What Do We Know About Art?

Published Date: February 14th, 2009
Category: Graphic Arts

By Anna Meenaghan

Whether you are a novice or an experienced artist, there is always something that can be learnt from the masters. Art itself is a very diverse subject and a matter of personal taste. So many different things can be classified as art.

As an example take art from the Orient. The Japanese and Chinese use brushes both for their lettering and painting. Often you find their work is just in black or white. Brushes from the east are usually made of hair and they go to a definite point, ideal for the fine work they go on to produce.

It is usual for the brushes to have handles of bamboo and I would imagine these go back to the paintings of Zen. They seem to sometimes paint with these long painted brushes with a very delicate stroke, sometimes in ink over a slight wash.

Trees etc. just seem so lifelike, as if they are really moving, flowing naturally as it were.
A good example is the patterns produced on the famous Willow Pattern plates. These same brushes are also used for Calligraphy and no doubt silk painting. Expressionism as we know it is not necessarily a true representational art form. Really I would go as far as to say, it is how you express your inner feelings on a given subject emotionally.

To the eye of a beginner particularly, I am sure this art form would appear to seem unbalanced and even distorted, with unusually created shapes. Take Van Gogh for instance. Impressionism is the Monet type of painting. Here you have very short dashes that bring together the painting when they are close together. Especially if you stand well back to look at them.

Probably this art style dates back to the 19th Century. The light plays an important part of the completed picture and this style works well with landscapes. Still Life painting often is often done with simple everyday life objects. A few examples to name are; a bowl of fruit, bread and cheese, a glass of wine and a carafe, or even a cauliflower or onions.

Simple items are not always easy to reproduce and you need a good backdrop for this type of work. I think that this dates back to about the 17th century and the famous Dutch Masters. How fantastic some of these artists from a bygone age were, and so forward thinking. The works of Toulouse-Lautrec and his wonderful pictures of the Parisian nightlife. The Can Can dancers etc. all brought to life. Generally he seemed fascinated with the theatricals of the ” Moulin Rouge”, the Montmartre and the Bohemian lifestyle.

Monet with his humorous caricatures, but also his beautiful luminous coloured trees, lakes, flowers etc., with lovely country scenes portrayed amongst others. So many wonderful artists, too many to mention, Constable, J.W.Turner, Renoir, and Picasso, and what a talent Salvador Dali.

His works appear to be from another world – so innovative- what a brain that man surely had, terrific insight and amazing incredible talent. If you are fortunate enough to have visited Barcelona his work abounds there, for everyone to appreciate.

Anna Meenaghan, the author of this article, is a contemporary artist and knows a thing or two about art. Being a contemporary painter she has been involved in the arts all her adult life. Her latest project is an online art community where I am an active participant myself. Comment by Michael Bruckner.

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