Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Artist's mind at work - the art of Tony Batten - from Watercolor Magic Magazine

While painting Market Day, Yeni Cami,Istanbul (watercolour 30x40) Anthony J. Batten's goal was more then a faithful reproduction of the scene before him. He wanted to capture the history and spirit of the nearly 400 year old Yeni Cami Mosque and its attached Royal Pavilion. He did this in part by taking liberties like combining "local elements that wouldn't usually be seen together."

For example, he moved the large alabastar vase from an adjacent park, and in an even bolder gesture, he actually replaced the scene's orginally boring foreground with a bustling, lively crowd. "While I chose to focus on the side elevation of the building, with most of the people near the front - well out of my viewe," he says. "My actual view was a vast parking space. So I moved the dusty busses out and moved the people in."

Working from photographs and slides he started with a complex drawing, and then erased down to the "essential structure", once he knew where he was going with the piece. He then turned to the shadow areas, working out the dominant lines and masses. At the same time he was careful to work around light areas. In this painting Batten deliberately directed the movement of most of his foreground occupants toward the structure - "a subtle reminder that the architecture and the light and shade are the focus of the work." he said.

extract from: Watercolour Magic, page 75, Winter 1998 edition.
The painting above and others can be seen on Tony's website gallery. Please click here to be taken to his site.

1 comment:

  1. Tony was my art teacher and greatly influenced me in my own work. He is a fantastic artist, fabulous teacher and mentor to thousands of students. I'm very proud to have been taught by him.

    I can't hear mention of Toronto's Kensington Market without fond memories of being let loose on the streets to capture them with our water colours and sketch pads as part of Tony's class. Tony's work depicting Toronto's scenes is stunning.

    Well done Mr B!


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