Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Calder: The Artist Who Made Art Fun

As you may already know, the art world takes itself very seriously - not so for Alexander Calder (1898-1976). Calder believed in creativity through playfulness. You have only to look at the YouTube video made in 1955 when he was 57 years of age. He is squatting on the floor playing with a miniature circus with figures he made from wire.

If his names sounds familiar it may be because he is the inventor of the mobile. This invention sprung from being born into a family of famous artists combined with his schooling in mechanics and engineering.

As with other modern artist of the time such as Modrian, he was more drawn to shapes and colors over identifiable objects. His inventive mind led him to create sculptures that would be surprising and playful. When the artist Marcel Duchamp saw the results, he referred to them as "mobiles."

Beyond the Calder's mobiles that made him famous, he would create thousands of items during his lifetime - from large metal sculptures to jewelry. As you look at these images, I bet you can recall seeing at least one object created by Calder and inspired by his sense of playfulness.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Blob... er... Blog


If you look over to the right you'll see a form to sign up for receiving emails from me.

I know you might not like to do it, but without your permission the emails that I send via "r-atencio" may go into a "spam" folder that your ISP (server) keeps.

What that means is that everytime I send an email - even a personal one - you'll never receive it because it reads r-atencio on the from line and it is considered a spam.

There's not much to it. You simply provide your name and email address. You'll receive a email notice to confirm your permission and we are back communicating.


On a more artful note, many thanks to those of you who have gone to see the exhibit of the 6 pastel artists at the Jacqua Gallery. This is our first joint showing and it went very well.

We'll be taking the show down this coming Sunday so you still have a few days to take in our premiere.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monsieur Monet

Most of us know of Claude Monet (1840-1926), the artist most associated with "Impressionism." Did you know that the term for the art and artists of this era was taken from one of his paintings?

Monet painted a sunrise and titled it, "Impressions, Sunrise." It was exhibited with other artists' works who were considered radical. (In this case, radical meant outside of the rules of painting as described by the Art Academy.) An art critic reviewing the show, used the word "impressions" as a disparaging comment. These so-called radical artists relished the new movement as being considered impressionistic and so Monet's painting of color and light gave name to the this period.

Monet's interest in impressionism never wavered. Since one of the major aspects of impressionism is the effects of light on subjects, Monet would often paint the same subject repeatedly in order to capture the ways that light changed the view of the subject. He made many paintings of a haystack, poplars, and the cathedral at Rouen. The repeated subject for which he is most famous were the gardens of his home in Giverny.

Below are some of his repeated subjects of the cathedral and the Japanese bridge in his garden as he painted them during different times of day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fire in the Painter's Palette...

In previous blogs, we've discussed associations that we make for the colors purple and gold. I thought it'd be interesting to discover what the color red conjures up.

First thing I did was look up the emotional meanings of red. There it was - a romance novel in the making - lust, passion, courage, bravery and love. Red seems to signify intense emotions and is also the hottest color in the palette. So. then the question became: how have artists used the colors to generate the sensations and emotions of red?

Generally, it seems that artists have enhanced the warmth of red by using the coolness of blue or green. Some examples: (please click on image to enlarge)

Georgia O'Keefe's "Red Canna" is shown here on the left. The artist used red and other warm colors such as orange and yellow. Yet there is the slight cooling use of purple with its combination of blue and red. If you didn't know it was a flower, does this image bring up any sensations or emotions?

Henri Matisse was considered a master colorist. He used red and blue for the interior of the room and green to designate the exterior space. The piece is titled, "The Dessert Harmony in Red." What sensations does this image conjure in your mind as you see hot red against cool green?

Lastly, here is a piece by Mark Rothko titled, "Red and Blue over Red." In this case, the artist wanted the viewer to experience solely the color without subject or object in order to feel the sensations that the color evoked. What do you experience as you look at the painting? (enlarging encouraged)

Beyond these images, what do you think of when you close your eyes and envision red?