Friday, 9 November 2007

How much texture do you need?

I have written much recently about the importance textures have for me in paintings.
In fact, when I begun to move away from pastels to paint, I was keen on working with oils precisely for their ability to layer heavily and thickly. In fact, one of the first purchases for my acrylics (which were the paint I started with, rather than oils) was heavy impasto medium.

In any case, talking about textures also made me realise that it's more subtle than 'a lot of texture'. In fact, with may heavy layering and impasto I often find I lose the interest in some paintings - e.g., while I admired Leon Kossoff's drawings at the National Gallery, I was rather quickly moving away from some of his oil paintings.

Similarly, Strindberg's abstract and evocative land- and seascapes are heavily textured but... hm... I dunno... I haven't quite figured out what it is about texture/too much texture, but my first hunch is a question of opaqueness and how much light is coming through the painting. Strindberg's waves and clouds are very dark and brooding, at the same time he seems to work liberally with white to lighten his darks, yet it seems flat and opaque.

August Strindberg, Stormy Sea, Broom Buoy
Oil on Board, 1892
Nationalmuseum Stockholm

Does the light of the canvas balance texture?

There's a question to contemplate for a bit... or maybe it's a different question that needs asking...

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