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.

Paul Cézanne - Mardi Gras

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.

Cézanne’s early work is often concerned with the figure in the landscape and includes many paintings of groups of large, heavy figures in the landscape, imaginatively painted. Later in his career, he became more interested in working from direct observation and gradually developed a light, airy painting style. Nevertheless, in Cézanne’s mature work there is the development of a solidified, almost architectural style of painting.

Paul Cézanne - The Large Bathers

Paul Cézanne – The Large Bathers

Throughout his life he struggled to develop an authentic observation of the seen world by the most accurate method of representing it in paint that he could find. To this end, he structurally ordered whatever he perceived into simple forms and colour planes. His statement “I want to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museums”,and his contention that he was recreating Poussin “after nature” underscored his desire to unite observation of nature with the permanence of classical composition.

Cézanne was interested in the simplification of naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials: he wanted to “treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone” (a tree trunk may be conceived of as a cylinder, an apple or orange a sphere, for example).

Additionally, Cézanne’s desire to capture the truth of perception led him to explore binocular vision graphically, rendering slightly different, yet simultaneous visual perceptions of the same phenomena to provide the viewer with an aesthetic experience of depth different from those of earlier ideals of perspective, in particular single-point perspective. Cézanne’s innovations have prompted critics to suggest such varied explanations as sick retinas,pure vision, and the influence of the steam railway.

Main periods of Cézanne’s work

Paul Cézanne - Paul Alexis Reading to Zola

Paul Cézanne – Paul Alexis Reading to Zola

Dark Period (1861 – 1870): In 1863 Napoleon III created by decree the Salon des Refusés, at which paintings rejected for display at the Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts were to be displayed. The artists of the refused works included the young Impressionists, who were considered revolutionary. Cézanne was influenced by their style but his social relations with them were inept—he seemed rude, shy, angry, and given to depression. His works of this period are characterized by dark colours and the heavy use of black. They differ sharply from his earlier watercolours and sketches at the École Spéciale de dessin at Aix-en-Provence in 1859, and their violence of expression is in contrast to his subsequent works.

In 1866–67, inspired by the example of Courbet, Cézanne painted a series of paintings with a palette knife. He later called these works, mostly portraits, une couillarde (“a coarse word for ostentatious virility”). Lawrence Gowing has written that Cézanne’s palette knife phase “was not only the invention of modern expressionism, although it was incidentally that; the idea of art as emotional ejaculation made its first appearance at this moment”.

Among the couillarde paintings are a series of portraits of his uncle Dominique in which Cézanne achieved a style that “was as unified as Impressionism was fragmentary”. Later works of the dark period include several erotic or violent subjects, such as Women Dressing (c.1867), The Rape (c.1867), and The Murder (c.1867–68), which depicts a man stabbing a woman who is held down by his female accomplice.

Impressionist period (1870 – 1878):  After the start of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870, Cézanne and his mistress, Marie-Hortense Fiquet, left Paris for L’Estaque, near Marseilles, where he changed themes to predominantly landscapes. He was declared a draft dodger in January 1871, but the war ended the next month, in February, and the couple moved back to Paris, in the summer of 1871. After the birth of their son Paul in January 1872, in Paris, they moved to Auvers in Val-d’Oise near Paris. Cézanne’s mother was kept a party to family events, but his father was not informed of Hortense for fear of risking his wrath. The artist received from his father an allowance of 100 francs.

Paul Cézanne - Sunday Afternoon

Paul Cézanne – Sunday Afternoon

Camille Pissarro lived in Pontoise. There and in Auvers he and Cézanne painted landscapes together. For a long time afterwards, Cézanne described himself as Pissarro’s pupil, referring to him as “God the Father”, as well as saying: “We all stem from Pissarro.”  Under Pissarro’s influence Cézanne began to abandon dark colours and his canvases grew much brighter.

Leaving Hortense in the Marseille region, Cézanne moved between Paris and Provence, exhibiting in the first (1874) and third Impressionist shows (1877). In 1875, he attracted the attention of the collector Victor Chocquet, whose commissions provided some financial relief. But Cézanne’s exhibited paintings attracted hilarity, outrage, and sarcasm. Reviewer Louis Leroy said of Cézanne’s portrait of Chocquet: “This peculiar looking head, the colour of an old boot might give [a pregnant woman] a shock and cause yellow fever in the fruit of her womb before its entry into the world.”

