Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Simple Rules for Creating Great Art


1 - PLAN:

Most people think that creativity is something that you either have or don't have, and by expressing it through an artwork you are unleashing this inner genius/force inside you...but yet this is available only to a few special people. No, that is not true, everybody is potentially a great artist, but you need to nurture you creativity, work hard at it and practice in order to produce great art...even if it comes easier to you and you feel you have a talent for it.

Even those people we label as "geniuses" such as Leonardo Da Vinci for example, had to work hard at their art, plan, and constantly work at it. There are no other ways around it, no quick solutions. And yes, you can learn art, you can learn to draw as well as to paint.

Having said this, I am not denying that there may be people for whom this happens easier, and have good colour sensibility for example - they seem to instinctively know what goes together and what doesn't - and are prone to come up with ideas and processes to make great artworks. However, often, the reason why they find it easier, may be that these sensibilities were encouraged during their upbringing, for example, their parents where artists themselves, their teachers dedicated more time to such activities, they were influence by friends and so on...so obviously, such a person would find herself more at ease with creative and artistic subjects than someone who on the other hand had no exposure at all to such a field.

So, in order to produce great art, you need to be willing to work at it and then PLAN.

When I say plan, I am thinking mainly about composition and colour combination - although there may be other things you'll need to take into consideration.

Composition is how you arrange the space and elements in your painting. Ideally you want to create something that feels pleasing and harmonious to look at - although in some instances your intentions may be also different, perhaps, you want to shock or produce something that does not give a peaceful feel instead, and that's fine too.

When thinking about composition you need to consider the space on which you need to work, the individual elements in your pictures and how these relate to each other as well as to the whole piece - including the background.

If your intention is to give a sense of stability and harmony you may choose vertical and horizontals elements, if you instead want to depict movement, you may opt for curves and diagonal features. To get a balanced piece mix both.
 
Colour combination instead is how you arrange colour and different hues to achieve different outcomes. For strong contrasts and visual impact go for complementary pairs such as green and red, yellow and purple, or orange and blue.

For a more relaxing and peaceful feel go for colours that are near to each other on the colour wheel and that have a pastel-like feel.
 
 

2 - LEARN AND MOVE ON:

In order to reproduce objects, people and sceneries realistically, you need to learn to see what is there in front of you, not in your head or in your imagination. For example, when you want to copy a plate which is positioned on a table at a few meters distance, although in your head you know that the plate is a perfect circle, when viewed in perspective it will not look circular, but it will instead look elliptical, and that is what you have to copy: an ellipse exactly as see it in your perspectival field of vision, not what your reason tells you should see.

But once you have mastered your drawing skills, as well as  learned from other people’s work, move on! It is normal to begin by looking at what other artists have done in the past as well as the present, I recommend this, no one works in isolation, we are all relational beings and need constantly each other’s feedback and input. That is how we learn. However, you should also honor your individuality and once you have gained the necessary tools, use them to express your ideas in a unique way.

3 - EXPERIMENT AND RISK:

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, experiment with different mediums, supports, tools: EXPERIMENT,EXPERIMENT,EXPERIMENT! Even if what comes out looks obnoxious keep experimenting…it is real fun and sooner than later you’ll find that thing, colour, technique or style that speak to you and makes your art yours. If you don’t RISK you will never come up with something "original". Mix mediums, try different colour combinations, even if the books tell you it cannot be done. The best way to learn something is to try it out and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, oh well, at least you have giving it a go, if it does, great! You have just learned something new!
 
A good artist, in fact, is not just someone that can copy and follow all the rules, instead, she is someone who knows the processes but is not afraid of using her own instinct/judgment and imagination to experiment, and create something that is unique and socially meaningful.
 
 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Inspirational


Found this quote on an artist's Facebook page ( If you would like to check her art, this is the link: https://www.facebook.com/ArtByCedarFans) and enjoyed reading it, so I though of sharing it as well:
 
'Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself wit
h others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy'.

Max Ehrmann c.1920
 
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Separation

The other day a friend rented for me A Separation, the Iranian movie that recently won an Oscar for best foreign film and suggested that I watched it. So after my classes the other night, at about 10 pm, while my husband was away for work, I  took the opportunity to seat, relax and see what was this movie all about and form my own opinion of it.

It was an enjoyable watch and it kept me fully engaged and thinking for the whole duration, it touched upon many issues revolving around Iranian society including gender, class and religion.

