This month’s featured painting is The Garden, Longpré-les-Corps-Saints by John Russell. It’s a simple and pleasant landscape by one of my favorite unsung Australian artists.
(Click here to download the full-resolution photo of the painting.)
Brief details about the painting:
- Oil on Canvas
- 28 x 47 in (73 x 120 cm)
- Completed: 1887
- Current Location and Ownership: Unknown
Use this as an opportunity to test your ability to analyze master paintings. In the comments below, share what you think are the top 3 most important aspects of the painting. These could relate to areas such as composition, color, value, progress, brushwork, subject, or symbolism. Once you have done that, you can compare your thoughts with my own in the drop-down below.
Click here to see my thoughts.
- There’s an interesting play between the tree and the rest of the painting. The tree is conveyed with dark purples, hard edges, and thin lines for its branches. The rest of the painting is soft and flat. This is a contrast in both value (dark against light), structure (lines and forms against flat shapes), and edge (hard against soft). Remember, you can pack more of a punch by overlapping multiple points of contrast like this.
- There’s also a play between the warm and busy area around the focal point and the cool and quiet area in the background. This is a contrast in temperature and detail.
- Russell demonstrates some classic Impressionist brushwork, with distinct strokes and scumbling rather than blending and fine rendering. This type of brushwork will ensure your painting looks like a painting.
- Notice how the tree trunk tapers off towards the bottom. It gets slightly lighter and cooler. This creates a subtle link between the tree and the surrounding landscape (the lighter and cooler colors are more similar to the surrounding colors).