Driven mostly by their moods, artists, from time immemorial, are a mixed brood. Some flirtatious with different techniques, some forever faithful to one. These artists, more often than not, find their names going down the history permanently paired with their favourite techniques. It, therefore, becomes essential for an aspiring artist to have an in-depth understanding of the techniques explored by those revered through the centuries. At the academy, we have always urged students to gain the knowledge of the results of previously conducted experiments. This can prove to be helpful to them while applying the methods that have been constantly evolving every day. A few of such artists, along with their applied techniques, are listed down here:
Vermeer and his Camera Obscura:
Out of the five senses of a human body, vision, to a painter, is the most fascinating aspect. What we understand about it today is a lot more than what we knew in Vermeer’s time. A major chunk of this understanding comes from the invention and use of lenses and cameras. The proportions of various subjects in Vermeer’s work therefore have baffled contemporary art experts as they believe the precision attained would be impossible without the use of a camera. Camera Obscura, the painting technique used by him, relies on a mechanical device fitted with mirrors and lenses (as believed by many). Through this technique, Vermeer brought in a real-life effect to his paintings wherein the size of his subjects, their distance from the eye and the effect of light together created a distinct depth-of-field.
Van Gogh and his Impasto:
A painting is primarily a two-dimensional work of art. However, artists have always tried to add dimensions to the art in their very own ways. Many artists used to apply layers of paints so thick, that the texture of the canvas changed. These pieces of art fall in between the grey area of painting and sculpting. Due to the raised surface, the artist plays not only with the texture but also with the light reflected through it. This technique, called Impasto, has been used by many artists but Van Gogh, because of the sense of movement he created in Wheat Field With Cypresses and Starry Night, is most commonly associated with it.
Paul Cauchie and his Sgraffito:
Sgraffito is a technique where multiple layers of paint or other materials are applied to various possible surfaces first and then the upper layers are scratched off to reveal the inner layers creating a striking texture. Though this technique is used more in arts like pottery and candle making in the present day, Paul Cauchie, a Belgian architect, widely used it in his decoration works on large facades in Art Nouveau style. With over 400 sgraffiti works on facades, Cauchie is probably the most popular artist in this style.
Michelangelo and his Fresco:
Fresco is a painting technique wherein the artist paints on the wall while the plaster is still fresh using water-based pigments. This helps in the absorption of the paint into the wall and hence is considered to be ideal for mural making because of its durability. One of the most famous artists who used Fresco is none other than Michelangelo who immortalised the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel.
Jackson Pollock and his Action Painting:
The advent of the 20th century saw a never before seen an amalgamation of fine arts and performing arts. Rightfully termed as Action Painting, Pollock’s paintings were created by dripping paint on a canvas placed horizontally on the floor, wherein the drip was directed by his body movements. His number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) is a shining example of what Pollock could achieve by abandoning contact with the canvas and relying solely on the manner in which his arches landed on the canvas.
In order to develop your individualistic style of expression, you, as an artist, need to extensively explore as many techniques as you can, along with their combinations before you can reach such echelons wherein techniques could be known by your name.
Art Installation by Uno Lona Academy at Ahmedabad Food Festival