In March 1878, Cézanne’s father found out about Hortense and threatened to cut Cézanne off financially, but, in September, he relented and decided to give him 400 francs for his family. Cézanne continued to migrate between the Paris region and Provence until Louis-Auguste had a studio built for him at his home, Jas de Bouffan, in the early 1880s. This was on the upper floor, and an enlarged window was provided, allowing in the northern light but interrupting the line of the eaves. This feature remains today. Cézanne stabilized his residence in L’Estaque. He painted with Renoir there in 1882 and visited Renoir and Monet in 1883.

Mature period (1878 – 1890):  In the early 1880s the Cézanne family stabilized their residence in Provence where they remained, except for brief sojourns abroad, from then on. The move reflects a new independence from the Paris-centered impressionists and a marked preference for the south, Cézanne’s native soil. Hortense’s brother had a house within view of Montagne Sainte-Victoire at Estaque. A run of paintings of this mountain from 1880 to 1883 and others of Gardanne from 1885 to 1888 are sometimes known as “the Constructive Period”.

Paul Cézanne - Pool at the Jas de Bouffan

Paul Cézanne – Pool at the Jas de Bouffan

The year 1886 was a turning point for the family. Cézanne married Hortense. In that year also, Cézanne’s father died, leaving him the estate purchased in 1859; he was 47. By 1888 the family was in the former manor, Jas de Bouffan, a substantial house and grounds with outbuildings, which afforded a new-found comfort. This house, with much-reduced grounds, is now owned by the city and is open to the public on a restricted basis.
Also in that year Cézanne broke off his friendship with Émile Zola, after the latter used him, in large part, as the basis for the unsuccessful and ultimately tragic fictitious artist Claude Lantier, in the novel L’Œuvre. Cézanne considered this a breach of decorum and a friendship begun in childhood was irreparably damaged.

Final period (1890 – 1905):  Pyramid of Skulls, c. 1901, The dramatic resignation to death informs several still life paintings Cézanne made in his final period between 1898 and 1905 which take the skulls as their subject. Today the skulls themselves remain in Cézanne’s studio outside of Aix-en-Provence.

Cézanne’s idyllic period at Jas de Bouffan was temporary. From 1890 until his death he was beset by troubling events and he withdrew further into his painting, spending long periods as a virtual recluse. His paintings became well-known and sought after and he was the object of respect from a new generation of painters.

The problems began with the onset of diabetes in 1890, destabilizing his personality to the point where relationships with others were again strained. He traveled in Switzerland, with Hortense and his son, perhaps hoping to restore their relationship. Cézanne, however, returned to Provence to live; Hortense and Paul junior, to Paris. Financial need prompted Hortense’s return to Provence but in separate living quarters. Cézanne moved in with his mother and sister. In 1891 he turned to Catholicism.

Cézanne alternated between painting at Jas de Bouffan and in the Paris region, as before. In 1895 he made a germinal visit to Bibémus Quarries and climbed Montagne Sainte-Victoire. The labyrinthine landscape of the quarries must have struck a note, as he rented a cabin there in 1897 and painted extensively from it. The shapes are believed to have inspired the embryonic “Cubist” style. Also in that year, his mother died, an upsetting event but one which made reconciliation with his wife possible. He sold the empty nest at Jas de Bouffan and rented a place on Rue Boulegon, where he built a studio.

The relationship, however, continued to be stormy. He needed a place to be by himself. In 1901 he bought some land along the Chemin des Lauves, an isolated road on some high ground at Aix, and commissioned a studio to be built there (now open to the public). He moved there in 1903. Meanwhile, in 1902, he had drafted a will excluding his wife from his estate and leaving everything to his son. The relationship was apparently off again; she is said to have burned the mementos of his mother.

Paul Cézanne - Self-Portrait on Rose Background

Paul Cézanne – Self-Portrait on Rose Background

One day, Cézanne was caught in a storm while working in the field. Only after working for two hours under a downpour did he decide to go home; but on the way he collapsed. He was taken home by a passing driver. His old housekeeper rubbed his arms and legs to restore the circulation; as a result, he regained consciousness. On the following day, he intended to continue working, but later on he fainted; the model with whom he was working called for help; he was put to bed, and he never left it again.

