[Tig] Oil, acrylic, and watercolors [was: July 11 LA Times]

Chuck Harrison cfharr
Fri Jul 19 16:28:55 BST 2002


Craig Leffel wrote:
> 
> >
> > > I'd say if 35mm film is oil paint, then D-Cinema is
> > > acrylics and DVD/home-TV is watercolors.
> >
> > I think it is wrong to try to equate visual display technical standards to
> > art materials. They are different.
> > The film content is gradually degenerated through different standards and
> > displays and a more clearer comparison would be say viewing a Turner
> > painting at a gallery, in a catalogue, on the web or drawn by hand with a
> > pencil on the back of an old envelope.
> 
> I'm touchy on the use of Art issues in this world too Paul, but I'm not sure
> I agree with your take on this.
> 
> It seems to me that the analogy used was to say that somehow an oil painting
> is superior to acrylics, and acrylic paintings are superior to water colors.
> I know many artists who would disagree with this, and could site examples of
> famous work to the contrary. What matters is what people do with the medium
> they choose to work in. Hopefully, the medium chosen provides fertile ground
> for the artist to germinate their ideas, passions, concepts, etc.

Craig, I think your last sentence is very much on point with the
art-materials analogy. Nobody says an original watercolor is a
degraded version of the artist's "true" oil-on-canvas vision!

However, if market forces were to demand that you make a
watercolor imitation of a Matisse oil, then you would be
faced with a difficult job. (Much harder, in fact, than
making an imitation in acrylic.) Sometimes it seems that
imitating oils with watercolors is the daily task in telecine.

There *are* two nuances to the oil/acrylic/watercolor metaphor:
(1) the recognition that each material is valid in its own
right, with its own strengths and weaknesses, and
(2) a general feeling that oil is a "better" or "higher"
medium.
Both nuances are intended, and I think they kind-of work.

Cheers,
  Chuck Harrison

Disclaimer: not employed by any art-materials vendor. Used
 to hang out in East Hampton, though. ;-)

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