Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is Digital Photography Really Art?

It is a question I ask myself as I see more and more photographs being accepted in jury shows. Personally, I have no problem with a well-composed and beautifully rendered photograph. (Think Ansel Adams or Imogen Cunningham.) The question comes up for me in this digital age with the digitally-modified/manipulated photographs.

Is it art or are we just inured to the concept because of all the special effects in movies?

The reason I ask is because with the digital imaging programs such as PhotoShop and PaintShop, anyone can make amazing and interesting changes to an image. Is that art or just skillful manipulation of a software program? Is the adult/child/ape who manipulates the image is some interesting way deserve to be called an "artist?"

I suppose one could liken the software programs to a paint tube, brushes, and myriad other art-making tools. It's just that I wonder. Do digitally manipulated photographs deserve to be considered in the same way as say, a well executed oil painting? or perhaps a perfectly registered multicolor woodblock print? or a smoothly polished sculpture?

As for me, I am having a little trouble with it. I have one of those software programs and I love all the ways that it allows me to modify an image for a website or some other graphic. Personally, I don't consider that to be making art.

Do you think I'm just behind the times? Is this the new direction art is taking? What is your opinion?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

98 Year Old Creative Force in Art

It seems there are lots of emails poking fun at the way we age. Truly, I find them funny. Yet there is something stereotypical in assuming a loss of our "creative juices" as we age. The renowned French artist, Louise Bourgeois, who completes 98 years on Dec. 25th, is an example of continuing original creativity regardless of age.

As a younger woman, Ms. Bourgeois created monumental works in marble, glass, latex, rubber, and metal. Her best-known sculptures are her 30-foot high spiders in a series titled, "Maman." (They are tributes to her mother and the other women who worked in the family business of repairing and reweaving valuable tapestries.)

When she was 88 years old (1999), she accepted a commission as the first artist to create a monumentally-sized work for the Tate Modern. The commission was to fill Turbine Hall - a room which is 30-feet high and 500 feet long. The installation was titled, "I Do I Undo and I Redo."

Louise Bourgeois has also explored her ideas in printmaking, painting and performance. In 2007, the Tate Modern curated a survey of her works over a span of 70 years. The survey included some 200 pieces.

As of this writing, Ms. Bourgeois maintains a vital and busy life. She conducts Sunday salons for artists, has an exhibition of her textile prints in Stockholm,and is working on a commission for 2010 for the Maison de Balzac in Paris.

As one writer stated, "At 98, and still working, she is a fierce woman who is original, curious, intelligent, sensitive, generous, wildly imaginative, sexual and uncompromising."
Imagine yourself at age 98 - what would you like to have someone write about you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Random Approach...

For the most part, I've been working with pastel and acrylics. Recently, with the wonderful long hours of daylight, a large covered patio, and fresh breezes wafting through, my interest in painting with oils has been rekindled. (My indoor studio - also known as the garage - isn't ventilated well enough for paint thinners.)

The decision was to start small and see how it felt to work in oil again. The subject? As you have probably already figured out, I'm all about fruit and veggies these days. (Do you suppose it has something to do with summer? ) Design? My mind was on the randomness of a carton of small fruits.

The three paintings below are each 4" x 4" on 6" x 6" backing. They each are mounted on top of the backing to show the spilling of fruit around the edge of the canvas.
"Blueberries at Random"

"Cherries at Random"


"Gooseberries at Random"

This small format is new to me - and painting the edges on such a small canvas provided a new level of difficulty. Yet, art experimentation is so enjoyable to me. What are your favorite problem-solving issues? Repairs? Puzzles? Comments welcome.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Progressions: Produce (continued..).

Well, dear reader (and art lover), thank you for your encouragement and enthusiasm for the "Progressions" triptychs. I was and am so stoked by your participation.

Your suggestions for future "Progressions" have been transferred to my ideas sketch book. For sure, at least a few of your ideas will be in the next group I paint. (To see the previous triptych comments, click on "blog archive," "August," "Art in 3s - Triptychs" and scroll down.)

Your suggestions ranged from chocolate to steam, which got me thinking about subcategories. Thus the title for the fruits and veggies group is now re-named, "Progressions: Produce."

Speaking of produce, here are the next three that I've completed for the December Open House and Studio Sale... banana to bananas on cereal, pomegranate to cosmos, and avocado to guacamole.

Please let me hear from you for more progressions and subcategories. Your responses have made this a really fun and shared experience. Let's keep it going!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Arabian Nights (and Days) in Spain

On the occasion of a certain decade birthday, I wanted to do something special to mark it. I was visiting dear friends in Greece and thanks to an "open jaw" airline ticket, had decided to give myself the gift of Paris for a few days on my way home. A very dear French friend, who lives in Greece, made a list of things to see/do while I was in Paris.

The list included a night time bateau (boat) ride on the Seine and a trip to the Musée de l'Institut du Monde Arabe - the Museum of the Arab World. I did both.

In different ways, both were enchanting. After studying Western art in high school and college, the museum really opened my eyes to the very different and stylized beauty of Islamic art. (More on the traditional Arabian arts in a future blog.) Without a doubt, Arab writing style and art spoke to me.

Later, I took a university class in Islamic art and architecture as part of my art history education. (It's still hard to realize how a professor could be so boring on such an interesting subject.)

On my own, I learned more about the geometric and vegetal patterns that are the basis for most of the tile work. I tried my hand at it in a ceramics class and also used the patterns for a handmade book assignment in a color theory class. From all this, I concluded that the time of the Muslims in Spain (al Andulus) is one of my favorite eras. Yes, for the art to be sure, but also for the tolerance shown by the Muslim rulers to the Christians and Jews during that period.

Oh, and for that boring university class I wrote a paper on Madinat al Zahara, a once beautiful palace city outside of Cordoba, Spain. It now lies in ruins but continues to call to me. I dream of finding a way to visit the remains of a time when the Muslims ruled southern Spain. There must be a way to get to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Andalusia and Granada....

What place calls to you? Why? (Please post a comment just below. Others may enjoy reading it and you can always be anonymous - except write your first name in the comment box so I know it's you.)