‘What is painting’ by James Elkins

I found this text interesting to read and it made me consider the origins of painting and how it has changed to what we consider ‘painting’ to be in the modern day. some key points that I found of interest;

  • “painting is alchemy” – An artist learns and creates work through experimentation.
  • Monet’s paintings- his attention is on shape, and tints of light some how convey images. The scenes were painted to be appropriate to bourgeois society.
  • techniques and gestures when painting give a different feel to the piece (impasto, smooth, visible/not visible brush strokes, direction, shape, energy ect.) and also surfaces painted on should be considered (textured/smooth). Dry brush or wet brush?
  • Compares painting to alchemy- the old science of struggling with materials, yet not understanding what is happening, just the effects it produces.
  • Could be said that a modern day artist has lost the ability and understanding of manipulating paints, pigments, varnishes ect. as most use paint straight from the tube.

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