Monthly Archives: June 2011

18 posts

Crash Course Challenge day 8

I took a well deserved break yesterday and spent the day playing the xbox and hit the books again today.
I read some more about perspective (and how to draw it) in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and internalized more of the Everyday Work of Art. Most of that I’m still mulling over – learning, experiencing. So many things about the way I think and my approach and art are starting to make sense in my head but unable to actually verbalize them.
I’ll leave with this thought though: Beauty is the experience you have with something that resonates with you. The compulsion, the calling out – and under it all lays Wonder, and the discovery and journey to notice, create, and experience life to it’s fullest, is art.


I’ve had this urge the last few days to actually do something with my museum experience. I want to paint the human form – but I’m not very good at it, so I’m taking small timid steps while I learn. I’m also making these posts continue after the jump to keep people who’d prefer not to see my attempts at nudes from stumbling across it unwittingly.
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Crash Course Challenge day 7

With isms finished I devoted my afternoon to reading a few more chapters in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and the Everyday Work of Art.
In DRSB I learned about using negative space to see objects and force myself (in a way) into using my right brain. I did most of the exercises in the book – including cutting out the “negative space” of a drawing and taping it to another piece of paper to see the outline of the image that I drew. A practice in seeing negative space as shape. I then used that piece of paper to create a viewfinder to practice the idea with a chair.

I also learned how to draw my hand and my foot – while neither they, nor the chair are perfect, they are improved. At least, in the way that I usually think about drawing them. I’ve sort of…re-learned how to draw by altering my perspective just a little bit. It makes me happy. Now though, I’m busy looking at things and seeing the negative space around them.


I’m not a huge fan of food. Basically, I eat because I’m grumpy if I don’t and then I confuse feeling hungry with feeling sick. So I’ve been working on eating – most of the time I eat breakfast, usually throw something together for lunch, and then we make or get takeout for dinner.
But I’m tired of spending lots of money on food during the week, but I dislike cooking everyday equally as much. Half of it, is because I feel like I have to spend too much time thinking about dinner way earlier than I want to (like, before I’m hungry for dinner…or lunch).
So my mother-in-law let us borrow this cookbook, that has meals by week and shopping lists. So next month, I think I’m going to try that. And it makes food for 4-6 people which means we’ll have leftovers.
For the rest of this week though, we decided to experiment with Ramen. We got a lot of little things of Ramen for lunches, because they’re cheap and should last until we can go grocery shopping while saving us from going to Subway or Amato’s every day for lunch.
I’m hoping, that if we end up eating out less (keeping it to weekends) then maybe we’ll be able to save a little more for all the things that we’re realizing we would like to have/save for. Moving steadily up to the top of that is a car…although, it’s still beneath my 27″ iMac.
But imagine if we just ate Ramen….
…we’d probably get really sick, so that’s out.

Crash Course Challenge days 5 & 6

Friday was hectic, but I managed to finish most of the Modernism section of isms and today I finished the book with Post Modernism. Interestingly, Modernism in general seemed to focus more on the impacts of the sub/unconscious while Post-Modernism seemed to focus more on the idea and concept of art and stemmed from opinions about modern society.
I feel happy about having a basic understanding of art history, and I realized that there was *alot* more to it than I was anticipating. So I probably won’t be doing a sample of *every* movement/style a week. I think that I’ll pull one or two of the most interesting per-era and study it, and then paint.
Art History isn’t the only thing I’ve been reading about. I’ve actually been really surprised and excited about how well Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and The Everyday Work of Art go together. What I’m learning though, I understand but can’t quite put into words. It makes sense to my artistic soul but can’t be explained. I’m still internalizing and only halfway through each of the books. Maybe, by the time I’m done with them I’ll be able to write about some of the things that stuck out and just made sense to me.
Sort of like driving.

Crash Course Challenge day 4

I read some of the Modernism section in isms today which I took notes on and plan to finish tomorrow.
So far it’s pretty cool, the 20th century was like it’s own little rebirth of art and brought more challenging thoughts and ideas that continued to push the boundaries and introduced new techniques.  It’s almost like, art in the 19th and 20th centuries really started to become what the artists envisioned, like a child on the brink of adulthood. After years of being told what to do (in so many words) by the church/state/bourgeois, the artists realized that they had their own vision, and started asserting themselves in their art (and some people wanted to be part of the agendas and others didn’t) and in doing so, created more room and more freedom to explore exactly what art is.

Crash Course Challenge day 3

I must admit I was really happy to moving on to the 19th century today. Art seemed to be getting stronger and more independent – romanticism challenging neo-classicism, realism challenging the academics, impressionism challenging conventional thinking and *gasp* introducing plien-air – Artists started finding their own independent voices, and following their own vision as opposed to the church, the state, or the rich people.
Obviously though, some still used their art (and allowed their art to be used) as pieces for political or religious statements – like Orientalism portraying the East as real yet based the painted reality on false information serving to justify imperialism.

I had an epiphany this morning while I was still laying in bed about right-verses-left brain function. When I drive, I *have* to have music on or someone talking to me. I need some form of verbal feedback in order to concentrate on my driving. I never knew why, just that if I drove in silence my brain would start talking to myself and critiquing my driving skills (did you go too fast on that curve? are you swerving?! Did you check to make sure you’re still in your lane?) and if I can’t shut that off I get stressed. I realized this morning as I was thinking about some things that I learned from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that I must use the right (non-verbal, spacial awareness, creative) side of my brain when I drive which in turn can send the left (verbal, logical, thinking) side into a frenzy if I don’t do something to keep it down.
The left half of my brain has had total dominance for years as I pretty much ignored my emotions and creativity until relatively recently. So I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that I have a hard time communicating my emotions, nor that I seem to have trouble connecting the two sides of myself. Although, amazingly, the creative exercises in the book do seem to help with that.