But, although it was an interesting watch, and it was nice for a change to see a movie that allows for multiple interpretations and points of view without dictating a priori what is good or bad, right or wrong, I have to admit that it left me with mixed feelings – which I also embrace and appreciate too.

The movie tries, in my opinion, to provide a view of class - in particular - as well as gender, without making the one category better or worst, so the middle class’ point of view, for example, is as good and “truthful” as the working class/poor’s point of view. Yet to me, the movie still portrays a view of class which is stereotypical and fixed, and still privileges the upper/middle class over the working/under class.

So, for example, middle classness in this movie is portrayed with stereotypes such as education, reasonable amount of wealth, savings in the bank, a decent place for leaving, and even a "charming personality". On the other hand, working/under classness is associated with having to take public transport, doing lower paying jobs as well as less “dignified work” such as cleaning, and being religious.

And it is Termeh, the educated daughter, that in the last scene of the movie has to make the choice between her two parents, which is perhaps an allusion to the fact that there is hope for Iran if the bright, intelligent youth can make future choices and take over the country, yet this is a privilege which is only given to upper/middle class part of society, the working class/poor’s voice is still not worth listening to and suppressed - not to mention that the latter do not even get to choose weather to leave their country for better opportunities abroad.

The movie also deals with issue of gender and feminism - although I must admit that I do not really understand these in the context of Iran, inequalities between genders are also still perpetuated in western societies - although in a much less blunt and direct way. Feminism thus, in my opinion, is still as much relevant today as it was forty years ago, both in the east as well as in the west - even though apparently women now seem to “have it all”; but what does having it all means anyway? Obviously it means different things to different people, for me, having it all means being able to choose, making choices based on subjective preferences. But until the opportunity to choose is available to all women in society, not just the rich/ upper/ middle classes, feminism is still an important matter.

And what does it mean to be a feminist, to be an emancipated liberated woman? It seems to me that the general understanding is that in order to be a feminist today and assert your arrival in such category you need to have specific discriminatory qualities such education, a high paying job, working in business, being on the board of a company directors, professionally successful, powerful, assertive, strong – basically a woman needs to posses “manly” qualities – not that these are, but the structure of society more often associate these with masculinity rather than femininity, because of the way we are socialised into the world, so boys and girls, through education, are taught to act and perform their genders.

What I am trying to say, is not that having these qualities is not good for women, but we have to allow for all types of women, even those that prefer to associate themselves with more traditional feminine characteristics, such as those who perhaps enjoy being mothers – I think today, in our capitalist society, being a mother has become a dirty world more so than feminism, “what, you are just a mother? You have no other aim in life than reproduce and have children”?

Who says motherhood is not as equally engaging or dignified as being a professional working in the world. The only difference is that the latter gets paid for her job whereas the former doesn’t. So the government should perhaps introduce wages for mothers, as without mothers there would no society, workers, nor professionals to begin with. Another common view is “well if you really want to be a mother, then you have to do it all, juggle motherhood as well a successful career.

The problem however is not in women choosing to be mothers, as this entails as much hard work as any other professions. The problem is the fact that society does not recognise it – which is another tactic for perpetuating discrimination, as when a  woman chooses to work in her home and for her family, her place in society is lessened: often not financially independent she has to rely either on her husband or on government benefits.

Thus, just because we have achieved some levels of equality for certain social groups, this does not mean that there is no more work left to do. Until all women can gain from the achievements of feminism, I think the latter is still an important matter and should be used to benefit the whole of society not just a few. But on the other hand, this term should not be used to create further discrimination against women that perhaps don’t fit into the stereotypical “feminist” category. Regarding class, yes these differences do exists, but differences are not bad in themselves, yet they are not absolute. However, in my opinion, consciously or unconsciously, most people still prefer to take sides, and although I admire Mr Farhadi for trying to portray an impartial image of the different facets of his society and country, I feel he was ultimately unable to extricate himself from his own personal assumptions and prejudices related to his own specific position, gender and class.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More quotes I like...




"The painter takes his body with him…



Indeed we cannot imagine


how a mind could paint”


- Paul Valery -




"The self is relatedness...


The self only exists inasmuch as you appear.



Not that you are, but that you do the self.



The self appears in your deeds

and deeds always mean relationship".


- Carl Jung -