Have you ever been looking for a new place to live, visiting different apartments or houses, and every time you experience a new reaction to a place and its spaces? It always happens to me. Either I love the architecture and light in this one, or the landscaping and interiors really make me anxious in that one, or I can't get myself oriented to a layout and I walk around confused in another.
Environments are affecting and interior spaces, incredibly so. When putting oil on canvas an artist should be aware of this. There are several oil painting techniques that can evoke different reactions in viewers if the artist is inclined to employ them.
For example, a fine art oil painting from Adolph Menzel always makes me sigh with pleasure because of the appealing warmth the space never fails to evoke. One of my absolute favorite paintings is The Artist's Sitting Room in Ritterstrasse. The light is so lovely, almost warm and cool at the same time, and it is a dappled, diffuse light that makes the whole space seem even cozier. The warm reds and golds of curtains are contrasted to the blues and greens of the walls, so there's a visual balance that is inviting.
|The Artist's Sitting Room in Ritterstrasse
by Adolph Menzel, oil painting, 1851.
Vuillard was a master of making spaces that seem very truncated. I can't seem to find a way out of them visually speaking. In Green Interior, there's certainly a live-wire energy about it, but the space almost seems too imposing, maybe even a little threatening. I look at the figure and I wonder what he's doing and if he can concentrate in such an environment. I know I'd have a hard time doing so, and yet the composition is laid out in such a way that it feels like there's no way out.
|The Green Interior by Edouard Vuillard, oil painting, 1891.|
I found Leon Kroll's work, featured in current March/April issue of American Artist, very much loaded with a sense of anticipation. Interiors like The Conversation almost make me hold my breath, anticipating the drama that it is to come for the figures in the works. I think this has to do with the relatively shallow sense of space in the painting—the lack of the depth makes the unknown event loom that much more.
|The Conversation by Leon Kroll, oil painting, 1938.|
In every issue of American Artist, you'll find paintings with narratives and compositions that evoke different reactions in you with every turn of the page. That's the most exciting part of art—that it can always pull something new out of you, which is why American Artist is one of my artistic essentials. Without it, I'd feel like I wasn't feeling and seeing all the art that is out there. And that's just not an option! So consider your own subscription to American Artist and enjoy!
P.S. What paintings of interiors evoke a strong response in you? Leave a comment and let me know!