These are two water colour sketches of pine trees in Aylestone Hall gardens. I’ve tried to do this in Cézanne’s style, using small planes of colour and not painting wet in wet, but letting each coat dry.
Also this week I did a watercolour copied from a photo in the paper. It was of a bombed street in Homs in Syria.
I’m immersing myself in Cézanne at the moment. This project started with a visit to an exhibition of the Pearlman Collection at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The exhibition included many Cézanne watercolours. I love Cézanne anyway, and to be in a gallery with so many, and so close-up, was quite thrilling. The best exhibition experience I’ve had. I jotted a few notes about his watercolours:
he uses white space / unpainted ground as a positive part of the picture
he uses small patches of colour, overlaid, to build an effect; wet on dry
the colours are jewel-like and not muddy
these marks form undulations of cool and warm colours
he draws loosely in pencil and these lines are an integral part of the picture
he reinforces the form with loose outlines in paint, no hard edges
he suggests foliage but never paints individual leaves
he paints with vigour
composition is crucial, yet understated
I’ve found an excellent book called – Cézanne’s Composition by Erle Loran. He founded the Berkley Group and was a tutor to Diebenkorn. The book is new to me, but it is well-known and well regarded. (Although Roy Lichtenstein sent it up, but that doesn’t put me off). It provides an analysis and explanation of Cézanne’s approach which is eye-opening. I am looking at an exhibition catalogue called Finished Unfinished Cézanne which is also excellent at explaining his technique. So – now is time to put the theory into practice.
I’ve started with some sketches of a pear tree in our garden:
I’ve just finished a still life in watercolour. It doesn’t look much like a Cézanne, but it different to anything I’ve done before.
I’ve done some studies of some pine trees in Aylestone Hall gardens recently, so when the rain stops, I’ll go back out with my watercolours and give them the Cézanne treatment.
Sticking with the original composition / sketch I used for the warm-up exercise, (previous post) today I did two more sketches and focused on different combinations of warm / cool colours. I took my colour inspiration from Ivon Hitchens and August Macke. Not pleased with the results because I haven’t really captured their colours, nor have I developed from the first lot of sketches. I think part of the problem is that I’m looking at abstract from the outside – in, rather than having an intention or specific problem to pursue. I’ve been to the library to do a bit more research and I’ll give some more thought to how to develop. Here are today’s efforts: