Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Painting Hero

Yesterday I posted a link on facebook about Joaquin Sorolla who is one of my very favorite painters of all time and promised to write something about a few of the many things I feel attract me to his work and painting methods.

There are so many things about his work that I admire and aspire to that I found the idea of where to start writing about him quite impossible!

Then this morning I sat with my parents to watch a short documentary about a wonderful friend of mine called Sabine Menassa from the Lebanon. In the Documentary Sabine said that 'technique without passion and improvisation is nothing' and that's when it hit me - Sabine had just summed up in one sentence exactly what I feel really good painting and creativity is all about!

In the past I have written about a 'gut' reaction I feel when confronted by certain works of art and how these pieces of work go far and beyond technique or illustrative flashiness.

Again and again I see highly rendered and finished paintings with a photographic quality or realism and after a moments engagement am left feeling empty apart from the fact that the technique grabbed me for a moment or the idea that - wow that looks just like a photo!(which it's not)!

With these pieces the treatment and application of paint is uniform throughout. The paint is applied by the artist in the same way - to landscape and figure, to natural organic objects as to the inanimate and there is I find nowhere for the viewer to get in. The whole story has been told so to speak.

Just look at the brushstrokes in Sorolla's Self-Portrait, 1912 above. The gusto and bravado. The fluidity and energy they encapsulate. These brush strokes tell of the true story of the artists intense scrutiny and passion while also communicating an immense knowledge of technique and handling of paint.

- Richard

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