Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Painting Interpretation Through the Years

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Jan Van Eyk - Portrait of Mr. Arnolfini and his WifeImages have had different meanings throughout time.  In any culture images have a certain meaning and they produce certain feelings such as peace, tranquility, and even hope. Throughout history these images have changed and the meaning or feelings those images inspire has also changed.

Let’s take for example the painting of “The Marriage Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami” by Jan van Eyck, which was painted in 1434.  This visual image was well understood in the 15th century, but it is not interpreted similarly today.

At the time, this painting was a type of “wedding certificate.” Their grave faces indicate the responsibility of marriage. The green dress that the bride is wearing indicates fertility, and was the traditional wedding dress color of the time.  She is not pregnant as may be thought in this day and age, but the swelling of her abdomen suggests great female beauty for the 15th century.

The lack of shoes was a religious symbol that indicated the standing on holy ground, and the burning candle symbolizes the presence of Christ. Now unless we knew about these images and what they presented in the 15th century, people would have no idea of what this painting represented in today’s time. The same is probably true, if we took a painting of Andy Warhol’s “Soup can” back to the 15th century. Do you think they would understand that it is a representation of Modern day life.

Nature Inspires Artists

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008


Marc Chagall - Woman and the Roses - 1929

Marc Shagall was a Russian born French painter (1887-1985), who painted with vivid colors and was influenced by Cubism, Surrealism and Fauvism. He once said:

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers and never succeeding.

What the artist is referring to in this quote is the beauty of Nature and how Nature is often a great source of inspiration for artists.  And when you really look at nature and think about it, it really is inspirational. Maybe artists are able to see and express their wonder at nature better than most of the rest of us.

Take a moment, and really look at a tree, a flower or the simplest plant in the world. Don’t think of it’s name, just look at this object in nature as if you had never seen it before. Isn’t it the most amazing thing you have ever seen, and not even the best artist in the world can recreate its magnificence, and yet a very good artist who acquires his inspiration from nature or from just about everything and anything can recreate the feelings we get when we truly look at objects in nature and let ourselves  just FEEL.

Inspiration from music

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

We all love music, but some of us more than others, and some of us use music to inspire our lives and in the case of artists, this music inspires them to create their art.

Where do artists get their inspiration from? You might be surprised to learn that they are inspired everyday events, by other art, movies and music. Most artists are very emotional, sensitive people and everything in their environment influences the way they see things. Take the blog The Modern Artist. She expresses the deep emotional feelings she gets when listening to a U2 song.  Angel Turner Dyke is a professional modern artist, who takes images she finds in nature and adds her own feelings, person, and creativity to them. Her work stands out because, she takes what would otherwise be stark images, and creates color within them.  In a way this artist focuses on modern abstract art, and yet her work is not all abstract, but a combination of modern illustration, some abstract, and there are even some hints of impressionism (color) in her work.  You can tell from her work that this artist’s fills her world and her artwork with passion, love and color.

Why Aren’t Modern Artists Inspired by Biblical Themes?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

It appears that many artists don’t feel inspired by biblical scenes anymore, although I don’t see why. It would appear that the Bible has many inspirational elements, and many that artists can draw on.

Artists that still work with biblical scenes find ways of reaching all of us through the subjects they paint, even though the subject has been painted by others thousands of times before. The point is that artists can inspire through biblical paintings, or any other thing that inspires them. It is important that the artist feel inspired by anything and whatever it is that he finds inspiring he will be able to transpose those feelings into his work.

There are few modern day artists that have been inspired by biblical related themes, after the government and Church separated and most religious churches stopped supporting artists, they began to take on themes that were more secular. But there is one modern artist that was inspired much by religious themes, even though there are paintings, where it is difficult to distinguish this influence.  He is well known by admirers for his biblical inspiration and Paris has even dedicated an entire museum to his work. It is Marc Chagall that I am talking about.

Artists Who Are Inspired by Nature

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Artists find their inspiration from many different places. Some from other artists, some from modern day life and some from nature. But just because they take their inspiration from nature does not necesarily mean that they paint or portray exactly what they see in nature in their work. Lets take as an example the work of Jaison Cianelli. In his work he portrays a squirrel in boots, eating a sandwich.

The artist has created a type of whimsical self portrait, where he represents a connection with the spiritual and the mundane world. The antlers represent spirituality and nature, the boots, a tired and resting person, and the sandwich is the enjoyment of life.

It is truly amazing how an artist can find inspiration in things that we would never think of, things we may not even see until an artist, shows it to us.

Why Do Artists Create?

Friday, July 4th, 2008

John Opie was once known to have said,

“Art is more godlike than science. Science discovers but art creates.”

This quote tries to answer the question that most artists are asked. What is it that gives them their inspiration? Sometimes we can easily see what the inspiration is. Sometimes the answer is as simple as the people and situations that surround the artist become his inspiration. But other times we don’t really know how the artist got his idea. Did Jesus and his disciples just appear to Da Vinci? Of course, not! So how did he come up with the idea?

Most artists use people, surroundings, and areas they are familiar with, even for works that are abstract or fantasy art. Sometimes the people in an art work are even a composite of many different people. Some artists are inspired by their dreams and even their life goals, that’s why I say that each piece is a part of the soul of the artist. So to really understand what inspires the artist, you need to know about the artist, his history and what interests him as a person.

It is really difficult to understand what inspires creativity, and that may be what makes it so interesting. Artists use many things to inspire the, a conversation, another piece of art, nature, and many different things.

Romare Bearden – Inspiration from Music

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Romare Bearden Famous American Modern Artist Inspired by Music, Sounds in Nature

Artists are inspired by many different things. I want to talk a little bit about Romare Bearden, an unusual American artist. Bearden was an African American born in the first part of the 20th century.   He came from the Bronx and graduated from New York University with a degree in education. What makes Bearden so distinct is his interests in so many different things.

He was a professional baseball player in the Negro leagues, but in between his sports sessions he always found time to take courses in art and became a lead cartoonist for the Eucleian Society. He was also a writer, a costume designer for the theatre, a composer.

He became well known as an artist for a piece he did in 1970 where he combined polymer paint on composition board, with cloth and paper. The piece called Patchwork Quit stands today in the museum of Modern Art.

He studied art in Germany and took much of his influence from Mexican Muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. When the war broke out, he joined and afterward went to France to study philosophy. He also took up composing and helped write “Sea Breeze.” This artist took his inspiration from many different interest and many different things, but primarily form music, and sounds. His art was universal, because he was well read, well educated and his friends were artists, poets, musicians, and writers.

Edward Hicks Inspired by Biblical Stories

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Edward Hicks was a famous American Folk art painter that took his inspiration from stories, mostly biblical stories, but many of local stories, farms and landscapes of New York and Pennsylvannia. Hicks was a Quaker and believed in the prophecy of Isaiah, and many of his paintings reflect that.  His paintings reflect justice and gentleness of men and beasts, just as prophesied.

What is strange, that as well known as his paintings became, art was only secondary to Hicks. He considered himself more of a preacher than an artist and only started painting late in life.  He started painting when he was mid aged and at one point almost thought that it was contrary to his religion, but at the same time he felt that it brought meaning to his life.  When he passed away, those that mourned him mourned him as a preacher, and not as a pastor. It wasn’t until much later that his art became sought after by great collectors. This is a man that took his inspiration from the life around him, from his natural surroundings and from his strong religious beliefs.

Memorial Photography – Inspiration from Cemeteries

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I recently came across a gallery with an exhibition I thought quite interesting. It was a collection of different artists work, but what made the collection interesting was that it was a collection of fine art photographs of cemetery and memorial art from different parts of the world.

Some of the cemeteries were in Paris, others in the United States, in Milan, Genova and even from Moscow. The photographs were truly emotional and believe it or not, I did feel inspired. You would think that it would be morbid, but it is more nostalgic, beautiful, sensitive, solitary and awe inspiring.

What makes an artist look to portray this type of art? It may be his need to portray the solitary existence of man, and the knowledge that in the end we all face the same fate. It is a form of poetry, and of salvation, and maybe even transcendence. Whatever it is, it is beauty. Although this type of exhibit may seem morbid, it is more of a sentimental journey and should be witnessed by all.

A Dog Attack Inspires One Artist to Keep Working

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Today many artists get their inspiration from life, from emotions and the emotional turmoil we go through on this road we all take.  As an example Artist Sandra Schimmel never could relate to her artwork as much as she can today. She creates portraits of famous people and sometimes not so famous people using a method called acrylic mosaic fusion, which was created by the artist herself when she was looking for a way to be environmentally kind and recycle. Then one day a freakish accident occurred which made her identify even more with her unique art style.

Her dog a Labrador attacked her, and bit her nose off. After several plastic surgery operations, her nose returned to normal, but she did not feel like it was the same. Similarly the faces she paints are put together.  She began to question who she was? Was she the person that people outwardly saw, or was she the inner being she knows herself to be? The point is her artwork has also begun to reflect these questions she asks of herself.

In her artwork she incorporates all kinds of materials from postcards, greeting cards to photographs and advertising in her portraits.


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