Thursday, 6 December 2012

How it should be done - Samuel Peploe at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Today an unexpected window occurred during a stressing rainy afternoon in Edinburgh,  and I took opportunity to visit Samuel John Peploe's paintings at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art .  This link is to the excellent FT review, but I will add to it by saying how fascinated I was by the free loose use of paint to create lively images.  Peploe is known mostly for his still life paintings.  He said "There is so much in mere objects, flowers, leaves, jugs, what not - colours, form, relations - I can never see the mystery coming to an end".  He often spent days arranging the composition of a still life, feeling it and knowing it, then painted very rapidly.

Peploe was influenced by Manet, and Manet was a painter of tone rather than colour.  This is a distinction I have always found difficult to grasp. For colour has tone.  Tone need not have colour.  Perhaps I will understand this by experimenting.   Meanwhile I enjoyed looking at the apples, flowers and fruit, painted with brief spontaneous strokes of colour.

Another thing Peploe learnt from Manet - to start with the lights, and then add the darks and half tones while paint is still wet.

Samuel John Peploe  the Black Bottle  c. 1905

Samuel John Peploe Still life, Pears and Graspes c. 1930 (detail)
Samuel John Peploe  Peonies early 1902

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