Monday, January 30, 2017

The Power of Art - Mark Rothko

Never been much of a fan of they type of art that Rothko made but for some reason I enjoy his work.  Sure it's simple and makes people angry but perhaps that was the point? What I do like about his work are his colour choices and how they do invoke emotions in the viewer.  Whether it's anger at the artist "getting away" with painting a square, or whether it's the calming blues or warm oranges that may help you reminisce. This hour long show really displays how art can be quite powerful.  It can inspire in several different ways and that's why it's so important. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Rotten Eggs

Trying to finish up a few last paintings for my upcoming show.  When I was asked if I'd do a show I said of course and figured I'd just hand over some stuff I already had done. Then it occurred to me that doing that would be kinda lazy so I set out to do a slew of new paintings. Now I'm questioning which idea was worse. I also toyed with the idea of doing some sort of theme and that didn't work out either. The weather didn't cooperate with me to go out and create 20 new landscapes either so I was left to work from photographs or attempt the dreaded still life.
I don't hate painting a still life, I hate setting them up. What do you put in them so it doesn't look like you raided a junk store and decided to paint it all? Designing a still life, there should be a college course on that. It's a lot like food. Sure you could grab everything out of the refrigerator and cook it in some sort of casserole and you'd find somebody to eat it, but it doesn't mean it's good.
What I've discovered, over this last month, is that creating and painting a still life is much like plein air painting. It has to be something that catches your eye, keeps you interested and inspires you to paint it. Most of all the lighting has to be "special". I probably spent more time setting stuff up and messing with the light than actually painting. A lot of the stuff I tried didn't work out and even though, at the time, it felt like a waste of time I realised I was learning.  Learning why some things didn't work and why other things did.
Nearing the end I've come to the conclusion that lighting is everything, whether it be light or lack of. Just like the movie, Poltergeist, if the light isn't good don't go into it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Edouard Manet Documentary - feat. Waldemar Januszczak

Edouard Manet was born on this day in 1832.  His works are very well known but unfortunately his name is not. How many times have you told someone you liked Manet and someone responds with, "Oh, I like Monet too."?  If it weren't for Manet we may not have known who Monet was.  
He's probably my favourite painter. I go back and forth between him and Hopper but you could also argue that without Manet we'd have no Hopper either. Either way, here is a documentary about some of his work. Of course they touch on all of the "scandalous" undertones to his work, which gets ridiculous but some people aren't interested unless there's a fair amount of drama surrounding something. Even if you turned the volume down on this it would be a good one to watch. They do lots of close ups of the paintings and show smaller details that you may have missed before. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

William Dobson Documentary - feat. Waldemar Januszczak

This is a nice, hour long, show on William Dobson.  Dobson was most well known for his portrait paintings and back in the 1600s was said to be "the most excellent painter that England has yet bred".
Is it bad that I had no idea who he was until I watched this? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Does Not Play Well With Others

When life hands you lemons just make lemonade and don't bother trying to paint them.  Good lord is there anything harder to paint than a lemon peel? The reflective surface of the lemon peel picks up a myriad of colours, ones you didn't even know were nearby.  After trying several different setups I went with something I thought would be completely safe, white on white on white background. Sadly, that lemon peel still picked up colours from I don't know where. Outer space probably. It's not exactly a problem for it to reflect nearby colours, it's a problem when you try to put it in the painting and it smooshes around with the yellow.  That yellow does not play well with others.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ribbon Cutting

Ribbon, scissors, ball 8x10 oil on gesso board
Considering how much I dislike wrapping gifts I'm perplexed as to why I have this large roll of ribbon. Seriously, why torture people by wrapping a gift then putting this stuff around it making it nearly impossible to open? One of my grandmothers would even put that clear tape around the box. That's absolute evil in the eyes of an eight year.  Almost like getting a soda at the drive thru and not getting a straw to go with it. So considering I don't even use the ribbon, and can't seem to give it away, I decided to make it somewhat useful and paint it. Surprisingly it was fun to paint.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Power of Art Bernini complete episode

Gian (everybody's named John!) Lorenzo Bernini has been making the rounds on the internet as of late. Several people are sharing a photo of his statue The Rape of Proserpina and stating that he created it when he was only 16.  It's either someone's way of praising his greatness or trying to make you feel like a complete failure at whatever it is you're doing. To those who are attempting the latter, you can go straight to Hades. What they don't tell you is that Bernini began working around the age of 8 and had the Pope's blessing. If you met the Pope at age 8 and he declared that you would one day be a great sculptor then you'd probably do all you could to be a great sculptor. Wouldn't it be great if we all had someone to encourage us like that? On the other hand, he had a lot to prove. 
This is only an hour long but gives all of the sordid details of his life. Attempting to murder his own brother and ordering someone to slash up the face of your ex best girl... Makes me wonder if there was a 16th century version of Jerry Springer.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Don't Worry 'Bout the Wobble

Spoon and Rubber Cement ink on paper
Lately I've been hard at work on a difficult painting .  There are a lot of elements in it that I keep telling myself not to mess up on while I paint it. It's like when your friend says, don't look now, and you always look. DUH, just don't say it. So as I was torturing myself to get this line straight, make sure this lines up with that and don't smudge that thing over there I hit a wall and had to walk away. As I stepped away from the painting I opened up my pile of notes I have for that infamous book I'm still working on. I found a note written that says," don't worry if your lines aren't straight,  A slight vibration in a line shows that there's life to it".  I don't know where this nugget of wisdom came from but it came to me at the right time.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Greatest Art Movie Ever "Art of the Steal" (2009)

I watched this one a few years ago on, I think it was PBS, and it made me angry. I know being angry isn't the way you want to start off a new year, but it's a good type of angry. It's the lighting a fire in your belly type of angry. The type of angry that makes you want to shake your fist in the air and scream, this isn't right!
This is a documentary about the 25 billion dollar collection that Dr. Albert C. Barnes acquired and left for students to learn from and enjoy. It's about how it was very specific that the collection remain where it was and kept there for its original intended purpose, but how it eventually got swindled away by a corrupt board of directors and so on. The documentary does do a good job of presenting the pros and cons to both sides, which in turn leaves it up to the viewer to decided whether or not what happened was wrong. I'm still on the fence about this one. At first I 100% felt like Dr. Barnes's wishes should be upheld. He left specific instructions for what should happen to the artwork. So should his instructions be followed or should the work be more easily accessible to the general public according to the wishes of some board of directors? Who knows what's best?  It's hard to decide.
All I know is, if I make specific wishes before I die and someone goes against them, you better believe I will come back and haunt their ass.