View Karl Isakson’s 1918 painting “Nature morte” as part of Wikimedia Commons.
I posted the process I used to paint my first oil painting in 30 years yesterday. “East Point Cliffs” is a rugged painting and rough around the edges, however, it is done. I need to begin again as I trust that not all learning is accomplished on one canvas. Yet, I couldn’t even consider painting the exact same image again, and then again. It is just not in my nature. It is an esteemed practice though. I have on my bookshelf from many years ago Complete Course in Oil Painting: Combined Edition – Four Volumes in One (1960) by Olle Nordmark. On page 123 he states the following:
“Beginners are inclined to think that experienced painters get their effects easily, without travail. This is not so. Great masters are great because they are willing to take infinite pains and do the work over again an indefinite number of times at any stage of the painting. Willingness to erase, or to start all over again on a clean painting surface is essential to good painting, whether you are a beginner or an artist of established reputation.”
Nordmark provides an example of Swedish painter Karl Isakson (1878-1922) known for his exact precision of tone. Isakson often discarded as many as 30 paintings of one subject before he was willing to show anyone his canvas. Thirty times. Thirty times painting the same subject again and again until the artist felt he had mastered his subject. As someone who loves colour, the results take my breath away. The pieces are timeless.
View Karl Isakson’s 1919 Udsigt över Svaneke at ArtNet.
I have provided two examples. To see some of Isakson’s other work explore this Google image search here. I even noticed more than one painting that has survive of the same subject.
So… I am publicly making a commitment to paint 30 paintings by the end of 2010 on the theme of Sea, Land and Time. I will, as much as my vulnerability will allow, let you look over my shoulder as I do so.
Sprout Question: Whose creative work before 1940 do you admire and what have you learned from them?
Note: If you, as some of you I know do, have a practice of creating from the same subject many times please feel free to provide a link to your work and tell us what you have learned in the process.
Best of the weekend to you:) Terrill
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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada