Archive for painting

Happy Birthday Vlaminck!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2010 by echostains

Vlaminck A self portrait

Today is the birthday of Fauvist artist Maurice Vlamink.   I have written a little about him here in my ‘art quote’ section here.  He is an interesting fellow.  Jack of all trades,Vlamink (b. 1876 -1962 Paris, France) tried many styles including  Fauvism  but settled on an Expressionistic style.

Vlaminck 'potato picker' 1905

Vlamink was an instinctual artist, self-taught.  Being brought up by two musicians he was also musically inclined and even taught violin himself.  He was a larger than life man, tall, imposing with red hair, physically strong and at one time in his life even became a wrestler.

Vlaminck 'Brages on the Seine near Paris'

He liked to wear gaudy colours and dress eccentrically.  He was a professional cyclist, a mechanic and a labourer.  Later in his life he discovered that he could write and wrote some erotic novels.

Restaurant de la Machine at Bougival vlaminck

A chance meeting with fellow Fauvist Andre Derain (their train was derailed) in 1900 led to his involvement with the Fauvist movement.  Derain introduced him to the artist he shared his studio with – Matisse, and Vlamink was inspired by the artist’s bold use of colour.  When he saw the 1901  exhibition of Van Gogh’s in Paris, Vlaminck just had to take up his paints.

Vlaminck portrait of a woman 1906

Derain and Matisse encouraged Vlaminck to show his colourful enthusiastic work along with theirs at the  Salon d’Automne exhibition in 1905.   There the three received a critique  from art critic Louis Vauxcelle which was to earn them the name ‘Fauve’s’ (wild beasts)

Vlaminck-Circus 1906

Becoming a ‘wild beast’ proved quite lucrative for Vlaminck who sold everything he painted.  His work is most known for his Fauvist period, though later he became involved with more structured work and the balancing of colour which was inspired by Cezanne.

The Fauves began in 1900 and continued beyond 1910, but the movement only lasted 1905 -1907 and had three exhibitions. Vlaminck continued throughout his lifetime to produce colourful art work.   He continued to sell and his work was popular.  In addition to painting, he wrote and illustrated books, produced woodcuts, prints and lithographs.  What a varied, exciting and fulfilling career this man had!

Lots of Vlaminck paintings here

Short biography here

Paintings here

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Left holding the Keys

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , on April 2, 2010 by echostains

medieval casket key

I love old keys.  We even found a massive one in the cellar of our house, and we’ve no idea what lock it was supposed to fit.  The previous owners said that the owners before them said it belonged to the house.  It must have belonged to a massive door which we can’t find….

Alice tries the Golden key

I was always intrigued by the key that Alice finds in Wonderland.  Keys are always symbolically linked with finding the way into other worlds or secret places.   When we lose our keys – we lose the keys to our worlds!  Dramatic? Of course!

the secret garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

When a key appears in a story, you just know it’s going to be a good tale.  I’m thinking of Alice in Wonderland, The Secret garden’ and ‘The Golden Key by the Brothers Grimm to name a few.

Keys have been around a long time.  Just look at this Roman key.  The Romans learnt how to cast from the Greeks but the Egyptians had locks too.  Keys are associated with locked towers (usually with maidens waiting to be rescued), treasure chests, rites of passage (key to the door when you are 21 years of age) and prison.

a chatelaine

In Medieval times the Chatelaine was a very important memeber of the household.  She was the lady of the house (castle) who held all the keys.  She wore her keys on what is known as a Chatelain – an ornamental appendage attached to the girdle of the woman.  the keys to the wine, the cellars, caskets, as well as handy household items like scissors, thimbles etc.  these were all attached by small individual chains to each items.

