Regional Identity

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Palgrave Station
David Milne, Milne, oil, painting, simplified form, railway station, Palgrave, contour line, expressive brushwork, minimal colour, limited palette, scumbled paint, water tower, landscape with buildings, horizon line, regional, Ontario, 2D art, two-dimensional
description
start quoteAnything is good painting material once you get to know it.end quote -- David Milne

Palgrave Station, from the Mendel Art Gallery collection, likely was painted during Milne’s relatively short stay in Palgrave, Ontario. The  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  illustrates Milne’s simplified style, depicting the railway station and water tower at Palgrave, with the town in the background. The man-made structures in the painting huddle under a sky that occupies three-quarters of the painting.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • What does Milne’s choice of objects to include in the painting Palgrave Station say about his way of seeing landscape?
  • Milne suggests clouds and sky with large, swooping brush strokes. The gaps in the clouds are coloured similarly to the earth below. What do you think Milne was trying to achieve with this approach?
Advanced Activity

Conservation of artworks

Conservators are professionals who work to preserve art and cultural heritage items. These specialists treat damaged objects and help collectors, galleries and museums care for cultural items. Art  conservationPreservation from loss, damage, or neglect, stabilizing chemically and structurally, sustaining the survival of objects as long as possible in what is closest to their original form. The application of science to the examination and treatment of objects, and to the study of the environments in which they are placed — used, transported, and stored. What differentiates art conservation from art restoration is the conservator's avoidance of adding anything to an object that cannot be easily removed or identified. Some also address restoration and other issues involving museology. (Artlex.com)  uses science in the treatment and preventive care of heritage collections so they can be enjoyed and experienced by current and future generations.

The following website discusses how the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) used the paint box of David Milne that was gifted to them to help in the conservation process.

See the following websites for more information on art conservation:

Online Activity Studio Activity

David B. Milne is known as one of Canada’s most prominent artists. During his lifetime, he painted in  oilSlow-drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being most traditional. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colours is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas. They can have a matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. To look at examples of works in oil paints, see the articles under the names of every period from the Renaissance onward. (Artlex.com)  and  watercolourAny paint that uses water as a solvent. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolours. What carries the pigment in watercolour (called its medium, vehicle, or base) is gum arabic. An exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints, which employ water as their solvent, but are actually oil paints. Colours are usually applied and spread with brushes, but other tools can also used. The most common techniques for applying watercolour are called wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet, along with the dry brush techniques dry-on-dry and dry-on-wet. Colours can be removed while still wet, to various degrees by blotting. Most watercolour painting is done on paper, but other absorbent grounds can also be employed. The papers most favored by those who paint with watercolour is white, very thick, with high rag content, and has some tooth. (Artlex.com)  and was a printmaker. David Milne developed a  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  in which he reduced his  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter to minimal colour,  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (Artlex.com)  and texture. Painter Harold Town in homage called Milne the “Master of Absence” for his ability to reduce  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  to its essentials. (from The Canadian Encyclopedia)

David Milne often chose simple subject matter and painted in a manner he believed added feeling to the work, saying “feeling is the power that drives art.” (from Silcox, David P., Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne.)

You may wish to choose a common subject matter (such as items in a simple  still lifeA picture of inanimate objects. Common still life subjects include vessels, food, flowers, books, clothing. (artlex.com)  or landscape) to create an  oilSlow-drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being most traditional. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colours is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas. They can have a matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. To look at examples of works in oil paints, see the articles under the names of every period from the Renaissance onward. (Artlex.com)  or  acrylicSynthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a synthetic vehicle made from polymerized acrylic acid esters, the most important of which is polymethyl methacrylate. First used by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of their versatility. They can be used on nearly any surface, in transparent washes or heavy impasto, with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finishes. Acrylic paints dry quickly, do not yellow, are easily removed with mineral spirits or turpentine, and can clean up with soap and water.(Artlex.com)  painting.

  • Next decide on a limited range of colours to use. The colour does not need to be strictly representational. Select colours that you think represent the mood you want to create and ones that will work with the coloured ground.

To learn more about David Milne and see more examples of his artwork, visit the following websites:

References

Author unknown.  ‘David Milne.’  Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved from the Internet on July 18, 2008 from:  http://www.godardgallery.com/milne.htm.

Author unknown.  ‘David Milne (artist).’ Wikipedia.  Retrieved from the Internet on July 18, 2008 from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Milne_(artist).

Brandon, Laura.  Art or Memorial? The Forgotten History of Canada’s War Art. Calgary, Alberta:  University of Calgary Press, 2006.

Lochnan, Katharine, ed.  David Milne Watercolours: “Painting toward the Light”.  Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Ontario/Douglas and McIntyre, Toronto, Ontario, 2005.

Matuz, Roger, ed.  Contemporary Canadian Artists.  Scarborough, Ontario:  Gale Canada, 1997.

Newlands, Anne.  Canadian Art from its Beginnings to 2000.  Willowdale, Ontario:  Firefly Books, 2000.

O’Brian, John, Dennis Reid, David P. Silcox, Rosemarie L. Tovell and Carol Troyen.  David Milne: Watercolours.  Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, 2005.

Silcox, David P.  ‘Milne, David Brown.’  The Canadian Encyclopedia.  Retrieve from the Internet on July 18, 2008 from:  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0005307

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning