Category Archives: Assignment Five


The last exercise was to annotate and analyse an Impressionist Landscape or paint your own version. I chose Monet’s ‘Landscape with Thunderstorm’, this is my pastel version.


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The Impressionist movement in painting originated in France in the 1860’s and had an enormous influence on European and North American painting in the late 19th century. The Impressionists wanted to depict real life, to paint straight from nature and to capture the changing effect of light. The term was first used derisively to describe Claude Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise (1872). Other leading Impressionists included Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir but only Monet remained devoted to Impressionist ideas throughout his career.

One of the hallmarks if Impressionism is painting in the open air (en plain air). Monet, Renoir and Alfred Sisley who met as students and enjoyed painting this way were committed to painting nature. Their styles were diverse, but all they all experimented with the effects of light and movement created with distinct brushstrokes and fragments of colour that were placed side by side on the canvas instead of being mixed on a palette.

Manet emerged as the leader of the early Impressionists but it was Monet and his followers who laid the theoretical foundations of the movement. They avoided using browns, blacks and ochre’s only using pure colours of the spectrum with the addition of white.

Although the movement had run its course by the late 1880’s there were various developments out of it from 1880to 1905, Post Impressionism and Neo Impressionism. Impressionism also had a major influence on British avant-garde painting in the late 19th century and early 20th century.


Medieval tiles

I’ve been watching Tudor Monastery Farm on BBC 2 and they have just shown how tiles would have been made by hand in Tudor times.

The encaustic technique they used was how the tiles for the floor in St George’s Hall were made. Of course Minton wouldn’t have made them by hand it wouldn’t have been cost effective. They used a mass produced process which meant they could make such large floors.

I found these two videos from Somerset museums showing the process:-

Camera Obscura

My tutor suggested I should do some research on this as I had mentioned it in my annotation of a Vermeer interior and some experts believe he used one.

Camera = room
Obscura = dark

The ‘camera obscura’ has been known of since ancient times by the likes of Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci who in 1490 wrote about it in his sketchbooks. It was called the ‘camera obscura’ until the early 1600’s when it was used by the German astronomer Johannesburg Keples.

The ‘camera obscura’ is an optical device which projects an image on to a screen. Originally a room but over tone it developed in to a portable box which had a small hole in one side through which the light travels. Instead of it going in a straight line as is usual it reforms as an image on any flat surface opposite and is upside down and reversed.

The lenses used by Vermeer did not focus accurately so the middle ground would be sharp and in focus but the foreground and background were blurry. The camera we use today developed from the ‘camera obscura’ and we can use depth of field to get a varying range of focus from sharp to blurry depending on what effect we want in the photo.

You can read more here

I remember watching this Omnibus programme with David Hockney when he had written a book about the camera obscura. Can’t believe it is 10 years ago.

Part one

Part two

Reflections on Part Five

I e-mailed my last assignment to my tutor yesterday. I need to have a mammoth printing session of all the exercises I’ve done to put in a folder, I’ll also put them on to a cd so assessors can see the art works on screen because the print outs may look different. I have a sketchbook and Still life copies to send as well for Assessment in March.

I didn’t think that I would be able to write 2,000 words for my review of the Raphael Cartoons and Tapestries but I had to cut some out as I had gone over 2,500. I could have written a small book on the weaving technique alone so I have only scratched the surface.

I now know how much work goes in to writing essays etc for studying at this level. I should imagine it will probably get harder on levels two and three.

I’m going through my tutor reports and adding my replies and thoughts in response to them at the end.

Raphaels’ Sistine Tapestry

As I’m studying for a Textile degree I chose to write my review on ‘Raphael’s Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel’. While researching the subject I found the following videos and websites very useful.


Les Nabis

When I did some research on Edouard Vuillard I discovered he was part of a group called ‘Les Nabis’ again I’d never heard of them.

On this website it says that decorative painting had enjoyed a resurgence in Europe in the late 19th early 20th century.

“Their works celebrate pattern and ornament, challenge the boundaries that divide fine arts from crafts, and, in many cases, complement the interiors for which they were commissioned”.

They were a group of Post-Impressionist avant-garde artists in 1890’s France. Most of them were a group of friends who had studied at Rodolphe Julian (Académie Julian) a private art school in Paris.

Visit a Landscape

I would like to have gone further afield for this visit but a lack of funds meant for this last visit of the module I went to my local park which is only a 10 minute walk from my home and is a haven in a large urban city in the 21st century.

Stanley Park is situated in the north of Liverpool between Everton Football ground (near to where I live) and Liverpool Football ground on the other side in what is now a densely populated area but was was on the edge of the countryside when it was built.

003(c) Susan Devonport

It is listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Park and is one of Liverpool’s most important historic parks. It measures 45 hectares and is one of the municipal parks along with Sefton and Newsham parks built in the mid 19th century to give the people of Liverpool access to open spaces which at the time was limited in the quickly expanding city.

005(c) Susan Devonport

I visualise the photograph above being successful painted in the style of J M W Turner, the moody clouds would be ideal for his style.

Stanley park is the most architecturally significant of Liverpool’s parks, the original design of the park (1866) was by Edward Kemp, a pioneer of public park design and a pupil of Joseph Paxton of ‘Crystal Palace’ fame and the buildings and structures designed by E R Robson who was the city architect at the time. It was formally opened on Saturday 14th May 1870 and was such a grand occasion that it was covered by the ‘Illustrated London News’. Nearly a century and a half later though the panoramic vies towards south Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales is long gone with the subsequent building in the surrounding area.

001(c) Susan Devonport002(c) Susan Devonport

Sadly due to years of lack of funding in the late 20th century the park fell in to disrepair but work started in November 2007 to regenerate the park and restore many of the parks features but also meet the needs of today’s users. The restoration followed the original plans for the park which were in three sections each complementing and contrasting with each other.

009(c) Susan Devonport

The Gladstone Conservatory and Bandstand were later additions to the Park (1899) but had become unusable over the years. The Conservatory was originally intended to house tropical and exotic plants. After 30 years of disuse, it had become a pile of rusty iron and broken glass and hidden behind anti-vandal boards. But I am glad to say it has now been restored to its former glory. It was raised 1.5 metres higher with a Bistro underneath serving fresh and locally sourced produce and the Conservatory itself is used for Weddings, Corporate and Match day hospitality amongst others.


Stanley-Park-Bandstand-Flickr(c) Susan Devonport

The restored Conservatory is named after Isla Gladstone, local artist and textile design famous for floral prints in the Arts & Crafts movement at the turn of the 20th C. Isla married into the elite Gladstone family, who were renowned representatives of the liberal-conservative movement in Victorian Liverpool. The most famous Gladstone, perhaps, is William Gladstone of Rodney Street, British Liberal Party Statesman, Chancellor of the Exchequer and four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

After 2½ years and 14 million pounds we have a park to be proud of after years of neglect.

The following two photographs would be ideal subjects for paintings in the style that were popular in the 17th century.

Lake 2 Lake(c) Susan Devonport

Last year as part of Liverpool’s contribution to the commemorator of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of ‘Titanic’ Stanley Park draw thousands of people to see the giant puppets.

Giant Uncle(c) Susan Devonport

Xolo Giant dog(c) Susan Devonport

Little Girl 4(c) Susan Devonport

Little Girl close up(c) Susan Devonport

I’ve not been able to find many paintings of Stanley Park but while surfing the web I came across this by a local artist.