Edmund Blair Leighton 'The Keys'

Keys are  associated with freedom or captivity of course and have provided many TV programmes involving rescue and escape .  But they  also have been used in paintings too.  Edmund Blair Leighton  (b.London 1853 -22) an English painter of historical scenes painted ‘The Keys’.  I don’t know why there isn’t more information about this Victorian artist.  His subject matter and his style is most Pre Raphaelite.  He did a wealth of paintings – all very beautiful, see them all HERE

 

Wonderful and interesting Roman keys here

Roman locks here

Gorgeous treasure hunting keys here

information about chatelaines here

John Tenniel gallery here

The Secret Garden, read it here

Art Quotes – Monet – into the light

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, HISTORY with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by echostains
 

Bridge at Giverny monet

 

 What an amazing artist French Impressionist Claude Monet was (1840 – 26).  He was obsessed with colour and light  – lived and breathed it as these quotes show. M0net painted light and it’s effect, he was particularly interested in how it transformed the landscape and also its reflective quality upon water. 

  “I am completely absorbed by my work. These landscapes of water and reflections have become an obsession.  They are beyond the strength of an old man, and yet I am determined to set down what I feel. I have destroyed some…I have begun others over again…and I hope that something will come of so much effort.”   

 

impression-sunrise beautiful!

The very term ‘impressionism’ comes from one the artist’s paintings ‘Impression, Sunrise’.  He lived in London in 1870  for a year and studied Constable and Turner.  He painted his famous painting ‘Impression, Sunrise’ in 1872.  In 1879 he became a widower.  He painted his wife on her deathbed and observed:- 

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. To such an extent indeed that one day, finding myself at the deathbed of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I caught myself in the act of focusing on her temples and automatically analyzing the succession of appropriately graded colors which death was imposing on her motionless face.”  

 

Camille on her deathbed

Monet believed that to understand something,  one had to observe it day after day.  That understanding something sometimes requires practise.  He was relentless in his pursuit. 

I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even.  

and 

We’re having marvelous weather and I wish I could send you a little of the sunshine. I am slaving away on six paintings a day. I’m giving myself a hard time over it as I haven’t yet managed to capture the color of this landscape, there are moments when I’m appalled at the colors I’m having to use, I’m afraid what I’m doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying.” 

 

those lillies

The artist famous for his waterlilies and his garden at Giverny is credited with lots of quotes that contain references to nature and in particular gardening – for example ‘digging and delving’:-  

It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”    

I like the way Monet humbles himself before nature.  He never thinks that he has conquered painting nature and the way the light affects it.  He always feels he owes a debt to nature – but it’s probably the other way around, judging by this beautiful painting:- 

 

yellow iris'

“I love you because you are you, and because you taught me how to understand light. Thus you increased me. I regret I cannot give it back to you. Paint, paint ever and ever untill the canvas wears out. My eyes need your color and my heart is happy about you.”  

 

houses of parliment effect of sunlight in the fog

 In 1923 he had two operations on his cataracts, this may have altered his colour vision.   His colours before the operation have a reddish tone, sometimes indicative of cataracts.
  
 
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. 
Everything I have earned has gone into these gardens.
 

 He loved Giverny, which is on the right bank of the river Seine and especially his gardens of which he was the architect  and so able  to dictate his own controlled environment.   

 

wisteria

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her…I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”  

He died aged  in 1826 at the ripe old age of 86.  He had lung cancer.  This quote is so poignant and ironic that such a man who loved nature and was drawn by the light he painted should very nearly go blind.  We still have his vision though and through his paintings, the ability to see what he saw.  A true legacy. 

“I’m working very hard and I would like to paint everything before I cannot see anymore.” 

More Monet quotes here 

and here 

Monet Lily image here 

More images here 

Lots of images and quotes here

Happy Birthday Grant Wood!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by echostains

American Gothic by Grant Wood

Today is the birthday of American artist Grant Wood (b.1891 – 1942 Iowa)   He was one of the triumvirate (three) of the regionalism movement.  This group was formed in the midst of the Great Depression which affected the entire economic world.  The economic decline started about the end of the 1930s and continued until the early 1940s.

