What is Fauvism?

I often describe my paintings as having a Fauvist feel or style but what does that really mean?

'Fauvism' actually means 'wild-beast' and it was a term coined by art critic Louis Vauxcelles in 1905 after an exhibition including Henri Matisse and André Derain. The exhibition shocked both the public and critics due to the use of vibrant and unnatural colours.

Henri Matisse 

The Fauvist art movement was characterized by bold colours, textured brushwork and non-naturalistic depictions. All things I love to try and include in many of my paintings. I think it can bring a new perspective to objects and scenes that we can take for granted. The techniques of the early Fauvist pioneers was really an extension of impressionism but at the same time trying to capture and convey the emotions within the painting to the viewer.

André Derain

As Edgar Degas stated 'Art is not what you see, but what you make others see', and this is the idea and philosophy behind my paintings - I hope to reproduce and recreate subjects as if seen with fresh eyes.

With the painting below, I wanted to take one of the less picturesque sights of Redondo Beach - the old power plant - and try and paint it in such a way that could make it attractive and unusual, drawing upon the fauvist technique of using unnatural colours.

Redondo Beach Power Plant 48 x 36 in.

Hermosa Pier is an iconic landmark but with this painting below I wanted to convey more than just a bright image, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a warm and vibrant sunset on the California coast after a long, lazy day on the beach. And I enjoyed pushing the somewhat unnatural colour here too.

Californian Coastal Sunset 24 x 36 in.

So are my paintings really Fauvist? Well they are not really shocking like the original Fauvist paintings were in the early 20th century! But I hope that I can make people smile and feel the emotions I'm trying to convey as well as taking a fresh look at familiar scenes.

Thanks for reading.

Alison

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