Monday, November 30, 2009
Van Gogh’s letters on line
The newest edition of the letters of Vincent van Gogh—all 902 of them!—can now be found online, at a site that offers an amazing depth of information about the artist, his times, his influences, and his inspirations. The letters are provided in the original language, with translations and annotations, and shown in facsimile. Background information and access to visuals appear at the click of a mouse. The letters are organized by period, correspondents, place, and those having sketches. Explanatory material investigates Van Gogh as a letter writer, his correspondents, biographical and historical context, and publication history.
What a marvelous opportunity to get to know this great artist—up close, and in his own words!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Art Of Discipline
Being an artist can often seem like a road paved with obstacles, as work, family obligations and other distractions often take priority over one’s art practice. Over and over, however, successful people have sung the praises of discipline. Theodore Roosevelt said “With self-discipline most anything is possible,” and George Eliot ruminated that “Genius is the capacity for receiving and improving by discipline.” Discipline is simply practice, the act of repetitively bringing oneself to a task over the course of weeks, months, years, decades. Practicing art can feel much like going to the gym; it feels great when you’re there, but you just can’t get there. The truth is if you are out of practice it takes a lot of mental energy to get started, but once you get going you’ll find it’s a lot easier to keep it up. After a while you’ll even stop trying to fit your practice into your day, but rather schedule your day around your practice. Commit to starting a practice with your art making, and enjoy the results.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
New museum for an ancient city
An exciting new museum is opening in Rome, a city not known for fostering or embracing modern architecture. Designed by Zaha Hadid, a prolific Iraqui architect, Maxxi breaks ground in more ways than one. It’s the first major new museum to be built in Rome in many years, and there’s no doubt it will liven up the architectural scene and bring smiles to the faces of those who like their monuments to be a mix of old and new. As a showplace for contemporary art, Maxxi will add a new dimension to the cultural life in Rome.
The museum is now open to the public, though empty of art until the spring. Those who have visited are wondering whether the impact of the building itself will overshadow the art to be displayed there. Only time will tell—and in Rome, time has a way of stretching out to encompass eons. Click here for a slide show of views of Maxxi.
Friday, November 13, 2009
More prize-winning artwork from our Japanese students
Here is the painting that won the top prize in the Painting category in this year’s Kodansha Famous Schools Art Contest. Created by Eri Sakaue, it’s titled What do I really want to draw? Good question! An excellent work of trompe-l’oeil painting.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Reiko Kumagai’s winning painting
Here’s the painting that Reiko submitted to this year’s Kodansha Famous Schools Art Contest in Japan… which won her a trip to the United States!
It’s called “The portrait of Ms. Ophelia” and is sweet and whimsical. Notice all the small details. Reiko is very interested in visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum when she comes, as well as the major museums in New York and Boston.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Familiar paintings made new
It’s well known that familiar music has the power to transport us back in time, into memories, fantasies, experiences from the near or distant past. It’s also true that familiar music may seem new again, depending on the interpretation, the performers, the orchestration. Maybe the same thing is true of familiar art. All of us may feel that some of Monet’s paintings are like old friends. We’ve seen them often in reproduction, and perhaps once or twice we’ve seen the actual works in museums. Have they, then, lost the power to surprise us, to have a refreshed and startling effect on our senses?
A new exhibition at MoMA , New York’s Museum of Modern Art, does help us see Monet’s revered Water Lilies with fresh eyes. Shown in conjunction with some small paintings which are closeups of flowers and the famous bright Japanese bridge, the huge triptych of watery blues, greens and mauves lets our eyes hover and zoom over its surfaces like a dragonfly. We can see anew how Monet, even in these late paintings, remained engrossed in the challenge of looking and painting, painting and looking. For the viewer, the pleasure in the looking is both familiar and new.
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