Young Corn by Grant Wood

A lot of creative art was undertaken in this period and it is interesting to see how artists dealt with this challenging time through their art and how they channelled that art in different directions.  Wood is particularly famous for his painting ‘American Gothic’ which became a major American icon in the 20th century.

The painting shows a father and his daughter (Wood’s dentist and  sister) standing together against the backdrop of their Carpenter Gothic style home.  The man, who could be a farmer, holds a pitchfork whilst his daughter looks on primly.  The painting has been analysed and parodied many times.  Some said that it criticised small town mentality, but Wood insisted that it showed the American pioneer spirit of the rural town.

Death in the Ridge Road by Grant Wood

Wood started the Stone City Art Colony to help other artist’s through the Depression.  They rejected the city and all it embodied.  They sought through their painting to reassure people in this traumatic time.  Most of their paintings show hope: triumph over adversity.  The other main regionists were Thomas Hart Benton and John Stueart Curry.

Baptism in Kansas by John Steuart Curry

“Paint out of the land, and the people he knows best” (Wood painted what he knew best)

Curry (Kansas) liked to paint the Dustbowls that swept across the Midwest and the survival of the people.

Tornado over Kansas by John Steuart Curry

Hart Benton  (Missouri) tackled issues that directly affected the people like the government and machine versus manual labour.  Regionalism proved very popular reflecting Nationalism.   The paintings were full of hope, and determination.  It is this kind of ‘never say die’ attitude in the face of desperation that people must have found uplifting and reassuring and which I find admirable.

the arts of life in America by Hart Benton

More about Wood’s life HERE

The Great Depression affected the whole economic world.  Read about it HERE

More about American scene painting including Regionalism HERE

PS

Critique Corner -‘Germany before the war’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, CRITIQUE CORNER, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2010 by echostains

'Germany before the War' by Lynda M Roberts BA Hons

Here’s an abstract piece I did a while ago.  I thought it would be a good one to critique.  When I was young I loved anything which was ‘free’ like most children.  I would go into wallpaper shops and beg old wallpaper books to cover my school books.  I loved the patterns colours and textures of these books – they have probably contributed to my fascination with surfaces.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I used to go into travel agencies  and get lots of free brochures.  I loved the colour pictures in these free brochures.  They  showed places  that seemed romantic and very far away.  I liked the silver mountains and blue skies, the very green grass and the  ‘outdoors’ wholesome  feel of those ‘healthy’ places.  Living in a smokey city, I longed to go to these places.  In this painting, ‘Germany before the war’ some of the ideas are there, but by using  colour relationships, I wished to convey something extra.  At the time of the painting, I was writing about the use of German myth in art and design and how it was used, and this very much influenced this painting.  I think my favorite fairytale authors the  brothers Grimm  may got into the fabric of the painting somewhere and Johanna Spyri’s  book ‘Heidi’, when she comes down from the mountains and goes to Frankfurt (a kind of reverse wishful thinking on my behalf).

Anselm Kiefer 'Pallette' 1981

Germany before the War’ attempts to idealise the calm, folklore, passed down through images in books  that informed me of Germany as a child.  It contains a hint of German Expressionism, in as far as the painting is gestural.  I have muted down the German Expressionist colours, (they used a much brighter palette).  I have cited Anselm Kiefer as an influence on this painting, not because of the style  (worlds apart) but because of the way he retells German History.”

Please feel free to critique this work – all constructive criticism and any questions are always  welcome.

Acrylic paint on canvas

Measurements Approx 34in x 20in

My 427th post summary

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, DESIGN, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE, TEAPOTS - A HOMAGE TO UNUSUAL TEAPOTS, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by echostains

read all about it?

I thought that it was time for a little summing up of what’s been happening on here.  This is my 427th post now.  So far (fingers crossed) I have managed to blog very nearly every day last year.  My goal for this year is not to miss one day out.  What am I finding to blog about?  ooh all sorts of interesting and some not so interesting things…….

