PaintingThe Art Of Painting - Painting - 4, a brief series of articles on the art of painting and drawing
From Van Eyck to Velazquez, from Titian to Gainsborough, from Rubens to Ingres, from Watteau to Bastien Lepage, is indeed an enormous field. There is little need to seek further for models on which to base artistic expression (that is the language of the artist). Abundance of scope is to be found within this field for every personality to assert itself, for every worker to preserve his identity. Gainsborough was buoyed up in his last moments by the thought that he would meet Van Dyck, his hero, face to face in another world. What could be more personal than Gainsborough's delightful expression, in spite of his hero-worship and the inspiration he sought from the work of the master he loved ? Why need we paint in imitation of Berlin wool needlework, put our colours down in marked variegated spots, try every trick hitherto untried, if not with the hope of augmenting the pages of the artistic slang dictionary, and writing large our name across them ?
There is perhaps a curious fascination in novelty ; but let us count the cost of " rushing in where angels fear to tread," for we may be branded with the appropriate epithet. Leave the poseurs severely alone, and see to it that your methods are sane though modest. Your canvas should, except for work on a small scale, not be very highly primed ; colour slips about on a smooth surface ; it gets no hold ; a distinct tooth is a necessity. Your choice of a canvas depends largely on your method, and frequently controls it ; for instance, if you have a desire to paint fatly, a slight texture would be better than a rough surface, which absorbs too much colour to allow of an unctuous manner, at least until a later stage when the grain is partially lost under successive layers of paint.
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