Tag Archives: abstract

Art I Like: Henri Matisse

I already blogged about Matisse, after my trip to the Met Museum a few months ago. I’ve been pinning his work over and over again.

Matisse pinned from ArtStack
Matisse pinned from nevsepic.com.ua
Matisse pinned from plus.google.com

I really like how he is able to abstract his work and ‘flatten’ form into shapes that are reminiscent of pattern. In this book I got from Le Souk Le Souk, it describes how inspired he was from his trip to Morocco– and it shows!

He flattens space but it still makes sense as a cohesive space because the color and the line weight guide you from foreground to background. It’s very skillfully done.  It reminds me of when Web 2.0 came out and everything had a drop shadow on it. There is dimensionality while still being flat….it’s 2.5 D.

He said, “It is the beginning of my expression with color, with blacks and their contrasts.” The painting’s black ground separates the three parts, but black unites them, too, by working its way into various areas of each part. The black, though it serves to depict deep shadow, also refers to light. Matisse wrote of a contemporaneous painting, “I began to use black as a color of light and not as a color of darkness.”

I’m inspired by his skill and am going to explore color, line, and pattern in my work in an abstracted but flattened space…particularly in watercolor.

#crocosmia #lily #watercolor #art #artistsoninstagram

A photo posted by Betsyness Art Studio (@betsynessartstudiocollection) on

 

Fall foliage mixed media on paper 12x16

 

Inspiration From the new Whitney: Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle @ The Whitney

The new Whitney Museum looks like Boston’s ICA and is similarly situated near the water on Manhattan’s west side near the High Line. I was kind of disappointed by the lack of exhibits for the amount that I paid, but their permanent collection was quite good. It rained when I went but they also have a very nice observation deck and cafe on the top floor.

I really liked this information provided by the Whitney curators:

Willem de Kooning never believed that abstraction and representation were mutually exclusive. As he stated: “I’m not interested in ‘abstracting’ or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it–drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or idea.”

This de Kooning painting was large at 76 1/2 × 49 1/8 in. Some questions that I ask myself are: how do I know when I’m done, and is this piece professional, museum quality. It’s interesting to see the bare linen exposed at the edges with the staples showing and no frame or glass.

A lot of paintings now will have a solid color painted on the edges to provide a more polished look. I usually think of linen as suitable for fine glazing techniques but de Kooning had no problem with applying his oil paint thick in many locations.

Close snapshots of various parts of the painting look like they could be their own abstract painting.

He also used vivid, saturated pastel colors but the painting is balanced by the black and the grey of the raw linen. I wonder how he  treated his linen. It doesn’t look like used any white gesso, which is normally used to protect the supporting material of canvas or linen from the oil paint. I too like the color of raw linen better than  the very white gesso.