Throughout the summer I will try to post artists' blog and resources that I hope will be interesting, inspiring, and useful to you. Here are two:
The first feature this week is from the artist James Gurney. You may know him from his work "Dinotopia."
He has a terrific blog called "Gurney Journey."
Be sure to check it out!
The next link I have for you is a wonderful on line art history resource. Be sure to check this out...it is an entirely new and visually exciting way of presenting art history:
This week I started reading a biography on the Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi, pictured here. Gaudi has long been one of my favorite architects. His most famous work is the cathedral, which is still under construction, in Barcelona. Here is a link to a short video about Gaudi and his cathedral:
Interestingly, the author points out that, in his opinion, much of Gaudi's style was shaped from the landscape, color, and built environment of his home Reus located in Catalonia, Spain. This is a rocky, sun drenched landscape where mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea.
On a recent trip the the Walter's Art Gallery in Baltimore (a place you should try to visit this summer if possible)
I learned that the small city of Reus has been the birth place of many accomplished Spanish painters that were contemporaries of Gaudi, particularly Mariano Fortuny and his student Tapiro Baro. Here is one of Fortuny's paintings in the Walter's collection, called "The Hindu Snake Charmers."
You might notice that these painters focused on color, costume, and pattern. This is characteristic of the movement known as Orientalism. Liking what I saw, I began to do some research on line to see more of Fortuny's and Baro's work and came across this amazing exhibit that was at the Prado, which is the major art museum in Madrid, about 5 years ago. Thankfully, the wonderful museum staff has digitized the entire exhibit and you and I can still enjoy it without the aid of time travel or buying a plane ticket! Here is the link:
Prepare to be amazed! These artist take the medium of watercolor to an entirely new level!
Here is one sample of what you will see. This is a painting by Tapiro Baro. Baro lived with his family in North Africa for a few years. While there he enjoyed painting the local merchants, beggars, and traders. I hope you find these works with the rich detail, color, and pattern as inspiring as I do!
Week One: Your Summer Sketchbook
Let's go shopping! Actually, you may already have a sketchbook. But, if not look for one that you like and feel excited about drawing in. I recommend that you have a hard cover book, that way you can have the cover surface as a support and draw anywhere anytime! I also recommend having a sketchbook with mixed media paper some you can experiment with media. But, ultimately, it is your sketchbook, there are no rights or wrongs, so chose what you like and can afford.
Sketchbooks are personal journeys so feel free to draw, paint, write, and even scrapbook inspirational references into your sketchbook. There are no rules except Never tear out pages, you do not want to deny yourself the wonder of your artistic journey and seeing your own growth and progress. Also, you never know when you may revisit themes and ideas!
What to draw? Well, the answer is both easy and hard...draw anything, even if you think you cannot, try, practice makes perfect. I recommend that you explore some on line sketchbook resources like the following:
The 19th century artists of the Impressionist movement would draw and paint everyday life around them. The works of Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh may look exotic to us, but I assure you they were every day to them because that was life in 19th century France. It is important to note that Van Gogh wrote many times to his brother Theo that as he was painting in the beautiful Arles region of the south of France he liked to imagine himself in Japan! Imagine that!
Here are some of my latest works from my sketchbooks. Currently, I am keeping two sketchbooks because I have one for field sketching and the other for references and ideas. That is because I am doing a great deal of biking around where I live and trying to improve my landscape painting skills. That is a personal goal for me this summer...do you have something you would like to focus on? If yes, terrific! Share what it is. If not, that is fine, just draw what inspires you and think about what does inspire you. Remember drawing is both an expressive and reflective process.
One note of caution! Do not compare yourself to me or any other artist just look and learn. That is the great aspect of art, every person's journey is original and your own...practice only makes you better at being you...so keeping being the best you can be and look, think, and draw!
Summer Sketchbook: Week Two
For this week, think about creating two images of the same subject in two different mediums as seen here. Think about what each medium can help you, as the artist, emphasize about the subject. Then ask yourself the next time you go sketching, what element of art (color, line, shape, texture, value, space, form) is most prominent and which medium will help me highlight that. This way you will being to intelligently discern which medium to use when and for what subject.
Week Two: Documenting Your Inspiration