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Carsten Witte→Square Faces13

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte

Carsten Witte is a fashion and fine arts photographer from Hamburg, Germany. Today we’ll just see some of his awesome black and white portrait photographs. So if you like you can check out his portfolio at Behance as well, to see much more of his awesome work!

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces71

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces15

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces14

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces13

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces12

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces11

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces10

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces9

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces8

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces7

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces6

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces4

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces3

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces2

The amazing BW portrait photography of Carsten Witte   Carsten Witte→Square Faces

I would love to hear your impressions on the selected works.

See you next time!

(These photographs are presented here because they are licensed as “Creative Commons – Attribution” works and for the sole purpose of promoting photography and the photographer’s work)

Paul Cézanne - Card Players

Masters of Art: Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906)

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne “is the father of us all” cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne’s often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne’s intense study of his subjects.

Movements: Post-Impressionism, Modernism 

The Cézannes lived in the town of Cesana now in West Piedmont, and the surname may be of Italian origin. Paul Cézanne was born on 19 January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, in Provence in the South of France. On 22 February, Paul was baptized in the parish church, with his grandmother and uncle Louis as godparents. His father, Louis-Auguste Cézanne (28 July 1798 – 23 October 1886), was the co-founder of a banking firm that prospered throughout the artist’s life, affording him financial security that was unavailable to most of his contemporaries and eventually resulting in a large inheritance.

Masters of Art: Paul Cézanne (1839   1906)   Paul Cézanne Mardi Gras 764x1024

Paul Cézanne – Mardi Gras

On the other hand, his mother, Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert (24 September 1814 – 25 October 1897),  was “vivacious and romantic, but quick to take offence”. It was from her that Paul got his conception and vision of life. He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose, with whom he went to a primary school every day.

At the age of ten Paul entered the Saint Joseph school in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who would come to be known as “les trois inséparables” (the three inseparables).

He stayed there for six years, though in the last two years he was a day scholar. In 1857 he began attending the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father’s wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons.

Going against the objections of his banker father, he committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861. He was strongly encouraged to make this decision by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. Eventually, his father reconciled with Cézanne and supported his choice of career. Cézanne later received an inheritance of 400,000 francs (£218,363.62) from his father, which rid him of all financial worries.

 

In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Initially the friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne was that of master and disciple, in which Pissarro exerted a formative influence on the younger artist. Over the course of the following decade their landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise, led to a collaborative working relationship between equals.

Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10, 1939-42, oil on canvas, 80 x 73 cm, private collection.

History of Modern Art: Minimalism

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Minimalism is any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with this movement include Donald Judd, John McCracken, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, Anne Truitt, and Frank Stella. It is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract expressionism and a bridge to Postminimal art practices.

Vladimir Tomin→Paperworld Font

Get Started with Mixed Media Art Techniques

Hello folks! Unlike the previous two “get started” articles, this one doesn’t follow a course like structure. And that’s because it would be impossible!

After all Mixed media art can be produced by combining every art medium, and well not only that!

For those unfamiliar with the term let’s see how is defined in wikipedia:

Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed.

Ok,  that doesn’t sound actually very enlightening. It continues:

Get Started with Mixed Media Art Techniques   785951242735889

Vladimir Tomin→Paperworld Font

There is an important distinction between “mixed-media” artworks and “multimedia art”. Mixed media tends to refer to a work of visual art that combines various traditionally distinctvisual art media. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage could properly be called a “mixed media” work – but not a work of “multimedia art.” The term multimedia art implies a broader scope than mixed media, combining visual art with non-visual elements (such as recorded sound, for example) or with elements of the other arts (such as literature, drama, dance, motion graphics, music, or interactivity).

When creating a painted or photographed work using mixed media it is important to choose the layers carefully and allow enough drying time between the layers to ensure the final work will have integrity. If many different media are used it is equally important to choose a sturdy foundation upon which the different layers are imposed.

A phrase sometimes used in relationship to mixed media is, “Fat over lean.” In other words: “don’t start with oil paints. Plan to make them the final layer.”

Many effects can be achieved by using mixed media. Found objects can be used in conjunction with traditional artist media, such as paints and graphite, to express a meaning in the everyday life. In this manner, many different elements of art become more flexible than with traditional artist media.

So how can we actually get started with Mixed Media? Well glad you asked.

Just experiment and have fun! One of the secrets of creativity, is to always experiment and try out new things. By exploring new media, you open yourself to new creative avenues and possibilities.

And in order to help you get started i assembled a selection of 8 fun projects you might want to try, or just use as inspiration for your own experiments. (**updated on 6/9/13**)

Let’s enjoy them!

Aged Copper Techniques & Projects

By: the Italian voice

Introduction to Digital Scrapbooking

According to Wikipedia.org, scrapbooking is “a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of a scrapbook. Typical memorabilia include photographs, printed media, and artwork. Scrapbook albums are often decorated and frequently contain extensive journaling. Scrapbooking is a widely practiced pastime in the United States.”

I came upon scrapbooking several years ago when I moved across the country and was trying to make new friends.  It seemed as though all the people I met gathered together on a regular basis to socialize while they cropped and chopped their recent photos, presenting them on a 12×12 page with a plethora of embellishments including various specialty papers, themed stickers, patterned ribbons, matching buttons, textured fibers and so much more and then protecting them behind a plastic sleeve and storing them in a scrapbook album.  So in a valiant effort to engage my new environment I found myself immersed in the world of scrapbooking.  I have to admit, part of me really enjoyed it – the social gathering, sharing tips and life, having a creative outlet.  Another part of me thought there must be a better way to preserve and share my photos, stories and memories than to have to renovate my home so I could have a dedicated craft room to house all the various gadgets and supplies I began accumulating to fuel my new hobby.

Why do people scrapbook?  It isn’t about creating a project with technically perfect photos.  It’s about the story behind the photos.  The story of our lives.  The starting points are as varied as the seasons of life we find ourselves in.  Perhaps you inherited a box of old photos from a relative and felt inspired to write and document the stories from your past.  Maybe you’re celebrating a major milestone – getting married, starting a family, graduation, birthday, promotion, moving, retirement. Many people travel and relive their adventures through their scrapbooks.

Nowadays with digital cameras, computers, scanners, photo editing products and online publishing websites, it is easy to capture those memories and put them into a format that will be enjoyed for years and generations to come.  People are transitioning away from traditional paper-based scrapbooking and entering the world of digital scrapbooking.  The message is the same, it’s just the medium that is different.  Gone are the scissors and corner rounders, instead the computer is your tool.  No more closets full of colorful inventory, instead online digital art collections are in abundance from various independent designers and websites.  From “cut” to “crop”, “develop” to “upload” the vocabulary changes as technology advances and allows digiscrappers to do more with their photos and print on anything from paper to metal to canvas to fabric to wood.

Take time to learn about the delights of digital scrapbooking and how easy it is.  One of my favorite features is that there is no mess! My family appreciates that too.  More than that, they love all the photo books and home décor items in our home that remind them that they are loved, appreciated and belong.  That is what digital scrapbooking means to me!

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by the Italian voice

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5 Hints for Taking Memorable Photos of Kids

Photography is a creative field that requires a knack of taking appealing snaps of different living creatures. As a fact, the skills required for photographing toddlers differ from those needed for taking the snaps of adults. Therefore, if you are of the opinion that there exists a common skill set for taking snaps of any living being, you need to rethink on it. Now, if you are thinking to take photos of toddlers such that they become the lifetime memories to savor, consider the following hints.

Let the Kid Be in Some Action

One of the best hints to ensure an impressive photo of a kid is to make her or him to do something at the time capturing. The kid can run, jump, play, tell jokes, or act funny. Just ask the kid to do something that interests him or her. This will ensure that the kid is likely to have more fun, instead of getting bored or grumpy of being photographed. The reason behind this is that no kid likes to sit still for minutes. This is also applicable for being photographed. Therefore, you need to ensure that they are actually doing interesting while you take their beautiful snaps. When a kid is at play, she or he makes up for an ideal photo.

Avoid Giving Orders

If you are simply a commanding photographer who does not understand the freedom desired by kids, your photography session will never yield the desired outcome. This is because the kids are surely going to lose interest quickly. So, you need to be genuinely interested in them along with the items that they love to have so that you can be appreciated well by them. This is essential for feeling comfortable so that you can capture their cute actions in photos. There is no point in getting bossy with them, which means no orders as well as no dos and don’ts. These are the things that they have more than enough from their elders. Now, even if you behave in that manner, they are more likely to spoil your session of photography. Therefore, it is better to ask what they wish to do and indulge them.

