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Easel Painting
Visual Art 12
Artist as Stereotype
Gilbert & George
Easel Painting
• Painting done on a portable support (panel
or canvas) instead of on a wall (mural)
• Easels traced back to ancient Egypt
• Gaining in popularity from 13th Century
Based on three legs.
Variations include
crossbars to make the
easel more stable and an
independent mechanism
to allow for the vertical
adjustment of the
working plane without
sacrificing the stability
of the three legs of the
Based on right angles.
All posts are generally
parallel to each other with
the base of the easel being
rectangular. The main
portion of the easel
consists of two vertical
posts with a horizontal
crossbar support
Variations include
additions that allow the
easel's angle with respect
to the ground to be
Renaissance Period
• Spanned 14th to the 17th century, beginning in
Italy and later spreading to the rest of Europe.
• The easel and easel painting developed during the
Renaissance period of art.
• Easels revolutionised the way painters worked.
• For the first time easel painting in an artist studio
became an established art form and for the first
time painters were recognized as individual artists
with individual styles.
Wall (Mural) Painting
• A piece of artwork
painted or applied
directly on a wall,
ceiling or other large
permanent surface.
• Architectural elements
of the given space are
incorporated into the
• Tempera painting is
one of the oldest
known methods in
mural painting.
• Pigments are bound in
an albuminous
medium such as egg
yolk or egg white
diluted in water
Oil Painting
• Oil painting is the process of
painting with pigments that are
bound with a medium of drying
oil—especially in early modern
Europe, linseed oil.
• Medium gained popularity in
15th century
• By the height of the
Renaissance oil painting
techniques had almost
completely replaced tempera
paints in the majority of
• Acrylics were first made
commercially available in
the 1950s.
• Fast drying containing
pigment suspension in
acrylic polymer emulsion.
• Can be diluted with water,
but become water-resistant
when dry.
Become the most common support medium
for oil painting, replacing wooden panels.
• "Modern" techniques take advantage of both
the (cotton) canvas texture as well as those of
the paint itself.
• Renaissance masters ensured that none of
the texture of the canvas came through. The
final product had little resemblance to fabric,
but instead had a glossy, enamel-like finish.
Canvas on a Frame
• Typically stretched across a wooden frame
or stretcher and may be coated/primed with
gesso before it is to be used; this is to
prevent oil paint from coming into direct
contact with the canvas fibres, which will
eventually cause the canvas to decay
Non-Easel Painting
Abstract Expressionism
• A modern art movement that came to
prominence in the US post WWII.
• Key figures: Jackson Pollock,Willem de
Kooning, Clyfford Still, Arshile Gorky,
Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark
Rothko, Barnett Newman
• New York replaced Paris as the center
of the art world.
Non- Conventional
• Away from accepted conventions in both
technique and subject matter, the artists made
monumental works that stood as reflections of
their individual psyches.
• Spontaneity, improvisation and process
• Emphasis on dynamic, energetic gesture, in
contrast to a reflective, cerebral focus on more
open fields of color.
• Primarily favoured abstract approach
Jackson Pollock
• Moved away from figurative representation, and
challenged the Western tradition of using easel and
• Pollock moved away from the use of only the
hand and wrist, since he used his whole body to
• In 1956, Time magazine dubbed Pollock "Jack the
Dripper" as a result of his unique painting style
"Jack the Dripper"
My Painting, 1956
My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer
to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or
the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface.
On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more
part of the painting, since this way I can walk
around it, work from the four sides and literally be
in the painting. I continue to get further away from
the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette,
brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives and
When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what
I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted'
period that I see what I have been about. I have no
fear of making changes, destroying the image,
etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try
to let it come through. It is only when I lose
contact with the painting that the result is a mess.
Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and
take, and the painting comes out well.
—Jackson Pollock, My Painting, 1956
VA 12 Assignment
• Produce (at least) two beautifully presented
and detailed sketchbook pages on Easel and
Non-easel painting.
• Provide definition and research/ include
examples of 2 artists (and their methods,
works, etc) for each of the above.
• Prime canvas for painting
• Set-up easel and working area