Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on gettting distance through design, ut ut!

Here is another Gruppe for me to unpack. This was painted in Waterville, Vermont, near Jefforsonville. I would like first to call your attention to this.....

This is another distance making ploy, a little like the one I talked about last night. Gruppe has drawn a diagonal line across the canvas and put all of the subject matter behind it. Everything in the middle ground is "over there". The side of the line marked 1 is the foreground, the side marked 2 above it and to the right, is the middleground and distance.

This is a physical way of obtaining depth. You all know about atmospheric perspective, but the problem with that, is it forces a blurry high key scheme on the whole upper half of a painting. That is OK sometimes but there are other ways to go. You want to always be in charge of the design of your painting, and choosing whether or not to use atmospheric perspective can give you control over your values and colors. I am not knocking atmospheric perspective, merely noting that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Gruppe has retained his strong values and color all the way up the canvas in this painting.

Here are some of the "pointing" lines in the picture. The road leads you into that dark bridge and then out the other side and up to the church with its triumphant spire joyously rocketing up into space. Notice several other pointers concealed in the picture, all directing you inwards. In the upper right there is a nice rising line in the clouds taking you out at that corner, if you must leave.

Here are the linked darks you have grown so tired of hearing me talk about! If you squint at this picture it is almost one big dark filigree laid over a white ground.


Philip Koch said...

I think this is my personal favorite of the Gruppe paintings you've posted, with a wonderful rhythm throughout its composition. Reminds me of a lot of Rockwell Kent's wood engravings that way. Your comments are spot on. I especially like the way Gruppe pushes the two closest structures (house and bridge) close together, squeezing the interval between them.

willek said...

Terrific post, Stape. I also just noticed the little touch of red along the left side. A little piece of building. He did it in the harbor scene, too, Could you comment on that?

billspaintingmn said...

"There's more than one way to skin a cat," (I tell my pet cat that a lot!)
Of coarse he just looks away like
"what else you got?"
This post on getting more distance
is defining! I have been attempting
to do so, and this explains not only how, but why.
Again, Stape, Thanks!

Ann Rogers said...

Thank you for these wonderful and insightful posts. Real food for thought!


Thank you for the illustrating the use of design to achieve distance. And you don't EVER have to stop talking about linking those darks.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I know that place so well. There is a Gruppe in the book of it that I prefer.It is a good one though. Do you know Carl Peter's work?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I noticed that too and I was not sure I liked it. his intention must have been to block of that side of the painting.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is an interesting little avenue, we so often thing about lighting values etc. Designing for distance is a little more exotic.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Diane ;
I point it out every time it shows up. It seems like I have talked about it till the readers must be linking darks in their sleep.

Philip Koch said...

Stape, yes I'm from Carl Peter's hometown of Rochester, NY and had the good fortune a few years ago of seeing a solo show of his at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD.