définitions par creux ou par contour

KirstyWeston

Senior Member
UK English
In this text, the artist is described as adopting certain drawing techniques in his painting. I'm stuck with what is meant by 'définitions par creux' here. Any artists understand what this is and how to translate it please? Here's the whole sentence and my translation thus far:

Dans la peinture, tu reprends certains éléments de la tradition de la technique du dessin : les hachures, les ombres portées, les définitions par creux ou par contour…

In painting, you adopt some elements of traditional drawing techniques: hatching, shading, creating definition with ? and contouring.

Thanks!
 
  • Garoubet

    Senior Member
    French - France, Quebec
    Ce sont des notions qui remontent à très longtemps, et je ne connais pas les termes techniques en anglais.
    Dessin par creux - c'est le cas de la gravure, on incise le support.
    Dessin par contour - on dessine d'abord le tour des objets que l'on veut faire.
     

    KirstyWeston

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks for the explanation Garoubet… now just to find the English translations!
    Kelly B: I've gone with contouring for the latter (unless someone gives me an 'official' translation). Not sure about etching as that's a very specific technique and not sure it applies to painting…
     

    KirstyWeston

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi Itisi. That sounds like a reasonable 'guess' but I'm just a bit concerned because of Garoubet's earlier post: these are apparently recognised drawing techniques in French so I'm assuming there are English equivalents. I will, however, certainly note your suggestion. (I've posted elsewhere, too, so may get a specialist's reply there.)
     

    KirstyWeston

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The whole text is incredibly abstruse! I've just hit on a sentence that's so complex I can't even post it (where would I start with one question per thread?!) If I get any answers on this one (none so far on the other forum), I will of course post here. Failing that, I'll just leave a note for the copyeditor in the hope she can fill in!
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Itisi's remark definitely rings a bell - that's the direction (piste !) to follow. Defining/creating positive vs negative shapes, maybe. I don't think it's contouring, regardless, not when you have .. .doing X by A or by B.

    I had 3D works in mind more than peinture, where it's the difference between adding material vs cutting it away. It isn't that Garoubet's notion and Itisi's are contradictory, but rather that the way to imagine it depends on the nature of the work.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    par creux - since 'en creux' is used in English sometimes as equivalent to 'intaglio', 'définition par creux' suggests, as others have said above, some painterly version of intaglio; might this not be some form of grattage, where paint previously applied is removed to define form etc. e.g Matisse's portrait of Mademoiselle Landsberg ; Matisse refers to 'les lignes de construction que j'ai mises autour de la figure de façon a lui donner plus d’ampleur dans l’espace’, and Elisabeth Lebovici comments 'ces lignes sont en effet incisées dans la surface pictorale, ôtées à la couche déjà peinte –...ces lignes sont appliquées par retrait de peinture', something which Pierre Schneider describes as '‘ce dessin negatif, griffé nerveusement avec le manche du pinceau'; the authors later refers to it as 'marques en creux'. All my reference are to 'Lithophanies de Matisse', by Elisabeth Lebovici and Philippe Peltier, which examines at length this technique in the paintings of Matisse. The authors themselves use the term 'grattage' to refer to this, though grattage has perhaps wider, or more various, connotations when used in art criticism in English.
     
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