Friday, July 27, 2012

I was so utterly impressed recently with the Edgar Payne show that I had to try a painting on a more grand scale. It's interesting looking at his work with mature eyes. I can remember when I first saw his work and like most newer painters, you think it's about the thick brush work. It's so not. Every mark in his best paintings is a design element. The strokes tell us something about the form. The shapes are carefully designed to be interesting versions of reality. The patterns are thoughtful designed and executed to be brilliant passages of calligraphy that would stand on there own if you were to peel them off the canvas. the subtle color modulation reveals a plane change. His design is deceptive because it comes off as simplistic in that it seems like anyone can make a thick brush stroke BUT that stroke carries with it the weight of strong design, solid drawing, clear separation of light and dark, modulated color and the complete understanding of the 3 dimensional space he's indicating on a flat surface!!
It was fascinating to have my memory of what I used to see in his work and compare it to what I AM able to see now. They're are very few living painters of the landscape who have such control over drawing, design, composition and careful value and color control today. Lack of drawing today I think is robbing us of the understanding of form and composition. Drawing isn't a trick of the wrist, it's a method of understanding form and design.


Blogger MandrilL said...


7:32 PM  
Blogger Stryke said...

good post :)

4:00 AM  
Blogger estevaolucas said...


10:06 AM  
Blogger Jussi Tarvainen said...

Robh, thank you very much for sharing this. I can very much relate to enjoying his work for the simplicity yet failing to understand the design elements you speak of.

Great to have someone point out some things to look for.

And a grand painting you've done as well:)

5:19 AM  
Blogger John-Paul Balmet said...

Hah! Thanks for the post...I didn't even know who Payne was. I just received the catalog for the show. The shapes, colors and compositions he used are really wonderful. I especially love his Southwestern work.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Steve Chon said...

amazing work Robh!!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

well said, Robh. Love the TRON work too

7:46 AM  
Blogger Gregory Manchess said...

Holy CRUD, Robh.....your comments here are DEAD ON.

Fabulous! I hear you!

Greg Manchess

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Blogger RICOD said...

Thank you, I'm all inspired to see his work in real life now! ^^ His composition book has become one of those books I revisit constantly.

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