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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Abstract Expressionism Art

History

The artists related to this movement were a group of very diverse individuals, who came together in New York’s Greenwich village. The major ones were Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lee Krasner, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, and William de Kooning. Their works vary greatly; from the brooding melancholic works of Rothko to the more flamboyant pieces of Pollock. This movement promoted the painting of abstract work instead of any representation. It was greatly criticized by the critics who considered it to be too avant-garde due to its lack of figuration and bold brush strokes. Due to the depression, and crisis brought on by the war, the artists started to depict human vulnerability.

Description

Several artists during the above mentioned period, started experimenting with different shapes and colors. They broke away from conventional painting styles, and painted huge canvases in blue, orange, red, or other bold colors. The movement is characterized by splattering of paint and powerful brush strokes. The artists preferred larger canvases that were positioned on the floor over canvases that were easel bound and moderate. The focus of this art was not in mere portrayal of objects, but the expression of emotions. There was in fact, an almost aggressive application of paint, which created a highly intense and dynamic imagery. Jackson Pollock created a revolutionary new technique of splattering and pouring thinned oil paint into a canvas, which was laid on the ground instead of being supported by easels.

Broadly speaking, this art consisted of two streams – Color Field Painting and Action Painting. The former was developed during the early part of 1960s, and involved creating art that was based on simplified and larger than life color dominated fields. The compositions were huge colored areas with no recognizable forms or signs. The artist’s goal was to create a work of art, which was sublime and ethereal, rather than plainly beautiful. Rothko in particular painted soft blurring rectangles of luminescent color, which never failed to impress the viewers. In addition to Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly and Helen Frankenthaler were some other painters, which were associated with this type of painting. Action Painting arose prior to Color Field Painting (between the 1940s and 1950s), and was practiced by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline.

This movement peaked between 1942 to the mid 50s. It shifted the focus of the art world from Paris and Europe to America. This greatly influenced new generations of artists, who created their own art based on their individual expressions. By late 1969, the interest in this movement began to wane, and new movements such as minimalism and pop art, strongly began to influence the art community.

History of Pointillism and Divisionism

In the 1880s, Seurat was one of the first to develop pointillism. Paul Signac was another founder of the style, and other prominent artists using the technique included Vincent van Gogh, Henri-Edmond Cross, John Roy, and Henri Delavallee. Pointillism was first called ‘divisionism’ by its practitioners. The name ‘pointillism’ developed only later, and was intended to mock the style. Today ‘pointillism’ is an accepted term for this style, and has no derisive connotations. Some people still use the term ‘divisionism’ to refer to paintings similar to pointillism, but this label is more accurately used to emphasize the technical color theory that is employed in many such paintings. While pointillism uses small dots to create the impression of form and structure, divisionism creates unique color impressions by juxtaposing dots of different colors according to principles of color and vision.

How Does Pointillism Work?

In a typical pointillist painting, you might see a colorful landscape that appears to include a wide range of vibrant colors. If you look closely, say at a patch of aquamarine or teal water, you will see that this bright color is really composed of tiny dots of yellow, green, and blue. By altering the combination of dots of primary colors, pointillist painters can create the illusion that they are using many more colors than they are. Using the viewer’s eye and brain to mix the colors can create a brighter impression than mixing pigments that absorb light. So the aquamarine you see is brighter and more vivid than the color that would have resulted if the painter had mixed yellow, green, and blue paint together. The white canvas between dots can enhance this effect.

Stippling – Black and White Pointillism

The same technique that is used in color pointillism can be used to create gray scale images. By using dots of only black and white, dynamic gray scale images can be produced. In art, this black and white technique is called stippling. Although it has been used in painting, it is more commonly used as a drawing technique. Halftone printing, the printing technique used in black and white newspaper printing, is a descendant of stippling.

Pointillism Today

Pictures in magazines and newspapers are printed in a method similar to pointillism. Small dots of only three or four colors are printed in such a way that they create the illusion of other colors printed on the page. Even photographs are printed this way, giving the appearance of flesh tones and other photographic colors. Additionally, electronic screens like TVs use a similar technique. Screens display dots, or subpixels, of red, blue, and green at different intensities, and our eyes and brains interpret these collections of dots as detailed color images.

