Summer Wood - Oil on panel (10" x 8") by Benoit Philippe
I am now going to describe two different methods to create a toned canvas.
1. Toning the canvas by applying another layer of gesso
One of the methods I use consists in mixing some acrylic gesso (you can buy jars of acrylic gesso primer in any art shop) in an old ice-cream tub with a small amount of acrylic colours in order to tint it. I then apply the tinted gesso onto the canvasses or boards I have purchased with a large brush. By using yellow ochre, vermillion red and ultramarine blue in various combinations and proportions, you can obtain a good range of shades from cool grey to warm pink.
Your first stage of the painting will present a wild colourful aspect which is very uplifting and will give you a sense of freedom.
I recommend that you experiment with toned canvasses and see if they fit your style and technique.
Making MDF canvas panels
The Temptation of Saint Anthony, by Cézanne
Press reviews described the painting as being “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”. Critics commented on the wicked smile of the seductive Devil’s daughter (the former noble goddess). The pseudo-Acteon had become a pathetic Saint Anthony.
On the last day of the exhibition, Vollard saw the collector who had refused the painting when titled “Diana and Acteon”. He had in his hand the review published in the paper and, triumphant, explained that he just bought the “Temptation”, which looked so realistic.
Remember this story next time you pick a title for your work. Titles do influence the viewers and their perception of your work, even if the viewers are not conscious of it.
Recollections of a Picture Dealer by Ambroise Vollard (English translation)
Available in Paperback -
Building a cyanometer is child play… and would also make a great week-end project for children. What better way to make them observe the sky and discover that there is nothing like a one-blue-only-sky?
Blue sky research with a cyanometer ,
If you use the cyanometer in conjunction with a reference chart (where you noted how you mixed the different shades of blue), the cyanometer will help you to determine how to mix your blue colours to paint the sky.
You could even use the cyanometer in the same way to judge the different shades of blue on your reference photographs.
I will soon explain the way to build a simple cyanometer.
Michael Marmor, an ophthalmologist from Stanford University, argued that both Degas and Monet became more abstract in their work because of their eye problems.
The same goes for Turner:
“Likewise, Michael Lamensdorf, an ophthalmologist in Sarasota, Florida, believes that Turner's fuzzy landscapes were the result of bad eyesight. He compared the fine detailing and clear blues in the 19th-century painter's earlier work with his later work, which is limited to reds. “In my opinion, Turner developed a dense, red-brown cataract that blocked out all the blue and green colours,” he argues.”
Another comment in the article gives an excellent insight into the reaction of art critics when confronted with these theories:
“Such medical views are, however, greeted sceptically by many art historians and critics, who prefer to believe that the artists' development was driven by intellect, instinct and inspiration, rather than ocular degeneration.”
I am not surprised by the reaction of some art historians but I think they miss the point. Does the fact that Monet’s medical condition is likely to have influenced his art in a significant way make him and ordinary painter? Does this mean he was not a genius? I would say his genius transpires from how he transcended and used his medical condition to serve his art. Far from accepting the limits imposee on him by illness (although he complained about his condition), he used his deteriorating eyes the best he could to express his different vision of the world.
Artists don’t give-up in the face of adversity, they look for ways to use in their artisitic venture what life throws at them.
Two tea cups - Oil on linen canvas pannel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe
Linocut is a cheap printmaking process. The material you need is minimal:
Front and back of a linoleum board
Wooden and plastic handles
Different types of blades
This technique is easier than woodcutting because there is no grain and you can carve in any direction.
If you follow these simple rules, you will have completed your first linocut in (almost) no time:
Tea Time - Linocut by Benoit Philippe
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