By James Elkins
Not like many books on portray that sometimes discuss paintings or painters, James Elkins’ compelling and unique paintings makes a speciality of alchemy, for just like the alchemist, the painter seeks to rework and be remodeled by means of the medium. In What portray Is, James Elkins communicates the event of portray past the normal vocabulary of paintings heritage. Alchemy offers a paranormal language to discover what it's a painter particularly does in her or his studio - the smells, the mess, the fight to manage the uncontrollable, the exact wisdom in simple terms painters carry of ways shades will combine, and the way they're going to glance. Written from the point of view of a painter-turned-art historian, What portray Is is like not anything you've ever examine paintings.
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Additional info for What Painting Is: How to Think about Oil Painting, Using the Language of Alchemy
Thirteen stones 1. Marchasita [pyrites, including “fool’s gold,” FeS2] a. Similar to silver in color b. Red, like copper c. Black, like iron d. Golden 2. Magnesia [a miscellaneous category] A SHORT COURSE IN FORGETTING CHEMISTRY 29 a. Like black earth, presenting “shining eyes” when broken [probably manganese oxide with small reflective crystals] b. Ferrous, bitter, and masculine c. , rhodochrosite or rhodonite] 3. Edaus [either iron ore composed of iron oxide, or iron filings or iron slag] 4. Thutia [zinc compounds, especially zinc carbonate, ZnCO3, and zinc oxide, the latter a sublimation product in brass-making] 5.
Artificial form produced from hair 3. Auripigment [arsenic sulfide] 28 WHAT PAINTING IS a. Impure, mixed with stones and earth b. Yellow, opaque, earthy [impure As2S3]] c. Yellow, golden, “alive” [purer As2S3]] d. Yellow mixed with red [mixture of As2S3 and As4S4] e. Red, with dirty “eyes” [impure As4S4] f. Pure red, capable of splitting [purerAs4S4] 4. Sulfur a. Red, difficult to find [apparently fabulous substance] b. Yellow, color of “pure varnish” [crystalline sulfur] c. Yellow, grainy [perhaps mineral sulfur with its matrix] d.
Tentative or explosive motions of one liquid through another are irresistibly metaphors for mental states. In alchemy, the Latin word labor is used to describe the procedures, methods, and techniques—the daily struggle with materials. Also in Latin, ora means prayer, and the alchemists never tired of pointing out that labor and ora spell laboratory. As in the artist’s studio, so in the alchemist’s laboratory: both of them mingle labor and ora. Here in McLean’s laboratory, “meditating” and “inwardly picturing,” labor effortlessly becomes ora.
What Painting Is: How to Think about Oil Painting, Using the Language of Alchemy by James Elkins