Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Adventures in oil 
As I am becoming more familiar with the properties of oil painting, I am 
becoming more aware of the potential for the medium.  Alluring, sensuous and
life-like in it's glossy transparency, it can create stunning realism works
as it did in the 17th-century Baroque period when the Dutch painters in
particular used it to great effect. 

 Johannes Vermeer
circa 1665
17.5 x 15 inches

Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Oil  has physical body so it can sit upright on the canvas surface to create
a truly three dimensional, textural surface such as in the abstracts of
the Canadian painter, Riopelles (1923 - 2002).  This attribute of body
also reveals the strokes of the artist's brush, revealing the direction of
application.  This evokes a sensation  of movement in a work, keeping
it alive rather than static.

 Jean Paul Riopelle
Noctourne, 1954
14 x 9 inches

The young American painter, Daniel Keyes  paintings employ this last attribute to
great effect.  His painting style lends the sense of movement to his work. Light seems
to flicker on his models rather than just illuminate it's mass. His aim is not to illustrate
the subject, but to convey to us the joy of a moment in front of it.  Some say this is to
give an impression of the subject, but it seems to me, a more accurate statement
would be to say that it presents the subject as we ourselves would apprehend it. 

Our ability to mentally process all the visual data present in an element is not equal
to the ability of our eyes to see all the data, unless we take long periods to look and
analyze form, colour, tone, line, shape, texture,and space. We tend to scan rather than
look, a tendency exacerbated by the ever more complex and speedy urban environments
in which we increasingly live.

In my practice, I already have the ability to execute work with watercolours in a
 hyper realistic style that presents how, exactly, something looks. Viewers of these
 works are presented with the opportunity to really see the subjects in all their detail
and subtle beauty.  The promise of oil painting then is that it presents the potential
to paint in a deliberately dynamic style with a focus on light.

Daniel Keyes  
Roses & Lilies
11 x 24 inches, oil

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