Thursday, May 21, 2009

Subject Matter


A fellow painter once remarked, upon viewing some of my landscapes, that it was clear I lived in a country setting. Like so much in painting, this could be interpreted in numerous ways. It does however put forth the question of subject matter, and what best suits each painter. Initially, my landscapes were an attempt to break away from the structured forms of past still life paintings. Scenes such as the one above, oil on canvas, 20 by 28 inches, practically demand a more open application of paint and colour. The subject matter changed the approach and even style of painting. Also, I have actually worked, cutting wood, in the forest depicted. How much does a personal connection find its way into the final image? If I packed up and painted landscapes in a different part of the world, would something be missing?

The counter-argument to all of this would be the works of Vincent Van Gogh. His favorite subjects were portraits, landscapes, and still lifes; the three most common in painting. Regardless of which one, Van Gogh's talent, skill, and of course expressive abilities, shown through. In other words, it didn't matter what he painted, his personality dominated.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Sören Dawson said...

Thanks for the kind words. I agree that my older posts aren't as good. Initially, I had planned for this blog to more casual, with painting tips, product reviews, and so forth. However, it soon became a strictly theoretical discussion.

Artist said...

You're right. I think painting different matters makes the painting style grow.

Sören Dawson said...

Alternating subjects, at least occasionally, will perhaps ensure that a painter does not begin to over rely on a particular motif to build on, or express themselves. Some styles, clours, and even mediums, seem to work better for certain painters. Subject matter can also become a focus, at least for a while, and still allow advancement.