Picasso and Cezanne

Unlike Cezanne Picasso doesn’t use colour to tonally shape an object. In fact he was said to believe that colour was too distracting from sculptural qualities when creating form. However he does seem to embrace and exaggerate Cezanne’s technique of a juxtaposing perspective, so extreme that some figures will look completely two dimensional.

I’m drawn to the figures in Picasso’s ‘demoiselle d’avingion’, like in Rego’s work the women have strong sculptural qualities, which is only strengthened by their clay like tone. It is believed that Picasso took inspiration front Cezanne’s ‘bathers’. Again here we have a composition full of conflicting and intercepting angles. As if his eye is consistently moving around the composition, things are shifted. In a glimpse we can end up seeing something from many different perspectives. A format of visual truth?

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However I feel this piece is more effective in giving the illusion of depth. Although monotone (like a sculpture) there is gradation of tone, although simply from dark to mid to light it is effective in creating these awkward figures. Again these figures look strong- almost to the point of androgeny. Their contraposto stance creates a discomfort that you empathise with although the facial expressions are limited.

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This particular piece of a woman playing guitar is particular fascinating as the definition between subject and background has been extremely abstracted. There is no definitive line as the background eats away into the figure to achieve a total harmony in nature of form, tone and light. The premise of Cezanne’s work.

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Paula rego

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I have started to look at works by Paula Rego because their is so much narrative in her paintings. Cezanne’s work is often void of any humanity so as I want to start working with figures again I think  the work of Rego would be a good starting point.

Her narrative always appears to involve strong female characters. I have mentioned before about taking the subject out of the life room. Instead of just drawing a nude figure there is a scene that makes the image more interesting. Not only does it read as a strong painting but you question what is the story, what’s happened? Who is this character?

When I’m painting figured I don’t want the viewer to recognise the space as a life room. I would also like to take forward the idea of depicting strong women. Large hands, large feet. I don’t know weather I will continue with the idea of depicting fairy tale/fantasy scenes.

I love this particular piece as the emotion of the woman is so strong, she seems almost tormented in a dog like pose. The form Is very strong as she too has blocked shades of tone to create form. Their is also a thick expressive outline. If I could combine Rego’s use of the figure (narrative/ emotion) with Cezanne’s technique of treating paint and composition I will be satisfied.

Picasso paper sculptures

I love Picassos simple construction of his paper sculptures. He has brought his cubist composition of conflicting perspectives into simple three dimensional form. This image of  a female figure has a childish quality, full of humour these are a different take on Picasso’s two dimensional paintings and I believe I could take elements of this into working from Cezanne. Making three dimensional structures from his paintings, exaggerating the cubist elements.

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Simplest geometric form

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Here is a simplified drawing of the composition in the Francois Zola dam. It shows the structure in nature stripped to its simplest geometric form. Cezanne’s bold use of parallel lines guides our eyeliner on a journey through the canvas where he shows the harmony within the structure of object and nature.

Dissecting Cezanne

Dissecting pieces gives us a huge insight to the methods in which Cezanne paints. By doing this we can see much clearer evidence of the way in which he would use tonal gradation of similar hues to create form. There is also evidence of the ways in which he would apply paint, through effective directional brush marks and an arguably abstracted definitive outline he would begin to sculpt his composition.

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I then chose main aspects of his work I wanted to learn from, for example, hue, brush marks and form. Then I would focus on a specific composition and blow that up in order to replicate it. Trying to emulate his brush marks and copy the hues he used (this was where our colour theory workshops came into use) which would in effect replicate the form. This would then result in almost a completely new painting in an abstract form. One idea from this could be to create a large scale painting from a section of Cezanne’s work.

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Blocking colour

I have recently created this piece based on Cezanne’s Francois Zola dam. Using oils on paper to keep the vibrancy of colour, I concentrated on tonal gradation to create the form, however restricting myself to three tones. Dark, medium and light and mainly of oranges and yellows as the warm and greens and purples as the cool colours. I have also exaggerated the parallel lines in the composition and the simplification of everything into its simplest geometric form. I have sacrificed Cezanne’s application of brush marks (same directional and short strokes) in order to work with thick blocks of colour which allows me to create a greater impact with form and colour however that is then the substitute for the harmony between form that comes with Cezanne’s impressionesque brush strokes.



Still life with tea pot

This painting by Cezanne ‘still life with tea pot’ is one that I appealed to me a lot when visiting the national museum of Wales. I feel like I could take a lot of inspiration from this. The different perspectives that are conveyed in one image. Again we can see the tonal gradation to create the form of an object. There is also an exaggerated blue outline to the objects. For some reason there is no single source of light, the light looks very natural. The piece is almost reminiscent of a landscape painting, the cloth in the background resembles a mountain scape, the background is painted in a mix of tones with such expressive short brush marks. We can also see the piece is full of parallel lines, similar to the Francois Zola dam. He is striving to create harmony in his composition, a harmony of form within nature. We can also see that Cezanne has been clever with his use of warm and cool colours. Using blues and greens to push objects into the distance.