Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Glare Aesthetic

"Glare Aesthetic" 8x10, oil/matboard

Before the Impressionists learned that color relationships can be used to make subjects appear sunny and bright, painters invoked a concept called the "glare aesthetic" to do the same. Basically, this involved using large, bright planes next to small areas of deep darks. Contrast and lots of white paint did the trick. Color has nothing to do with it. You may have seen a similar effect when walking a beach on a very sunny day without your sunglasses.

Down by Oak Creek along the flat shelves of pink rock we see it, too. At noontime, the pink is nearly bleached out by the sun, and the only relief for our aching eyes are the little shadow areas under ledges or where vegetation gathers. The other day, I decided to capture the effect, and to see how rapidly I could do it. Broad strokes, quick color mixes and paying attention to, above all, value contrast, gave me the effect I wanted.

Who had the right approach? The Impressionists or the Glare Aesthetic School? Either can give you a powerful and dynamic painting.


Dana Chabino said...

Very nice painting! I really like the color reflections in the water.


Sharon Weaver said...

Hi Michael
I see that you have my blog listed and thought I would return the favor. Great work and good to find another plein air artist.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Dana and Sharon!

Fritz Engelhardt said...

Hallo Michael, very nice to see your works: painting, picasa and
books. An impressing landscape exhibition in Pastell. My main media are water color and oil on lines.


Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Danke vielmals, Fritz!

Bill Cramer said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this subject. Sometmes I try to remind myself that if I'm using a lot of white to depict the glare, that I've probably made a color or value error somewhere along the line. I try to slow down and see where I might have gone wrong. I wonder if the trouble starts by begining in an Impressionist style and then moving into a Glare Aesthtic style? Can the two co-exist in the same painting?

Your example painting is great, though do you wish you had used something other than matboard? You never really know when you're going to have a personal painting high point and it seems a shame to capture it on something not quite so archival. Just a thought... Bill

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Bill. I think you can use the Glare Aesthetic and impressionism in the same piece. And it is a danger to use too much white. White, as you know, cools and greys color. As for matboard - let me hear your thoughts on the archival quality of matboard. I'm using Crescent conservation matboard (lignin- and acid-free woodpulp) with two coats of Blick acrylic gesso.

Bill Cramer said...

All things being equal, I suppose that a canvas, a wood panel and a piece of mat board (especially the type you are using) would last equally as long in a safe environment. Although, I'm pretty sure the wood panel would last the longest.

I guess my concerns are not only about the long lasting qualities of the material, but its everyday durability. Wood panels have a lot of knock-around durabilty. Canvas can be cut or punctured and matboard can be dented or bent. How well are your mat panels holding up?

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

I'd probably go with the wood, too. The matboard is holding up all right. What I'll do is mount them to ... wood!

Bill Cramer said...

That sounds like a good plan. If you get one you really like and want to preserve a little better, mount it.

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