Keep Them Amused

Kids neither like to get bored nor do they love to see boring faces. Therefore, one of the essentials for having a good photographing session with kids is to entertain them. Kids are really innocent in the sense that they do not feel unsecured while being photographed, if you keep them smiling. So, consider some ways of entertaining them, such as making funny faces, speaking in a funny manner, making funny poses, showing some cartoon faces, and so on. After all, you need of photos of smiling kids, don’t you? As a tip, you can too become like a kid and act silly to make the actual kid happy throughout your photo session. This will go a long way to experience a happy photo shoot.

Kneel Down, Please!

One of the secrets to please the kids is to go down up to their own level. This can even mean to kneel down or lie on your belly. Such acts of yours tend to affirm the kids that you are their good allies and have come there to make them enjoy. Kids like this behavior probably it shows that you are different than other elders. Photographing with kids does not mean that you will experience a clean and painless session. Nobody can guarantee you a clean and easy session, especially when it is the matter of kids.

Show them Your Camera

Let the kid see your camera, allow her or him to hold, and also permit them to push the button. This will trigger their interest and eliminates their fear for such a big electronic device that will be looking at them.

Featured Image: CC – Attribution Photo by linh.ngan on Flickr – source

Article by Jack McElroy

Jack McElroy is a great fan of cameras and loves to try different models for fulfilling his hobby of photography.

Max Ernst, L'Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme (1937), private collection.

History of Modern Art: Surrealism

Hello folks, welcome back to our weekly series of History of Modern Art. Today we’ll review the movement of Surrealism.

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artefact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.

Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.

World War I scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris, and in the interim many became involved with Dada, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the conflict of the war upon the world. The Dadaists protested with anti-art gatherings, performances, writings and art works. After the war, when they returned to Paris, the Dada activities continued.

1937 Cord automobile model 812, designed in 1935 by Gordon M. Buehrig and staff

History of Modern Art: Art Deco

Hi folks, welcome back to our journey in the history of modern art.

Today we’ll be reviewing Art Deco!

Art Deco or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style which first appeared in France during the 1920s, flourished internationally during the 30s and 40s, then waned in the post-World War II era. It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation.

History of Modern Art: Art Deco   U.S. Works Progress Administration poster John Wagner artist ca. 1940

U.S. Works Progress Administration poster, John Wagner, artist, ca. 1940

Deco emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. One of its major attributes is an embrace of technology. This distinguishes Deco from the organic motifs favored by its predecessor Art Nouveau.

Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as “an assertively modern style…[that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material…[and] the requirements of mass production.”

During its heyday Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

The first use of the term Art Deco has been attributed to architect Le Corbusier who penned a series of articles in his journal L’Esprit nouveau under the headline 1925 Expo: Arts Déco. He was referring to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts).

The term was used more generally in 1966 when a French exhibition celebrating the 1925 event was held under the title Les Années 25: Art Déco/Bauhaus/Stijl/Esprit Nouveau. Here the phrase was used to distinguish French decorative crafts of the Belle Epoque from those of later periods.

Bauhaus Typography

History of Modern Art: Bauhaus

Hello folks, and welcome back to our history of modern art series! Today we’ll be exploring Bauhaus!

Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term Bauhaus, literally “house of construction” stood for “School of Building”.

History of Modern Art: Bauhaus   Weimarbauhaus6f

Foyer of the Bauhaus-University Weimar

The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the idea of creating a ‘total’ work of art in which all arts, including architecture would eventually be brought together.

The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design.The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The school existed in three German cities (Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and Berlin from 1932 to 1933), under three different architect-directors: Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1928, Hannes Meyer from 1928 to 1930 and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1930 until 1933, when the school was closed by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime.

The changes of venue and leadership resulted in a constant shifting of focus, technique, instructors, and politics. For instance: the pottery shop was discontinued when the school moved from Weimar to Dessau, even though it had been an important revenue source; when Mies van der Rohe took over the school in 1930, he transformed it into a private school, and would not allow any supporters of Hannes Meyer to attend it.

CC Photo - Christmas egg scene with Snoopy and Woodstock by Kevin Dooley

Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas

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CC Photo – Christmas egg scene with Snoopy and Woodstock by Kevin Dooley  – source

Merry Christmas everyone! With happiness, health and endless creativity Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon smile

We hope you are enjoying our articles as much as we do writing them!

