Sunday, March 25, 2018

Frank Bramley's "Domino!"

Great compositions rarely arrive fully formed in your head. They require rough drafts. A color study is where that happens. Here's an example.

Frank Bramley, Study for Domino!, 8 3/4 x 10 1/4"
For example, Frank Bramley (1857-1915) came up with an interesting idea for a painting: A girl and a woman sit at a table. The white dress fuses with the tablecloth to make a larger shape. And the dark shape of the chair blends with other dark shapes.

Nice idea, but still a little "blah." The wall and the ground plane are flat and undefined, and the white shape is stuck in the middle.

Frank Bramley, Domino!,  24 x 36"
Look how he develops it. The figures are playing dominoes, adding a feeling of dolce far niente. A couple of prints hang on the wall, a carpet covers the floor, and a few stairs lead off to another part of the house, with just a dash of light in the hallway. By developing the Z dimension with foreground and background, he improves the houding.

Everything is a foil for the big effect. Those linked white shapes cascade into the foreground, all painted with that angular, square-brush technique. Great shapes, no lazy edges.
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Books: Stanhope Forbes and the Newlyn School

4 comments:

Ola Sarri said...

It's so cool to see how much he makes up in his head to improve the painting. This is where I'm struggling myself at the moment, I find it difficult to paint from imagination (which is why your book is on my to buy-list).

Janet Oliver said...

He also set the action further back into the picture plane, giving the viewer some space to enter the composition.

scottT said...

Great analysis. I learned a lot. I like paintings from life, but I can perhaps appreciate even more the intentional self contained artistic statement which comes about from gleaning material from studies for use in carefully planned studio compositions.

Matt Dicke said...

Great example of designing a image with value and shape. Didn't know Frank's work before going to look it up now.
THanks