Crash Course Challenge day 2: The Church and Art

Today I read about the Baroque and Rocco era (which take place right after the Renaissance) and I found myself more and more intrigued by the amount of influence the church had over art. Particularly around the time of the reformation and the protestant-catholic issues.
It really shouldn’t surprise me how much art was used as a means of communication, or upholding ideas and ideals – but how the church used it and how often they did intrigues me. It’s almost like there was an entire battle fought with art. Catholics only wanted art that supported their views, they wanted to show the power of their church and the pope and the holiness of the saints and the Virgin Mary. They wanted to continue with their way of doing things and sought artists who agreed with and represented their belief.
The protestants thought the catholics idolatrous for the way they revered their paintings of people and the pope and their rituals and sought to stand against that by only painting things depicting bible verses or the life of Christ. Although, they had a sense of wariness even with that. This, I suppose is what I find interesting: I’ve *heard* all of this in the 21st century. Hundreds of years after these events and movements took place, after all of the ways religions have changed, I’ve still seen that mentality. The protestant church seems to have no place for art (unless there are verses attached) and any art that seems to imply holiness of a person (except, perhaps, Jesus himself) is thought of as sinful.
It makes me wonder if this isn’t the reason that “Christian art” is the way it is. Art a la Thomas Kinkade (painter of light), bible story illustrations, and the random backgrounds with verses in the foreground we find prominently displayed in christian bookstores, are sort of deemed (though unspoken) the only acceptable form of visual art for a christian to be associated with.  It’s almost like real-life (or imagination) has no place. Not unlike the religious and art movements happening during the 16th and 17th and even 18th centuries. The vision for many artists (save a few of the “rebels” who retaliated with their own movements) was to bring a moral high-ground, uphold their religious views, and depict the holiest of people with more grandeur than the rest of us lowly depraved souls – and much of this was orchestrated by the church and government of the day. Artists who challenged this way of thinking were pretty much unappreciated.
While reading I’ve been finding myself anxiously awaiting the time when the church and state are no longer virtually in control of the art being created and commissioned, and I feel stifled while reading how strong a hold it had on the arts all those years ago. I realize that this sounds really awful, as I consider myself a christian – but the idea that art was used as a tool to carry out an agenda of the church or state, and how anything that did not coincide with the religious beliefs and artistic style or rules of the day were frowned on at best, bothers me on a level that I’m unable to name or identify. It’s like a bit of my artistic soul is saddened and I sympathize with the painters outside of the mainstream during those times.
It doesn’t feel like much has changed with the protestant attitude toward art, and especially towards their opinion of catholic art. I’m hoping that it will start to change as we’re introduced to a new age where art and technology are part of our daily lives and to ignore it is to live under a rock. Maybe an appreciation of art that does not necessarily scream “christian” will come into play as we find that art itself is an expression of the soul, and it doesn’t have to be blatantly obvious to be “good”.

Crash Course Challenge (day 1)

I started off the challenge with a trip to the library. I could have looked online, and I will, but I was hoping that I would be able to find a book that had the basics of all the art movements for me to go off of and then I could research them all further via the interwebs.
The thing I’ve realized lately, is that the problem I’m having with learning about art theory and art history is I don’t know what I don’t know. Consequently, I don’t know the right questions to ask to learn more. So if I can start from the ground up, find a book that has all (or most) of the names of the movements and styles and a little bit about them, then I’ll at least have a foundation to ask questions from.
All that to say, I went to the library and came home with three books (for now). The Everyday Work of Art, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and isms. The first two, are more for general outlook and art life – the last one, isms, is a small book encompassing short details of all (or most) of the art movements with examples and names and what makes them, them.
Separated into eras and color coded, it’s easy to keep track of where you are and where the movements fall in chronological order. This afternoon I read a little bit of all three books and took notes. I read the entire Renaissance part of isms and realized there were even more styles than I realized.

What I Learned

Art during the Renaissance was influenced by spirituality. Be it christianity, or the intentional absence of religion. Perspective and depth and symmetry or the lack of were prominent. Classical subjects and thought and styles were revisited and the synonymous relationship with religion and art was challenged. In this era we saw details and portraits of things happening in the heavens – grandeur and an emphasis on all things real(looking), but also Plato’s theory of forms – art shaped by imagination rather than imitation – idealism. What I found most interesting was how the use of perspective/depth developed and grew, and how idealist and manneristic styles came about alongside, and perhaps as a reaction to the focus on making everything appear as the naked eye views it or as we’d imagine the celestial world, with pomp and circumstance and holiness.

She Decided

Yesterday I wrote a phrase on my whiteboard, and it sort of stuck and has been swirling around in my mind.

She decided to start living the life she imagined. She believed she could, so she did. She replaced her fear of the unknown with curiosity. She looked around, and life was pretty amazing.

I decided to create a watercolor painting that depicted the feel and the thoughts circling my mind centered around this one concept: She decided to live the life she imagined.
To be honest, I don’t really know, what in detail, the life I imagine is, let alone, how to live it, but I know what I want it to feel like, I know what I want it to be like – full of passion and adventure and love and trust and friendship and caring. At least, that’s what sort of came out in the nonverbal thoughts of my emotions while I was painting.