Sunday, October 12, 2008

Side by Side

Here are two paintings by two friends, painting side by side from the same motif.

On the left is Arthur Streeton and on the right is Charles Conder, two Australian impressionists who painted together during the magical summer of 1890 in Heidelberg, Australia.

They chose a motif in full daylight, with the sun at their backs, and they both kept everything high-key, with the only dark accents under the log in the foreground.
---------------
Images courtesy Art Renewal and Wikipedia

7 comments:

arecol said...

Question à James Gurney
Editerez-vous un livre
avec les photos et commentaires de ce blog ?
Si oui, comment faire pour le commander.

James Gurney said...

Bonjour, mon ami.
Il n'y a pas de livre pourtant fondé sur les images de blog et les commentaires, mais c'est possible qu'un jour vous l'un verrez. Je l'annoncerai sur le blog quand ce jour arrive.

There is no book yet based on the blog pictures and comments, but it is possible that one day you will see one. I will announce it on the blog when that day arrives.

Erik Bongers said...

Sun-in-back painting (I'm sure there's a nice french term for it) is for me the most difficult kind of light situation to portray.
You have virtually no shadows to model your shapes, and the whole scene has a tendency to become flat.
The darkness of the sky is a bit unreal in this case : one of the few situations where the sky can be darker than the landscape.

All of this adds to a flattening effect. Especially in a rougher impressionistic rendering it is difficult to incorporate that subtle shadow on the outer edges of objects.
Even in these two paintings, especially the first one, only a few very sharp, thin and dark shadows hint at the direction of the light.
But in both paintings the tree trunk seems flat rather than round.

In my opinion, hyper-realism does more justice to a frontal illuminated scene than impressionism. I think this sort of light is one of the few situations where impressionism as a technique falls short.

Cory said...

It appears as if they used different palettes(?) There are some common colors but the sky colors are so different. Would anyone happen to know what the difference may have been and why?
Thank you for a great website Jim!

DavidStill said...

It's interesting how nearly all of the different details are painted similarly, but the tents have completely different structures!

ev said...

James, there is a great book on the Aus Impressionists called 'Australian Impressionism' from an exhibition by the National Gallery of Victoria. Great reproductions and an awesome range of work. I picked it up from the National Gallery in Canberra's store. Im not sure if its available online.

James Gurney said...

I can second Ev's recommendation for the book on Australian Impressionism. I found it at a bookstore in the US, and it's loaded with excellent reproductions and a really interesting text.