Painterly Techniques

Having no creative talent whatsoever, I often marvel at how an artist actually creates. As a consequence, I try to look closely at the art work so I can see the brush strokes, thickness of paint, blending of colours etc. 

At the Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, I had the chance to get up and personal with David Bomberg and Francis Bacon and was struck by two techniques they employed. 

In this self portrait by Bomberg, look at the shading of his jaw line: a swirling line of dark grey is all it is! Yet, if I tried that, all you would see is a swirling line of dark grey!  Those rough strokes give a vibrancy to the portrait that should not be possible, but they do!  

In Portrait of Lisa, Bacon uses an unprimed canvas, as was his style but here he uses it as shading to create the shadowy contours of her face. Wonderful!