Passion Flowers With Three Hummingbirds Analysis

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Before going to the San Antonio Museum of Art, time was spent searching their website to get an idea of the paintings displayed. One stood out to me online, however it wasn’t until seeing it in person the magnitude of the true beauty of the painting. Martin Johnson Heade’s, Passion Flowers with Three Hummingbirds, exudes something special to visualize not only for its bright floral colors, but the heart of the painting is the three hummingbirds in their natural element. Nature and wildlife has always brought me joy and wonderment, which has lead me to some bird watching in my time. This would be a type of painting displaying in my home would be an honor, as the birds symbolize tranquility and peace in nature; doing what they do naturally.…show more content…
In Passion Flowers with Three Hummingbirds, it is evident the realistic style of romantic and expressive line used. Romantic does not just mean the expression of love, but the expression of feeling and passions (Sayre, 75). Heade used not only his expression to create this piece, but what it most evident, is his use of implied lines. Implied lines create a sense of connection and enclosure, along with movement and direction (Sayre, 62). While looking at the background the curved, smooth lines imply moving clouds. It is almost as if you can see the loose strokes above the hills indicating drooping clouds or rain. In addition, he uses these lines, curves and angles to provoke imagination over the scene. Will a storm be heading through? What is the interaction with the hummingbirds? While looking at the birds you can recognize the diagonal and curved implied lines to show a sense of movement as he used shadows and light to create that sense. As you gaze at the tropical marsh, the canvas appears more textured and thick in the foreground. Heade used visual texture to create a sense of illusion. Visual texture appears actual, but it smooth to the touch, as it gives off a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface (Sayre, 136). This adds contrast to the background to show space between the birds and hills. The illusion of visual texture and implied lines come together to…show more content…
In his earlier works, his paints entailed mostly paste vehicular paint, and was limited to what was available at the time. Heade seemed to develop his compositions on canvas, rather than using compositional drawings. He used a wide variety of oil based paints that he would regularly mix, including yellow and blue to make green pigments. As materials became available, Heade started to incorporate glazing techniques and new pigments, including cobalt yellow as seen in some of his orchid paintings. One of Heade’s most characteristic brushstrokes was developing a glaze over bright, reflective impasto to incorporate his subjects with light (Fulton, Newman and Woodward). His long, horizontal brushstrokes of complementary colors, add interest to otherwise, dull backgrounds. In his hummingbird paintings, his technique of contrasting the horizontal middle ground with vegetation of plants with flecks of bright colors, was used to further intensify the brilliant colors of his subjects. His technique also included, comma-like brushstrokes, subtractive strokes; which removes paint from the middle of the stroke, and distinctive, calligraphic, hooked branches, as seen in the hummingbird paintings (Fulton, Newman, and Woodward). In the background of his paintings Heade applied glazes of faint brush strokes in smooth, liquid areas of colors, giving a sense of
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