April 09, 2021 – Reading “How to Paint Like Turner” – Stirring Vestiges Inside Me I’d Almost Forgotten or Thrown Away

How to Paint Like Turner via Tate UK, by Ian Warrell https://amzn.to/3cXojLH
How to Paint Like Turner via Tate UK, by Ian Warrell

Written 04.07.21
I’ve had a hard time concentrating on things for the move today, or on this (tomorrow’s, Friday 04.07.21) blog post – partly ’cause wife and I both need a bit of recovery from our move-prep physical work & phone calls re changes of service etc – but also ’cause of the cumulative effect of going to sleep each night this week reading bits of my new Kinde edition, How to Paint Like Turner.

I bought this book because it has good reviews re seeing “how” JMW Turner evolved – his whole artistic life it appears – as an artist absorbed in the creative process.

And in the process I’ve absorbed so far (about 1/3 or so through the book), what’s become most apparent to me, are the many things I thought of myself, creatively, like maybe being “off” or not-dedicated properly, or too experimental – things this man from two centuries ago apparently did with complete dedication! And,seemingly – though I find this rarely completely true – with complete abandon.

But I don’t think so.

Willingness to experiment, as per what I’ve read here in this book, and in smatterings elsewhere – yes!

But, as is overwhelmingly evidenced so far in the book, with meticulously detailed documentation.

I can see now, why Monet, when he escaped from one of his time’s many civil wars in his country, found such inspiration in London.

Both men broke ground via their own respective ways of doing art. Both produced serial variations of colors of single motifs. Both were apparently relentless in their applications of paint.

It’s of significant interest to me, as I near the chapters with sample lessons, drawn from Turner’s own work, what I’ll find 😊

I’m already seeing some confirmation of technique, or maybe really just attitude, that makes me feel better about my own processes. Definitely liking experimenting, definitely liking trying differing presentations of similar or same scenes, and definitely feeling it’s ok choosing to want to like my own work vs conforming it against my inclinations in the probably wrong belief it’d be easier to sell 😏

That alone is worth a lot ❤️

As the author says, including a quote from Turner –

The most important lesson to be learned when painting like Turner is that art is about freedom of expression. As he himself said, no matter how much the artist takes from the world around him, creativity is ‘a stream that forces a channel for itself’.

How To Paint Like Turner https://amzn.to/3fVcw2A

I’ll have more snippets from this book as able – thanks everyone!

Stay healthy, stay curious! ☺️


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Artist self portrait - photo of Felipe Adan Lerma on converted railway track bike ferry for the Island Line Trail connecting mainland Vermont to South Hero on Lake Champlain.

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  1. Sounds like a great book! I think there is too much emphasis on doing things right or wrong in art, I don’t think there should be any rules, it’s all about what feels right! But I do know what you mean about validation from those whom you admire!☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • The more I read about him, the more Turner sounds like an early Monet, totally into doing it his own way plus experimenting via serial motifs (not always serially of course). Turner evidently worked a great deal on impulse, but of course had had a deep grounding in drawing & perspective. I didn’t have any of the latter, but sure got a bunch of the former, lol! Yeah, right or wrong in art? It’s like saying the way water flows is right or wrong vs just the way it’s gonna go! But I’m talking ’bout art as a deeply fulfilling action for oneself, vs strictly for profits. I say strictly ’cause I’m certainly not adverse to $ 😊


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