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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips for Draw and Paint Faster

1. Use a ground

There are many benefits to working on a ground. One of these is increased painting or drawing speed. A ground covers a painting or drawing surface from the outset. It can act as mid-tone, with only black and white used to apply dark and light areas (as in the examples below) or be left partially visible in the final work. This results in an artwork that is much faster to complete (see our article about painting on grounds for more information).

2. Incorporate mixed media /patterned surfaces / textural elements

As with using a ground, patterned, decorative or textural items can cover areas of an artwork quickly. Although this strategy should be used with care, selecting only materials which support or enhance your project (usually with reference to a relevant artist model) this can be a great way to speed up your project and introduce creative use of mixed media.

3. Work on several pieces at once

Working in series – completing several paintings or drawings at one time – is a very helpful strategy for Art students. This speeds work up for a number of reasons:

  • A single colour can be used throughout a number of works, without needing to stop for remixing / washing brushes
  • While one work is drying, another one can be worked on
  • Similar processes or techniques can be mastered quickly and repeated on subsequent works

In addition, when working on several pieces at once, ‘preciousness’ about the work tends to be lost, leading to more experimentation and greater work speed.

4. Use masking tape to create straight edges

Some students are concerned that it might be necessary to ‘prove’ that a straight line can be painted by hand. This is not the case. Your control of a paint brush can be ascertained immediately by looking at the remainder of your painting. Masking tape creates straight edges in seconds. Once mastered, this trick can save you hours – and make your paintings sharper, cleaner and more professional in the process. If you haven’t used masking tape before, buy some now!

5. Omit parts of a scene

Deliberately picking out certain parts of a scene to draw has a strong impact on the final work and must be used with care to ensure that the resulting image supports the ideas explored in your project. As with the previous option, this allows you to demonstrate strong observational drawing skills, while saving time by omitting part of the scene.

7. Include photographs

While there is a certain quantity of painting and drawing that must take place within a Painting or Fine Art portfolio, photography can provide an excellent mechanism for moving a project forward at a faster pace.

Arts Education Matters

 Though the arts receive relatively little attention from policymakers and school leaders, exposing young people to art and culture can have a big impact on their development. The problem is that almost no one is bothering to study and document the extent to which the arts and culture can affect students. Instead, policymakers, researchers, and schools are typically focused on what is regularly and easily measured: math and reading achievement. This leads defenders of the arts to attempt to connect the arts to improved math and reading scores—a claim for which there is almost no rigorous evidence. Other arts advocates believe that the benefits cannot and need not be measured.

But the important effects of art and cultural experiences on students can be rigorously measured. In fact, we recently conducted two studies that used random-assignment research designs to identify causal effects of exposure to the arts through museum and theater attendance. In the museum study, we held a lottery with nearly 11,000 students from 123 Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma schools, roughly half of whom were assigned to visit Crystal Bridges of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., while the other half served as the control group. In the live-theater study, we conducted a lottery to offer free tickets to roughly half of the 700 Arkansas students applying to see “Hamlet” or “A Christmas Carol” at a professional theater in Fayetteville.

By comparing outcomes for students who had these art experiences—by chance—with the outcomes of those who did not, we can identify with confidence what the arts do for young people. The approach we took, which is typical in medical research, creates treatment and control groups that are, on average, identical in their backgrounds and prior interests, with only chance determining the distinction between the two groups. Therefore, any subsequent differences we observed in the students were caused by touring an art museum or seeing live theater, not a result of pre-existing differences among them.

We were also careful to focus on outcomes that could plausibly be altered by the arts. We didn’t look at math- and reading-test scores because we have no reason to expect that arts experiences would have an impact on them. Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner, who are affiliated with the education research group Project Zero at Harvard University, have conducted systematic reviewsof the research literature and found little credible evidence that the benefits of the arts transfer to other academic subjects. We should no more expect the arts to boost math scores than expect math to enhance appreciation for the arts.

Instead, we looked at whether exposure to the arts affected students’ knowledge of the arts and altered their desire to consume the arts in the future. We also looked at whether art experiences had an effect on student values, such as tolerance and empathy. Finally, we looked at whether students’ ability to engage in critical thinking about the arts was affected by these experiences.

A taste for the landscape

 Within that boisterous artistic period that was the American 19th century, no tendency or movement is more interesting and suggestive than the Hudson River School. The painters of this school gave a radical turn to the developing of landscape painting, making the landscape no longer a mere foreground for a composition, and turning it into the authentic reason and protagonist of the picture. But there is more, much more of which to speak. In this small essay we are going to try to discover some less evident aspects of this sensational artistic period.

