Choosing a Path


In thinking about the final series, here are some links about working in a series and brainstorming to find your path:

how do you work in a series?

Here is a good discussion of the reasons, attitude, motivations, and benefits of working in a series:

reasons for working in a series

And, the following links are brief and useful discussions of finding your style and artistic “voice”,  which constantly evolve:

finding your style

finding your artistic voice

This link ties working in series to contemporary commercial practices:

Really, the significant goal of working in a series is to think more deeply about art and the ideas it addresses, which are not always immediately evident.

art as result of thinking deeply

This is a brief interview with Luc Tuymans about the artistic process and his goals in painting:

Interview with Luc Tuymans

This is a longer video (linked below) on the artist Ida Applebroog who has a plethora of interesting ideas that she addresses in her work. (She is a provocative artist whose filmmaker daughter, Beth B, has just released an acclaimed documentary on her titled, Call Her Applebroog.)

Art 21 Ida Applebroog



Drawing and Painting from Life


Listen to what Diebenkorn says about starting a painting.  He articulates the struggle that is present for beginners as well as seasoned painters. It is the dilemma described by Durer in Melancholia.


Working from live models is an important experience for any visual artist, because of the complexity, the variety, the tradition and the opportunity to connect eye and hand without time for self-judgement in quick poses. Discern, draw, discern, draw.

This link from a blog by Catherine Kehoe (artist noted in re: to portraits)  has several examples of loose and expressive figure drawing, as well as some ideas for gesture drawing:

Here is a slide show on a variety of figurative paintings:

And some dressing room figure paintings by Ken Kewley:

In 1949, David Park rejected Abstract Expressionism and the painting he had done in the 40’s to become a figurative artist:

David Park

This show, linked below, at the Getty focused on the relationship and sometimes the struggle between figuration and abstraction. The artists featured in the exhibit, Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, Andrews, Auerback and Kitaj,  are worthy of further investigation for anyone interested in figurative art.



Part 2 – Learning from Tradition: Appropriation and the Visual Dialogue

Picasso was a major 20th Century artist who both loved and rivaled previous artists and art.  This led to visual manipulations of subjects, themes and styles of artists in history that can be seen as “visual conversations”, through appropriation, manipulation, and imagination. Almost all of his work is a tribute, homage, or commentary on other art. The articles below discuss this aspect of his work.

Picasso addressed Manet in a number of “conversations.” (You will also see works by other artists and even advertisers joining in the conversation.)

Picasso addressed Velasquez,in a number of “conversations.”

You might also look up Picasso and Goya, or Goya and Oliveira, a California artist from the last 20th Century.

The article below also considers the visual connections artists make through appropriation, emulation, and “visual conversations or conversions.”

Here is an in depth article on Leon Kossoff’s visual conversation and thoughtful engagement with Poussin.

Interestingly, the 2011 Venice Biennale showcased the 16th Century Venetian painter, Tintoretto, as important  for contemporary artists.

(And for your scientific curiousity, here are some technical details about Tintoretto’s work: )

Although your visual dialogue will be with a work from 1800 onward, Alfred Leslie is a late 20th c artist who reaches back to Caravaggio for inspiration and creates a visual dialogue in the Killing Cycle paintings:‘alfred-leslie-the-killing-cycle’-art-shepherd-express.html

(Skip ahead to 2:19 in the video for the work like Caravaggio.  Also, google Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St. Paul for comparison.)

And, the following interview enumerates his multiple sources and inspirations:

Here are 10 artworks inspired by other artworks that may give you some inspiration. Notice that those are more derivative are less of a “conversation” and more of an homage:

Part 1 – Learning from Tradition: Emulation

As this Cennino Cennini document shows, during the Renaissance, artists in training were expected to copy and then to emulate the works of theri master artists in order to learn.  You still find today, some museums encourage and most museums allow artists to copy from works in the collection. Copying a good way to learn while emulation is a good way to build upon another and to develop personal distinctions. It requires one  to pay deep attention to the subtleties in the work. From Verrochio to Leonardo and Ghirlandaio to Michelangelo and so on, artists copied from, worked on, and worked with their masters, eventually emulating them and often supassing them in their own work.

Creative Copies, a show linked below at the Drawing Center, highlighted drawings that supported significant connections through drawing. Some excerpts will be read in class.

This site, highlights the working process of Vermeer and some misunderstandings about his work.  As with all artists, nothing can replace looking at or working from the original.

While there are variations on the classical techniques, both as they are passed down and as they are modernized, this artist shares his approach to Venetian glazing.

Listen to these discussions about Titian and his painting and you will gain insight into his artistic temperament and the evolution of his later works over time.

The discussion of this Watteau painting shows his dependence upon drawing and the way in which he worked up his paintings from a composite of drawings, superimposed upon an already painted landscape.

Here is a simplification of a glazing technique:

Here is another adaptive and modernized method of underpainting in oils from a well prepared ground, using acrylic materials as ground.



More about Color

To train your eye, try this color test:

A paper on Chevreul’s Color Theory and Consequences for Artists by art historian George Roque:

This article has more good information about color phenomena:

Color and Shadows

Basics of Colour Vision and technical details:

Colour Constancy and more technical information:

Here is a article on Goethe’s psychology of color which has fascinated artists from the 19th to the 20th century, especially Kandinsky and Turner.  Of course, since color is relative, both experientially and culturally variable, these are known now not to be not universal ideas. See what make sense for you or come up with your own theories.

A discussion about color theory and real life experience with color.




Color and Landscape

Clearly, every artist uses different colors and organizes them differently, for different purposes and different effects.

The surprising range of a limited palette shows in mixing from Anders Zorn’s:

In careful analysis, the Zorn palette may not have been used in all of his works:


Here is a summary of color theory:

In considering the effect of color, few can compare to the colorist Wolf Kahn:

Richard Mayhew, an international and local artist paints trees with intense color:

A local and internationally known artist, has a special affinity for color and trees to create visual poetry.  In the second video, he discusses his process as he paints.




Landscape painting: context and content

For a context about landscape painting, the Tate Museum has created a great resource:

Here is a contemporary and excellent discussion about studio landscapes and plein air landscapes.   Since this won’t wok as a link, put the address into your browser.

Van Gogh’s work is an excellent model for thinking about drawing, painting, and meaning from the landscape. Katherine Tyrrell’s work in the “Trees Gallery”, as you scroll down, gives some good ideas for sylization of the landscape:

No one has paid tribute to Van Gogh’s landscapes in such a vivid and unique way as Akira Kurasawa in a segment of Dreams:


A prolific American artist, Charles Burchfield, provides  a variety of ways to interpret landscapes.  In the Burchfield Penney Museum site below are landsapes by him and his contemporaries.  As well, you can go to the work by him in their collection, including his journals.

And as the article below recounts, they are full of his naturalist philosophy, driven by personal biography:

In her  series, In The Garden, Jennifer Bartlett used artistic creativity to move beyond convention and to discover new elements, each time she approached the same subject:

And, you can find more of the works by a general search in images for jennifer bartlett in the garden series.