|The Art of Painting, by Johannes Vermeer 130 x 110cm, 1666
||“The Art of Painting” by Anne Shingleton, 26 x 16.5 cm, 2010
Why do the paintings of Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) stand out from those of his contemporaries?
His handling of light entering a room and bathing the subjects and his control of tonal values is particulary remarkable. Holland in the mid 1600s was well known for the development of optical devices, including lenses, so it seems natural to assume that Vermeer could have used some sort of camera obscura as an aide to his painting.
Nigel Konstam, a sculptor and historian, living in Tuscany, invited me to carry out an experiment to show that Vermeer could also have used two mirrors. I found the experience most enlightening, despite the bad light and wintery weather outside.
I will certainly be experimenting with mirrors, in my my future work.
Working on the painting, with a large upright mirror behind me and a smaller, secondary mirror, together with my canvas on an easel.
A painted terracotta bust of Rembrandt poses, dressed in colours often favoured by Vermeer.
I am painting the image I see in the secondary mirror so that I can include myself in the painting, as we think Vermeer may well have done, in “The Art of Painting”.
For a complete write up of the experiment please go to Nigel's Blog:
You will also find Nigel's interests go further and there is plenty to check out. His Museum of Artist's Secrets discussed in his blog can be viewed by appointment at the Verrocchio Art Centre, Casole.
Art courses are held throughout the summer.
An exhibition of oil paintings and studies on the swan
This major new one-woman show is born out of a fascination for the stunning visual impact of the ever-changing light on 'white' animals – in this case, exclusively the swan – and is the culmination of more than two year's concentrated study. The works range from large and meticulously finished studio paintings on canvas to smaller plein air studies on wood panel.
To visualize the catalogue "Light on White" go to Publications
INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITION "LIGHT ON WHITE" BY THE ARTIST
My beloved theme of sunlight continues in this, my latest exhibition, with
two slight differences: I have focused on a single subject matter - the
swan - and have created the larger works in the studio. This method of
working requires not only a clear image in my head before I put brush to
canvas but also an enormous amount of preliminary work - as will be seen
from the number of studies on show! Studio work, as opposed to plein air
painting, depends on a strong visual memory but also gives the opportunity
to concentrate in greater depth on the composition and to refine the more
sophisticated techniques used in oil painting.
Although the swan and the effects of sunlight on its plumage is
ever-present, each painting is different, going beyond the superficial
image of this magnificent creature to portray it as it really lives. I
was drawn to the swan not only because, with it's brilliant white and
elegant plumage, it has always held a fascination for me but also
because the only managed colony of mute swans in the world is in my
home county of Dorset. Most of my studies were made at the Abbotsbury
Swannery, which shelters up to 150 nesting pairs and at times up to 600
free-flying swans. My thanks go to all who make me so welcome on my
visits to the reserve.
Surprisingly, increasing familiarity with the subject matter - in this
case, the swan - continues to reveal ever greater possibilities for me:
the more I do, the more I want to do! Thus, this body of work on the
mute swan represents the beginning of a very personal journey as well
as my own vision of these magnificent birds and I hope that you will
share my appreciation of their undoubted beauty.