Sunday, September 23, 2007
Fun! Fun! Fun! The TAG Art Club is making Artist Trading Cards this year! This is a hot new art craze that is spreading around the country and I can see why. The cards are the same size as sports trading cards we've collected as kids - 2 1/2 X 3 1/2" each. On the back, you can put your name, email, school, date, or whatever to "tag" it as your own work. Then, you create away! The sky is the limit - you can use any material or technique to make your card. They are tiny works of art, and though the space is small, the impact is large! Even if you think you "can't do art" - (and you know what I think about that!!!) - you can absolutely do this! Cut, paste, doodle, dribble, color, invent, PLAY, embellish, compose, express, paint, draw, stamp, sew, emboss, stick, did I say PLAY?!
Hey, if you want to be remembered, have yourself carved into a mountain! This "Memorial to the Confederacy" was carved into Stone Mountain in George by Gutzon Borglum in 1916. Now, that does not sound like an American name to me! Who was the artist and how did he come about getting this commission to carve this Memorial?
Portraiture is a wonderful genre in that it not only captures the people, but also their times. "The Westwood Children" is painted by Joshua Johnson in 1807. His style is primitive - it is obvious looking at the painting that he is self taught and working out the issues as he can. Though primitive, it still captures the children, though they seem stiff and doll like in the portrait. Perhaps during a long sitting, he can only capture a "non-emotional" expression OR perhaps they were bored out of their minds!
Soooo, continuing our discussion about European art tradition! The Seine is an oft painted river, but Henry Ossawa Tanner was not your regular artist! As an African American artist, he found more opportunities to paint (and be accepted) in Europe than back home. He was an important artist that flourished during the Harlem Renaissance (this piece was painted in 1902). The American art critics did not appreciate African American artist's painting in the style of Europeans, though. They felt they should paint in the style of their "native country" - Africa. Thank goodness the African American artists of the early 20th century had the pluck to blaze their own trail. If you study the Harlem Renaissance, you will find a plethora of artistic growth - jazz for one!
Early American art was not as valued or sophisticated as the art tradition from Europe. This did not stop aspiring artists to blaze a new trail in this new country! "The Lackawanna Valley" by George Inness in 1856 is an example of working in the respected genre of landscapes. Notice how nicely he captures the quality of light be it dawn or dusk. We may not have had a great art tradition when this country was founded, but we had vistas that compared with the greatest in the world!
This is an illustration by Alexander Davis from 1865. It documents the architectural home called Lyndhurst built for George Merritt in Tarrytown, NY. What a grand residence! Any architecture buffs out there? What kinds of architectural styles are used in this work?
George Caleb Bingham painted "Mississippi Boatman" in 1850. The Mississippi River was a major waterway (and still is!) for the country to move goods to different states. My husband tells a story about being a deck hand on a Mississippi tow boat during a summer while he attended college. It sounds like it might be an easy job, floating up and down the river, but many hazards lay in waiting. What sorts of stories does it look like this boatman has?
Ah, "out west"! It still has a romantic quality about it today. This is a photograph of Canon de Chelle by Timothy H. Sullivan done in 1873. Photography was still an early medium. As cumbersome as it was, people dragged their equipment and developing chemicals along with them to document this still unfolding nation. It was a great way for photographers to promote new American locations to people looking for adventure!
This is an Alkaline Glazed Stoneware Jar made by David Drake in 1862. Have you ever made anything out of ceramics? Do you know how they are fired in a kiln? See what you can find out about this piece. It may not be beautiful to our aesthetics today, but I guarantee that Mr. Drake felt great personal satisfaction after the successful completion of his project!
Sunday, September 02, 2007
This is "The Seine", by Henry Ossawa Tanner, painted in 1902. A beautiful scene - Tanner handles the paint in a fresh manner. Doesn't it remind you of the Impressionists' technique? Tanner's work is beautifully emotional and expressive. Check him out and see some of his other work. What do you think?