Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn in all its Glory

Claude Monet, Autumn at Argenteuil, 1873, oil on canvas, 21.5 inches x 23.9 inches.

Fall or autumn is simply my favorite season of the year. I love the fresh crisp air, the smell of cinnamon, the gorgeous colors of the leaves as they change, and of course the taste of delicious fresh apples, be it pie, cider, or just a good apple in the hand. As a tribute to this wonderful season, today's work is Autumn at Argenteuil by Claude Monet. As many of you probably already know, Monet was an Impressionist, perhaps THE Impressionist, as he is credited with founding the movement, and one of the only Impressionists who stuck to that style for most of his life.

Autumn at Argenteuil has buildings in the distance, water ( it is the Seine), and prominently features autumn foliage. He delicately captured the feel of the season and provided the viewer with an homage to texture. The surface of this painting has been worked and reworked many times to weave together both the textures and colors of the season, as the objects in the work dissolve into colorful light. Here we have a prime example of the Impressionist palette that covers the full rainbow of colors.

The interesting vantage point of this painting was created by Monet in his "floating studio." Monet had a small boat outfitted with a hut to house his painting materials, and if need be to sleep in, with just enough room for a tiny desk upon which he set his easel. I find it interesting to take a moment and picture Monet floating around the Seine on his buoyant studio, trying diligently to capture a perfect autumnal moment.

This little "floating studio" allowed Monet to capture a variety of viewpoints in his paintings, many more options than he could from just the shore. That is what allowed him to do full justice to this breathtaking scene of the Seine in full autumn glory. In this work we can see the foreground, a long perspective of water, and the delicate play of light as it gleams on the surface of the river with colorful reflections abounding.

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

War is Hell (*Graphic Images*)

Title: The Harvest of Death, Gettysburg Pennsylvania, July 1863. Artist: Timothy O'Sullivan.

Photo: Julie Jacobson. From the article "The Death of One Marine in Afghanistan." Photo is from Aug. 2009 article is from Sept. 2009.

Yesterday while commuting to and from work I was listening to NPR, as is my usual practice. I find it very stress relieving while driving in crazy traffic that is sprinkled by a lack of turn signals and a pinch of construction. All the talk for the majority of the day seemed focused on a rather controversial photo taken by the AP (Associated Press), a news organization that has been reporting for one-hundred and sixty-three years. This story really made me think, where do we draw the line?

In the art history and art appreciation texts I have read and that I teach from there are lots of examples of gruesome and controversial art. There are a plethora of examples where artists respond to the tragedies of war as well, but, nobody seems all in a tussle about these images anymore. Is it time that takes away the sting? I personally find the images of the dead soldiers from the Civil War just as disturbing as the ones from the war in Afghanistan, but yet one is so much more controversial than the other. They both fall into the category of documentary photography, they are both dead young men, and they both stirred discussion in their times. So, where is it exactly that we draw the line between acceptable documentary photography that captures war and something that is just too much? I don't think anybody has the right answer or if there even could be an answer that is considered "correct" but, I think it is important that we think about where the lines are drawn in situations like these to open a discourse about art, the events in our lives, and the recording of history as it is being made.

Links to the article, photograph, and discussion of the controversy can be found here:

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Blog Awards

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One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
given on 07/24/2009 by Nanny Dee (