He died a few days later, on 22 October 1906 of pneumonia and was buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.

After Cézanne died in 1906, his paintings were exhibited in Paris in a large museum-like retrospective in September 1907. The 1907 Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d’Automne greatly affected the direction that the avant-garde in Paris took, lending credence to his position as one of the most influential artists of the 19th century and to the advent of Cubism.

Cézanne’s explorations of geometric simplification and optical phenomena inspired Picasso, Braque, Gris and others to experiment with ever more complex multiple views of the same subject and eventually to the fracturing of form. Cézanne thus sparked one of the most revolutionary areas of artistic enquiry of the 20th century, one which was to affect profoundly the development of modern art. A prize in his memory, called the Cézanne medal, is granted by the city of Aix en Provence, in France for special achievement in the arts.

Cézanne’s painting The Boy in the Red Vest was stolen from a Swiss museum in 2008. It was recovered in a Serbian police raid in 2012.

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 or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 18/03/2014

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

Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas

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

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

Merry Christmas everyone! With happiness, health and endless creativity :)

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 😉

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 :)

Article publié pour la première fois le 25/12/2012

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!

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)

Article publié pour la première fois le 09/04/2014

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.

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.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Pierrot

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.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - L'Enseigne 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.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Fêtes Venitiennes

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Fêtes Venitiennes


Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Gathering in the Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in the Park

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.


Article publié pour la première fois le 11/12/2012

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.

During the war, André Breton, who had trained in medicine and psychiatry, served in a neurological hospital where he used Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic methods with soldiers suffering from shell-shock. Meeting the young writer Jacques Vaché, Breton felt that Vaché was the spiritual son of writer and pataphysics founder Alfred Jarry.

He admired the young writer’s anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition. Later Breton wrote, “In literature, I was successively taken with Rimbaud, with Jarry, with Apollinaire, with Nouveau, with Lautréamont, but it is Jacques Vaché to whom I owe the most.

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory (1931), Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory (1931)

As they developed their philosophy, they believed that Surrealism would advocate the idea that ordinary and depictive expressions are vital and important, but that the sense of their arrangement must be open to the full range of imagination according to the Hegelian Dialectic. They also looked to the Marxist dialectic and the work of such theorists as Walter Benjamin and Herbert Marcuse.

Freud’s work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. They embraced idiosyncrasy, while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness. Later, Salvador Dalí explained it as: “There is only one difference between a madman and I. I am not mad.”

Beside the use of dream analysis, they emphasized that “one could combine inside the same frame, elements not normally found together to produce illogical and startling effects.” Breton included the idea of the startling juxtapositions in his 1924 manifesto, taking it in turn from a 1918 essay by poet Pierre Reverdy, which said: “a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be — the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.”

In 1924 they declared their philosophy in the first “Surrealist Manifesto”. That same year they established the Bureau of Surrealist Research, and began publishing the journal La Révolution surréaliste.

Breton wrote the manifesto of 1924 that defines the purposes of the group. He included citations of the influences on Surrealism, examples of Surrealist works and discussion of Surrealist automatism. He defined Surrealism as:

  1. Surrealism, noun: Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.
  2. SurrealismPhilosophy: Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life.


The movement in the mid-1920s was characterized by meetings in cafes where the Surrealists played collaborative drawing games, discussed the theories of Surrealism, and developed a variety of techniques such as automatic drawing. Breton initially doubted that visual arts could even be useful in the Surrealist movement since they appeared to be less malleable and open to chance and automatism. This caution was overcome by the discovery of such techniques as frottage and decalcomania.

Soon more visual artists became involved, including Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Alberto Giacometti, Valentine Hugo, Méret Oppenheim, Toyen, and later after the second war: Enrico Donati. Though Breton admired Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp and courted them to join the movement, they remained peripheral. More writers also joined, including former Dadaist Tristan Tzara, René Char, and Georges Sadoul.

Throughout the 1930s, Surrealism continued to become more visible to the public at large. A Surrealist group developed in Britain and, according to Breton, their 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition was a high water mark of the period and became the model for international exhibitions.

