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.

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