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Old 01-02-2007, 11:28 AM   #11
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I would say that Sharon's "figure with flowers" contains two foreground objects and that the flowers aren't background at all.
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Old 01-02-2007, 05:46 PM   #12
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Would this self portrait by William Orpen be without background

The wall and frame, seen around the "motif", is in front of the portrait for which reason I assume that it would not be "background" then, while the motif is the painter in his studio seen as the reflection in the mirror.

He also did more traditional portraits with real backgrounds
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:39 PM   #13
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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The abstract shapes and lights/darks in that Orpen work (the first) is really exciting. Thanks for sharing it

I guess I would call the mirror frame, wall and letters a sort of composite frame. If background equals atmosphere surrounding the subject, then the aforesaid area could also be called "background", but I don't feel it serves that purpose.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:24 AM   #14
Alexandra Tyng Alexandra Tyng is offline
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When I look at William Orpen's self-portrait, my eye goes directly to the face. So I would say that the background successfully "goes back." Analyzing it further, Julie's frame idea makes sense. I do think the outer borders frame the portrait and lead the viewer into the center, like going through a door. The dark window blinds (or whatever they are) around his head read as background, making his head come forward.
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Old 01-03-2007, 03:01 PM   #15
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Knettell
The 'flat' art of the Asians influenced many artists at the turn of the last century, Van Gogh, Klimt, Gauguin, Manet, Whistler, etc.
.
Sharon,
I believe that the 'flatness' is still influencing the majority of western art and I feel that it is desirable to explore the possibility's of it.

Since the surface of a painting is flat I find that one should deal with the two dimensions even when we paint a highly 3 D illusion like a portrait. That would help us to arrange the proportions in a harmoniously way.

Could it be that Asians, like Chinese and Japanese, 'think flat' because their letters are written/painted in two dimensions. Their letters are literally simplified pictures. That would explain why they are so good at it. Just a thought.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:05 PM   #16
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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I really appreciate that Alex has taken the time to start a thread on backgrounds. Being good at ones craft takes a lot of time and dedication as most would agree. What is the subject her backgrounds and how to or backgrounds and the philosophical view?

The backgrounds in the east and the backgrounds in the west. I guess it depends on the individual what one prefers. Again it all depends how one wishes to compose the background and subject. Whether to give one or the other dominance or equal value. Sharon posted some beautiful works of art and so did Allan. In Sharon's last post there is a definite distinction between subject and background. Whether the background stays back or it is composed around the subject that is totally the artists choice of like or dislike. Where light comes from within a work of art is the choice of the artist whether he/she be from the East, West, North or South.

Allan, would you please tel me where you found these beautiful works by W. Orpen?
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:40 PM   #17
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischa Milosevic
Allan, would you please tel me where you found these beautiful works by W. Orpen?
Mischa,
I have a book about Sargent, The Later Portraits, in which there is a black and white photo of a portrait by Orpen. The sitter is Sybil Sassoon, she was painted by both Orpen and Sargent the year she married Lord Rocksavage.

I did not know Orpen before so I searched the Internet for William Orpen in the Picture section and found one here and another there, I can't remember the addresses. Good luck.

Ps. I never found the portrait of Sybil Sassoon in color
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:37 PM   #18
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischa Milosevic
I really appreciate that Alex has taken the time to start a thread on backgrounds.
And I do too. I will delete my posts that seem to conflict with Alex's original direction.
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:14 AM   #19
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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Backgrounds

I am posting some choices one thinks about when considering background. Naturally, many more possibilities can be considered but these are the simplest choices in this case. When considering other more complicated backgrounds one should first the mood, the balance or the relationship of the elements in the background to the subject. There can be and often are many elements within a painting and most often but not a rule one element dominates.

Allan posted a masterful work and example of different elements in a background. Here one must consider what the dominating subject is and I am sure there could be a debate in establishing this point. Still, debate should not be the point rather a understanding and ideas on how it all works. Let us say the figure of the artist is the subject and not the mirror or the letters etc. etc. Here we see the artists careful consideration and the flow of light upon self. The hand in front seems to be the lightest part and respectfully the front of the overcoat. Now, when considering the head or the face we can see that it is in shadow and it could work fine with the light of the window. When we look at the hat it seems it would be to dark against the light of the window and it probably would dominate. Let us say it is the light of the window behind and not the dark of the shade, the hat the value of the hat would change at least the edge would have a halo then.

We could go on and on for this painting has so much to offer and teach us. So, when learning about backgrounds and what makes them work its best to start simple. One can start simple in black, white and gray or in combinations of simple colors. A understanding of how color relates is important and by experimentation this can be better appreciated.

Sharon has posted some excellent examples of subject to background relationships. There are many good points one can absorb when Eastern art is considered the technique, the use of color and color relationship. Many lifetimes of observation and study is at our fingertips here. How and what one wishes to accept and incorporate is the choice of the individual. Sharon has found her nitch and incorporates and balances these ideas from the East quite well. kudos Sharon.

For the benefit of us who are new to this field of backgrounds, I would appreciate a balanced meal. When considering composition as it is introduced in the relationship to background again one should start simple and it does take years of experimentation before one fully understands the balance between all elements within one painting.

If you are lassie and you would like a quick fix, to solve a problem, then find a painting that is close to what you have and see how you could use the ideas.
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:53 PM   #20
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Alan,

That is a stunning Orpen, a visual challenge and a color delight.
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