Lines and Colors art blog

Colley Whisson (update)

Colley Whisson
Last year, I wrote about a series of YouTube painting demos by Austrailian painter Colley Whisson, who I first featured in 2011.

I thought it would be nice to more directly highlight some of Whisson’s work, which is notable not only for his fresh, crisp, painterly technique, but for the remarkable energy and economy with which he presents his subjects.

I also find his approach to values fascinating. While some painters compress their values into a limited range — which is a common way to produce a kind of value harmony — Whisson seems to be unabashed about going from darkest darks to lightest lights in his compositions, and making it work beautifully.

In the hands of lesser painters, this can lead to awkward value relationships, but Whisson takes it on with apparent ease. I’m not certain I’m right in my analysis, but it looks to me as though he is compressing his value ranges in a different way, still using a limited range, but grouping them at the two ends of the value scale, leaving out some intermediate values to create a different kind of harmony.

He also makes keen use of value masses, arranging his compositions with large, forcefully geometric shapes, within which are nuanced variations of color. All of this is wrapped in a marvelously textural application of paint, in which the brush marks themselves are often pronounced geometric forms.

As much as I enjoy his bold landscape and cityscape scenes, I find a particular magic in his interiors, where his fascination with patterns of light and shade plays out at a smaller scale.

Whisson regularly conducts workshops, and his schedule this year brings him here to the US, though many venues have been booked up already.

Colley Whisson’s work will be on view in a solo exhibition at the Brisbane Modern Art Gallery from June 9 to June 23, 2015

The gallery has a selection of images of Whisson’s work, in which you can see the surface character of his work better than in the somewhat small ones on his website. I’ve linked to other galleries in which he is represented below.


One response to “Colley Whisson (update)”

  1. Yeah, you said it all. I am a fan of his work. He really captures that particular light of the southern hemisphere.