Well, of course, if I'm showing you my favorite artists, I simply have to include John Singer Sargent. He is the maestro.
To me, he represents supreme confidence: he knows just what he wants to do and he seems to do it effortlessly. Notice that he's not shy about his use of intense colors in his watercolors, but his touch is so sure and swift. He's almost dashing out these paintings, each one a gem. The folds in the fabrics of these figures are luminous. I don't know anyone else who communicates "fabric" the way he does:
Sargent was born in 1856 in Florence, Italy. His American parents were expatriates, and the family traveled continually, so he grew up around the world, and was comfortable everywhere.
Of course, as is often the case, Sargent was mostly successful for his oil paintings, but I personally think his watercolors are his masterpieces. Look closely at this one--the background seems to have some sort of resist technique--(perhaps wax?)--or the use of gouache?-- that creates a wonderful effect surrounding the figure here:
For someone like me, (whose email address happens to be "loveitaly@...") Sargent's watercolors of Venice are just sublime...they're some of my favorites. He merely suggests buildings and water, but even though everyone eventually paints Venice, no one does it quite the way he does.
Broad swathes of color in the exact right values cover his works:
He was equally adept at portraits, landscapes, and figure painting.
Growing up, we had this Sargent print (below) hanging above the fireplace in my parents' home. My parents always said the children in this oil painting reminded them of us as kids. My mom had made us dresses that resembled the ones the little girls in this portrait wore. I admit that I smile every time I see it now...its quite dark, but the light in it is amazing, and the composition itself is unusual and always appealed to me.
Ah, to have the confidence and the skill of a Sargent!
Here is a watercolor study that was later developed into an oil painting by Sargent:
...and the oil:
Is it any wonder I'm enamored of this artist?
"The good watercolors take a lifetime--plus a half an hour." (--Toni Onley)
6 days ago