Saturday, August 08, 2009

Landscape Painting...

Christopher Allen writes in today's Weekend Australian...
The abstract order of composition is indeed so important in landscape that it can be considered the genre of painting that is closest to music... the real concern of the painter, however, is not any of [the elements in the painting itself] but the whole that they make up. It is composition, as in music, that brings everything together and animates it into life.

Then later...
All these pictures are based on a close study of, and familiarity with, nature. But the elements of nature are moved around, added or eliminated, to suit the needs of composition... [the impressionists disapproved of this] although even they took out unappealing or irrelevant features, added a shrub or a tree to balance the composition.

Later again... whilst speaking about glazing as a technique and how it fell out of favour.
... it is because [glazing] needs to be done after the opaque colours are more or less dry, and this is incompatible with the idea that the picture should be painted wholly or almost wholly out of doors, in front of the motif and in a continuous sitting.

... because many effects were lost with the abandonment of glazing, others had to be sought by raising the key of the opaque colours employed.

This brings me back to a post I wrote in January when Christopher was writing about Gursky. At the time he was discussing the illusion of factual truth with photography.
Photography has many limitations as an art and a few virtues. The chief of these is the guarantee of some kind of factual truth. When it is relinquished, it is astonishing how quickly the seriousness of the photographer's witness evaporates. If you are trying to tell the truth, you cannot afford any of these tricks. The work empties of authority and we are left with images as futile as the work of amateurs with Photoshop.

It also reminded me of a post I wrote on Frank Hurley.

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