Lyudmila Agrich Artist Review
Impressionism found it’s beginnings in Paris in the late 19th century. Representing the reaction to a rapidly changing urban environment, Impressionism sought to capture moments of beauty that might otherwise be passed by. Artists such as Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir focused on spontaneous brushstrokes, vibrant colors, and subjects from the newly modernized world. Many Impressionist artists painted “en plein air” meaning they painted outside directly and from their sources. The need to paint quickly inspired artists to use short hurried brushstrokes and pure colors that had not been blended on the artist’s pallets.
A little after the Impressionistic art movement began, Expressionism developed in Germany and Austria in the early 20th century. The Expressionist Art Movement sought to move beyond representation to finding ways to channel intense and genuine emotions through their works. They turned the focus to intense color use, gestural brushstrokes, and distorted subjects. Artists such as Kandinsky, Munch, and Kirchner lead the movement and introduced abstract expressionism which removed any recognizable imagery. These works of art were meant to evoke strong emotional responses from the viewer and connect them through their feelings.
The Scream, 1893
Summer in Central Park, 2019
Lyudmila Agrich found a new place in the art world by taking inspiration from both the Impressionists and Expressionists. She utilized the quick brushwork of the impressionists, and made it her own by choosing a pallet knife instead of a brush. Her subject matter varies from the favorites of the Impressionists as well and focuses on the intimate moments in everyday life. From the Expressionists she found inspiration through the bright and vivid color use as well as the desire to evoke an emotional response form the viewer. Lyudmila has found a harmonious balance between the two art movements and created her own style of Expressionist Impressionism.
Principals of Art:
Space: Lyudmila creates space in her paintings from a shift of perspective to decreased sizes and details. In Summer in Central Park, you can see how the figures get smaller and less defined as they recede into the background. You can also see blurred impressions of city buildings in the background which lack the detail of the foreground trees and figures. This transition of value, size and detail creates space in the composition.
Color: Christopher often chooses to paint in similar color tones that work nicely together and can convey a mood. In From the Tree House the color pallet is warm with soft touches of cool blue. These colors contrast against each other, and the warm tones of the sunset are reflected in the warm tones of the tree. Christoper’s expert color use demonstrates his fundamental understanding of color theory.
Shape: The shapes used by Lyudmila are demonstrated on a larger focus, rather than small detailed shapes. While foreground shapes will have more detail, they become less defined and representative as the image recedes from the viewer. The shape use becomes more general and is used to create balance in the composition.
Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. Lyudmila creates form by changing values and perspective illusions. Notice in Summer in Central Park, the umbrellas catch light on one side, but are shadowed on the opposite side, which gives them dimension and form.
Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a painting is to help create both dimension and a mood. A change in value adds dimension into Lyudmila’s paintings. In Summer in Central Park, the greens in the trees are bright where the sun hits them, and darkened in the shadows which makes the trees look real and dimensional. The bright lively greens create a mood of new beginnings and fresh air.
Texture: The texture in Lyudmila’s work is one characteristic that makes her work recognizable as hers. Due to the fact she paints with a pallet knife and not a brush, texture is built up through the layering and blending of colors on the canvas. This actual physical texture creates visual texture in the subjects which gives them life and movement.
Line: Most lines in Lyudmila’s work are undefined and distorted, however they are recognizable as large linear impressions when viewed from afar. For instance, in Summers in Central Park, strong vertical line impressions are found in the trees, figures, and distant buildings, while horizontal and diagonal lines of the pathway and lawn intersect. This type of line use is meant to be subconsciously noted from the viewer and act as subtle visual cues to lead the eye to the focal point and around the composition.
Principals of Design:
Balance: In Summer in Central Park, Lyudmila creates balance between the two main areas of focus, the figures in the walkway and the surrounding landscape. There is more detail and concentration of figures on the walkway along with warmer color use. To balance the busy walkway, the surround trees are cool in color and far less detailed. In fact, the majority of the composition is the surrounding landscape which seems to envelop the scene. This created balance also evokes a feeling of serenity on this very busy day in the park, a balance of emotions and composition.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. Lyudmila creates unity through the thick gestural application of paint with her pallet knife. This cohesive application creates unity in the composition as all subjects share this textured and distorted perspective.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. There are different ways Lyudmila can apply the paint with her pallet knife to create variety. Notice how in Summer in Central Park, the city buildings appear smoother than the textured trees. She creates this variety by blending colors with the edge of her knife in the buildings into a smooth surface, and letting the paint stay textured in the trees. This subtle variety offer the eye moments of calm amongst the action.
Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. In Summer in Central Park, the eye is draw to the foreground figures due to their warm colors and higher definition of details. The path leads the eye away to explore the trees and buildings before coming back to the figures.
Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. The thick gestural application of paint adds a sense of movement in all of Lyudmila’s paintings. She also uses directional cues from the passing figures to show people moving towards and away from the viewer, as shown in Summer in Central Park.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. The patterns of Summer in Central Park are subtly showed to the viewer through the repetition of the vertical line use in most of the forms.
Perspective: Perspective is what’s creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. Lyudmila creates perspective through the receding of details and size as the composition leads away. A change in proportions makes the human figures in the back feel further than the larger figures in the foreground.
Lyudmila paints with oils on canvas, a traditional favorite for many painters. Oil paints, which are oil based as the name suggests, have a long drying time. This is advantageous to artists who will work on a piece for an extended amount of time. Oil paints are thinned down with terpenoids which can take the paint from thick and heavy to thin and light. An artist who uses oil paints learns over time their own tricks to work in a way that makes the most sense for their composition. It takes time, patience and practice to master this difficult medium.
Lyudmila applies her paint to the canvas not with the traditional brush, instead preferring pallet knives. Traditionally pallet knifes are used by artists to mix pigments on their pallets, hence the name. Increasingly though artists like
Lyudmila are applying paint to their canvas directly with the pallet knife. This compelling twist of application is hard to master as artists apply the paints wet on wet and must fight to not have the paints blend and become muddy. This loose application requires the artists to step back continually as they paint so unrecognizable shapes can be formed into a recognizable composition.
Lastly, Lyudmila adds a varnish once her painting’s are completed and dry. The varnish will protect the oil paints to last hundred of years.