Dalí and Magritte created the most widely recognized images of the movement. Dalí joined the group in 1929, and participated in the rapid establishment of the visual style between 1930 and 1935.
Surrealism as a visual movement had found a method: to expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance, in order to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.

Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility 1942, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility (1942)

1931 was a year when several Surrealist painters produced works which marked turning points in their stylistic evolution: Magritte’s Voice of Space (La Voix des airs) is an example of this process, where three large spheres representing bells hang above a landscape. Another Surrealist landscape from this same year is Yves Tanguy’s Promontory Palace (Palais promontoire), with its molten forms and liquid shapes. Liquid shapes became the trademark of Dalí, particularly in his The Persistence of Memory, which features the image of watches that sag as if they were melting.

The characteristics of this style—a combination of the depictive, the abstract, and the psychological—came to stand for the alienation which many people felt in the modern period, combined with the sense of reaching more deeply into the psyche, to be “made whole with one’s individuality”.

Between 1930 and 1933, the Surrealist Group in Paris issued the periodical Le Surrealisme au service de la revolution as the successor of La Révolution surréaliste. From 1936 through 1938 Wolfgang Paalen, Gordon Onslow Ford, and Roberto Matta joined the group. Paalen contributed Fumage and Onslow Ford Coulage as new pictorial automatic techniques.

Long after personal, political and professional tensions fragmented the Surrealist group, Magritte and Dalí continued to define a visual program in the arts. This program reached beyond painting, to encompass photography as well, as can be seen from a Man Ray self-portrait, whose use of assemblage influenced Robert Rauschenberg’s collage boxes.

World War II created havoc not only for the general population of Europe but especially for the European artists and writers that opposed Fascism, and Nazism. Many important artists fled to North America, and relative safety in the United States. The art community in New York City in particular was already grappling with Surrealist ideas and several artists like Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Roberto Matta, converged closely with the surrealist artists themselves, albeit with some suspicion and reservations.

Ideas concerning the unconscious and dream imagery were quickly embraced. By the Second World War, the taste of the American avant-garde in New York City swung decisively towards Abstract Expressionism with the support of key taste makers, including Peggy Guggenheim, Leo Steinberg and Clement Greenberg. However, it should not be easily forgotten that Abstract Expressionism itself grew directly out of the meeting of American (particularly New York) artists with European Surrealists self-exiled during World War II.

In particular, Arshile Gorky and Wolfgang Paalen influenced the development of this American art form, which, as Surrealism did, celebrated the instantaneous human act as the well-spring of creativity. The early work of many Abstract Expressionists reveals a tight bond between the more superficial aspects of both movements, and the emergence (at a later date) of aspects of Dadaistic humor in such artists as Rauschenberg sheds an even starker light upon the connection.

Up until the emergence of Pop Art, Surrealism can be seen to have been the single most important influence on the sudden growth in American arts, and even in Pop, some of the humor manifested in Surrealism can be found, often turned to a cultural criticism.

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 or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 23/02/2013


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.

Claude Monet - Tulpen 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.

Claude Monet - Jeanne 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.

Claude 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:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir -  Sur la terrasse

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Sur la terrasse

Claude Monet  - Woman with a Parasol

Claude Monet – Woman with a Parasol

Édouard Manet - Frühstück im Atelier

Édouard Manet – Frühstück im Atelier

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - By the Water

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – By the Water

Alfred Sisley - Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

Alfred Sisley – Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

Paul Cézanne - Kartenspieler

Paul Cézanne – Kartenspieler

Édouard Manet - Das Frühstück im Grünen

Édouard Manet – Das Frühstück im Grünen

Berthe Morisot - Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden

Berthe Morisot – Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden

Berthe Morisot - The Harbor at Lorient

Berthe Morisot – The Harbor at Lorient

Édouard Manet - Le Bar des Folies-Bergère

Édouard Manet – Le Bar des Folies-Bergère

Claude Monet - Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

Claude Monet – Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

Camille Pissarro - Hay Harvest at Éragny

Camille Pissarro – Hay Harvest at Éragny

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Luncheon of the Boating Party

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Luncheon of the Boating Party

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou

Painting by Edgar Degas

Painting by Edgar Degas

Painting by Edgar Degas

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.

