Research Point: Examples of How Artists Applied Paint
Look at a range of painting with particular attention to the way the paint has been applied. For example, look at the paintings of Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, van Gogh and the Expressionist painters. Look at some twentieth century pastel paintings and make notes about the range of effects you find.
The link to my Pinterest board regarding this research:
I have seen the actual paintings on display in the Musee d’Orsay. There is a thick application of paint on these works, which is only really noticeable when standing in front of them. Strangely, the closer you look the less solid these paintings appear which goes to prove how adept Monet was at painting the effects of light. The fact that these effects change the nature of a solid, stone structure is difficult to comprehend let alone paint. The video linked to this pin is interesting to watch.
Claude Monet – Water Lilies I have seen some of the large water-lilly paintings by Claude Monet in the Kunsthaus, Zürich a few years ago in the exhibition, Monet’s Garden. These vast canvases are mesmerising – I remember feeling I could dive into the ponds of painted water. From memory, they seemed to be layers and layers of paint to give an infinite depth to the water, not thickly applied but many layers.
Poplars, Sunset at Eragny (1894) – Camille Pissarro. Again I wish I could see this in person. The flecks of paint depicting the way light affects the colours, tones and shapes allows the image to become visible. I am unable to see whether the glimmers of white in the trees and undergrowth are additions of paint or canvas showing through, either way it makes the painting glisten in the sunset.
The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, c. 1897 by Camille Pissarro. It’s a shame I can’t see this in the flesh – the application of paint is solid yet sketchy with daubs and dabs giving the illusion of detail. The atmosphere achieved with the colours, tone and perspective is of a night-time street bathed in lamp light and of a possible recent rain shower gleaming on the cobbles. Simple and complex at the same time.
Bibemus Quarry, 1898-1900. Paul Cezanne. More examples of broad brush strokes, building the shapes, colours and tones. Cezanne has also introduced some minimal dark outlining to help distinguish one object from another, a technique he often used.
Les Grands Arbres (1902-1904) Paul Cézanne This painting is beautiful – it’s restful, colourful and atmospheric. As I’m looking at paint application in particular, it is this aspect that has hooked me. The broad brush strokes of colour, which appear almost random, although most certainly are not, gives the impression of dappled light. The colours are not mixed but carefully placed next to each other to achieve the desired result. Wish I could do this!
Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night, 1889 The master of mark making in my humble opinion. He could create hundreds of tiny dots, strokes, dabs and marks to build an image with life and texture with ink and bamboo pen or paint and brush. Van Gogh used directional marks to give movement to his subjects.
Vincent van Gogh – Le Soleil The application of paint in this work is very thick. Again his use of mark making is very evident with thickness of the paint giving texture and depth to a simple image.
Wassily Kandinsky, Waterfall II, 1902 A strong and bold impasto painting that literally goes with the flow of the waterfall.
Wassily Kandinsky Arab Cemetery Most famous for his abstract paintings – this one is more representational but his application of paint appears vibrant and stark, however on closer inspection there is a multitude of subtlety in the colours that stops the image becoming flat and much more lively.
Oskar Kokoschka (1 March 1886 – 22 February 1980) was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes. Oskar Kokoschka – Melt
Oskar Kokoschka, New York, Manhattan with Empire State Building. 1966
Twentieth-Century Pastel Paintings
I found a selection of pastel paintings that range from the expressive and atmospheric landscape to highly accomplished realistic portraits. Pastel is such a versatile medium that may often be overlooked. The mark making can be soft and blurred, layered hatching to colour mix, hard lines, sweeps of expressive colour etc. I have also seen it scratched into to increase texture, I have also used brushes with clean water to extend and strengthen colour and marks. Picasso has used pastel in conjunction with gouache to great effect.
Blatant 2012 Pastel by Wolf Kahn. I found this to be a really unusual pastel painting and was very refreshing – the colours are vibrant and the marks are strong and direct – blatant!
Dying Life Model 1978 Pastel on paper RB Kitaj pastel paintings
I particularly like this with it’s “unfinished” appearance adding to its appeal. A combination of soft and hard edges.
Boy with Dog (1905) Pastel and Gouache on cardboard. This is a lovely, sensitive image and the opaque gouache works so well with the pastel. Again texture, subtlety and harder lines work beautifully together.
Orchard Path Pastel by Wolf Kahn. Directional marks with layered colour gives an ethereal and autumnal atmosphere to this painting.
Auction Participant Pastel by Daniel Green. Fabulous, intense study of this man, realistic in style with a subtle nuance of colour in the flesh.
Daniel Green pastel paintings