I was lucky enough to go to one of my favorite museums in NYC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I went there as a kid, I remember being in so much awe, thinking ‘I could never do that!’. Now as an adult, I still am amazed, but I have more ideas on how they were able to create the paintings.
Matisse is known for his bright colors, but I really noticed how thinly he applies his oil paint in some cases letting the “white” show through. You can also see the pencil from his drawing.
One critique I have of my own paintings that show brushwork and a lot of texture is that they can feel too busy or unsettled. Matisse finds the balance.
It’s colorful and lively but the painting still feels settled. Even with the brushstrokes being very apparent, he does provide space for the eye to rest with the large swatches of the same color.
What’s really interesting about this Matisse painting of lilacs is the background has three values (dark, medium, light) but the entire painting doesn’t feel too chaotic.
Normally a painting will have a background that is only dark, or brighter than the subject, or a medium value. I think the fact that he used a true black helps to balance the bright lavender and green that he used.
I love this little guy that he randomly adds to the painting. From the way the black bleeds it does look like he used some kind of solvent like turpentine or gamsol.
I LOVE the colors of this still life painting of goldfish.
Again he finds a way to balance the bright pastel colors of the apple and the water glass using more muted, neutral shades like the patterning of the wallpaper. Normally, (like if I was painting using these colors) the burnt sienna/brown/red shade would look like poop but it’s really beautiful in his application and it balances the blues in the painting quite wonderfully. It almost looks like he went quickly with a layer of burnt sienna and then applied a layer of transparent green on top. Together they blend to make more of a darker brown.
Here’s another pretty lady. Again I think the fact that he uses a liberal amount of true black helps balance the pastel pinks and purples.