Painting by numbers

“His application is beyond what I have been accustomed to see…”

Matthew Flinders

Sir Joseph Banks knew a thing or two about scientific art. He travelled with James Cook and was the first naturalist to document Ausralian fauna and flora. Sir Joseph chose Ferdinand Bauer as the naturalist and artist for the later exploration of Matthew Flinders along the Southern Coast of Australia. Bauer’s technique was unique. Aware that only a small range of colours could be used in the field, he devised a portable chart of over a 1000 colours. Each colour was given a number. For each subject, Bauer would do a basic ink sketch with a series of numbers to record the colours. Later he would use his full paint set to produce the final painting. This approach is still popular among Urban sketchers. Bauer produced over 1500 paintings from his time in Australia. Only one remains in Australia, Passionflowers, which can be seen in the SA Art Gallery. #firstsaurbansketcher #letsmakelemonade

1 thought on “Painting by numbers

  1. Very informative! I didn’t know some urban sketchers use the number system of giving colour to their sketch at a later time!


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