Posts Tagged ‘Representation’

The Purpose of Art

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

The Young Beggar by MurilloHave you ever asked yourself what the purpose of art is? Is it only a portal to history and the way humankind has evolved? Is it the exact replica of what we are like? The truth is, that this day and age if we wanted exact replicas we would stick to photography. No! art is the portrayal of ideals and themes.

Could you imagine if all sculptors portrayed the minute scars on a mans body, or the stretch marks on a woman’s legs? Would these aspects portray the truth about humanity?

Artists create to praise mans beliefs, ideals, and goals in life. Art is a representation of pride, intellect, joy, sorrow, happiness loneliness and above all beauty. It does not have to be a real representation to portray any of these feelings, it should only portray them to the best of its ability.

Art is reason, reality and life, it does not matter what the setting, context or even whether it is historically accurate or not, so long as the meaning is understandable.

It does not even have to be a certain type of art movement. It can be fantasy art, digital art, modern art, neo classical, it only needs to speak to the human soul and represent our wonderful humanity.


Charcoal -Black and white

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

 

Odilon Redon CharcoalOne of the most striking aspects about charcoal art is that it is completely devoid of color. Thus, within the limited constraints of black and white, the portraitist has to express his subject. In fact the French painter Odilon Redon rebelled against the predominant impressionism of those times. He was of the idea that society curtailed natural phenomena. He consciously chose to work with pencil and rendered black and white paintings as his way of rebelling against the dull reality of color in real life. Having a fascination for the morbid and the menacing, many of Redon’s paintings contained creatures like insects, amoeboid creatures, as well as plants containing human heads. Through his paintings, this revolutionary portrayer served to refute the standard differentiation between ugly and beautiful.

A depth of meaning

If you consider the works of James Drake, all of his works were done in charcoal and served to represent the looming and gloomy image of war. For example, in his painting the War in Heaven he has patched and taped various animals and birds such as hawks, gazelles, insects of giant proportions etc. In this painting, the portraitist has tried to showcase the ‘patched up’ nature of memory. Just like one’s memory which gets torn, weathered and repaired once again, this work too depicts a melancholic and dramatic effect. Portrait artists who have depicted work in black and white have managed to convey a far deeper meaning in their paintings as compared to colored paintings.


The thought behind the picture

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Ever wondered why a simple flower can set the mood and tone for an entire painting? All famous and no so famous artists have employed the usage of everyday objects as sources of their inspiration and concept behind the artwork.

Dali Rose MeditativeThere is lot of things an artist will envision while looking at a subject before drawing it. The final outcome of the painting will depend a lot on the style of the painting as well as the subject of choice. The art needs to highlight the positive aspects and characteristics of the subject, even if it is an inanimate object like a book or a flower. Thus if an artists sees the colors of the rainbow in the petals of a rose, he will need to portray his creativity in such a way as to go beyond the defined forms of the flower. Thus the final painting will depict much more than the natural form of the flower. That is, it will not only show the petals, leaves and thorns but a finer depth and character of the flower which could portray a deep emotion or a feeling through the painting.


The emotional appeal of a portrait

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Self Portrait Van GoghAny good painting serves to stir emotions in the heart of the onlooker. It induces the person to keep looking at the portrait to find hidden layers of meaning. In fact most great portrayers of the olden times have created masterpieces which shocked and appalled people at the time. Yet today they are considered their best works till date. Also the fact of whether an oil painting is good or bad is a personal and subjective matter. It is beyond the structure, rules of good painting and techniques. Great oil painters have been able to wield a certain primal quality in their paintings which touch our hearts – till this day. Consider Van Gogh’s personal portraits of his own self. The expression on the face isn’t just a representation of the facial features but a deeper, more profound interpretation of his emotions at that stage of his life. Some of the best oil portrait artists have been able to successfully capture, anguish, ecstasy and grief in a single painting!


Food as a center point in Pop Art

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Coca Cola bottle by Warhol (Pop Art)Most pop artists use modern day images, instances and people as their sources of inspiration. These then get re-interpreted as other forms in a pop art painting. What’s interesting is that in the later years, the work initiated by these painters were widely used in the advertising and marketing industry. For example, the coca cola bottle shape is still a mark of sensuality and represents a world of escapism and fantasy.

As far as the pop art scene in America goes, food seems to have been given a central importance. It represents a major outlet for spending income, while also doubling as a leisure and fun time activity. Thus, the emphasis on bottle feeding as opposed to breast feeding in America! From French fries, to burgers, cakes and beer – food has remained an all time favorite inspiration with American pop culture portrait artists.


Modern portrait artists (Cubism)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Modern portrait Cubism

Portrait artists create portrait paintings while drawing inspiration from real life objects and persons around them. However, what adds to their significance is the ability to extend and twist common aspects of regular life. Most of the time, such painters tend to depict a painting based on their own interpretation of a particular subject. So while the muse maybe a woman with a mandolin, the outcome of the portrait maybe very different. In the final painted portrait, aspects which traditionally were the most valued aspects of the portrait, such as the facial expression of the woman being portrayed, may be the least important part of a modern portrait. It all depends on the personal perspective of the artist.

A good example of this is Picasso’s woman with mandolin, painted in 1910. Traditional artists depict objects & people from one viewpoint. Cubist artists paint objects & people from different perspectives to represent them from different angles. Cubist artists first analyze the subject. Afterwards they break it up and re-assemble it in an abstract form. This way, the subject can be viewed from different perspectives.


Envision the image

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Stairway to heavenBefore the artist sets out to actually create the image on canvas, it is necessary to create a mental framework or picture of the subject. So let’s say the subject is a staircase. In the eyes of an artist the staircase could represent the labyrinth of thoughts, which keep winding through the mind in and out. Now how does he represent this concept through imagery? Artists use various props and ideas to create the central essence and theme of the picture. So maybe the staircase could be winding with no definite end in sight, or could be a staircase in the shape of infinity – which is symbolic of the never-ending thought process of the mind. Whatever the concept, the art needs to depict it through definite frameworks and imagery – which is called envision.


Creativity in Portrait Painting

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Any artist who starts off painting a particular subject will try and look beyond the ordinary. The mere form and shape of the subject is something that any photograph will capture very well. What makes art truly outstanding is its ability to transcend traditional boundaries. That’s why you find the Mona Lisa having the blended features of a male and female, or The Last Supper having a sense of mystery and suspense looming in the air around.

Creative Painting

The extent of an artist’s creativity depends on the degree of non-adherence to standard boundaries. For example, the subject of a painting could be the face of a woman. An artist, by looking at the subject in a different light, is able to capture in the final painting a dimension which goes beyond what one could see by simply looking at the face of the woman. Though the painting, the artist can express the woman’s thoughts, her dreams, her illusions, the feelings that arise in her heart and many other matters.

For example, the painting of this woman transmits to me a man thinking or dreaming about his beloved woman, who is no longer there. The blurred painting transmits to me that the woman is not real, that she is not there. She is in somebody’s mind so she could be a thought or a dream. It is a close up portrait, so that means that the woman is or has been very close to the man. Her melancholic look and the choice of the colors used by the artists transmit to me the mood of the person (probably the artist) who is thinking of her. He misses her very much.

This is what the artist transmits to me with this painting. Others will see other matters. An artist will use different techniques to portray what he or she wants. His/her success will be measured, to a great extent, on how the portrait effectively transmits his/her feelings to the observer and what kinds of feelings arise in the audience.


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