Monday, April 30, 2018

Rainy Days in 19th Century Painting

Nineteenth-century painters loved capturing the unique effects of rainy weather and wet streets.

"Rainy Day in Paris" by Ulpiano Checa (Spanish, 1860-1916).
Ulpiano Checa (Spanish, 1860-1916) blurs the silhouettes of the buildings and carriages, and reserves his detail for the horses.

Columbus Avenue, Rainy Day by Childe Hassam, 1885
Childe Hassam (American 1859-1935) painted Columbus Avenue in New York City. He also softens the distant buildings and he groups the scene into two large blocks of tone.


rock995 said...

A wonderful rainy day painting. Yours also!

scottT said...

I've been thinking about how to paint a wet street since watching your demo yesterday. I'm feeling that a good approach might be to think of it as a body of water--with all the same sky and tree reflections as you would paint say, in a lake or pond picture, and set objects ON it instead of in it? James, you really captured the feel of a rainy day.

Jim Douglas said...

Be grateful for the radical effect of wet surfaces. They reflect objects and thereby create new and strange local symmetries, very similar to a Rorschach test. The new "shapewelds" offer the artist a chance to see with fresh eyes that which has become stale or ordinary. The reflective properties of water also allow the effects of light to overcome local color. Black asphalt roads become gleaming white ribbons. The artist is forced to take notice of all these wonderful transformations for everything is made new.

James Gurney said...

Jim, that's all so true, and poetically stated. And I had never thought of it exactly that way. Wet streets both unify and simplify.

Scott, yes, the reflective principles are like water surfaces, though you can get sloping wet surfaces that don't reflect vertically. And there's usually puddling vs. rough spots, so it's uneven.