Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Technical Tuesday
Alexa Meade

Just when you think we've run out of ideas something like this comes around. What we have here is something that appears to be a moody portrait of a man seated in a drab interior setting. The monochromatic blue color scheme offers a somber tone and the artist has applied the paint in an aggressive manner that offers movement and a painterly style. But as in life, things aren't always what they seem. Alexa Meade uses people as her canvas and her final medium is photography.  
Rather than creating representational paintings on a flat canvas, Alexa Meade creates her representational paintings directly on top of the physical subjects that she is referencing. When photographed, the representational painting and the subject being referenced appear to be one and the same as the 3D space of her painted scenes becomes optically compressed into a 2D plane.
 The image below shows the artist at work on her model. 

Just another artist who is stretching the definition of art for those of us who love the possibilities.
Keep those pencils sharp and ideas fresh!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technical Tuesday
"Ray Charles" 2004
Oil on Canvas 48" x 60"

More Than Peachy

Philip Burke is an illustrator from Buffalo who is known for his caricature portraits of rock stars and celebrities. His work is expressive, colorful, and exaggerates his subjects in a way that captures their personalities. The technical aspect that makes his work impressive is the way he treats color in his figures. Study the shadows in this piece carefully and you'll see a rainbow of colors utilized in a way that emphasizes the highlights and shadows. Try it for yourself - draw a hand, a nose, or some other figure-based subject in color and get inventive in the shadows.
A quick tip - use cool colors for shadows and warm colors for highlights. Sure, peach works - but it's flat and boring. Punch it up and get inventive! Don't forget to check out Burke's work and see more examples of how he stretches color for ideas. 
Keep your ideas fresh and your pencils sharp...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday History
Gustav Klimt
"The Kiss"1907-1908
Oil and gold leaf on canvas - 70" x 70"

The work of Gustav Klimt deals heavily with romance - something that is clearly evident in "The Kiss" and most other works he created in his illustrious career. A man who painted at the time of the expressionists, Klimt was the founder of the Vienna Secession - a group that had no signature style but promoted young artists and members of the movement through print media and gallery shows from 1897 - 1908. When you look at a piece by Klimt, especially from his "Golden Phase," it is easy to lose the figure amongst the lavish pattern work. I've always wondered - where did this style come from? - it was so unique to Klimt and something that makes his work immediately recognizable. I found this description on the good ol' wikipedia that brought some insight to my wonderings:
Art historians note an eclectic range of influences contributing to Klimt's distinct style, including Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations. Klimt was also inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa school. His mature works are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles, such as The Glasgow School, from which he was heavily influenced, and make use of symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the "freedom" of art from traditional culture.
So what does that have to do with you might you ask (at least I hope you do)? Find the connections between the work of Klimt and the cultures listed above. I look forward to your results and encourage you to compare and contrast your conclusions.
Happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Check This Out!
Dan Witz
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas - 46" x 70"

So you don't know what to paint about? Where do you start? Although the answer is an easy one - it's a challenge to execute: you can paint about anything and start anywhere (insert "YIKES" comment here). Dan Witz is an artist I stumbled upon on the Internet and at first I was not impressed. When you visit his home page you learn that he is a street artist - and there's no shortage of them in the art world these days. What I found blew me away though. This guy can flat-out paint and his subject matter is one you wouldn't normally think of because it's so crazy challenging.  Check out his gallery work and here you can see what makes him exceptional in my opinion.

I chose a piece from his most pit series because they are so intricate, effective, and flat out interesting. Although you find people everywhere they are still balanced and provide points of emphasis - often times focusing on the center of the pit. If mosh pits aren't your thing then check out his lamps and interiors, Night Landscapes, or his Figure work.

So what are you waiting for? Check it out! and Happy Friday

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Technical Tuesday
Too Good To Resist
Remember this from Primary and Intermediate school? Take a white crayon and draw a design on a sheet of paper, then go over your design with watercolor paints. Although this technique seems a bit primary - does it hold value for a more "refined" style of art? Of course it does! I want to challenge you to try and take this "basic" style of art and create something more aesthetically mature like the image below.
So do you have it in you? Test it out and have fun!
Keep those pencils sharp and ideas fresh

Friday, October 7, 2011

Check This Out!
15 x 21
Pencil and Pastel

Graphite is such a basic medium, but Rod Luff has a nice way of rendering with it. His style has a nice textural quality and has an effective balance between expressive and controlled mark-making. I love the way he renders the figure and his compositions are intriguing. You can learn more about his process by checking out his blog - something that many of my artists to check out have. On his blog you will see some works in progress as well as personal reflections.

So what are you waiting for? Check it out! (and have a great weekend!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Technical Tuesday
Painting with Graphite

Joseph Piccillo
Graphite on Canvas
4' x 7'

Some of you may look at a piece like this and wonder "how'd they do that?" Sometimes it takes knowing the technique, then mastering it over years like Piccillo has done here. This large canvas takes graphite and works with it in an unexpected way - by using paintbrushes and powdered graphite to layer values with extreme precision.

Here are the basics you need to execute this technique
  1. An assortment of CLEAN paintbrushes - new brushes if possible
  2. Powdered graphite or sandpaper for making your own powder
  3. A surface with tooth - canvas, paper, fabric - try it out and see what you get
So go out there and try painting with graphite. You'll be surprised by how easy it is to achieve smooth gradients and even tone.

Keep those pencils sharp and your ideas fresh!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Monday History
Tlingit Totem Poles
Some of the best works of art are created for cultural purposes, where the name is not always the most important thing. Often times when we hear the names "Picasso" or "Monet" we automatically associate it with important works of art.

The Tlingit people have been making works of art for centuries and are categorized in the "Northwest Coastal Art" genre or Pacific Northwest Art. Many other tribes created works of art in this region - check out the wiki page to do some investigation.  When you search for this on Google (the almighty - all powerful) you find a wide variety of works - both modern and historical. Regardless of what you find think about what you notice based on the formal qualities of a work of art. The work is figurative in nature and uses bold shapes to create forms. The use of black offers contrast and this happens often in the eyes which become a point of emphasis. Kinda makes me sound smart, but all I'm doing to looking at it in terms of elements and principles, which is what I'd like you to do once you find a work from the culture that you like.
Happy Monday!