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White and Black

This time, instead of a black and white, I thought I would give white and black a try…I know, it’s the same thing, kind of. 🙂

Martini - 17 x 11.5 Charcoal on black paper
Martini – 17 x 11.5 Charcoal on black paper

12×18

White Charcoal On Black Paper

  • Simple, Fun, and Therapeutic 

             “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

              Thomas Merton

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The Cooler Side

Banff, Alberta, Canada

…one of my favorite places to visit for many reasons:  beautiful breathtaking scenery for myself and my husband, quaint little gift shops for my girls, and an awesome candy store for my son.

12 x 18 Charcoal Sketch on blue-tinted paper

I am always amazed at the beauty that surrounds us, whether prairie or mountain, sky or earth, old or new – all you have to do is stop and look (or maybe I should say see). 🙂 Inspired after a trip to Banff I decided it was time to try sketch a landscape.   I have to say that it was an experiment and I never intended to finish it.  I wanted to know what effect black and white charcoal would have on blue-tinted paper. When I started the sketch I struggled with the cold feeling.  I really wanted to add brown tones to warm up the sketch, but refrained and I’m glad I did.  I enjoy the cool feel it created.  It fits with our week in Alberta – cold and snow! 🙂

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Paper Probe

Is there a right or wrong paper to use for a graphite or charcoal sketch?  Lately I have come across charcoal art pieces done on a variety of surfaces (newspaper, paper bag, MDF, canvas…)  Each has a unique look and I am sure, and new set of challenges. Time for me to try!  Thought I would start small – see where it goes.

Niska

12×18 Charcoal Sketch

I did this sketch on textured, colored paper.  The challenge was the deep tooth of the paper.

I had to include this quote this week.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ”
Pablo Picasso

There was a lot of “dust” this week – the sketch was a great escape!

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Art in Dresden, Germany

Baroque architecture, frescos, sculptures, old master paintings, and breathtaking scenery make Dresden a fascinating city to visit.  Everywhere you look, or turn, there is art.  In some ways it is almost overwhelming and difficult to take it all in.   I don’t know what it is, but there is something to the Renaissance (and Baroque) periods of art that “draw” me in…hmmm, I’ll have to think about that.

I have many favorites when it comes to Dresden, too many to blog about. 🙂 The top two for me would be the Procession of Dukes, and the Old Masters Museum.

Procession of Dukes

This amazing wall mosaic is 102 meters long and has 25,000 porcelain tiles – making it the largest porcelain mosaic in the world. There are 93 figures in the mural including 35 rulers from the house of Wettin.  The original mural created by Wilhelm Walther used sgraffito technique, but because of weathering damage it was then transferred to Meissen porcelain tiles.

Alte Meister Gallery (Old Masters)

Located in the Zwinger Palace is the Old Masters Gallery.  I could spend days, possibly weeks/months, in this gallery.  Loaded with art from Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Delft and two of my favorites Titian and Raphael, can you blame me? 🙂

Raphael’s Sistine Madonna

This masterful oil painting is a lot of fun to study.  In the middle, of course, Madonna holding the Christ Child.  On either side of Madonna are two saints, Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara.   Painted in the clouds are dozens of cherubs.  I have to admit it took me a while to notice them.  Have a closer look – Cloud Cherubs.  The winged cherubs at the bottom of the painting are probably the most recognizable.  Take a close look at the expression on Mary’s face – I wonder what she was thinking? …and the feel of the clouds…   🙂

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Canadian Rockies and Art

Yesterday I had the privilege of observing and talking with a local Canadian Artist in her home town of Banff, Alberta.   Canadian born, Christine Ford has spent most of her life in the breath-taking Canadian Rockies.  Passion for her home, the beautiful Rockies; and painting, is very clear when talking with Christine.  Her passion also comes through in her paintings.  This very personable young artist was more than happy to talk about her beginnings, art techniques, struggles in art, and much more.

There is a recurring theme when I talk with artists or read art related articles (beside practice 😉 ) and that is to find ways to surround yourself with art (and artists).  This will keep you drawing, painting, and creating.  Unless art is your livelihood, where you must paint to pay the bills, it needs nurturing daily to grow.  It gives you a reason and purpose to do art.  What does this look like?  I think for me it means taking a course, setting some goals, entering competitions, being active in an art society, and  even doing some commission work.

If you haven’t visited the Canadian Rockies, plan a trip – it will be well worth it.  I have been to the majestic Canadian mountains many times, and each time I go,  it is like I am seeing them again for the very first time.

Photographs taken by Martin Eisbrenner.  Check out his website…some really cool photos!!!

If you want to learn more about Christine Ford check out her website at www.christineford.ca

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Stippling: Working With Pen-and-Ink

Pointillism is a form of painting using many tiny dots of primary colors to create secondary colors.  This form of painting is very long and laborious and not a very common form used by many artists, however it does create beautiful optical results.  Even though the sleeping dog above is not “painted” using color, it is still created using many tiny dots (points) using pen and ink.  This technique is known as stippling, using dots to create a variety of less and more dense areas.  This technique creates the optical feel of depth where the dots are more concentrated.

Sleeping

In my snow leopard piece titled,Watching I also used stippling to create depth and form.

This technique was developed in late 1880 by George Seurat, a French  painter. http://www.georgesseurat.org/

Also check out Artsy which features 16 artworks by George Seurat, exclusive articles, related artists, and exhibit listings of Seurat works

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Students Connecting – Art and History

I have always considered the arts a valuable tool in creating life long learning for both my children and myself.  Yesterday I read an article (“Object Lesson”) by Marice Rose that explains a way of engaging students in art, history, culture, and society.  It shows how to help students define art.  Understanding the meaning and value of art helps students (we are all students after all – life long learners :)) develop a human connection to it.

And much more…it’s a good read.

http://www.arteducators.org/research/AE_July2012_Rose.pdf

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Pergamon Art

What better way to start an art blog than with a photograph (top of page) of a Roman stone tile from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.  I had the privilege of visiting Berlin in 2009 with my family, and all I could say was, “wow!”  The culture, the life, the history, and the vast variety in art woke something in me that will not go away.  The more I explore the world of art, the more I need to know.  Who knows where this exploration will go but let the journey begin.