Lesson 5

Space! The final frontier! So far we have addressed the two genres: the landscape and the portrait. These are spatially simple: essentially isolated objects within a void. This lesson will address something more spatially complex: the landscape. 

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Mixing Paint

It is common that as you are painting, much of the paint that you apply will not be used straight from the tube, rather it will be mixed. This mixing can take place on the canvas or on the pallet. Most of the ‘serious’ mixing will be done on the pallet with the fine-tuning being done on the canvas. The science of mixing is simple enough…
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Contemporary Art

You are young Singaporean creatives, and as such you have a duty (yes, duty) to acquaint yourself with what is happening now in creative culture, especially that of the part of the world in which you live. For this you would be wise to visit the notable contemporary art galleries and art spaces that pepper Singapore.  There is another good reason to visit art galleries:

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Art History

In the duration of this course there will be slide shows many of which will be illustrated with key examples from western painting art history. These will mostly be taken from pre-modern (i.e. before 1880) art. Why should you, as young Singaporeans, be in the smallest bit interested in the work of old, dead, Europeans?

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Form: Composition

One of the crucial differences between a drawing and a painting is that a painting usually requires more careful consideration of its 2D spatial qualities. In a drawing we might carelessly place a rendering of a figure upon the paper and give no consideration at all to the surrounding white space that extends to the edges and the four corners. In a painting this is less likely to be true. This consideration is called composition. It may be considered to be a conscious organizing of its many spatial atributes.

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The Work Space

A painter’s work environment is as well organized as a surgeon’s: things need to be in the right place at the right time. This environment includes such things as the palette, the easel, the painting stage and the lights. What function do these objects serve? How is this space managed?

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Brushes, Knives, Pallets etc

What’s the difference between a filbert brush and a flat brush? How is a Chinese ink brush different to a western oil paint brush? What is the difference between a painting knife and a palette knife? What is the difference between a portable pallet and a studio palette? Why should this difference matter?

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Fantastical Subject Matter

In the entire history of art, very few painters have made their paintings entirely from prime reference. In other words, not many painters have just stood in front of something and painted it. There is a degree of invention to all painting, but given the degree of freed that art entails, most artists would rather paint dragons and rocket ships  than tea pots and bored models.

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The Painting Surface

Most students will do their paintings on commercially prepared canvases or painting boards. In doing so they are handing over to the art manufacturers the responsibility of deciding the size and proportion of their painting (as well as the qualities of the primer). These values are too important for anyone but the artist to decide.

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Paint: its Application

Paint is a physical material, composed of pigment, binder and (sometimes) an extender. It is often combined with dilutent (e.g. linseed oil). Additionally, the manner in which paint behaves is, in part, dependent on the surface it is painted upon, as in the case of using the primer or underpainting to supply the white values in a painting. The painting can also be treated after it has dried, with varnishes or glazes. The many ways that paint can be applied are almost without bound and all are dependent upon these physical qualities.

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