For those who want some last minute gift ideas for the New Years Eve, or for Christmas, I assembled for you some cool articles we had posted during December and you might missed them!

Christmas craft ideas for kids

As the days get darker, earlier, and the cold discourages kids from venturing outside I find that keeping them busy and occupied at this time of year is easy with festive arts and craft.

Since the purse strings are getting ever so tighter, Christmas crafts are great way to entertain the kids on a budget whilst creating some wonderful homemade gifts for teachers, family and friends.

The Best Ways To Give Unique/Custom Gifts

When you give someone a gift you will want it to be a personal and thoughtful gesture that will show them that you took the time and effort to think about them and that you know them well enough to choose a gift that they’ll really like. This means that just buying something from a list, or getting a film you know they want, won’t really make much of an impact or always be as well received as it could be – it might be thoughtful an well meant, but ultimately it’s something they could have made themselves. See how you can make the difference!

Creative Ways To Present Christmas Gifts

Coming up with new and unique ways to present your Christmas presents each year can be difficult. Personally I like my gift to stand out, to be that one gift under the tree that jumps out at you above all the rest. Christmas is about being lavish, going over the top and being eccentric. But how do you come up with something unique and eye catching? Here are some creative ideas to present your gifts this year!

Perfectly Capturing Christmas

With the Christmas season already in full swing, there are bound to be a multitude of seasonal photo opportunities that will create long-lasting memories.  However, there is nothing worse than a blurry group photo, or a dull photo of a Christmas tree.  Therefore, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to present you with a handy guide to getting the most out of your Christmas photos, which will help you to perfectly capture the most wonderful time of the year. Because some times a photo can be the best gift in the world!

Finally for your designers friends we have the best gift you can give them! A book Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon wink

Top 10 Design Books for Christmas

With the opportunity of Christmas, I compiled several nice reading lists concerning various aspects of design. Mostly with books I have read and found interesting or i have marked to get in the near future. And I think that they have something to offer whether you are a junior designer or a grizzled award winning designer. Either way I am sure your designer friends will love them!

That’s all folks! Enjoy your Christmas!  And if you find yourself in the need to read something new while waiting for the festive dinner, we’ll be around with fresh material in a couple of hours Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon smile

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The French Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721)

Jean-Antoine Watteau ( October 10, 1684 – July 18, 1721) was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement (in the tradition of Correggio and Rubens). He revitalized the waning Baroque style, and indeed moved it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical Rococo.

Movements: Baroque, Rococo

Watteau is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes: scenes of bucolic and idyllic charm, suffused with an air of theatricality. Some of his best known subjects were drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet.

Watteau was born in the town of Valenciennes, which had recently passed from the Spanish Netherlands to France. His father was a master tiler. Showing an early interest in painting, he was apprenticed to Jacques-Albert Gérin, a local painter. Having little to learn from Gérin, Watteau left for Paris in about 1702. There he found employment in a workshop at Pont Notre-Dame, making copies of popular genre paintings in the Flemish and Dutch tradition; it was in that period that he developed his characteristic sketchlike technique.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Embarkation for Cythera

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Embarkation for Cythera

In 1703 he was employed as an assistant by the painter Claude Gillot, whose work represented a reaction against the turgid official art of Louis XIV’s reign. In Gillot’s studio Watteau became acquainted with the characters of the commedia dell’arte (its actors had been expelled from France several years before), a favorite subject of Gillot’s that would become one of Watteau’s lifelong passions. Afterward he moved to the workshop of Claude Audran III, an interior decorator, under whose influence he began to make drawings admired for their consummate elegance. Audran was the curator of the Palais du Luxembourg, where Watteau was able to see the magnificent series of canvases painted by Peter Paul Rubens for Queen Marie de Medici. The Flemish painter would become one of his major influences, together with the Venetian masters he would later study in the collection of his patron and friend, the banker Pierre Crozat.

In 1709 Watteau tried to obtain the Prix de Rome and was rejected by the Academy. In 1712 he tried again and was considered so good that, rather than receiving the one-year stay in Rome for which he had applied, he was accepted as a full member of the Academy. He took five years to deliver the required “reception piece”, but it was one of his masterpieces: the Pilgrimage to Cythera, also called the Embarkation for Cythera.

