The Best Part of Painting?

16 Jul 2013

Clouds Moving, 1999-2009, oil on canvas, 31 1/4 x 37 1/2. All works by Bernard Chaet. Courtesy David Findlay Jr Fine Art.

Clouds Moving, 1999-2009, oil on canvas,
31 1/4 x 37 1/2, by Bernard Chaet.
Courtesy David Findlay Jr Fine Art.

It’s the materiality—or, for many, that’s at least part of it. The buttery rich feel of oil paint moving across the surface can be a siren song for a painter. Bernard Chaet, a notable artist and retired Yale University professor, has taken a keen interest in the physicality of oil painting throughout his career. His book An Artist’s Notebook: Techniques and Materials continues to have relevance for readers today, with its clear and concise explanations of various tools and processes. In his own work Chaet allows sensory experience to guide his hand, creating oil paintings that seem to be both about the journey and experience of painting as well as destinations in themselves.

Calm Yellow by Bernard Chaet, 2007, oil on canvas, 28 x 40.
Calm Yellow, 2007, by Bernard Chaet,
oil on canvas, 28 x 40.
First Light, 1990-2003, by Bernard Chaet, oil on canvas, 20 x 30.
First Light, 1990-2003, by Bernard Chaet,
oil on canvas, 20 x 30.
In Calm Yellow, there is a heightened level of texture and mutability on the surface of the canvas. The upper-left section displays green and blue daubs of paint that are crusty and ridged. They stand in sharp contrast to the smooth and slick surrounding areas where the paint has been thinned out and spread on. The variety of brushstrokes—some visible and some not, some short and concise while others are winding and uneven—conveys the freedom the painter felt as he worked. Maybe that is why the painting is appealing—it is pleasurable to just sit and let the eye roam in, out, and over the painting’s textures and colors.

More than allowing viewers to meander on a visual journey, Chaet creates paintings that may be ostensibly about particular places, but they aren’t dedicated to depicting identifiable landmarks and masses. Instead, the works are more about the strong sensory responses that a given location can evoke. The expressions of atmosphere in an oil painting such as First Light presumably shows a sun rising just before the night’s fog burns off. The first indication of the warmth of morning isn’t in the sun itself, but its reflection on the land and water, where bright colors contrast with the murky masses flanking the reflection.

Chaet has a style and approach that is all his own, but his interest in materiality, color, and the senses can resonate with artists working in all mediums at any stage of their career. At Artist Daily we are committed to helping artists harness their creative potential. With the insight and practical information that comes with a subscription to The Artist's Magazine you can open up new avenues for visual exploration and self-expression in your work. The possibilities are endless—have fun with it!


Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

erkangurkan wrote
on 14 Nov 2010 4:10 PM

l love more Calm yellow !

best wishes