Stains in painting
We can see practically everything we could possibly imagine on paintings in galleries and museums: landscapes, flowers and fruits, battles, various people, cities, animals, different creatures...
Whatever the painting shows it is always made up of coloured stains.
Each stain has its size, shape, colour and position. It is always surrounded by other stains, which affects the way we see them, as you will soon find out.
This doesn`t however mean that coloured stains are always painted the same way. Naturally every artist has his own way of painting - a method of laying a coloured stain.
1. FERNAND LÉGER
The great parade
One of the mentioned methods is the circling of a coloured stain with a contour. Separated by a contour the colours exist next to each other harmoniously, even though their tints are different, their sizes, shapes. They form tiny, separate, colourful worlds of their own (illustration 1). When studying many paintings you are bound to notice that usually stains aren`t separated by a clear contour, but they still don`t get into each other`s way. They have a distinct shape and touch each other and in the place where one of them ends the next one has its beginning (illustration 2). We sometimes then call them sharp stains, because they have sharp and clear bounderies. The greater the contrast between the colours of the stains the sharper and more distinct they are. If the stains next to each other are of a similar temperature, for example a blue and a green one, the bounderies between them will not be so clear the way it would be if a red stain was next to a blue one.
2. IMBRE BAK
The summer night
3. JAN CYBIS
1964 - 1972
It is different in many other paintings: the bounderies between stains aren`t distinct or sharp at all so that they are dificult to notice. It often happens that the colour of one stain isn`t equally intense, but it "spreads". These are so called soft stains (illustration 3). When stains overlap and the colours mix we are given the impression that the painting flickers in front of our eyes.
Stains in a drawing
When you see a work of art done with lines you know it is a drawing. Yet not every drawing needs to be done with the use of lines. In fact many are made using stains, usually black or grey ones. There are also such drawings where we can see both lines and stains. "Sharp" and "soft" stains which exist in painting can also be used in drawing.
4. Stains encircled with contours
5. Stains with clear boundaries
6. Stains with unclear boundaries
In this drawing (illustration 4) the stains forming a landscape are encircled with contours.
This time the same landscape has been painted with a brush and could therefore obtain stains with various tints of grey and black. The boundaries between them are very clear (illustration 5).
Once more you can see the same view, only this time painted with an aquarelle. The stains have become soft, as they had "spread" and their bounderies aren`t clear. Thanks to this technique the drawing has become more unconstrained (illustration 6).