Lessons From Rembrandt

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This past week brought me to a variety of Edinburgh’s  national museums and galleries where I twice visited a retrospective of Rembrandt’s work. He explored landscapes in addition to his portraits. The Dutch 17th century was century of landscape innovation and Rembrandt’s innovative influence can be found in some of the period’s best landscape painters like Philip de Koninck who completed his studies in Rembrandt’s studio.

Example 1. Flight into Egypt by Rembrandt,

Example 2. Panorama by Philip de Koninck, 1655.

Those Dutch landscape painters continue to spread their influence.  Consider my first example, Wind Over Meadows. Example 3 shows an image with a meandering series of forms defining the distance but, without the strong chiaroscuro contrasts of the Dutch.  My painting here appears too equally balanced on the left and right. To accommodate this problem I began by cropping the painting. The cropped version appears in example 4. Example 5 shows the image with greater chiaroscuro contrasts and with more blended and unified forms.

Example 3. Step one, Wind Over Meadows,

Example 4. Step two, Wind Over Meadows after cropping,

Example 5. Step three, Wind Over Meadows with greater contrasts and blending.

This image also borrowed the flawed symmetrical balance shown here in example 6 with Rembrandt’s etching of three trees. I followed Rembrandt’s example by eventually pushing my cluster of trees on the right to be more dominant and reducing my cluster on the left. I am still considering whether I need the smaller shape on left.

Example 6. Rembrandt’s etching of three trees.

In my next painting example, Meadow Dance, I used a more horizontal format with a gentle swelling of contours leading into the distance as Philip de Koninck did in example 2.  I began without a strong sense of color contrast and chiaroscuro contrast as you see in example 7.  Later I pushed the distance farther back applying greater bands of color and value contrast as you see in example 8.

Example 7. Meadow Dance, before added contrasts and before enhanced atmospheric perspective,

Example 8.  Meadow Dance with greater contrasts and atmospheric distance,

I extended the application of greater color and value contrasts to another image “Valley Rows”.  Example 9 presents the image before elevated contrast and, example 10 presents the image after elevated contrasts.

Example 9. Valley Rows before greater color and value contrasts.

Example 10. Valley Rows after greater color and value contrasts.

These paintings will be available for viewing at my upcoming solo show at the White Gallery in Lakeville, Ct.  which opens with a reception on September 29.

I invite you to join me this year for Jerry’s Artarama’s tradeshow and workshops at their Art of The Carolinas in November (9th -11th) in Raleigh Durham NC. I have three workshops to offer you.  My Friday workshop FR1807 is “New Affects and Ancient Sources for Painting in oil/wc/and Acrylic. My Saturday workshop SA1807 is “Nature Up Close” in oil/wc/and acrylic. My Sunday workshop SU1807 is “Cities in Motion, Bridging Realism and Abstraction”. A more fulsome description is available through Jerry’s Artarama Art of the Carolinas website. Or on daviddunlop.com.  Try www.artofthecarlinas.com/all-media-workshops.  Also, for the complete description of my workshops you can visit this website but, under the category of “Classes and Events” on the homepage.



8 Responses

  1. Ken Clark

    I miss your series on the Create channel. I have 12 saved and locked. I understand how much work and consuming if time it must be. But they are something I fir one looked forward to every week. I would love just one or 2 more on Sorros and Seago.

  2. muralman

    love seeing the progression of your painting and the thought process behind them! always a treat David!

  3. randy k davis (muralman)

    love seeing the progress of your paintings David, as well as the thought process! keep up the awesome work!

  4. Edward Shumate

    I also miss your series on Create channel which used to be shown at 5:30 in the morning in my area with scheduling somewhat inconsistent on my local PBS channel. I am an abstract expressionist painter, but I can see from your examples that I have so much to learn before I expand my horizon in painting.

  5. John Egan

    Thank you very much for sharing how you developed your paintings “Wind Over Meadows”, etc. Remarkable before and after, beautiful work.

  6. Danna carver

    I am struggling with foliage painting and would like to know more about the foliage techniques you have used here.
    I also sadly miss the Landscapes Through Time series and have them locked.

  7. Dave Miller

    Really like your depth of thought and execution . I will be ordering your dads. Good luck always!

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