Interestingly, while Watteau’s paintings seem to epitomize the aristocratic elegance of the Régence (though he actually lived most of his short life under the oppressive climate of Louis XIV’s later reign), he never had aristocratic patrons. His buyers were bourgeois such as bankers and dealers.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Pierrot Content

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Pierrot

Although his mature paintings seem to be so many depictions of frivolous fêtes galantes, they in fact display a sober melancholy, a sense of the ultimate futility of life, that makes him, among 18th century painters, one of the closest to modern sensibilities. His many imitators, such as Nicolas Lancret and Jean-Baptiste Pater, borrowed his themes but could not capture his spirit.

Among his most famous paintings, beside the two versions of the Pilgrimage to Cythera (one in the Louvre, the other in the Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin), are Pierrot (long identified as “Gilles”), Fêtes venitiennes, Love in the Italian Theater, Love in the French Theater, “Voulez-vous triompher des belles?” and Mezzetin. The subject of his hallmark painting, Pierrot or Gilles, with his slowly fading smile, seems a confused actor who appears to have forgotten his lines; he has materialized into the fearful reality of existence, sporting as his only armor the pathetic clown costume. The painting may be read as Watteau’s wry comment on his mortal illness.

La Boudeuse from the Hermitage Museum: “Flirting coquettishly yet innocently, the artist’s imaginary heroes – the deliberately indifferent lady and her insistently attentive cavalier – are shown with gentle irony. Their fragile, elegant world is dominated by a lyrical mood with just a touch of elegiac melancholy.”

Watteau’s final masterpiece, the Shop-sign of Gersaint, exits the pastoral forest locale for a mundane urban set of encounters. Painted at Watteau’s own insistence, “to take the chill off his fingers”, this sign for the shop in Paris of the paintings dealer Edme François Gersaint is effectively the final curtain of Watteau’s theatre. It has been described as Watteau’s Las Meninas, in that the theme appears to be the promotion of art. The scene is an art gallery where the façade has magically vanished. The gallery and street in the canvas are fused into one contiguous drama.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau LEnseigne de Gersaint

Jean-Antoine Watteau – L’Enseigne de Gersaint

Watteau alarmed his friends by a carelessness about his future and financial security, as if foreseeing he would not live for long. In fact he had been sickly and physically fragile since childhood. In 1720, he travelled to London, England, to consult Dr. Richard Mead, one of the most fashionable physicians of his time and an admirer of Watteau’s work. However, London’s damp and smoky air offset any benefits of Dr. Mead’s wholesome food and medicines. Watteau returned to France and spent his last few months on the estate of his patron, Abbé Haranger, where he died in 1721 perhaps from tuberculous laryngitis at the age of 36. The Abbé said Watteau was semi-conscious and mute during his final days, clutching a paint brush and painting imaginary paintings in the air.

Little known during his lifetime beyond a small circle of his devotees, Watteau “was mentioned but seldom in contemporary art criticism and then usually reprovingly”. Sir Michael Levey once noted that Watteau “created, unwittingly, the concept of the individualistic artist loyal to himself, and himself alone”. If his immediate followers (Lancret and Pater) would depict the unabashed frillery of aristocratic romantic pursuits, Watteau in a few masterpieces anticipates an art about art, the world of art as seen through the eyes of an artist. In contrast to the Rococo whimsicality and licentiousness cultivated by Boucher and Fragonard in the later part of Louis XV’s reign, Watteau’s theatrical panache is usually tinged with a note of sympathy, wistfulness, and sadness at the transience of love and other earthly delights.

Soon after his death a series of engravings was made after his works, The Recueil Jullienne. The quality of the reproductions, using a mixture of engraving and etching following the practice of the Rubens engravers, varied according to the skill of the people employed by Jean de Jullienne, but was often very high. Such a comprehensive record was hitherto unparalleled. This helped disseminate his influence round Europe and into the decorative arts.

Watteau’s influence on the arts (not only painting, but the decorative arts, costume, film, poetry, music) was more extensive than that of almost any other 18th-century artist. According to the 1911 Britannica, “in his treatment of the landscape background and of the atmospheric surroundings of the figures can be found the germs of Impressionism“. The Watteau dress, a long, sacklike dress with loose pleats hanging from the shoulder at the back, similar to those worn by many of the women in his paintings, is named after him. A revived vogue for Watteau began in England during the British Regency, and was later encapsulated by the Goncourt brothers and the World of Art. In 1984 Watteau societies were created in Paris, by Jean Ferré, and London, by Dr. Selby Whittingham. A major exhibition in Paris, Washington and Berlin commemorated the tercentenary of his birth in 1984. Since 2000 a Watteau centre has been established at Valenciennes by Professor Chris Rauseo. A catalogue of his drawings has been compiled by Pierre Rosenberg, replacing the one by Sir Karl Parker, and Alan Wintermute is preparing one for his paintings.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Fêtes Venitiennes

