Research Points: Interiors

17/07/15

Research the work of the Dutch Realist genre painters and choose two or three paintings that particularly appeal to you. Look at the devices employed to draw the viewer into the experience of the occupants of the room.

Johannes Vemeer (1632-1675)

A fairly obvious choice for looking at interiors, Vermeer was famous for his scenes of 17th Century domestic life.

The Music Lesson by Johaness Vemeer. The Royal Collection at St James' Palace

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vemeer.
The Royal Collection at St James’ Palace

 

Vemeer has used perspective to show depth and space in the room. His subjects appear to be unaware of his gaze and the interior itself is almost as important. The light from the window illuminates the figures and elevates them as the focal point, as does the tiled floor guiding the eye towards them. Adding in the table with its detailed cloth and jug, chair and cello gives a narrative to what could have been a static pose.

 

 

 

 

Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684)

A contemporary of Vemeer, de Hooch is not so familiar to me.  However, he also was known for painting interiors, with the specific device of looking through an open door.

Card Players in a Sunlit Room by Pieter de Hooch The Royal Collection, Windsor

Card Players in a Sunlit Room by Pieter de Hooch
The Royal Collection, Windsor

 

This painting is a realistic looking scene of a group of card players.  The light is expertly and convincingly painted from the outside to in, the sheen on the door and the cast sunlight coming in through the door on to the floor points to the room’s occupants. Again the chequered tiles draw the eye to them and also on out to the courtyard, introducing the advancing figure to the story. The offset placement of the key figures give it a realistic composition, with one figure standing adding to the scale of the room and its contents. The more I look at this the more I like it. Its colours are fairly neutral but for the few flashes of red to lift its impact.

 

 

Look at interiors that have been painted by various artists from different periods. Look especially at how illusions of space have been created, how doorways and windows form a part of the composition and how furniture and objects are depicted either as a central focus for the painting or as secondary to any human drama.

Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-71) by David Hockney (b 1937)

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-mr-and-mrs-clark-and-percy-t01269

This painting is a portrait of the artist’s friends, however, it says so much more. It is well documented that the sitters were not getting along too well at the time and the placement of the figures in their setting does give the impression of division. The open door not only creates a barrier but seems to be offering a means of escape – if only for Percy the cat! Placing the figures against the light of the open door does not throw them into the spotlight but seems to make them become part of the interior being contre jour.

 

 

Robert Louis Stevenson and his Wife (1885) by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)

http://www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/Robert_Louis_Stevenson_and_His_Wife.htm

Sargent has given a sense of space through open doors in this painting and then taken it away again by adding the gloom of the hallway and the seemingly unobtainable exit by the front door. The direction of the floor boards lead away into the dark, foreboding, hallway.  I always forget that this image includes Stevenson’s wife as she blends into the interior so well I think she’s part of the furniture – she almost appears to be hiding! The rug on the floor is horizontal and Stevenson is pacing (I imagine) back and forth deep in thought and has been caught mid ponder.

David Hockney (again)

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.

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn
2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter
2008
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)
by David Hockney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel I have to return to David Hockney’s The Bigger Picture exhibition.  Within this collection there are numerous series of works recording the same scenes at differing timings, over seasons and years. Interestingly with the Three Trees series, it looks like Hockney revisited this scene the following year to produce the Autumn, Spring and Winter paintings after producing the Summer work in 2007.

Painting outside

Painting outside, putting canvasses together to increase overall painting size.

 

The challenges are much the same as any outdoor art work making. Hockney, allegedly dressed in layers of coats and heated gloves is not unexpected, yet his insistence in creating mammoth sized paintings outdoors in the countryside, probably is.  As mentioned in my previous post re Mr Hockney, he got round this by using several, medium-sized canvasses placed together in collections of 6, 9, 15 or so. Alignment also being a challenge, he turned, as many times before in his work, to photography to help him out.  Using digital photographs and photoshop he would “stitch” together the individual images to make one cohesive picture.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

Many times he arrived at his chosen painting spot with canvasses, easels, camping tables accommodating boxes of paints, pots of brushes etc but also made use of iPad technology and apps as a digital sketchbook, needing only the tablet to paint on and his finger to paint with (plus, I am sure, many hours of practice with the thing!).

Interestingly, Hockney refers back to Albrecht Durer, Monet, Turner, Ruskin, Constable among others and even made his own versions of Claude Lorrain’s Sermon on the Mount in his own style.

 

 

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. Research also from the above.

 

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!