Learning about pointillism is interesting from more than just an art history point of view. The masters of pointillism created stunning masterpieces using this technique, but anyone can understand the basic concepts behind it. Children can learn about and practice pointillism in order to get hands-on experience that can help them to understand color mixing and the mechanisms of vision that make it possible. Because so many of our modern technologies rely on similar ideas to create the images we see around us, pointillism is a fascinating subject. Every image in Photoshop and in the newspaper, and even images people create out of Legos, mosaic tiles, and cake sprinkles could be thought of as modern pointillism.

Cleaning Oil Paintings Tips

Oil paintings are sturdy and durable, which when managed with proper care can last for many generations. Unfortunately, not all people who possess them are aware of the processes needed for their maintenance. Considering this, it is not uncommon to damage such priceless possessions. An understanding of the basic tips to clean such pieces of art will help in preserving their pristine beauty. The instructions are discussed as follows.

Step #1
First, gather all the items required like a brush with soft bristles, a cotton cloth, and vacuum cleaner (with micro attachment kit). If you are planning to clean both the back and front of the painting, then carefully remove the painting and place it on a plain surface. You can cover the back with a clean paper so as to prevent dirt accumulation.

Step #2
Fix the micro nozzle in the vacuum and gently remove the dust and dirt from the surface of the painting. Clean the corners with a soft bristle brush. If it is hard to reach the corners with the vacuum or the brush, you can wipe out the dust by using a soft cloth.

Step #3
In case the varnish (outer protective surface) of the painting turns yellowish or dull, you can check for a conservation liquid to clean the varnish. Check for the reliability of the product while purchasing it. You can apply the conservation liquid in one corner of the painting to test its reactions or after application effects.

Step #4
If you find the conservation solution good to the varnish, then continue applying the product all over the painting surface by using a cotton swab. For better results, carry out this step in a room with proper ventilation.

Step #5
Use a dampened cotton swab dip in distilled water to remove dirt from the surface. For an oily or sticky surface, you can prepare a solution by mixing a mild detergent in lukewarm water. Dampen a cotton cloth with the solution and clean the surface.

Step #6
If there are any cracks or fissures on the surface, gentle cleaning with a soft cloth is preferable. In case you are planning to do a painting on canvas, make sure you do a spot test in one corner prior to cleaning the whole canvas.

Characteristics of Realistic Art

Realism in visual arts is basically about moving over the interpretation, personal bias, subjectivity or emotionalism and depicting the painting theme in an empirical sense. Realists rejected the characteristics of Romantic art as they believed in portraying objects with a sense of objective reality. Thus, the artists didn’t use techniques to change the appearance of the object. For instance, an artist who follows the Realistic art tradition would never attempt to conceal any flaws in the object or scene he/she is painting. The Realism art movement can also be associated with the age of positivism. Positivism is all about gaining knowledge using scientific methods of observation and objective evaluation. In art, this translates to depiction of objects as they are. One must not allow subjectivity and imagination to affect the depiction of the objects. Realism in art is all about rejecting idealization. Those who follow the realistic tradition in art believe in an accurate portrayal of ordinary people and events. The artist’s muse shouldn’t be someone who is larger-than-life or glorious always. This explains why artists who follow this tradition didn’t believe in painting the Gods, Goddesses or heroes. Their aim was to depict the daily life with as much accuracy as possible.

Realists basically draw inspiration from contemporary life. The subject matter of their paintings generally includes daily scenes and ordinary people.They depict contemporary life in a realistic and accurate manner. For instance, after industrial revolution, many of the famous paintings from Realistic school of art depicted workers performing their tasks in factories. They tried to depict the workers as they looked. However ugly or unaesthetic the surroundings looked, the painter painted them with honesty, just as they existed. No changes were made to make them look aesthetically pleasing. If you go through the famous painters list, you will come across names such as Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, Jean-Francois Millet, John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, Jan Van Eyck and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. These were some of the famous painters who followed this art tradition. Movements such as the Ashcan School, the Contemporary Realist, and the American Scene Painters are also based on this art tradition. These painters believe in the painting what they see. The logic given by these artists is that the abstract objects, or the objects that are intangible or non-existent, don’t belong to the realm of painting.

The rejection of the Romantic art tradition is an important aspect of Realistic art. Painting ordinary people and daily scenes in a realistic manner is the objective of this form of art.