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/11/2012

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:

Vladimir Tomin→Paperworld Font

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

Create Mixed Media “Scratch Artwork” with Cray-Pas Oil Pastels

Mixed Media Art – Triptych

Mixed Media – Faux Carnival Glass

Mixed Media Art Canvas – Steampunk Dragonflies

Mixed Media Art Canvas – Gothic Halloween

Mixed Media Art Technique – Watercolor and India Ink

Tree of Knowledge – Mixed Media Painting Process

That’s all folks! Hope you had fun watching the videos and are eager to start experimenting on your own! I’d be very happy hearing about your ideas and experiment results with mixed media!

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/09/2013


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.

Article publié pour la première fois le 28/02/2013

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.

The terms have expanded to encompass a movement in music which features repetition and iteration, as in the compositions of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Adams. Minimalist compositions are sometimes known as systems music.The term “minimalist” is often applied colloquially to designate anything which is spare or stripped to its essentials. It has also been used to describe the plays and novels of Samuel Beckett, the films of Robert Bresson, the stories of Raymond Carver, and even the automobile designs of Colin Chapman. The word was first used in English in the early 20th century to describe the Mensheviks.

Minimalism in Design

The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. In addition, the work of De Stijl artists is a major source of reference for this kind of work. De Stijl expanded the ideas that could be expressed by using basic elements such as lines and planes organized in very particular manners.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” to describe his aesthetic tactic of arranging the numerous necessary components of a building to create an impression of extreme simplicity, by enlisting every element and detail to serve multiple visual and functional purposes (such as designing a floor to also serve as the radiator, or a massive fireplace to also house the bathroom).

Designer Buckminster Fuller adopted the engineer’s goal of “Doing more with less”, but his concerns were oriented towards technology and engineering rather than aesthetics. A similar sentiment was industrial designer Dieter Rams’ motto, “Less but better” adapted from Mies. The structure uses relatively simple elegant designs; ornamentations are quality rather than quantity. The structure’s beauty is also determined by playing with lighting, using the basic geometric shapes as outlines, using only a single shape or a small number of like shapes for components for design unity, using tasteful non-fussy bright color combinations, usually natural textures and colors, and clean and fine finishes. Using sometimes the beauty of natural patterns on stone cladding and real wood encapsulated within ordered simplified structures, and real metal producing a simplified but prestigious architecture and interior design. May use color brightness balance and contrast between surface colors to improve visual aesthetics. The structure would usually have industrial and space age style utilities (lamps, stoves, stairs, technology, etc.), neat and straight components (like walls or stairs) that appear to be machined with equipment, flat or nearly flat roofs, pleasing negative spaces, and large windows to let in lots of sunlight. This and science fiction may have contributed to the late twentieth century futuristic architecture design, and modern home decor. Modern minimalist home architecture with its unnecessary internal walls removed probably have led to the popularity of the open plan kitchen and living room style.

Another modern designer who exemplifies reductivist ideas is Luis Barragán. In minimalism, the architectural designers pay special attention to the connection between perfect planes, elegant lighting, and careful consideration of the void spaces left by the removal of three-dimensional shapes from an architectural design. The more attractive looking minimalist home designs are not truly minimalist, because these use more expensive building materials and finishes, and are relatively larger.

Influences from Japanese tradition

The idea of simplicity appears in many cultures, especially the Japanese traditional culture of Zen Philosophy. Japanese manipulate the Zen culture into aesthetic and design elements for their buildings.  This idea of architecture has influenced Western Society, especially in America since the mid 18th century. Moreover, it inspired the minimalist architecture in the 19th century.
Zen concepts of simplicity transmit the ideas of freedom and essence of living.  Simplicity is not only aesthetic value, it has a moral perception that looks into the nature of truth and reveals the inner qualities of materials and objects for the essence. For example, the sand garden in Ryoanji temple demonstrates the concepts of simplicity and the essentiality from the considered setting of a few stones and a huge empty space.

The Japanese aesthetic principle of Ma refers to empty or open space. That removes all the unnecessary internal walls and opens up the space between interior and the exterior. Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced by the design element of Japanese sliding door that allows to bring the exterior to the interior. The emptiness of spatial arrangement is another idea that reduces everything down to the most essential quality.

The Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi values the quality of simple and plain objects.  It appreciates the absence of unnecessary features to view life in quietness and reveals the most innate character of materials.  For example, the Japanese flora art, also known as Ikebana has the meaning of let flower express itself. People cut off the branches, leaves and blossoms from the plants and only retain the essential part from the plant. This conveys the idea of essential quality and innate character in nature.

MA is manifest in Japanese living architecture, garden design and flower arrangement (Ikebana). However, far from being just a spatial concept, MA is ever-present in all aspects of Japanese daily life, as it applies to time as well as to daily tasks.

Minimalism in Art

In a more broad and general sense, one finds European roots of minimalism in the geometric abstractions of painters associated with the Bauhaus, in the works of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and other artists associated with the De Stijl movement, and the Russian Constructivist movement, and in the work of the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi. Minimal art is also inspired in part by the paintings of Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Josef Albers, and the works of artists as diverse as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio Morandi, and others. Minimalism was also a reaction against the painterly subjectivity of Abstract Expressionism that had been dominant in the New York School during the 1940s and 1950s.

Barnett Newman, Voice of Fire, 1967, National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

Barnett Newman, Voice of Fire, 1967, National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

Artist and critic Thomas Lawson noted in his 1977 catalog essay Last Exit: Painting, minimalism did not reject Clement Greenberg’s claims about modernist painting’s reduction to surface and materials so much as take his claims literally. According to Lawson minimalism was the result, even though the term “minimalism” was not generally embraced by the artists associated with it, and many practitioners of art designated minimalist by critics did not identify it as a movement as such. Also taking exception to this claim was Clement Greenberg himself; in his 1978 postscript to his essay Modernist Painting he disavowed this incorrect interpretation of what he said; Greenberg wrote:

There have been some further constructions of what I wrote that go over into preposterousness: That I regard flatness and the inclosing of flatness not just as the limiting conditions of pictorial art, but as criteria of aesthetic quality in pictorial art; that the further a work advances the self-definition of an art, the better that work is bound to be. The philosopher or art historian who can envision me — or anyone at all — arriving at aesthetic judgments in this way reads shockingly more into himself or herself than into my article.

In contrast to the previous decade’s more subjective Abstract Expressionists, with the exceptions of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt; minimalists were also influenced by composers John Cage and LaMonte Young, poet William Carlos Williams, and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. They very explicitly stated that their art was not about self-expression, unlike the previous decade’s more subjective philosophy about art making theirs was ‘objective’. In general, Minimalism’s features included geometric, often cubic forms purged of much metaphor, equality of parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and industrial materials.

Robert Morris, an influential theorist and artist, wrote a three part essay, “Notes on Sculpture 1-3”, originally published across three issues of Artforum in 1966. In these essays, Morris attempted to define a conceptual framework and formal elements for himself and one that would embrace the practices of his contemporaries. These essays paid great attention to the idea of the gestalt – “parts… bound together in such a way that they create a maximum resistance to perceptual separation.” Morris later described an art represented by a “marked lateral spread and no regularized units or symmetrical intervals…” in “Notes on Sculpture 4: Beyond Objects”, originally published in Artforum, 1969, continuing to say that “indeterminacy of arrangement of parts is a literal aspect of the physical existence of the thing.”

The general shift in theory of which this essay is an expression suggests the transitions into what would later be referred to as postminimalism. One of the first artists specifically associated with minimalism was the painter, Frank Stella, four of whose early “black paintings” were included in the 1959 show, 16 Americans, organized by Dorothy Miller at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The width of the stripes in Frank Stellas’s black paintings were often determined by the dimensions of the lumber used for stretchers, visible as the depth of the painting when viewed from the side, used to construct the supportive chassis upon which the canvas was stretched. The decisions about structures on the front surface of the canvas were therefore not entirely subjective, but pre-conditioned by a “given” feature of the physical construction of the support.

In the show catalog, Carl Andre noted, “Art excludes the unnecessary. Frank Stella has found it necessary to paint stripes. There is nothing else in his painting.” These reductive works were in sharp contrast to the energy-filled and apparently highly subjective and emotionally-charged paintings of Willem de Kooning or Franz Kline and, in terms of precedent among the previous generation of abstract expressionists, leaned more toward the less gestural, often somber, color field paintings of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Although Stella received immediate attention from the MoMA show, artists including Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis, Robert Motherwell and Robert Ryman had also begun to explore stripes, monochromatic and Hard-edge formats from the late 50s through the 1960s.

