Friday, July 27, 2007

Flowers in Art: Contemporary Artists #1

Plums with Anemones
copyright Paul Riley (Riley Arts)

Earlier in July, for my Flowers in Art month, I looked at some of the people who painted flowers in the past (see links at the end) and particular artists whose work has always interested me. Today is my first post about some more of today's contemporary artists who paint flowers and interest me and/or have influenced my own approach to art. Today it's the turn of three men - and I'll be posting about some more women who paint flowers tomorrow!

I didn't realise until I started these blog posts about contemporary artists just how many of them work in watercolour or goache........which I'm sure says far more about me than the range of artists painting flowers today. However, I'm very happy to have suggestions (via the comments box) as to other contemporary painters of flowers who others have found stimulating.

Contemporary artists

Joseph Raffael has a unique approach to the painting of flowers in watercolour. You can see his work on his website - I recommend the archives for a more full appreciation of his work with flowers - which are very large, complex, colourful and apparently both saturated and transparent at the same time. His processes are fascinating and are explained in the book about his work - Reflections of Nature - and also in his online autobiography here.

If you want to see the work in progress progressions or watch the videos you need to have Quicktime installed.

Raffael got his BFA from Yale School of Arts and studied colour and chromatic interactions with Josef Albers. It's maybe not so surprising that the use of colour is such a strong focus of his work.

Charles Reid is a very popular watercolour artists and tutor who has written a number of very successful books for students of watercolour painting including Painting Flowers in Watercolour.

His approach to watercolour is very fresh and spontaneous. I remember vividly the first time I saw a painting of his in a book which has drips! His subjects very much lean towards the 'found' school of composition. Which is not to say they are - he also has an excellent book on composition (Painting What You Want to See) - but they looks like they are!

His website suggests that he's now rather more interested in landscapes and doesn't have too many paintings of flowers however this one - Pintail - provides an excellent indication of his style. You can find details of his workshops here.

I first met Paul Riley on a painting holiday in Bali in 1992, learned a lot and had fun doing so and subsequently signed up for courses with Riley Arts at Coombe Farm in Devon where his studio and the family gallery are both based.

I've watched him paint flowers in the studio and 'en plein air' in the past in an almost calligraphic approach. He tends to work on whole sheets, uses oriental brushes a lot and often completes his paintings very quickly - which is and will be a complete revelation to anybody who is hung up on detail using a sable brush with a small point!

His books Flower Painting and Watercolour Workshop are great for all those who like a contemporary approach to watercolour and love their brushes and want to find out different ways of using them for the purposes of painting flowers. They provide excellent staged approaches to work in progress for those wanting to develop their skills. If you ever go on a course in the UK or abroad you'll find yourself mixing with students who keep coming back for more!

So who's your favourite contempory male artist who draws or paints flowers?

Links to "Making a Mark" posts for "Flowers in Art" month:


Jo Castillo said...

Hi Katherine,
Here is one of my favorite flower painters,Joe Anna Arnett. Don't know if you already have reference to her? She has been featured in The Artists Magazine many times.

I just love the old fashioned softness in her work. Mostly oils as I recall.


Anonymous said...

Katherine, you put my favorite right up there at the top of the list. I have watched Joseph's work for about 25 or so years. Two years ago I was lucky enough to go meet him in NY. What a gracious man, and nothing comes close to seeing his work IRL. He turns those spots of color into jewels.

hokieglenn said...

Joseph Raffael is fabulous. There is a great site with his work, i will try to find it and post. This is a great blog with some great info.


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