Art Styles – Romanesque to Renaissance

Art Styles – Romanesque to Renaissance

I wanted to get my head round all the art styles that have come and gone through the ages, so I’ve put together a summary for people like me who like to keep things brief and superficial. The pictures are nice though.

I’ve started at the Romanesque period.

Romanesque – about 1000 AD to 1200AD

The artists in this period used mainly primary colours (because they didn’t have any others), had very little depth, and (like me) didn’t like landscape backgrounds….

Jan van Eyck

Jan van Eyck

Seventy odd years before Leonardo and Michelangelo did their thing, Jan van Eyck was doing stuff with paint you wouldn’t believe.

Van Eyck painted some of the most realistic paintings ever seen at the time. Take a look at the The Arnolfini Portrait painted in 1434.

What a cheek! (or My Portrait Painting Palette)

What a cheek!  (or My Portrait Painting Palette)

Skin colours are tricky.

I’m a Caucasian Cumbrian and I have skin so I can safely use myself as an example. First thing, don’t be fooled into thinking that even my insipid skin is a light shade of pink because it isn’t, unless you’ve seen my ears after a couple of glasses of wine.

Here’s a photo of my cheek to prove it.

Ignore the wrinkles, that’s a fault on my HTC selfie camera, just look at the subtle differences of colour.

I need a new light bulb

I need a new light bulb

This is the first post that I really feel like an artist, and the reason for that is I’m about to start whinging about the quality of light in my artist’s studio (spare bedroom).

I live in Cumbria and have little experience with sunlight but I’m told north facing light is the thing all artists need. You need a decent sized window looking north and then you’ll get lovely diffused light filtering through onto your canvas (if you live in the southern hemisphere it’s a south facing window).

Acrylics Essentials – The Stay Wet Palette

Acrylics Essentials – The Stay Wet Palette

When I first squeezed out a tube of acrylic paint onto my palette I hated its guts. One brushful hardly went anywhere and my brush almost dried solid on the canvas as I was painting.

‘This can’t be right,’ I repeated to myself until every blob of stupid acrylic dried like concrete onto my palette. I knew the drying time of acrylics was quick but crikey me to use this properly I would need eight brushes and move like Keanu Reeves once he’d mastered the Matrix.

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio

WARNING: There’s maths on this page.

The Golden Ratio is this number 1.6180339887…. (also known as phi) this value is an approximation since the decimals keep going on and on forever. If you keep dividing a rectangle into the ratio 1: 1.618 (I’ve truncated the number because I find typing numbers to infinity tiresome) then you get this pattern:

Portrait Painting System

Portrait Painting System

I’m no expert but I think if you’re painting someone’s picture it should at least bare a slight resemblance to what they look like, otherwise what’s the point, it could be anyone. So I have a system and I’ve given it a fancy name:

The Nine Dot System

The nine dot system is just an easy way of getting started. It uses the fact that, in most cases, when a person is looking right at you their eyes are the same width, and the distance between their eyes is also this width.

Confusing Art Terms

Confusing Art Terms

I am constantly confused by art writing when the writers/artists refer to hues, intensities, values, tones, saturation etc. So I’ve written down, as best I can, the definitions. The reason I say ‘the best I can’ is because it’s obvious other people are equally as confused out there, so exact definitions are hard to come by.

Let’s start with an easy one:

Hue

This is just the name of a colour e.g. red, blue, green, it sounds more technical than it is so use it when you want to sound clever.

Glazing and scumbling

Glazing and scumbling

Thought I’d clear up in my mind the difference between glazing and scumbling.

Glazing is a layer of semi-transparent paint laid over another painted surface so the original colours still show through. It is usually dark over light. To make the layer transparent the paint is usually diluted with medium like linseed oil.

It’s a wet over dry process, so before putting another glaze on top you must wait for the previous layer to dry completely. You need to be patient if creating a painting with a lot of glazes.

Fat over lean

Fat over lean

Fat over lean is the major rule of oil painting so I thought I’d better look into it a little. It turns out it’s quite simple, and I like that.

Fatness is oiliness. The more oil you add to a colour the fatter it becomes, it’s as simple as that. Forget about thickness we’re only talking oiliness.

Paint straight out of a tube has a certain amount of oil in it, add a bit of solvent and the paint becomes leaner, add a bit of linseed oil (or other oil) and the paint becomes fatter.