Because of a tendency in minimal art to exclude the pictorial, illusionistic and fictive in favor of the literal, there was a movement away from painterly and toward sculptural concerns. Donald Judd had started as a painter, and ended as a creator of objects. His seminal essay, “Specific Objects” (published in Arts Yearbook 8, 1965), was a touchstone of theory for the formation of minimalist aesthetics. In this essay, Judd found a starting point for a new territory for American art, and a simultaneous rejection of residual inherited European artistic values. He pointed to evidence of this development in the works of an array of artists active in New York at the time, including Jasper Johns, Dan Flavin and Lee Bontecou. Of “preliminary” importance for Judd was the work of George Earl Ortman, who had concretized and distilled painting’s forms into blunt, tough, philosophically charged geometries. These Specific Objects inhabited a space not then comfortably classifiable as either painting or sculpture. That the categorical identity of such objects was itself in question, and that they avoided easy association with well-worn and over-familiar conventions, was a part of their value for Judd.

This movement was heavily criticised by modernist formalist art critics and historians. Some critics thought minimal art represented a misunderstanding of the modern dialectic of painting and sculpture as defined by critic Clement Greenberg, arguably the dominant American critic of painting in the period leading up to the 1960s. The most notable critique of minimalism was produced by Michael Fried, a formalist critic, who objected to the work on the basis of its “theatricality”. In Art and Objecthood (published in Artforum in June 1967) he declared that the minimal work of art, particularly minimal sculpture, was based on an engagement with the physicality of the spectator. He argued that work like Robert Morris’s transformed the act of viewing into a type of spectacle, in which the artifice of the act observation and the viewer’s participation in the work were unveiled. Fried saw this displacement of the viewer’s experience from an aesthetic engagement within, to an event outside of the artwork as a failure of minimal art. Fried’s essay was immediately challenged by postminimalist and earth artist Robert Smithson in a letter to the editor in the October issue of Artforum. Smithson stated the following: “What Fried fears most is the consciousness of what he is doing–namely being himself theatrical.”

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

Included paintings are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/12/2013

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.

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.


The term ‘Art Deco’ has since been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the Interwar period (L’Entre Deux Guerres), and even to those of the Bauhaus in Germany. However Art Deco originated in France. It has been argued that the term should be applied to French works and those produced in countries directly influenced by France.

Art Deco gained currency as a broadly applied stylistic label in 1968 when historian Bevis Hillier published the first book on the subject: Art Deco of the 20s and 30s. Hillier noted that the term was already being used by art dealers and cites The Times (2 November 1966) and an essay on Les Arts Déco in Elle magazine (November 1967) as examples of prior usage.

Rhythm by Henryk Kuna in Skaryszewski Park, Warsaw, Poland, 1925

Rhythm by Henryk Kuna in Skaryszewski Park, Warsaw, Poland, 1925

In 1971 Hillier organized an exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts then published a book about it: The World of Art Deco.

Deco was heavily influenced by pre-modern art from around the world, and observable at the Musée du Louvre, Musée de l’Homme and the Musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie. During the 1920s affordable travel permitted in situ exposure to other cultures. There was also popular interest in archeology due to excavations at Pompeii, Troy, the tomb of Tutankhamun etc. Artists and designers integrated motifs from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Asia, Mesoamerica, and Oceania with Machine Age elements. Deco was also influenced by Cubism, Constructivism, Functionalism, Modernism, and Futurism.

Deco emphasizes geometric forms: spheres, polygons, rectangles, trapezoids, zigzags, chevrons, and sunburst motifs. Elements are often arranged in symmetrical patterns. Modern materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, Bakelite, chrome, and plastics are frequently used. Stained glass, inlays, and lacquer are also common. Colors tend to be vivid and high-contrast.

Federal Art Project poster promoting milk drinking in Cleveland, Ohio, 1940

Federal Art Project poster promoting milk drinking in Cleveland, Ohio, 1940

Art Deco was a globally popular style and affected many areas of design. It was used widely in consumer products such as automobiles, furniture, cookware, china, textiles, jewelry, clocks, and electronic items such as radios, telephones, jukeboxes. It also influenced architecture, interior design, industrial design, fashion, graphic arts, and cinema.

