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Art Articles

TO SMUDGE OR NOT TO SMUDGE: That is the Question?

TO SMUDGE OR NOT TO SMUDGE: That is the Question?

Article by Ronnie Rayner Larter

Over the years, as an artist, I always smudged graphite to create smooth, graduated tonal blends. I used various materials for blending such as the cotton bud, piece of soft leather, piece of linen, tissue, paper stumps etc., each one creating a slightly different result. However, there is a problem when adding more blended graphite to achieve a darker tone; the drawing often looked lifeless and shiny, which spoilt the final study. I was at a loss about how to overcome the problem. I tried not to take the smudging of graphite too far; but without darks, the drawing appeared weak.

This left me with a dilemma. Do I continue smudging graphite or not? Or do I push myself to use another medium such as charcoal. Because graphite pencils have been my favourite drawing medium, I decided to continue smudging but persuaded myself to find a way to overcome the problem. I used most of the grades from 4H to 8B to obtain all the tonal values I needed, but the 4Bs to the 8Bs were the main problem; they were the pencils that created the glossy look…

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The Old Ways are the Best

The Old Ways are the Best

Article by Ronnie Rayner Larter

One might wonder today, what on earth has happened to art? Why have we been bombarded with weird images, strange ideas, non-realistic subjects, wild colour themes? It seems there are no rules in art.

Students are given absolute freedom. There are no restrictions on how or what they want to create and it’s all down to a handful of artists who broke away from the traditional rules of art…

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Art in the Renaissance

Art in the Renaissance

Article by Slater Smith

The Renaissance was one of the greatest periods in art history. Man lost the teachings of the Ancients during the Middles Ages, but was able to not only renew, but to improve upon them. We think of Raphael’s monumental frescoes, Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, and Michelangelo’s awe-inducing sculptures. They must have been gifted. They must have been talented from birth. They must have had divine motivation or inspiration to reach such heights. Or so we think. The artist was not much during the Renaissance. In fact, “artist” was a word nearly floating into obscurity. They were simple craftsmen trying to make a living, just like a normal man. Not as moving of a purpose as the modern world would expect…

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The Importance of Fine Art

The Importance of Fine Art

Article by Slater Smith

Very recently, I got into a discussion on which careers are beneficial to society and which are not. At some point, an individual said that art has absolutely no purpose to the world, giving no explanation as to why. I was immediately startled. How could anyone not know the value of fine art? After a day or two of thinking, I realized that very little painters, sculptors, and other craftsmen are ever referred to outside of an art history or appreciation course and how many students even take the time to participate in such classes? I does not make sense to study the French Revolution with without studying Jacques-Louis David, nor is it logical to speak of religion without the Sistine Chapel being mentioned. In this article, I would like to explain the various ways artists have shaped today’s world…

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Come to the dark side

Come to the dark side

Article by T. Stonefield

I think one of the hardest things for new painters to do with confidence is to execute their dark values with conviction and make them dark enough. Over and over, I have told my beginning students to make their darks darker. There always seems to be so much resistance.

“Really? Darker than this?!!” they ask perplexed…

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Life of Artemisia Gentileschi

Life of Artemisia Gentileschi

Article by Slater Smith

Throughout art history, there are very few accomplished female painters. This was caused by numerous factors, most relating women being too “delicate” for work. Despite societal standing, a small portion of determined souls were able to learn the art. One of the first and most successful female painters was Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the Great Masters from the Baroque period, famous for her depictions of Judith. Her works were skillfully rendered, full of a feminist’s spirit, and rival that of her male contemporaries.

Artemisia was born on July 8th, 1593, in Rome. She exhibited extraordinary artistic talent in her youth. Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was able to recognize this and decided to train her, as women were not allowed to attend art academies in the 17th century. Orazio was no stranger in the field of painting. He was a Caravaggisti, or a follower of Caravaggio. His works incorporated the chiaroscuro technique, creating incredible tonal contrast and drama within a scene. Artemisia became influenced by the same technique and, for some time, critics could not tell whether she or her father had made a particular piece. From further training and expanding her view on life in general, Artemisia began to develop her own sense of style. Her first known work is titled “Susanna and the Elders”…

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How I got my art back

How I got my art back

Article by T. Stonefield

It was 1998. My husband was gone. My mother had died of leukemia that June.and I was trying to get my live back together.

I had been back in the States for already two years. I had found work, a place to live, and even bought a used car. At first, I thought I wouldn’t need one and just use mass transit as I had done in Japan. However, by November, the temperature was hovering around freezing and I realized that there was no way I was going to be walking the 20 minutes and waiting for buses that were never on schedule or never even came. So I gave in…

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The Five Essentials of Basic Painting

The Five Essentials of Basic Painting

The things you need to know to make your paintings sing

Article from T. Stonefield

1. Focal point – What do you want your views to look at first?

The main goal of a artist is to direct the viewer’s eye through the painting and lead them toward what you think is important. Very much like a director for the stage, you use supporting actors and background to highlight the main character or focal point of your painting. Although there isn’t only one way to do this, there are tried and true strategies you can use to draw a viewer’s eye to a point of interest, as well as to create the illusion of objects, people, and places being set in space…

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The Misconceptions of Greek Sculpture

The Misconceptions of Greek Sculpture

Article by Slater Smith

When we think of Greek sculpture, we tend to have beautiful white statues made of marble run through our heads. The figures are realistic, full of movement, and idealized. The Venus de Milo, one of the most popular Greek sculptures, comes to mind. Limbs are missing, clothing falls in a dreamlike motion, all on the nude figure. What most people do not realize is that sculpture in Greece was not how we view it today and we are left with but only a faint shadow of the true experience…

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Neolithical art

Neolithical art

Article from Chris Crombé

From hunters/gatherers to farmers/shepherds

In the history of prehistoric times one makes distinction between the old and the new Stone Age. Both in the Paleolithic and the Neolithic age people made use of stone tools, hence Stone Age. The big difference between the two is that during the Paleolithic, people mostly were hunter-gatherers whereas in the Neolithic age agriculture arose. This evolution has everything to do with the climatic changes by the end of the great ice age. As a result of the more fertile land, it became possible to stay longer at the same place.

During the Old Stone Age, plants and crops were the business of women. It were probably women, who in the proximity of their settlement, took the first steps towards agriculture. And they just kept doing this in the new Stone Age…

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