Thursday, December 1, 2011

Check this Out!
If you don't recognize this work of art then you can just crawl back under the rock you've been living under for your whole life. Although the Mona Lisa is considered one of the most recognizable works of all time it has also been the center of many theories that add to the allure of the work. The Mona Lisa made news recently here in Rochester, where WHEC 10 reported on a person's discovery of hidden imagery in the masterpiece - check it out here and make sure you watch the video - it's on the right hand side and a little small, but well worth the 5 minutes.

So what do you make of this video? What is your impression?
Investigate other theories behind this work of art and record your findings - you might be surprized what craziness you find.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Technical Tuesday

This video is a great explanation of how to paint with color instead of value. Too often we look at things in black, white, and gray without considering the surroundings or the temperature of these neutrals.  All neutrals have warm or cool characteristics and having an ability to recognize this could be the difference between an image appearing flat or volumetric.
Enjoy the Vid!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday History
Pablo Picasso
Guernica (1937)
Oil on Canvas, 349 x 766 cm

Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.

Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.

With all thanks to Wikipedia for the above description I would like you to reflect upon this work of art, which many consider to be the most significant piece of the 20th century. What symbols do you see in this work? Search carefully and record your observations - be specific about what you see. How does this work reflect a social issue? What is going on in this composition. Be inquisitive in your investigation and enjoy this quintessential work of art.
Happy Monday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Ba-ack!
Monday History
Reginald Marsh
"Why Not Use the 'L'?" 1930
Tempera on Board

Reginald Marsh (1898 - 1954)
Marsh painted at a time when Modern Art was all over - from Cubism to Abstract Expressionism. He is most known for his paintings of New York City and the Great Depression. Below is a great description of his point of view from Wikipedia:
Reginald Marsh rejected modern art, which he found sterile.[7] Marsh’s style can best be described as social realism. His work depicted the Great Depression and a range of social classes whose division was accentuated by the economic crash. His figures are generally treated as types. "What interested Marsh was not the individuals in a crowd, but the crowd itself ... In their density and picturesqueness, they recall the crowds in the movies of Preston Sturges or Frank Capra".

Marsh’s main attractions were the burlesque stage, the hobos on the Bowery, crowds on city streets and at Coney Island, and women.[5] His deep devotion to the old masters led to his creating works of art in a style that reflects certain artistic traditions, and his work often contained religious metaphors. "It was upon the Baroque masters that Marsh based his own human comedy",[5] inspired by the past but residing in the present. The burlesque queen in the etching Striptease at New Gotham (1935) assumes the classic Venus Pudica pose; elsewhere, "Venuses and Adonises walk the Coney Island beach [and] deposed Christs collapse on the Bowery".[4] The painting Fourteenth Street (1934, in the Museum of Modern Art, New York) depicts a large crowd in front of a theater hall, in a tumbling arrangement that recalls a Last Judgment.
Marsh filled sketchbooks with drawings made on the street, in the subway, or at the beach. Marolyn Cohen calls Marsh's sketchbooks "the foundation of his art. They show a passion for contemporary detail and a desire to retain the whole of his experience".[9] He drew not only figures but costumes, architecture, and locations. He made drawings of posters and advertising signs, the texts of which were copied out along with descriptions of the colors and use of italics.[9] In the early 1930s he took up photography as another means of note taking.

Signage, newspaper headlines, and advertising images are often prominent in Marsh's finished paintings, in which color is used to expressive ends—drab and brown in Bowery scenes; lurid and garish in sideshow scenes.[10]
So my question to you is this: What does the work "Why Not Use the 'L'" suggest?
Don't just assume - investigate! I look forward to your findings. Have a great Thanksgiving and until then, keep those pencils sharp and ideas fresh!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday History
Study for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884
Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891)
Oil on canvas 27 3/4 x 41 in. (70.5 x 104.1 cm)

The Impressionists were mostly concerned with optical impressions, time of day, and space in their work, but what was missing that led to a new movement? EMOTION! EXPRESSION! After all, isn't that what art is all about? Some say so but I'll leave that up to you. To understand the Post Impressionism period in Art History you should get acquainted with the following artists:
Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Georges Seurat (1859–1891), Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), and the eldest of the group, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). Follow these links courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to learn about these greats!

I refer to Post Impressionism as a time period because unlike artists who participated in art movements, most Post Impressionists worked independently - their work just happened to fit a certain mold that we can categorize with. Georges Seurat was known for his dot style called "Pointilism," a technique that was epitomized by his master work "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Follow this link to see the finished work - the image above is just a study to wet your palette.  Look further into the Post Impressionists - there's a little something for everyone here including one of the most famous works of all time - Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh!
Happy Monday

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Technical Tuesday

Color is something that too many artists use without understanding
The chart above shows variations of yellow based on 3 attributes - Hue, Value, and Intensity (or Chroma).

Hue is the name we give a color - like "Red," "Blue," or "Yellow Orange"
Value is how dark or light the color appears
Intensity/Chroma is how bright or dull the color appears

There are 51 different tints, shades, and tones of yellow visible here - all of which are creating by varying the white, black, and gray balance of the color. The darker the color, the more variations you can achieve...take a moment to consume that info and consider its relevance to your practice as an artist.

Try out a chart like this in your sketchbooks. Choose a color and mix a variety of levels of white, black, and gray and chart the differences then reflect upon how this will impact the way you use color in the future.
Keep those pencils sharp and ideas fresh!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday History
Haystack, End of Summer 1891
Oil on Canvas, 24" x 40"
Making an Impression

Impressionism is considered by most to be the turning point in Art History - a time that evoked the greatest continual change in art and the constant progression that artists work towards today.

(From Wikipedia) Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles.
The image above represents one of a huge series of works by Monét called "Haystacks."  
Follow this link to learn more about the series of works and then respond to the following:

1. Why do you think Monét devoted his time to this series
2. Investigate the work of the Impressionists and find another artist from the movement that you like
3. Include a brief bio of the artist, 3 examples of their work, and why you chose the artist

Happy Monday!