Technique, Talent and Tripe

Ok, I have been going to a few exhibitions and looking at different artists and their styles, What’s in fashion, what sells, what people like.

Where has Technique gone? I have seen so many pieces with good composition but completely lacking technique. At all. Roughly blocked in colors, shoddy brushwork, stinging on paint, leaving random pieces of canvas exposed (not for artistic reasons). Unfinished canvas edges… The list goes on.


Don’t people study their medium anymore? Do they not look at famous works and analyze the techniques used? My main bitch is with lazy oil painters. Oils are designed to be layered – when they do a basic paint-by-numbers rough blocking style with no consideration for the noble medium it twists my gut!

I saw one series by an artist who was inspired by Gaugin but had clearly never actually studied him or even seen a Gaugin in true life. He interpreted the somewhat flat appearing nature of Gaugin’s works to mean that he could use sloppy workmanship and not even have the rough blocks of color meet each other. While a true Gaugin has a complexity that belies a simple first glance, these works were simplistic with no real depth and appalling technique.

I think it is crucial to understand the techniques involved with each medium and find out what works for you. Watercolor techniques differ massively from oils and tempera is different from acrylic. I think most media are fairly intuitive but an understanding of them make the difference between a good piece or a great piece. (or a crappy piece at least good!)

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