There is much to say about the artists who may have influenced this movement. Some of them are quite evident, such as the late Baroque landscape painters -Meindert Hobbema, Claude Lorrain- in works by Cole or Durand. More complex, but maybe even more important, is the influence of the greatest American writers of that time, like Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry David Thoreau, with his writings aimed to proclaim the American cultural independence to Europe. We will study this complex influence in later chapters. Also, it is necessary to mention pioneers of the American landscape Art, like George Catlin or Thomas Doughty.

About the influence that this movement had in the immediately later American Art -symbolism, luminism and American impressionism- there is a lot to say. It has been said quite often – and it is difficult not to fall in the temptation of saying it again- that the influence that the painters of the Hudson River School had on American impressionism is similar to what the Barbizon School had on French impressionism. This is not so simple, at least in my opinion. First of all, American impressionism is a much more “heterodox” movement – and generally less studied- than its French homonymous: whereas many American artists simply copied the intentions and techniques of his European contemporaries, some -such as Winslow Homer- even approached impressionism before Monet, Renoir and their colleagues. In addition, American landscape painting entails very complex political and even spiritual connotations that difference it from French painting. In any case, the influence of the Hudson River School in the works of Albert Pinkham Ryder, Ralph Blakelock or Winslow Homer is undeniable.

THE PROTAGONISTS

THOMAS COLE (1801-1858) is known as the founder of the Hudson River School. Born in Britain, his family emigrated to America when he was only 17 years old, so we can consider him a totally American painter. Cole discovered the beauty of the Hudson River in 1825, after emigrating to New York, and began to create his first outdoors sketches. Here he paints some of his more famous works, like “The falls of Kaaterskill”(Warner Collection). His love for the American landscape was so strong that, after travelling to Europe- he found the landscape of the Old Continent cold and desolated. At the end of his life he settled down in the Catskills, where he painted the series of “The Voyage of the life”.

ASHER BROWN DURAND (1796-1886), although older than Cole, introduced himself in the landscape painting after knowing the works of the previous master. More romantic and less faithful to the reality than Cole, his works are, nevertheless, more beautiful and poetic, with clear influences of masters like Meindert Hobbema or Claude Lorrain. He is the author of works such as “Kindred Spirits” or “The beeches”.

 

The Fake and Real From Leonardo da Vinci

1. INDISPUTABLE WORKS BY THE MASTER

“Portrait of a woman (Ginevra Benci)”
1474-76
Washington , National Gallery
Although that in late 19th and early 20th century some discordant voices were heard (5) now nobody doubt of the authorship of this little jewel, appropriately called “cossa belissima (very beautiful thing)” by Vasari. First masterwork by Leonardo

“Saint Jerome”
c.1480
Roma, Pinacoteca Vaticana
Nobody have ever doubted of this unfinished work

“The adoration of the magi”
1481-82
Florencia, Uffizi
As the above, unquestionable

“The Virgin of the rocks”
1483-86
Paris , Louvre
Unquestionable work by Leonardo, with abundant documentation

“The Virgin of the rocks”
1483-86
London , National Gallery
The attribution of Leonardo, unquestionable in the 19th and early 20 th century, was questioned in the late 20th century due to the stylistic differences with the Louvre version. Nevertheless, recent in-depth studies of the work (6) have proved the authorship of Leonardo. The work was probably unfortunately repainted, and it is even possible that the two wings of the triptych were painted by a pupil, but the central panel is free of any doubts.

“The last supper”
1495-97
Milano, Convento de Santa Maria
Logically unquestionable

“Saint Anne, the Virgin, the child and Saint John”
c.1498
London , National Gallery
Another unquestionable work

“Portrait of Isabella d’Este”
c.1500
Paris , Louvre
Unfinished and in a mediocre state of preservation, however free of any doubts, with the only exception of Goldscheider (1952), who affirms that only the head is by the master

“Portrait of a woman (Gioconda, the Monna Lisa)”
1503-05
Paris , Louvre
Obviously unquestionable

“Head of a girl (La Scapigliata)”
1508
Parma , Galeria Nacionale
Few discordant voices, among them Ricci and Suida (1929). However, the mastery of the drawing and the numerous historical documents make it an unquestionable work

“Saint Anne, the Virgin and child with the lamb”
c.1510
Paris , Louvre
A never questioned masterwork, although numerous copies are known.

“Saint John the Baptist”
1513-16
Paris , Louvre
A supreme masterwork, with an astonishing technical perfection, and never discussed in a serious way, although Müller-Walde and Berenson (who later changed his opinion) considered it a work by the workshop.

The total is a dozen of works, and we can add two special cases:

“The baptism of Christ”
c.1472-75
Florencia, Uffizi
Work by Verrocchio (Leonardo’s master) but it is firmly believed by most critics that one of the angels and the landscape behind it were painted by Leonardo