During the 1930s Art Deco was used extensively for public works projects, railway stations, ocean liners (including the Île de France, Queen Mary, Normandie), movie palaces, and amusement parks.

The austerities imposed by World War II caused Art Deco to decline in popularity: it was perceived by some as gaudy and inappropriately luxurious.

A resurgence of interest began during the 1960s. Deco continues to inspire designers and is often used in contemporary fashion, jewelry, and toiletries.

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 or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 16/02/2013

Introduction to Digital Scrapbooking

According to, 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

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”.

Foyer of the Bauhaus-University Weimar

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.

Bauhaus and German modernism

Germany’s defeat in World War I, the fall of the German monarchy and the abolition of censorship under the new, liberal Weimar Republic allowed an upsurge of radical experimentation in all the arts, previously suppressed by the old regime. Many Germans of left-wing views were influenced by the cultural experimentation that followed the Russian Revolution, such as constructivism. Such influences can be overstated: Gropius himself did not share these radical views, and said that Bauhaus was entirely apolitical.

Just as important was the influence of the 19th century English designer William Morris, who had argued that art should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function. Thus the Bauhaus style, also known as the International Style, was marked by the absence of ornamentation and by harmony between the function of an object or a building and its design.

However, the most important influence on Bauhaus was modernism, a cultural movement whose origins lay as far back as the 1880s, and which had already made its presence felt in Germany before the World War, despite the prevailing conservatism. The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus—the radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit—were already partly developed in Germany before the Bauhaus was founded.

The German national designers’ organization Deutscher Werkbund was formed in 1907 by Hermann Muthesius to harness the new potentials of mass production, with a mind towards preserving Germany’s economic competitiveness with England. In its first seven years, the Werkbund came to be regarded as the authoritative body on questions of design in Germany, and was copied in other countries. Many fundamental questions of craftsmanship versus mass production, the relationship of usefulness and beauty, the practical purpose of formal beauty in a commonplace object, and whether or not a single proper form could exist, were argued out among its 1,870 members (by 1914).
The entire movement of German architectural modernism was known as Neues Bauen.

Beginning in June 1907, Peter Behrens’ pioneering industrial design work for the German electrical company AEG successfully integrated art and mass production on a large scale. He designed consumer products, standardized parts, created clean-lined designs for the company’s graphics, developed a consistent corporate identity, built the modernist landmark AEG Turbine Factory, and made full use of newly developed materials such as poured concrete and exposed steel. Behrens was a founding member of the Werkbund, and both Walter Gropius and Adolf Meier worked for him in this period.

The Bauhaus was founded at a time when the German zeitgeist had turned from emotional Expressionism to the matter-of-fact New Objectivity. An entire group of working architects, including Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut and Hans Poelzig, turned away from fanciful experimentation, and turned toward rational, functional, sometimes standardized building. Beyond the Bauhaus, many other significant German-speaking architects in the 1920s responded to the same aesthetic issues and material possibilities as the school. They also responded to the promise of a “minimal dwelling” written into the new Weimar Constitution. Ernst May, Bruno Taut, and Martin Wagner, among others, built large housing blocks in Frankfurt and Berlin. The acceptance of modernist design into everyday life was the subject of publicity campaigns, well-attended public exhibitions like the Weissenhof Estate, films, and sometimes fierce public debate.

The Bauhaus had a major impact on art and architecture trends in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Israel in the decades following its demise, as many of the artists involved fled, or were exiled, by the Nazi regime. One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology. The machine was considered a positive element, and therefore industrial and product design were important components. Vorkurs (“initial” or “preliminary course”) was taught; this is the modern day “Basic Design” course that has become one of the key foundational courses offered in architectural and design schools across the globe.

There was no teaching of history in the school because everything was supposed to be designed and created according to first principles rather than by following precedent. One of the most important contributions of the Bauhaus is in the field of modern furniture design. The ubiquitous Cantilever chair and the Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer are two examples.

Bauhaus was not a formal group, but rather a school. Its three architect-directors (Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) are most closely associated with Bauhaus.

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 or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

You don't have to be Leonardo DaVinci to have fun drawing!

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!