Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Seminar on the art practice of Colin McCahon, due Monday, I have opted for Question B. My Research Practice Influcences, Explain using specific examples the way in which the artist research method has influenced the way that our work or your practice. Explain what you have learnt from writing this seminar.

Six Days in Nelson and Canterbury, 1950, oil, McCahon
The Promised Land, 1948, oil on canvas, McCahon
Internationally renowned New Zealand born painter Colin McCahon painted on large scale canvasses,
using the paint mediums of oil and acrylic. His influences were other abstact expressionist lanscape painters such as Toss Woollaston. McCahon was also heavily influenced by Biblical and Spiritual motifs, and he painted with a dark, murky palette. Cubism and tonal painting were of interest to McCahon. Later on in his career, McCahon added text to his work, and he was known to paint barren landscapes, inspired by the hills of Otago, Northland and Nelson (as depicted above), as well as some of the Titirangi region, especially the many Kauri trees.

 My own work is influenced by McCahon as I enjoy the atmospheric, muddied colours he painted with. I also enjoy the form of his landscapes, and the isolation that his paintings so often depict. His painterly style is of interest to me, the thickness and thinness of the application of the paint, and the relationships of oranges against brown, creams and black. This lends impact and atmosphere to the work, wish I wish to push in mine. McCahon actually travelled many of the landscapes he painted, and as a practicing Christian, he added Biblical motifs to his work, such as the Crucifixition. McCahon also added spiritual symbolism to his works, such as candles and jugs, as in the painting above, titled The Promised Land. The tones he chose to paint in also add an interesting realm to his works.

The three above images of paintings by McCahon are diverse in their range, but connected by both sytle and colour. McCahon was interested in both figurative painting and exploring colour.. This has enthused me to push my own work towards a more conceptual direction, to grow my own research practise (towards more contemporary New Zealand landscape painters), and to study figuaritive painting on an intensive level, including looking at the painters who greatly influenced McCahon, such as fellow New Zealanders, Toss Wollaston, Rita Angus, James K Baxter and the movement of German Expressionst painters, such as the German Expresionist painter, Edvard Munch.

I really enjoy the fact that McCahon added text to his later works; with this he was pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable at the time, and he felt that his paintings without words were not expressing his message fully. My own landscape painting has changed because due to my study of McCahon, and I wish to express the isolation and atmosphere that McCahon was such a master at. I too wish to borrow from the schools of Cubism, Tonalism and Abstract Expressionism, and to paint about painting, rather than merely depicting a view.

What I have learned from writing this seminar is that a diverse range of research materials, such as books, DVDs, magazine or blog articles, etc, really helps the cause, that editing is vital, this seminar is to be presented for three minutes only, that I struggled to master Power Point, and that adding visuals to my text adds impact to the overall result. To answer the question posed, to avoid going off into tangents.

 I also learned that I wish to go much further with my own painting, to push the conventions and boundaries, to improve my colour mixing and to play with varying styles of paint layering, such as thick thin, the use of palette knives and to experiment with painting on surfaces other than canvas, such as wood, board, paper, linen, cloth, soft material, lino-cuts, and to add to my painting tools, to use charcoal, Indian Ink. pencil, pastels, graphite, to draw and paint on varying scales. To explore my interest in photography further, to mix it up with and perhaps combine with the language of painting. To paint landscapes from real life,  but to mostly paint about painting itself. To improve upon my research practice, and to take the time to research at a more in-depth level. For example, to look into the influences upon Toss Woollaston, and the wider influcences upon McCahon, such as the German Expressionists and Surrealist painters,followed up by the influences upon them. To ensure that my research is fully layered and contextual. Thank you for listening. Any questions?


I Am TVNZ documentary on DVD
Art New Zealand Magazine, issue...
www.the art of
the Dundedin School of Art
www.James K
Colin McCahon Artist New Edition, Reed, NZ, 1984

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