May
12
2010

Why I Love the Renaissance by Heather Goldstein

 


One of my favorite painters of all time is Jan van Eyck because of his amazing attention to detail and impeccable technical ability. Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter known for his oil paintings on wood panel in which he used a glazing technique to create realistic, extremely well executed, precise, objective descriptions of what he saw. He was one of the best Northern Renaissance painters of the 15th century. My favorite painting of his is the Arnolfini Wedding. The couple represented has been traditionally identified as Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Giovanna Cenami.

Why is this one of my favorite paintings? Where do I start? One of my favorite things about Renaissance art, in general, is its symbolism. A painting may be worth a thousand words, but a Renaissance painting is a epic novel! So, for our art history lesson for the day....

Giovanni Arnolfini holds his wife's right hand in his left, which symbolizes a marriage between people of different classes. The side of the room he stands on is by the window, open to the world where men work, while Giovanna is close to the domestic interior where the "woman's role" takes place being a wife and mother. The room is ruffled with religious details such as the convex mirror that has been interpreted as the all seeing eye of God and the roundels decorating it with details from the Passion of Christ.

There are crystal prayer beads on the wall, Saint Margaret (protector of women in childbirth) is carved on the chair next to the bed, the single lit candle in the chandelier could reprent Christ's presence, and the fruit in the window alludes to both fertility and possibly the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Some more symbolism:
-Discarded shoes signify the sanctity of marriage/ holy ground
-Dog represents fidelity
-The woman is not pregnant, but rather painted as the current queen who was pregnant at the time
-Red is, of course, a loaded color. It represents love and passion, but also cruelty and blood. In this painting, the former is usually used as the interpretation.

This painting has numerous interpretations and objects to interpret. I love it because every time I look at it, I find something new! But I will end with the best part of the painting... the back wall! It is believed that this painting was used as some sort of legal document, possibly a pictorial power of attorney. There are two figures painted in the mirror. One is a man in a red turban, possibly Jan van Eyck, and another unknown male. They are the witnesses to the betrothal. The final clue is the very clever signature. Above the mirror it says, "Johannes de eyck fuit hic 1434." This translates to "Jan van Eyck was here 1434." At only 33"x22.5" this painting is absolutely incredible!
May
12
2010

Three Steps to being a Better Painter in Three Months by Mike Rooney

 


Here's a three step list of things that are guaranteed to make you a better painter.
Paint.
Paint.
Paint.
There's no substitute for painting. Reading about it won't do it, watching DVDs incessantly won't do it, and taking workshops one behind the other won't do it either.

If you would challenge yourself to paint at least five times a week, i know for a fact that you'd be so much better in three months that you'd be ashamed of what you've done up to this point in your art career.

How do i know this?

Personal experience.

It started when i read a book on painting by Kevin McPherson and he stated that to get really good, you needed to do 100 "starts," which are small paintings where you block-in the scene. Finishing is not important. It's getting the big shapes in, in the proper value and color note. They should only take about 45 minutes to complete.

The rub was that you had to do it in 90 days. thats one a day and two on some days. what i learned from this was that you could see the vast improvement for yourself from #1 to #50 and then from #50 to #100. It was awe inspiring. The fringe benefit was that i learned painting discipline and to not let errands, or personal issues, or lack of inspiration derail me. I was going to do it! some days i had to do four to catch up if i HAD to take a day or two off from painting for something important.

four years later i still love to paint at least one painting everyday! and all you have to do is look at my stuff from four years ago and you'll see that painting, painting, painting is the sure-fire way to get better in a short period of time.

So go do #1 today and don't stop 'til you hit 100 three months from now! You'll be glad you did!

Take the challenge and post your work on our Flickr Page

Mike Rooney Painting Every Day
May
12
2010

Creating A Classic Still Life by Wilson Bickford

 

Still life is one of my favorite subject matters. For me, it's the challenge of capturing the realism of the objects involved. Quite often, I will utilize the Old Masters' "indirect" approach of laying down a "grisaille" underpainting, then layering glazes and applying final highlights. There's no question that this is a very effective method which yields very convincing results.
However, there are times when I take a more "direct" approach, as in the sample shown herein.
This painting was rendered "alla prima" ( basically wet-on-wet ) on a Black Acrylic Gesso primed canvas. I used no preliminary sketch, but rather laid out the objects and composition with a flat brush as I went. I simply roughed in the shapes and defined and refined them as the work progressed.
I knew in advance that I would want to glaze certain areas to bring out richer hues, so I added an Alkyd medium ( Liquin ) to my paints, which literally dried my canvas over-night. The next day, I was able to add glazes and brighten highlights to bring it to the finished degree you see here.
I used Jerry’s own SOHO OILS for this work. If you haven't yet tried them, you should.
Remember that when rendering still life, it's very important to show a broad range of values; lights, mid-tones and darks. Notice how I emphasized some really dark passages, but balanced it with some very light accents (and all the tones in between).
Also, note that by suggesting "reflections" of the fruit and crock, a table surface was only implied and not actually spelled out to the viewer. It wasn't necessary because I was able to make the viewer "see" it and "sense" it, even though it's minimal in the interpretation. Ah,... the power of suggestion!
www.wilsonbickford.com

Great Deals

Spring Sale at Jerry's Artarama online: up to 85% off with online exclusive sales

Products To Consider

FREE Video Art Lessons

Learning Art The Easy and Simple Way with Jerry's Artarama FREE Video Art Lessons

 

Facebook Fans

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

TagCanvas