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Fêtes Venitiennes

 

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Marriage Contract

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Merry Company in the Open Air

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Blunder

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Dance

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Festival of Love

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Judgment of Paris

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Love Song

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The French Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Italian Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Italian Comedians

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Diana at her Bath

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in a Park

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Gathering in the Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in the Park

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Harlequin and Columbine

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Harlequin and Columbine

 

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

 

774px-Eugene_Manet_and_His_Daughter_in_the_Garden_1883_Berthe_Morisot

History of Modern Art: Impressionism

In this short series, we’ll review the history of modern art , starting from Impressionism and going through the years to reach back at today. Following the journey will also make you understand better contemporary art and why art history is an important knowledge for designers and artists alike.

You might object how modern are really art movements over 100 years old. Still considering the timeline of art history that dates back to the first cave drawings, then i think a mere 100 years are more than modern! I hope you join me to this journey, and enjoy it as much as i do.

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s in spite of harsh opposition from the art community in France. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles. The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media which became known as Impressionist music and Impressionist literature.

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    744px Claude Monet 054Tulpen von Holland

Claude Monet – Tulpen von Holland

Although the emergence of Impressionism in France happened at a time when a number of other painters, including the Italian artists known as the Macchiaioli, and Winslow Homer in the United States, were also exploring plein-air painting, the Impressionists developed new techniques that were specific to the style. Encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it was an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of colour.

The public, at first hostile, gradually came to believe that the Impressionists had captured a fresh and original vision, even if the new style did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment.

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    740px Claude Monet 022Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden Sainte Adresse

Claude Monet – Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden Sainte Adresse

By recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than delineating the details of the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism became a precursor of various styles of painting, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism (which we’ll explore in future articles).

Impressionist techniques include:

  1. Short, thick strokes of paint are used to quickly capture the essence of the subject, rather than its details. The paint is often applied impasto.
  2. Colours are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as possible, creating a vibrant surface. The optical mixing of colours occurs in the eye of the viewer.
  3. Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colours. In pure Impressionism the use of black paint is avoided.
  4. Wet paint is placed into wet paint without waiting for successive applications to dry, producing softer edges and an intermingling of colour.
  5. Painting during evening to get effets de soir—the shadowy effects of the light in the evening or twilight.
  6. Impressionist paintings do not exploit the transparency of thin paint films (glazes) which earlier artists manipulated carefully to produce effects. The surface of an Impressionist painting is typically opaque.
  7. The play of natural light is emphasized. Close attention is paid to the reflection of colours from object to object.
  8. In paintings made en plein air (outdoors), shadows are boldly painted with the blue of the sky as it is reflected onto surfaces, giving a sense of freshness that was not represented in painting previously. (Blue shadows on snow inspired the technique.)
Painters throughout history had occasionally used these methods, but Impressionists were the first to use all of them together, and with such consistency. Earlier artists whose works display these techniques include Frans Hals, Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner. French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic colourist Eugène Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Théodore Rousseau.

The Impressionists learned much from the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin, who painted from nature in a style that was similar to Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists. Impressionists took advantage of the mid-century introduction of premixed paints in lead tubes (resembling modern toothpaste tubes), which allowed artists to work more spontaneously, both outdoors and indoors. Previously, painters made their own paints individually, by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil, which were then stored in animal bladders.

Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters as Jan Steen, had emphasized common subjects, but their methods of composition were traditional. They arranged their compositions in such a way that the main subject commanded the viewer’s attention. The Impressionists relaxed the boundary between subject and background so that the effect of an Impressionist painting often resembles a snapshot, a part of a larger reality captured as if by chance. Photography was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to represent momentary action, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.

The development of Impressionism can be considered partly as a reaction by artists to the challenge presented by photography, which seemed to devalue the artist’s skill in reproducing reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography “produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably”

Another major influence was Japanese art prints (Japonism), which had come into France originally as wrapping paper for imported goods. The art of these prints contributed significantly to the “snapshot” angles and unconventional compositions which would become characteristic of the style.

