"I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say, 'He feels deeply, he feels tenderly.'"The movie is set to open in theatres shortly. This ground-breaking movie is entirely hand painted, and I am eager to see it. Not just for the way it was crafted, but for the story of Vincent. Much of what he wrote over his all too short of life really resonates with me, as I'm sure it does for many other artists.
Vincent van Gogh
While I am always striving to improve the technical mastery of my work, my main concern is expression, as I believe it was with van Gogh. I want my work to resonate with other people in the world who also feel deeply and tenderly. In that regard I have reached out to a couple of (so-called) experts over the past year to see how my work is perceived by others and if it is meeting the goals I have for it.
In one instance I was given the advice to continue to work on simplification to allow the emotion to be more easily expressed. To represent the figure with the slash of a well crafted brush stroke, rather than excessively rendering it. In another the person said: "Consider removing the figures from your work until you can render them so well that they have something strong to say and aren't props in a painting. "
The point is the figures are just props. As I've written before about staffage: figures placed to help guide the eye and tell the story, but not to form the story itself.
I was recently at the Monet exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and while studying some of his work a discussion about the figures in his landscapes occurred. His painting 'Snow Effect Sunset' was one of my favourites from the exhibition. In it, his rendering of the figures are exactly what the first expert had been pushing me towards. Nothing more than a well placed slash of paint. What would happen to the painting if the figures were rendered more? Would the focus shift from the light and feeling of cold, to the figures alone? The hint of warmth in the sky would not have the same importance in telling us what a chilly day it is here if our attentions were diverted to more highly rendered figures.
How do the figures inform the composition of this painting?
|Monet "Snow Effect Sunset"|
"Oh! I must somehow manage to do a figure in a few strokes."
Vincent van Gogh
|van Gogh "Iron Mill In The Hague"|