Gauguin - Believed in "pure colour-everything must be sacrificed to it."
He lived for a long while in Tahiti and painted a great many scenes of people in everyday life. The colours are deep and vibrant and heightened if not sometimes completely inaccurate. He paints the feeling of what he sees rather than the accurate colours. The result is stunning and immensely enjoyable to look at. The colours are rich and of a similar tone and depth. He used muted tones
He regularly used Prussian and Cobalt blue,Emerald Green, viridian, Cadmium Yellow, chrome yellow, red ochre, lead and zinc White.
He painted in oils and typically painted the outline of the subject in Prussian Blue. He then filled in using opaque colours rather than building them up. The colours are separately defined and do not run into one another at all.
He liked to use an absorbent ground as it created a Matt palate, he used rough, unprimed canvases and usually painted with a brush, occasionally using a palte knife. Gaughin painted with flat, even application rather than lots of small brushstrokes.
George Seurat- Invented the style known as "Pontillism" with Paul Signac. This style uses tiny, tightly packed dots. Painted close together to create objects, from a distance this creates a stunning visual impact. When looked at closely you can still delineate the objects but you can also pick out the colours that are so cleverly used.
Many artists followed him in using this technique. Above is one of his most famous paintings. The banks of the River Seine. The painting is done in oils with a tiny brush creating a dot, rather than a stroke.
Henri Matisse- painted in the style of "Fauvism" which translated means wild beasts. The style is to paint subjects in a simple style, the colours were bright and wild. He used oils and later changed to gouache but had little regard for the subjects actual colour. The paintings show a lot of detail, window views, paintings within paintings, details on fabrics, all simplified but evident nonetheless.
Mark Rothko - Heavily influenced by mythology, Philosophy and the work of Nietzsche. He insisted his work was full of content and brimming with ideas.
He began painting figures in estrain stations. He enjoyed the straight lines of people in queues and observed how you could pick out straight blocks of colour from these queues with the facial tones all going along in a strip and then below the dark stripe of the suits. He liked the straight lines of pillars and railway stations orderly concourses provide many blocks of colour and ordered shapes.
He then began to build on the colours and took out the multi forms of the subjects preferring to concentrate on blurring greeters blocks of colour. This is when he became more influenced by philosophy and even though his paintings contained great colours and tones he believed the viewer should see beyond that.
He painted in oils but used a lot of thinner so that the brushstrokes are not evident and the blocks are more solid. The edges of the colours blur into each other.
He also used minimal brushstrokes, just applying a line without repeatedly going over and over it. He ended up sadly committing suicide and for the last ten years of his life worked only in black. This seems a great shame as he puts colour together so well and I could look at his paintings for inspiration for hours.
Jackson Pollock- Famous for large paint splattered canvases using enamel paints which he would drip over large canvases pinned to the floor.
His paintings are created using paint tins with holes in the bottom to drip or splash over the canvas. He would swing them across in linear or circular motion. When he did use brushes they would be used in a forceful, rapid, impulsive way. He used sticks, knives, trowels and would often walk around the edges of his paintings and leave his footprints in the picture.
Bridget Riley - She works meticulously achieving precise hues and density of colour. Her paintings are abstract, sometimes views, such as the sea.
Her paintings are first done in gouache in small scale before building up to an often enormous size. These are painted first in acrylic and then finally in oils.
Her painting style is also, as Rothko, to thin the paint to such a consistency that you cannot see the brushstrokes. Unlike Rothko the colours have a strict boundary and do not bleed into one another. This makes them very striking to look at and I imagine the straight lines are very hard to achieve. All of her paintings are painted freehand although she often has other people paint the large final pieces which she oversees.
Joan Miro - used the style known as " Automatic drawing" - a way to undo previous established ways of drawing, developed with Andre Mason this was the first step towards Surrealism.
He used heavy, bold primary colours, black geometric shapes and used colour independent of it's nature, similarly to Gaughin and Matisse but you would not say their styles are at all similar.