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    707px Monet   Die Seine am morgen im Regen

Claude Monet – Die Seine am morgen im Regen

Edgar Degas was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints. His The Dance Class (La classe de danse) of 1874 shows both influences in its asymmetrical composition. The dancers are seemingly caught off guard in various awkward poses, leaving an expanse of empty floor space in the lower right quadrant. His dancers were also captured in sculpture such as The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer

The central figures in the development of Impressionism in France, listed alphabetically, were:

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    609px Pierre Auguste Renoir 007 Sur la terrasse

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Sur la terrasse

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    629px Monet UmbrellaWoman with a Parasol

Claude Monet – Woman with a Parasol

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    634px Edouard Manet 030 Frühstück im Atelier

Édouard Manet – Frühstück im Atelier

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    710px Pierre Auguste Renoir   By the Water

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – By the Water

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    741px Alfred Sisley Bords du Loing à Saint Mammès 1892

Alfred Sisley – Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    752px Paul Cézanne 082Kartenspieler

Paul Cézanne – Kartenspieler

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    769px Edouard Manet 024Das Frühstück im Grünen

Édouard Manet – Das Frühstück im Grünen

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    774px Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden 1883 Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot – Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    800px Berthe Morisot The Harbor at Lorient

Berthe Morisot – The Harbor at Lorient

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    800px Edouard Manet 004Le Bar des Folies Bergère

Édouard Manet – Le Bar des Folies-Bergère

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    800px Monet   Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

Claude Monet – Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    Hay Harvest at Éragny by Camille Pissarro 1901

Camille Pissarro – Hay Harvest at Éragny

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    Pierre Auguste Renoir The Luncheon of the Boating Party 1881 Phillips Collection Washington.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Luncheon of the Boating Party

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    Renoir Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou 1879 The National Gallery of Art Washington D.C.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    800px Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 009

Painting by Edgar Degas

History of Modern Art: Impressionism    790px Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 006

Painting by Edgar Degas

Hope you enjoyed our short journey through Impressionism and are willing to explore more the individual artists!

In the meantime i’d love to hear what you think of impressionism as a movement, and which of the above artists were the more influential in your opinion?

Articles’ Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired Or legal to display for non commercial educational purposes, under the Fair Use Copyright Law (and are available through Wikimedia & Wikipedia)

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it uses material from Wikipedia.

Get Started with Drawing!

Get Started with Pencil Drawing Basics

Have you ever been in front of an empty paper, holding a pencil in your hand and thinking: “I can’t draw…”

Well you probably have! And don’t feel guilty about it. It’s the majority of people who think that way.

Get Started with Pencil Drawing Basics   1204275 31590542 1024x768

But let me ask you something. Can you perform a surgery? Fly a helicopter? Scuba Dive? Identify an Accipiter striatus?

Well, if you have trained and practice doing it you probably can. If not isn’t it obvious that you won’t be able to do it?

Same is with drawing. Drawing is a skill too, and as every skill it can be acquired through extensive practice and guidance. There are no short-cuts in doing something well.

Talent do exist of course, but think of it more as a head start. Imagine two people going to university to study nuclear physics, one of them has to work to support himself, the other has all the money in the world and don’t have to. Well in the end they’ll be both nuclear physicists. It’s just that one has to try harder. And my two cents is that in the end of line, the best one will be the one who tried harder.

So the question is not if you can draw. The question is are you willing to learn?

If you are,  I’d like to share with you a selection of good and cheap books to get you started.

And by the way If you don’t have drawing supplies don’t go crazy buying everything you come across in the art supply store.

A pencil and paper is all you need!

Ok, then! Let’s get started with our books selection, hand picked and ordered in a mini-course form to get you started!

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner: A Clear & Easy Guide to Successful Drawing

This inspiring book makes drawing in a realistic style easier than you may think and more fun than you ever imagined!

Authors Mark and Mary Willenbrink (Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner) cover it all—from choosing materials and the correct way to hold your pencil, to expert advice on the tricky stuff, like getting proportions and perspective right, drawing reflections, and designing strong compositions. (It’s not as scary as it sounds…not with Mark and Mary as your guide!)

At the heart of this book, a series of fun, hands-on exercises help you practice and perfect your strokes—24 mini-demos lead up to 9 full step-by-step demos. Each exercise builds on the previous one as you develop your skills, build your confidence, and enjoy yourself along the way. The lessons you learn by drawing simple subjects such as coffee mugs, clouds and trees will help you take on progressively more challenging matter like animals, still lifes, landscapes and portraits…the kinds of subjects and scenes you’ve always dreamt of drawing.

