Saturday, August 27, 2011

Natures Mortes au Pastel - Patrick Martin - part 2

With reference to my previous post, here's a translated version of the contents of Martin's new book. It can  probably be purchased direct from the publisher Ulisseditions. I have also translated the opening section of Chapter One. Just a taste - il faut la dégustation, quoi!

1.Still Life - definition, subjects, themes
2. Pastel - history, supports, medium, techniques, colour.
3. The Creative Process - the spark, choosing the objects, texture and material, composition, lighting
4. The story of a painting from A to Z
5. Step by step demos (3 different paintings)
6. Close up on the details
7. The artistic series
8. The finishing stages
9. Twelve steps towards progress
- Keep on trucking
- Take a step back
- Avoiding painter's block
- Put quality first
- Hasten slowly
- Deepen your learning
- Take master classes
- Don't rest on your laurels
- Accept criticism
- Don't desperately seek an individual style
- Learn to be modest, humble even
- When you are ready, take on the world.

Chapter 1 - Still Life
Definition - a minor art form.?

My definition of Still Life can be summed up in a single phrase:
Esthetic painting represents a set-up, on a support, of made objects and/or of elements animal, vegetable or mineral, in an organised fashion, that can have a decorative or intellectal mission.
Three apples suffice. But not just any apples. Three apples chosen for their beauty, form and color. And not placed haphazardly. Placed with care, with deliberation. Each placed in relation with the others, in different positions, in a calculated space. Despite its apparent simplicity, the exercise of still life painting is governed by rules and laws with which the artist must be familiar.
According to the historical classification of painting genres, still life was considered a minor art form. But despite its Cinderella status and perceived lack of prestige, it has exercised an irresistable attraction for numerous artists over the centuries. Great painters have approached this discipline and elevated it to greatness: Chardin, Van Gogh, Manet, Cézanne, Braque - the list is unending.
Why so many? It is an essential stage, decided by the artist, to discover himself, to find himself, an affirmation of his artistic self. It is a laboratory where one works on one's technique, creates a style. There can be no excuses. The ensemble of parameters must be mastered. Time stands still; nothing moves. The artist decides the subject, the elements, the composition, the light, the setting, the harmony, the treatment - there are no concessions. It is an excellent school wherein to learn humility and self-doubt. It is a style of painting wherein one's self is reflected. No cheating is possible. An essential aspect of art, still life is a test of truth.

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