Oils (Turner & Thompson)

This is an essay on oil paint and it use by William Turner and Mimei Thompson.   I will be looking at how they use oils and how I find it appealing and effective.   How has it influenced me and how do I want to develop my use of oils?

Turner is seen as a romantic painter who paints a feeling rather than exactly what you see even though they look realistic.   Mimei paints places or everyday things with a dream like quality seemingly organic but not of this world (Thompson, 2014) so in a way an abstraction of what you see.   They both look at nature and its beauty.   Turner focusses on the grand landscapes (Tate, 1834) from a distance whereas Mimei looks closely at the everyday things and animals.  They both create a luminosity in their work which heightens the beauty and drama.   Turners work seems to be more complex, intense and serious than Mimei who is more playful and in moving the paint around with simple clean brush marks.

She also says she doesn’t have any identity having moved around and this gave her ability to view the everyday as an alien.   This is something I can relate to in my current landscape where everyday things are sometimes overwhelming, alien and perhaps otherworldly.  This influenced me to to try moving paint around and making mark making more visible.  The process reminds somewhat of the monotypes where paint is moved around on glass and the mark making play and important role.

A painter called Tom Keating has studied many masters and provides details of Turners technique using tempera paint which allows him to complete the painting quickly (Keating, 2015).  The canvas is first covered with a ground colour and then white highlights are applied with a knife .  The knife marks reflects the form of sky, land or sea and increase in relief the closer to the light source like the sun to make it brighter (National Gallery of art, s.d).  Colour is blocked in light to dark, then once dry washes are applied from dark to light.    Reflecting on my older paintings using acrylic I can see I took a similar approach except for the thick impasto paint for highlights early on.   I’m anticipating the use of white impasto paint early on will be a key step to achieve the luminosity.   Scrubbing and scraping techniques also seem to play a big part where I guess layers of paint can be easily removed to show the lighter paint below.

Interestingly Tuners skill with skies and seas enables him to adjust the design to better reflect the layout by for example changing the sky (Artists network, s.d).  In other words I need to look closely at the composition and use ‘artistic licence’ to provide balance rather than copying a photo.

To develop my use of oils I should look to find ways to apply highlights soon after applying the ground probably using impasto paint.  Understand what colours are transparent.  bring out the odd or alien characteristics of what I observe.  Look at printing like monotypes and preserving the marks.  How do I removed scrub paint away to reveal more white or underlying paint and broaden the mark making range.

References

Artists network (s.d) How to paint clouds like tuner by David Dunlop. At:https://www.artistsnetwork.com/store/painting-skies-workshop-part-2-turner-cloud-study Accessed on 5/2/18

National Gallery of art (s.d)  An eye for art JMW Turner. https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-JosephMallordWilliamTurner.pdf Accessed on 5/2/18

Tate (1834) The burning of the houses of parliment by JMW Turner. At:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-the-burning-of-the-houses-of-parliament-d36235 Accessed on 5/2/18

Thompson, Mimei (2014) Bin bag closeup. At:http://www.mimeithompson.com/work/view/binbag-closeup/ Accessed on 5/2/18

 

Author: Paul Hunter

A self-taught British artist who paints landscapes using mixed media. I'm currently exploring life in Singapore through paint.

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