This book is just the ticket for budding artists of any age. It’s never too early and never too late to discover the pure joy of drawing!

Pencil Drawing Techniques

Here is a really good book for the artist who wants to develop his or her pencil drawing abilities, whether it’s to improve your preliminary sketch work, or to create beautiful pencil drawings complete in their own right. Pencil Drawing Techniques brings together six of today’s best artists, all of whom are incredibly fine instructors as well.

The artists show you how to develop your skill and ability in handling pencil technique. Ferdinand Petrie shows you how to handle pencils and produce a controlled variety of lines, values, and textures. Then he shows you exactly how to use these techniques to draw landscapes in a range of styles and compositions.

Rudy De Reyna explains pencil basics, and explores perspective, size relationships, form, and structure. Douglas grave teaches you how to begin drawing portraits by building a drawing step-by-step. Norman Dams and Joe Singer demonstrate how you can use the pencil to produce spectacular drawings of animals. John Blockley and Richard Bolton show you how pencil drawings can capture the essence of a subject and help you work out a plan for painting it. Finally, Bet Borgeson teaches you all the secrets of colored pencil work and demonstrates a whole new dimension.

The book is divided into seven sections: how to handle a pencil, fundamentals of drawing, drawing landscapes, drawing portraits, drawing animals, drawing for watercolors, and handling color pencils. The copious illustrations show in detail how the artists use their techniques. For the artist who uses the pencil, Pencil Drawing Techniques is an an excellent instructional book of ideas for using the pencil creatively.

Keys to Drawing

In this book, Bert Dodson shares his complete drawing system—fifty-five “keys” that you can use to render any subject with confidence, even if you’re a beginner.

These keys, along with dozens of practice exercises, will help you draw like an artist in no time.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Restore, focus, map, and intensify
  • Free your hand action, then learn to control it
  • Convey the illusions of light, depth, and texture
  • Stimulate your imagination through “creative play”

Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil

You won’t believe the incredible drawings you can create using common pencils and the special techniques illustrated in this book. These methods are so easy that anyone—from doodler to advanced artist—can master them in minutes! Step by step, you’ll learn how to capture the look of metal, glass, weathered wood, skin, hair and other textures. Two detailed start-to-finish demonstrations show you how to use these textures to create drawings that look so real they seem to leap right off the page.

The Big Book of Realistic Drawing Secrets: Easy Techniques for drawing people, animals, flowers and nature

If you’re not getting the kind of true-to-life results you want in your drawings (or if you can’t even draw a straight line), Carrie and Rick Parks can help. As award-winning teachers, they have a proven game plan for helping artists of all levels overcome common problems and see immediate improvement in their work. As professional composite artists, they know the tricks and tools for achieving incredibly lifelike results. In this friendly, foolproof guide to drawing, they share it all:

  • Easy-to-master techniques for achieving a convincing sense of depth
  • How to draw challenging textures like metal and fur
  • Putting personality into your portraits
  • 40+ step-by-step demonstrations featuring a variety of people, animals and nature

Easy enough so that beginners can jump right in, and comprehensive enough to help more accomplished artists refine their skills. This book covers all the essentials, teaching you the secrets of realistic drawing one step at a time, building the skills you need to tackle any subject convincingly–even those you’ve always thought were beyond your reach. Before you know it, you’ll be turning out picturesque landscapes, stellar portraits–any subject that inspires you to put pencil to paper!

Pencil Drawing: Project Book for Beginners

The age-old art of drawing is one of the most important foundations of all the visual arts—and it’s also a relaxing and enjoyable pastime! This book offers a simple, step-by-step approach to learning the fundamentals of sketching—from starting with basic shapes to rendering accurate still lifes, landscapes, animals, and portraits. You will learn techniques used to render various textures, including glass, metal, foliage, and fur. Even if your only experience with a pencil is writing with one, you’re still perfectly capable of executing these easy-to-follow basics. Everyone who wants to practice and perfect their drawing skills will find this project book created by Walter Foster Publishing and Reeves to be a valuable tool.

That’s all folks! Hope you will find today’s books and advice useful and start expressing yourself through drawing! It might take you some time to reach Leonardo DaVinci’s sketching skills but you will definitely have fun through your journey!