Below is one example - but there are others.
|Brig o'Turk, 1893 by Arthur Melville |
Watercolour, 60.8 x 86.4 cm
The Robertson Collection, Orkney
Photo The Robertson Collection, Orkney
Melville's technique (as described by his friend Theodore Roussel) is worth describing: he began by soaking the paper in a bath of diluted chinese white until it was thoroughly impregnated with the color, then let the paper completely dry. He then rewetted the surface, and dropped in pure browns, reds and blues to build the shapes, painting with diffuse blobs of color rather than touches of the brush. Once the values and basic forms were blocked out in this way, Melville gradually intervened with more directed brushstrokes as the paper dried, helping to define forms and figures to produce the final somber, atmospheric effect.Arthur Melville by Iain Gale ) - in part prompted by yet another stunning landscape on the cover! His watercolour paintings of Spain - whihc he visited every year from 1890 ubntil his death - and the Mediterranean are amazing.
In truth Melville was never a Glasgow boy proper. He was older than most of them but did share a kindred spirit. He'a also been called the Scottish Impressionist - but that's not quite right either.
Between 1890 and 1893 his work transformed. Gale hypotheses that there was a connection between Melville and the Nabis (Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis became the best known of the group). This seems to be on the basis that both seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion about how to paint at about the same time - using strong flat areas of colour combined with strong outlines and an element of pattern and decoration. Melville uses a planar technique and blocks of colour in his watercolours.
Gale suggests that the landscapes he painted in 1893 at Brig o'Turk in the Trossachs should be seen as arrangements in pattern and harmony. (Brig o'Turk is of course where Millais painted Ruskin's portrait and got to know his wife rather well!)
I'm guessing the reason I feel him appealing is that in reading about his approach in the Gale book, I can find a lot of resonance with the way I tend to think about landscapes and to draw them. However I'm nowhere as bold as he is - but it now makes me want to develop confidence in working more in this way since I find it so attractive.
Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 – 1900 is an exhibition from Glasgow Museums in association with the Royal Academy of Arts. It is on display in the Sackler Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts, London until 23 January 2011.