Marrying technical prowess with the intangible….is the goal of an artist.
To achieve technical prowess an artist must work at honing his/her skills for years. This takes dedication and consistent work habits.
To tap into the intangible, an artist must take from life experiences, inner feelings and emotions.
Although commendable, pure technique doesn’t make for sublime art. In the same way spewing ones emotions on the canvas without any technical know how, although therapeutic, often leads to frustration.
The two elements need to be married.
When I visited the Joseph Mallord Turner, RA – Turner and The Sea – exhibition at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, last Friday, I was reminded of this.
Born in London, 1775 – Turner became a very successful commercial and fine artist. For anyone interested in learning more about him, there are of course many books, however when visiting London, there is a wonderful permanent collection at Tate Britain.
He worked in oils and watercolour, and it was his watercolours during the latter part of his career where we see the combination of technical prowess and the intangible…played out so beautifully.
This oil painting was the first of Tuner’s exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1796
Known for large theatrical oils….in this oil painting shown at the exhibition, we see Turner’s technical prowess in all its glory..
One of his earlier watercolours.
And then, this is where we see Turner move to a totally different level, where he marries technical prowess with the intangible.
Called mad by the art critics of the day….Turner had the courage and independence to do his own thing…..and thank goodness he did.
In his latter watercolours, we can feel the wind and hear the roar of the waves….they are superb.
Turner loved the sea and was fascinated by its violent power, but he also painted beautiful landscapes where he was able to capture the same sense of atmosphere.
This famous image entitled, Rain, Steam and Speed, is a perfect example of this.
And so to all we mere mortals, it’s literally back to the drawing board….:)
I will be writing about the recent seminar I attended…but this will now have to be next week.