Styx

I thought it was about time I put a little of my art on here, plus an explaination of what ‘echostains’ actually is.  Weird and wacky design is carrying on and so are the teapot posts. Just when you think you have seen it all – someone comes up with yet another innovative design.

Richard Flores 'Stormin Norman teapot

January also saw the launching of my other blog ‘Bookstains’ just press the magic button on the right and get there instantly!  That blog is dedicated to reading challenges, authors I have read and a mapping of my Gormenghast journey as I re read Titus Groan and Gormenghast and write my findings and any new insights I find.  I shall be having a spring clean on here – if Spring ever comes and a bit of a sprucing up.  I may even have to change my theme as the formatting is erratic at times – sometimes the text comes out massive when I save a post.

PS

Echostains – what exactly is it’

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, exhibitions, MY SURFACES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by echostains

echo stain

 People are always asking me how I came up with such unusual name like ‘Echostains’ for a blog. Echostains began was a project I did at University. That project has now seen many changes, but it is still alive and kicking. I am still exploring communication through art, though now the communication is through the written word and in cyberspace. Here’s an explanation of the original concept;-

'Watcher'

‘EchoStains’ is a personal project that I completed in the second year of my Visual Arts BA Hons Degree. (1Ith August 2002). I have split the project into three parts because the process was ongoing and progressive and each part inevitably merged seamlessly into the other, culminating in the final piece – the large painting ‘Echo Stain’. The work is about communication – on all different levels.

'Meeting Place'

Echostains

In this first part of the project, the process is as important as the eventual image, in the sense that ‘recipes’ (see ‘My Surfaces’ category) and media components that have been explored in an earlier project, are now being applied in an almost ritualistic manner; i.e. pouring, splashing, scraping back, and finally painting. So, a dichotomy of measured and automatic response has merged to make the stain tangible. The ‘echo’ is the way that the piece communicates with the viewer – it is a first contact. Dialogue is established through the use of colour conversations. Solid matter versus the metaphysical and slight tensions between the representational and abstract start to emerge.

'House on the Borderland'

Another example is ‘House on the Borderland’ a book by William Hope Hodgson which was made iwth various inks overrunning each other, manually mnipulated to created ‘prisms’ crossing over each other.

'Alan Turing'

Shadow Maps

In this part of the project although the language is still personal, a kind of code is starting to come through. The Shadow Map’ is a form of communication: a visual narrative. Although there seems to be a gradual shifting away from the more nebulous ‘Echo Stains’, the ‘Shadow Maps’ are only an extension of the Echostains’ concept.

'Blue Animation'

Communication is continued by the use of colour relationships and special considerations makes themselves known. This is sometimes explored by painting in more gestural movements: sometimes motivated by lines of poetry – a measured response. The use of certain colour relationships denote mood. Repetition has been employed in some instances to convey a sense of rhythm and immediacy. The Shadow Maps try to give some semblance of coherence to the ‘dialogue’. The ensuing result is that they start to develop into a sort of communicative ‘code’ that is not yet deciphered – still in shadow.

'1066'

The Yellow Wallpaper

The monumental works of the artist Wlodzimierz Ksiazek are both public and personal. He has developed a kind of dialogue that communicates to the viewer. This can be summed up by the quote mentioned in the review by Merleau-Ponty, who wrote of Cezanne’s work how each element contributed to: “an emerging order of an object in the art of appearing, organises itself before our eyes.” It is this kind of ‘dialogue’ that I have used in the third part of my project, inspired by the short story by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman called ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. The story can be read online.

'Creeping Woman'

Although these paintings do not ‘illustrate’ the story literally: it is the highly personal narrative that is the chief objective. The use of repetition and occasional nuance that starts to communicate on some level with the viewer.

So now you know what the ‘Echostains’ concept is about. Each gallery holds about  a dozen paintings. I shall be putting more on, as well as new work.

 PS