published by Thames & Hudson 1992

David Hockney 1937 –

23/04/14

Research Point

Look at and research different artists’ depictions of landscape. For example look at: Durer’s landscapes are some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world created. Claude Lorrain’s designed landscapes using classical proportions, the British artist Lowry’s images of industrial life. Make notes in your learning log.

David Hockney is a multi faceted artist of our time, however, as we are looking at landscapes in this part of the course, I couldn’t omit the “The Bigger Picture”. All images are photographs of pages from the official catalogue of work “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” published by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Authors: Tim Barringer, Edith Devaney, Margaret Drabble, Martin Gayford, Marco Livingsone and Xavier F Salomon – Photographic Acknowledgements contained within.

David Hockney WIP

David Hockney – work in progress on one of his massive works the for “The Bigger Picture” exhibition of 2012 RA, London

The Bigger Picture exhibition held at the Royal Academy, London in 2012 was so enjoyable and inspiring. A massive body of work that was a culmination of several years drawing and painting outdoors – even some of the larger paintings were made outside over several smaller canvasses put together as the above image shows.

The series showing the same views at different times of year or days of the week were interesting and representative of seasons and nature changing all the time.  Media ranged from oil to watercolour to prints of digital drawings made on his iPad. Hockney’s sketch books and method of working were fascinating to pour over. Spoilt for choice here are a few photographs of work that particularly caught my eye.

Garrowby Hill by David Hockney

Garrowby Hill by David Hockney 1998 Oil on Canvas

The Road to York through Siedmore by David Hockney

The Road to York through Siedmore by David Hockney 1997 Oil on Canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut Trees - Timber by David Hockney

Cut Trees – Timber by David Hockney 2008, Charcoal on Paper 26×40″

Trees and Totems by David Hockney, sketchbook

Trees and Totems by David Hockney, sketchbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colour ranges and slightly skewed perspectives are breathtaking and charcoal drawings are detailed and full of many different mark making techniques – there is much to learn from this artist!

 

Laurence Stephen Lowry 1887-1976

23/04/14

Research Point

Look at and research different artists’ depictions of landscape. For example look at: Durer’s landscapes are some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world created. Claude Lorrain’s designed landscapes using classical proportions, the British artist Lowry’s images of industrial life. Make notes in your learning log.

Always a favourite of mine.  I admire how he can make one image both simple and complex at the same time.  Many of his paintings simplify the human element into bustling ants going about their business in a built up, crowded industrial city. Not many artists, that I am currently aware of, try to convey the volumes of people in these confined spaces yet he makes them an integral part of the cityscape.  Without all these people why would there be cities in the first place? Seems odd to leave them out really.

Coming Out of School by LS Lowry

Coming Out of School by LS Lowry

I chose Coming Out of School as I stared at a print of this many times that hung outside my school’s staff room – hopefully that doesn’t mean I was always in trouble! In addition to the depiction of the scene itself, it invokes childhood memories and makes me smile. Lowry captures a moment and a narrative in the ordinary every day.

Returning from Work by LS Lowry

Returning from Work by LS Lowry 1929 (Oil on Canvas)

I also like Returning from Work, this is a little more detailed regarding the people as you can see faces and expressions rather than purely body language. Yet the background of factories and the smog they produced gives atmosphere and a sense of place. Lowry has used the crowd as the structural element for the foreground, the midground consists of the factory gates and the distance is led away by misty factory buildings, his version of far hills and sky.

The Bandstand, Peel Park by LS Lowry

The Bandstand, Peel Park by LS Lowry, 1931

The Bandstand, Peel Park shows an elevated view. One can imagine that this is a weekend and everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors and wide open space, but the looming, smoking chimneys are never far away. Lowry is a master of story telling.

Claude Lorrain – 17th Century

23/04/14

Research Point

Look at and research different artists’ depictions of landscape. For example look at: Durer’s landscapes are some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world created. Claude Lorrain’s designed landscapes using classical proportions, the British artist Lowry’s images of industrial life. Make notes in your learning log.

The Cascades of Tivoli by Claude Lorrain

The Cascades of Tivoli by Claude Lorrain – black chalk on paper

The Cascades of Tivoli by Claude Lorrain. This is a more classical landscape – distant skies and clouds over the far hills, midground being more defined and a focal point of figures in the foreground. The foreground itself has strong contrasts of light and dark where the sun hits the ground and throws its shadows.There is a sense that this was drawn from life with the figures possibly added later.

landscape with brigands - claude lorrain

Landscape with Brigands 1633 by Claude Lorrain

Landscape with Brigands, etching laid on paper. Compositionally, the eye is drawn around this image from the dark and dominant figures across to the middle rock formations and trees, then back across to the distant hills.   It’s easy to look at and to keep looking at, it works tonally and has depth of space that the eye understands – the more you look the more you see.

Landscape at Dusk by Claude Lorrain

Landscape at Dusk by Claude Lorrain

Landscape at Dusk. A traditionally styled landscape. I particularly like the sky with its sun setting convincingly in the distance. There is a hazy mist drawing in, reflecting the last of the sun light – although there is a lot going on in the foreground I feel it is still playing a supporting role.

 

Albrecht Durer – Northern Renaissance

23/04/14

Research Point:

Look at and research artists’ depictions of landscape. For example look at:  Durer’s landscapes are some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world created. Claude Lorrain’s designed landscapes using classical proportions, the British artist Lowery’s images of industrial life. Make notes in your learning log.

House by a Pond Albert Durer

House by a Pond – watercolour by Albrecht Durer

Have chosen House by a Pond by Albrecht Durer. A simple subject at first glance, a desolate spot for a house needing a boat for access it seems. The style of the house and boat may indicate how things were in the late 15th Century, I am curious whether painted on the spot, from sketches or with some imagination – it is not easy for me to tell.

innsbruck seen from the north

Innsbruck seen from the North by Albrecht Durer

Next choice Innsbruck Seen from the North by Albrecht Durer. An early city scape. It seems that the focus in the castle like building on the left as he has let the right hand side fade back a little.

landscape with canon by albrecht durer

Landscape with Canon by Albrecht Durer

Landscape with Canon by Albrecht Durer. An extremely detailed image with more clearly defind back, middle and foreground than the previous two examples. A technical drawing of the canon, precise architecture and clothing styles of the time. A lot of information is contained within this image. It does appear to be more of a record than purely a work of art.