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Irving Ramsey Wiles. (1861 - 1948). The Green Cushion. (1895). 

Watercolour, graphite, and gouache on paper. Precision and subtlety of mixed techniques.

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Video : Irving Ramsey Wiles.

Irving Ramsey Wiles. (1861 - 1948). The Green Cushion. (1895). 
22 x 28 in. Watercolour, graphite, and gouache on paper. 

Here a work of Irving Ramsey Wiles which illustrates the advantages of the mixed techniques. The Author used graphite for the drawing. It is about a drawing made with the pencil with the black lead. These pencils do not contain lead but are made of graphite mixed with clay. Graphite is of an opaque black, which has metallic lusters, it is very tender and colours of black all that enters to its contact. It is slipping and consistent with the touch. The gouache is a technique with the softening whose colours are obtained starting from opaque pigments initially crushed with water and mixed with gum. Its substance is a little thicker than the watercolour, its less subtle luminosity, but it allows made transparent and light. It is possible with the gouache to superimpose the colours, as with the oil-base paint, and to obtain opaque and pasty effects. The colours of the gouache tend to be cleared up while drying, this technique thus allows a large variety of pastel effects or beaded. The gouache combined with the watercolour, another technique where the pigments are watered in the water and which is characterized by its transparency, paper remaining visible through the colours which form an effect of veil, makes it possible to modify the effects of brightness of the colours and their texture. If the subject of the drawing is traditional and the realistic form the treatment of the colour is impressionist. Famous American painter for his portraits and his navy Irving Ramsey Wiles came to supplement his formation in Paris in 1882 at Carolus Duran, famous in the United States to have been the professor of John Singer Sargent. 2 of its works are accepted besides with the living room of 1883.

The point of view of the spectator is at the level of the face of the model.
The glance is attracted by the green of the cushion which slices with the colours pastel of the foreground
The model and its clothing are on 3 natural points of interest.

Crossing of the zones of colour. 

The green of the leather of the bench points out the green of the higher cushion. In the same way with the colours pastel of the 2 other cushions which they correspond to the colours pastel of clothing. 

Work is built on the downward diagonal. The body of the model is tilted.
A great majority of the guiding lines as much for the cushions that for the bench plunge downwards. 

Details : 

This effect of transparent veil in the purple one is very finely carried out thanks to the technique of the gouache.

The brilliant texture of leather is returned using the gouache which authorizes the superposition of the layers of colour. The metal black of the pencil to the black lead (graphite), makes it possible to delimit the various parts of the bench. 

Only the watercolour where the pigments are diluted in water makes it possible to represent such a clear and translucent blue but also the subtle variations of the colour and reflections of the light.


The character is enlightened by the right. The model is certainly in front of an open window what explains the sharp clearness of the light and the large whiteness of its skin. 


Harmonize and contrasts.

Contrast between hot and cold colours. Contrast between complementary.

Similar Paintings :

Irving Ramsey Wiles. Woman in blue. 1915.

Irving Ramsey Wiles. Portrait of a Woman. 1924.

Irving Ramsey Wiles. Sonate.