The Reproduction Process

Colors used:
A Great Tree, c.1796

The watercolor A Great Tree was painted in 1796 by Joseph Mallord William Turner, and it shows a single tree on the rocky ground. Its branches are all twisted in a very expressive manner. Turner started off his artistic renderings using the watercolor as the primary medium.

Even though he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and received guidance and counsellings from great English Romantic artists of the time, he liked to search for new types of pigments. The results must have been mesmerizing when freshly made, but not all resisted time. It is said that his mentors from the academy advised him to stick to the suitable lasting pigments, but he wanted to achieve the best colors possible and invested in experimentations of materials. This means that some of his works we cannot know what were actually like when Turner painted them.

This view on art-making also reflects in the style Turner used to render his landscapes and marines. He was more interested in showing the volatility of nature than its realistic appearance. When Turner painted a storm, he wanted to translate into the canvas the sensations that such climatic phenomenon would give to someone who was actually in it. To achieve this, he used to depict elements with dissolved outlines and masses of color.

This particular watercolor shows the mastery with which Turner rendered landscapes. The branches of the tree that seem to be closer to the viewer were painted with very clear shades of a yellowish brown, giving the perfect sensation of direct sunlight.The more distanced branches were painted in shades of brown and the leaves in green tones, whereas the leaves that are sunlit were painted with shades of orange.

This is a simple composition. The foreground is where the tree and the ground full of rocks are. The background is only the sky, giving the sensation that the tree is on top of a cliff. The clouds are all clear, but their hue is similar to the one of the bright parts of the tree, giving the sensation of the possibility of rain.

After Turner reached mastery with the watercolors, he moved to oil paintings. The interesting thing about these later works from Turner is that he applied the oil paints as if they were watercolors. This was only possible because of his homemade preparation of the paints, which was something widespread for artists to do at the time.

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A Great Tree, c.1796 Joseph Mallord William Turner

Item Number: 18647444 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $374.99
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