Monday, September 6, 2010

More on Tonalism

Here is another painting done while sitting the gallery.

Rear View Mirror, 8x10, Oil on Board

The reference for this painting is from a thumbnail in a sketch book done on the way to an early morning paint out in November.  It is a tonalist approach.

Tonalism is an approach to painting that involves systematically presenting the image with a dominant tone and in a restricted color scheme. Often the images  are mostly in earth colors so black could be on the palette.  Grays can be laced into a tonalist painting without losing the look.There are tonalist painters today who favor chromatic colors. So what pigments are used is secondary to the logic with which they are arrayed.
Edgar Payne suggested that in order to keep a painting dominated by a single tone all that was required was to remove its complement from your palette. In other words if you are doing a tonalist painting based on an ochre yellow, you want to avoid the use of purple.
Often tonalist paintings are backlit by sunsets or failing light and are in dark tones set against that light. Other tonalist schemes weave a single color through a painting like the warp strings of a tapestry.  Tonalism is sort of the opposite of impressionism which is made up of the transcribed mosaic of the observed notes of nature before the artist. Therefore impressionist color is usually full spectrum rather than restricted to a single group of hues.
Tonalist painting is often used to depict a mood in a painting rather than the representation of any actual place. Usually they are done in the studio. The color, design and the mood were the subject rather than a unique location.

Of course you can mix and match, you are the artist.

Drive Way, 6x8, Oil on Board

In this painting, done in the tonal atmosphere of sitting the gallery, there are passages of broken colour impressionism.

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