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How do you achieve such a proficient level of “sensory appeal” in these paintings? Obviously, the texture and lighting help a great deal to recreate this moment you experienced. Are there any other tools you use to help the viewer experience the moment for themselves?
The Repin Institute taught a la prima perceptual painting through countless hours painting models and working in the landscape. At the same time, students had free access to the collection of the Hermitage Museum, and I became enthralled by the idea of unlocking the "secrets” of earlier methods of painting. The masters’ works fascinated me because the techniques of their construction were not taught and seemed elusive.
In my freshman year, I often started my day in the Hermitage just as they opened the doors, and only then went to my painting class. Later, we spent an entire semester painting copies there; I did two copies of P.P. Rubens, trying to replicate his very deliberate and highly structured process of creating an oil painting.
The masters’ originals are not the flat, glossy, photographic pictures we see in art history books. I would invite anyone to look at Veronese’s work or Rembrandt's late period up close in order to see how incredibly textured they are. But these methods are somewhat concealed from casual viewers: not until the 20th century did the culture decide that “laying bare the device” was interesting in itself.
I worked for a long time on reconciling plein air feeling with a deliberate process inherent in earlier painting and developed a set of methods that allows me to get the results I want.
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