Monday, November 1, 2010

Do You Feel It?

Wow, November already.  If I recall, it was just May 1st!  You know, Time is not a river, flowing majestically along.  Oh, no.  It's a freakin' Buffalo herd that you first noticed rumbling miles away, then before you realize what's happening, it's upon you -- hooves pounding on your back, the roar of thunder ringing in your ears.  Then it's all over, and you wonder, what happened?  That's Time.  So anyway, now that Halloween is over, it's back to work.

The only art "instruction" I ever got was Art Class in high school.  Taking a Fine Art class was mandatory, and I would have preferred taking Band, but at the time I couldn't play an instrument.  That problem didn't stop a lot of the members of the Greely High School Marching Band.  They tried to spell out the name of the football team once, but the only letter they could form was a dash.  Anyway, I brought one of my paintings into art class one day.  The teacher, Ms O'Neill ran her fingers all over it and said, "Don't you just love to feel a paintings texture?"  "Ginger," I said (I was a rather cheeky little twerp calling a teacher by her first name, wasn't I?)  "I want people to look at my paintings, not grope them."  But you know what?  Ms O'Neill was right.  Texture is cool.  I have been taking extra care to put some texture into the painting I'm working on now. 

Creating texture is something that I like, but I don't do it regularly.  When I work on masonite panels, which is close to ninety percent of the time, I go for a slick feel.  But when I paint on canvas, I like the rough impasto effect.  The painting at the top of the page called Morning On The River is a good example of texture.  By the way, before you think I am way too full of myself for using my paintings as examples, let me say this;  I know I am not anywhere near being a great painter, (as a matter of fact in a recent NBC News/Gallup Poll of the Statistically Insignificant, .08% said I am not great, .005% said I couldn't even spell great, and the remaining 1.009% said "who?") but I know what I was shooting for, and only I know if I achieved it.  I can't say what was in another artists mind.  So I'll use my stuff.

Here's a detail of the pump house, showing the texture I employed.

I did that with a knife.  I don't know about you, but I don't get the same looseness with a brush, no matter how thick my paint is.  Here's my  painting The Diner, where I used a lot of knife.

This one was a combo of brush and knife.  The figures and chrome are brushwork, while almost everything else was done with the palette knife.  Here's a close-up of the stool:

I think it's more fun to render an object's texture, rather than try to imitate it with paint.  The rougher the surface is of the object I'm painting, the smoother my painting is.  Conversely, the slick plastic of this stool was fun to do with a knife.

So, Ginger please forgive me for being an insufferable smart-ass when I was your student.  And thanks for showing me that a painting really can feel as good as it looks.


martinealison said...

Très beaux reflets dans l'eau. Les nuances des verts jouent parfaitement bien avec la lumière. La texture... effectivement peut se traduire en épaisseur, en douceur, en évidant aussi et nuançant le tout au pinceau, au couteau et pourquoi pas avec les doigts... Bises

Susan Roux said...

Time as a buffalo herd? Yeah I think that's about accurate. Never would have thought of it that way, but since you brought it up...

Its hard for me to imagine you did most of the diner painting with a palette knife. It looks so smooth.