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  #1  
Unread 01-21-2015, 08:16 AM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default l'Institut de France, Paris



2015, Oil on canvas, 36" x 48", from a pencil sketch made onsite circa 2006.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 09:57 AM
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Rick —

Having noted your passing reference in another thread to Van Gogh, I wonder if he's been an influence on you?

The painting seems to be almost aflame. If I owned it, I would hang it on a wall overlooking a nook where people could sit and talk quietly.

I like the size of this painting, the same as North Beach. Suitable for a home.

— Woody
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Unread 01-21-2015, 09:59 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Very nice. Those slabs of paint and all the pallet knife (I assume) work above the dome are wonderful. And those twigs in the foreground make it - without them, it's a pretty picture, but not nearly as intense.

What is interesting is that when I opened it up, my browser didn't show the entire painting - I was missing the bottom 10% or so - the walk along the river, the two figures, the green edge of the near bank - and (possibly because I first saw it that way, or possibly because I'm not a painter) I still prefer it that way. The bank and walk seems to fight for attention with the building in the full painting, and I prefer the spectral nature of the branches when they are just floating, and not anchored to trees. On the other hand, I love that band of green along the bank.

If it was a poem, I'd tell you to play with another version, ending it just at the bank, or a step beyond. But you can't do that with art (real art that is, not computer games), so we'll just have to accept your view as is. And it's quite wonderful!
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Unread 01-21-2015, 10:20 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks Woody and Michael,

Woody, van Gogh is probably my primary influence as a painter. He is known for his color, but I think of him as a draftsman. My painting has a lot of drawing in it.

Michael, I'm glad the trees are working that way. They are kind of handlike, pushing aside the curtains of the clouds... or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Actually, one can correct a painting. I've done it with paint and I've done it with scissors. Pentimenti is a fascination of mine. I find your thoughts on the foreground interesting. I wonder if they would have occurred to you if your first impression included the whole painting. I like it as is because it places the viewer specifically at street level, across the river, thus giving a downward perspective on the two walking figures. It also establishes a corollary to the wall above the river on the other side. Note that the trees are rooted at the river walk level--the band representing the sidewalk wall at street level cuts across them.

The other thing is that, as I have it, the eye pulls up to look at the field you first saw. This is an important effect that would be lost if your eyes just arrive at l'Institute. There is no detail whatsoever in the first band. Very little in the second other than the human element, which is the anchor. Despite being, I think, the most intriguing detail, if only because of its human elementness, it remains in the part that your eye is drawn up from. It's discovered later. I wouldn't want to lose this by trimming up to the river. I grant you, however, that the trees are truly eerie without the notation of the shore in the foreground.

This one brought me to the kind of despair that makes one walk in the middle of the day to the The Irish Punt and write things in a notebook along the lines of "why do I do this to myself". I also promised myself that I will only work small from here on out. But I snapped out of all that.

Thanks again,
RM

NB: This is all brush work. No palette knife, though I sometimes paint with a knife. The palette knife paintings are no more thickly painted than the brush paintings, but they have flatter, more fractaled surfaces. And it is a lot easier to clean up when you're finished when you paint with a knife.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 01-21-2015 at 10:42 AM.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 10:45 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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...lastly:

The traditional format of a landscape is foreground, middle ground, and background. That can be futzed with, but I think it works here. The darkness and murkiness of the foreground contrasts with the heat of the building and sky with the tone and action of the river providing some mediation. The darkness also gives weight that is needed to support the light in the sky.

Cutting the foreground here would make the line of buildings a middle ground and flatten it, I think.

RM

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 01-21-2015 at 10:54 AM.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 10:46 AM
Stephen Hampton Stephen Hampton is offline
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Hello Rick,
Another interesting Mullins. A broad stroke heavy impressionist, van goghish style here, as in North Beach. I assume your avatar is a self portrait? May we save and magnify to study your compositions?
Have yet to smell any Yaks.
Stephen
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Unread 01-21-2015, 10:55 AM
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Rick

Does the top of the wall show up better live? In the graphic the wall looks almost one dimensional. If not, is it possible to do something with the color, shading, highlights, or x?

Woody
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Unread 01-21-2015, 11:07 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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I want it to be nondescript, really. Highlighting detail or making it lighter will throw off the design and flatten the image. I feel it needs to be there, but not be noticed. It does work. Painting the foreground wall is part of painting the sky.
RM

To answer your question, Woody, the bar of brown across the bottom is meant to be the top surface of the wall, not the side of a wall. Hmmm.
RM

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 01-21-2015 at 02:41 PM.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 08:58 PM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
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But you can't do that with art (real art that is, not computer games),

Michael in making computer games, details are either painted or sculpted by the animator using the program's tools. Like any art, mistakes can be corrected, but it always relies on the animator's skill and imagination and no amount of correcting can compensate for poor work. As with painting time is very much a factor. . Computer programs are just unthinking tools, they are no different in being tools than a paintbrush or canvas. Despite the technological help given to animators by various programs, it's the individual who makes the images come alive. Why do think such skills not real art, how are they different from other painting and sculpting skills?

Last edited by ross hamilton hill; 01-21-2015 at 09:00 PM.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 11:16 PM
Sharon Passmore Sharon Passmore is offline
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Rick, I saw this without the foreground at first too and the tree branches were very striking that way. I am still contemplating which I like best. I just love the delicious contrast between the strong detail of the building which looks almost carved, and the progressively simpler, softer elements. You have a way of focusing our attention like a lens.

Digital art can be "real" art, absolutely. However, you can't take an oil painting and fix it digitally, can you? You can make changes in a physical piece of art, whatever it be, but there comes a point where it gets overworked looking and ruined.

The computer is a wonderful tool though. One thing a person can do is make digital copies and make the changes on these copies; pin them up and live with them awhile. Later the changes are planned and decided, reducing the chance of the dreaded overworked look happening.

One situation I am having right now is, I have an unfinished painting from 1982, of my first apartment as a newlywed. I want to finish it, but I don't want to touch it. My daughter actually freaked out at the idea, having known this painting all her life. Solution...I will have a digital copy printed on canvas and go from there. Why not?
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