The idea for my final piece came to me whilst exploring artist Gerhard Richter. I recently came across this artist in a special “artist” edition of the French Magazine Beaux Arts published in June 2012. The magazine releases these out of series journals that focus on particular artists or subjects and are released at random times throughout the year: The magazine itself being a monthly release.
Gehrard Richter is an German artist who has been active in the art industry for more than six decades. Richter creates a lot of different pieces with a range of thoughts in mind. He does not just stick to one medium or idea, he is a very versatile artist. His pieces also come in a ranges of shapes and sizes. My attention was caught by his paintings of photographs. On a first glace his paintings look so realistic that we could easily mistake them for photos. The colour palette is so varied and his brushstrokes clear and consise that his paintings are eerily lifelike. I took a liking to them on my first glance and I was really inspired by what he had created. The painting that I appreciated the most is of a child called “Betty” and so named the piece. This piece came to life in 1988 and is oil on canvas. I feel oil is a medium that takes a lot of skill and patience and I have never had a chance to experiment with it, however it is a medium that I would love to try to overcome my fear of using it. I am intrigued by the technique that Richter uses to produce such a photo-realistic piece that even incorporates the out of focus background and the in-focus arm.
Throughout my project, I have highlighted profoundly my need to focus on the background as well as the foreground as I feel they are equally as important. Richter also works on landscapes and his oil works of the sea caught my attention and I love the technique he uses. His painting Marine (Nuageux) from 1968 in which he aims to glorify nature and create a romantic landscape just like Casper David Friedrich, whilst incorporating only black and white (with a dash of colour) oil paint. I love his style and know-how on such a piece, making the seascape look incredibly realistic. I think this is one of the main reasons why I appreciate Richter’s art so much is his capability to make paintings look real. His versatile talent is not just shown though these pieces, even in his typologies and abstract pieces, he captures attention and brings in the viewer.
Although I am beginning to know my capabilities on an art level I still just as Richter want to create more versatile pieces. However I recognise the fact that whilst enjoying painting, I do not think I have the know-how at the moment to reproduce a photo in painting. For this reason I decided to have a go at making my photo look more realistic by painting over it. I wanted to give my photo a painted feel and see if I could look at discovering a new medium along the lines of mixed media which I have recently been inspired into looking at by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg who has a unique style in this genre.
So paintbrush in hand, I decided to start painting over my created photo. This is what I have produced.
I am extremely happy with how my piece has turned out and I never expected it to look so realistic. I feel the light on the painted photo is very much a Richter style but also shows a little bit of me though the image creation and the theme. I feel the background is put in as much importance as the foreground which was one of my initial aims as well as getting across the theme of travel and moving which I feel the design does well. Using the paint helped my shell to look more a part of my brothers back which gave the piece a lot more fluidity. I would definately consider using this medium again as I feel it mixed two of my art loves, photo and paint. Maybe next time I will challenge myself to go one step further.
After finishing this project I am really excited about what the second year has in store, I am feeling motivated and ready to work and can not wait to begin this forthcoming year learning new skills.