I was at the art gallery for a couple of hours yesterday.
One painting I always go to see is “The Smiths”.
Most people are interested in Blair Bruce’s technique of creating warmth in the shade on this painting. He juxtaposes red, green and blue together to give the illusion of shade but because they are not mixed you get additive color mixing which would be warmer. He uses this technique in the shaded areas but it’s not needed to create warmth in the very strongly lit areas.
But what struck me the most when I first saw it years ago was the content. For some reason it gave me a sense that there was a a sense of urgency. I don’t mean just the urgency of getting the belt onto the wheel, but that the work they were doing was important and had a bigger purpose.
Also, in the diagonal from lower left to top right, you can see the progress of their work like an assembly line. Lower left you see a belt ready to install onto a wheel. On the top right you can see two completed wheels.
In the other diagonal from top left to lower right, you can see another aspect. You can see different stages of leadership and support within the people.
When I was looking at this painting yesterday I was realizing that the people working in the painting must be very warm. They are dressed heavily to protect them. They are in the shade but I can imagine that they can feel the radiation heat coming off the metal. Plus when they throw water on the metal that would carry heat off the metal like a sauna.
In contrast some are in bare feet and they have their feet in the puddle of water underneath their work.
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