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Photographers and Artists

Still lifes

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Postby Kay » Sun 26 Oct 2008 07:16 GMT

Thanks, Strat. I'd not heard of Caravaggio before, but I shall look out for him in the various online galleries.
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Postby CustomStrat » Mon 27 Oct 2008 03:10 GMT

Caravaggio was actually quite a fascinating character. Aside from being one of the "founders" of the Baroque movement in the early 17th Century he was a major influence on Rubens, Rembrandt and others for his powerful and dramatic use of light and shadow. He was a fierce realist who, purportedly used the drowned corpse of a prostitute as the model for his depiction of the death of the Virgin Mary. Flamboyant and dangerous, by all accounts, he actually fled Rome after being involved in a sword fight which resulted in the death of a young man. He bounced around Malta, Italy and Sicily for a time before, eventually, he was given a papal pardon although, by the time it came through, he'd died (probably of malaria). He was 38.

Derek Jarmon made an interesting oddball film about him, back in the mid 80s with Nigel Terry (King Arthur in Excalibur) as Caravaggio. But I always thought his life had all the makings of a classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler.
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Postby Kay » Mon 27 Oct 2008 09:46 GMT

Thanks for the info, Strat. 38 is rather young to die. I guess it was an extremely hard life being an artist.

I recently had to do a compare and contrast exercise. These are the two still lifes I chose. The first by Sir Matthew Smith and the second by Jan Frans van Dael. Both are still lifes of fruit in a container but very different treatments.

Image

Image
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Postby Trev » Mon 27 Oct 2008 09:56 GMT

Kay wrote:Thanks for the info, Strat. 38 is rather young to die. I guess it was an extremely hard life being an artist.


Don't think it was being an artist that killed,

"Caravaggio was always in trouble. In 1592, when he was not yet twenty, he fled Milan after 'certain quarrels' and the wounding of a police officer. He went to Rome and was there, for the most part, until 1606, when he again had to flee. His life in Rome was of growing financial and professional success, but it was also punctuated with crime. In the years 1600-1606 alone, he was brought to trial no less than eleven times. The charges covered a variety of offences, most involved violence. It is significant that, despite his posthumous reputation for homosexuality, and his endless brushes with the police, he was never charged with sodomy, then a capital offence. But he was charged with murder. On 29 May 1606 he killed one Tommasoni in a brawl after a disputed game of royal tennis, and had to flee to escape execution. He went first to Naples, then to Malta, where he was feted and made a Knight of St John. Then, after 'an ill considered quarrel' with a senior knight, he was on the run once more, all around Sicily, then on to Naples again. But this time there was no hiding place. The knights, known for their relentlessness, pursued him, and Caravaggio, now thirty nine, in an attempt to seek forgiveness and refuge in Rome, tried to get there, but died at Porto Ercole, apparently of a fever."

From.......http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/caravaggio.html
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Postby Kay » Mon 27 Oct 2008 10:30 GMT

:lol:

Aye, some of these artists are mad bu99ers. I like the use of the word "quarrel" in this context.
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Postby ruggie » Mon 27 Oct 2008 14:41 GMT

Kay, how would you like to try recreating Dael's lighting in a photo - without photo-editing....?
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Postby Kay » Tue 28 Oct 2008 19:56 GMT

Now there's an interesting proposition, Ruggie.

What I always find hard to understand is how these earlier artists managed without a camera. And when you also think that they were painting in oil (slow process and takes a long time to dry) it makes it even more difficult. Any food I might try to draw and paint would be stinking long before I was half way through.

I love acrylics and am almost dreading when we have to do activities in oil (or even water colour).

There are some Thai artists here who do some really superb work - copies of just about anything you want and really beautifully done - mostly in oil, and you can even watch them working. It's kinda fun to have a hand painted Van Gogh oil on canvas on the wall. :D
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Postby ruggie » Tue 28 Oct 2008 20:43 GMT

I'm probably happiest with watercolour. Did have a bit of fun with acrylic once, though - painted a ski-er in deep powder snow, on dark paper, using those cotton wool buds on little sticks to paint pointillist-style. Worked a treat.

Would love to learn to use pastels effectively
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Postby Kay » Tue 28 Oct 2008 22:11 GMT

I love acrylics and feel very comfortable with them. I love acrylics on canvas - which was a new but very enjoyable experience for me. (First time painting on canvas. Wow! It's wonderful.)

Canvas is inexpensive here, but when I was interested in painting all these years ago I had to paint on any darned thing I could find. Ripping shelves out of cupboards, cardboard boxes, anything! My best mate was an art student. I was doing accountancy at uni. Oh well. These things happen.

As for oil pastels, I have some, and that will be my next activity - still life again. What I'd never realised before is that you can use turps or white spirit to blend them. I'd just thought of them as crayons but you can make some kind of oil painting out of them. Here goes!
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Postby CustomStrat » Wed 29 Oct 2008 02:37 GMT

I always used to paint in oils. I liked the slow drying time because I could take my time working the picture. Acrylics always dried too fast and all one could do is paint on top of it which is why I developed a personal method of using acrylics as underpainting. Laying out large fields of colour on top of which I'd build the image with the oils.

While canvas is always expensive you might consider using other fabrics. I'd buy cheap bed sheets and prime them with acrylic paint. The finer texture is actually quite pleasing to work on, especially for portraits where a softer effect is desired. Otherwise, the rough side of a sheet of hardboard is quite useable if one is looking for texture.
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Postby Kay » Wed 29 Oct 2008 10:15 GMT

Thanks for the advice, Strat.

You can get canvas quite cheaply here. The cheap stuff isn't the best quality, of course, but it's good enough for me to play with. A 30 x 40 cm frame of stretched canvas costs a little more than £1.

Mostly I use paper or cardboard for the course. They've never yet said to use canvas as they're obviously aware that many of their students will not have much money to spend.
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Postby ruggie » Thu 30 Oct 2008 21:59 GMT

I have a nic elittle book about using ol pastels, and the chalky ones, too. Bought some pastels,too, but didn't get down to doing much with them.

We have a picture of a scrawny cheetah done in pastel: definitely not a chocolate-box effort.
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Postby carolinedraper » Sat 6 Jun 2009 00:52 GMT

We are playing around with water based oils - gets rid of that lethal smell and keeps your house habital. Longer drying time and the colours in some ranges are not so vibrant but with children around def the healthier alternative.

I like mixed media - real life objects and paint used together. I have a few that I am toying with mentally.

As for still life I like a conceptial take e.g a pair of shoes placed in a kicked off way outside a slightly opened bedroom door with a silk scarf dropped near by...
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