Archive for May, 2012

What Is “Painterly”?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

What does it mean to have a “painterly” style? I have heard many definitions of the term “painterly,” but perhaps the best explanation I have yet come across is that a painterly approach incorporates visual and tactile qualities of the paint (or other medium) used in producing the artwork, such as evidence of brushwork, swirled or partially blended colors, or physical (as opposed to purely optical) texture.

120404 Red Hibiscus

As shown in “Red Hibiscus” (#120404 ), subject elements and spatial planes are usually differentiated primarily through changes in hue, value, and saturation (chroma) rather than by drawn lines—although line may be incorporated—and some or all edges may be indistinct or entirely lost.

This approach is in contrast with more precisely rendered images in which all evidence of brushwork and blending are hidden or minimized. Unlike the photorealistic approach, a painterly piece takes advantage of the unique qualities and expressiveness of the medium itself to help convey what the artist wants to say through the work.

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

This spring I have been doing a series of exercises to improve my painting skills. A number of these have required thicker and more opaque paints than watercolors provide, so, as you may have guessed from my recent blogs, I’ve been using a lot of acrylics.

120401 Gramma's Roses

However, I periodically I need to “stop and smell the roses” by returning to my favorite medium. This time I did so by trying to apply many of the lessons that I’ve been studying to see if I’ve really learned them well enough to translate the principles into watercolor work.

Composition principles, control of values and saturation levels, use of complementary hues and their resulting gray tones, use of temperature in modeling forms, and even a renewed confidence in drawing all came into play in “Gramma’s Roses” (#120401), shown above.

I’ll always continue to strive for improvement, and in the process, … I’m having fun.