Saturday, June 16, 2012
Change is a part of artistic nature. Artists are experimenters and innovators. We do so many different things, it can sometimes be difficult for collectors to keep up.
Artists are a controversial bunch. We honestly don’t have the sense to stick with only one thing at a time. Just when we get comfortable working with one batch of materials, we discover some other materials that are new and inviting, and we just have to find out what we can do with them. Picasso once said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.” He was right. Just when people start to recognize us by what we do, we have already started doing something else altogether.
If you are familiar with my big earth tone abstract paintings, you are probably going to get accustomed to my new small blue works. But don’t get too comfortable with them because there could be big, bright red paintings waiting for you just over the horizon. If you like my flowers, you will probably like my landscapes. If you like my acrylics, you will probably like my watercolors. If you like my watercolors, you should take a look at my new collages.
Change is a part of artistic nature. Artists are experimenters and innovators. We do so many different things, it can sometimes be difficult for collectors to keep up. This is nothing new. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci worked in oils, tempera, gesso, charcoal, ink and pencil. He also sculpted in metal and carved in stone. When he wasn’t doing that, he was writing music and designing buildings, fortifications, water systems, weapons, and airplane models. In his spare time, he was an inventor, geologist, mapmaker, botanist, and poet.
So, let’s look at different kinds of art and artists’ mediums:
Sculpture is made from every possible three-dimensional material. It can be as solid as stone or as fragile as paper. It is either additive or reductive. That means it is either made by combining things like different parts of clay to form a shape or by reducing something like a solid block of wood or stone into something else altogether. Stone sculpture dates back before the beginning of history. Cast-stone sculpture is created by molding an image from stone in a resin base. The ceramic sculptor forms the image out of clay and then fires it in a kiln. Creating an image in clay or plaster and then having it cast in a metal such as bronze can make metal sculpture. Metal sculpture can also be made by combining and shaping metal then welding it together. Wood sculpture is made by carving and whittling wood. Glass sculpture can be made by blowing glass or assembling cut glass or by fusing molten glass. Various kinds of paper sculpture can be made by shaping or forming paper.
Oil paintings are probably the most popular and the easiest to recognize works of art. The paints are made from natural and artificial pigments in a stabilized oil base. While the artist is working, the paints are thinned with oil, damar or copal varnish, and turpentine or mineral spirits. Oils are painted on stretched canvas or on specially prepared masonite or wooden panels. They are framed without glass, and if they are painted on some kinds of stretched canvas, they can be left unframed altogether.
Watercolor paintings are made with water soluble paint on heavy paper. They often have delicate shadings and transparent washes. They should have a clear, fresh, spontaneous look. Watercolor artists will often tell you it isn’t EASY to make watercolors look that EASY. Since the paint and the paper are both fragile, watercolors need to be protected by being framed under glass. Clear glass is best. By all means, keep watercolors away from direct sunlight.
Acrylic paints can be used as if they were oil paints. They can be thinned and treated as if they were watercolors, or they can simply be treated as acrylics. They offer the artist a lot of freedom. Acrylic paints are water soluble while the artist is working, but they become permanent when they dry. They have the advantage of being extremely tough and long-wearing. One paint company says they left an acrylic painting out in the sun on a beach in a place where the tide washed over it, and it has kept its original colors. I don’t believe them. Please do not do this. Paintings are not supposed to be left out at the beach.
Drawings are sometimes called “the shorthand of the artist’s mind.” Some drawings are quick and sketchy. Others are detailed and complicated. They often display rich contrasts of black and white, and they sometimes use color. Drawings are made with pencil, pen, crayon, pastel, charcoal, brush or pen and ink on various kinds of paper.
Graphics is a catch-all term that includes every possible kind of printed image. Graphics can be wood or linoleum cuts, etchings, intaglio, lithographs, and silk screen prints as well as giclée prints, monotypes and collographs to name only a few. Monotypes are the most painterly of the printmaking forms. In a monotype, only one print is made from the original design. Graphics can be done in black and white or they can have lots of colors. Sometimes a black and white print can be hand-tinted with different colors. Giclée prints are done on the computer and are often enhanced after printing.
The original designs for some prints are simple and dramatic. Others are so detailed they can take hours to enjoy. They may be printed in limited editions or in editions that number in the thousands. In unlimited or extremely large editions, the artist’s signature is printed right on the plate. In limited editions, the artist’s signature, the print numbers, and other information is hand penciled onto each of the completed works.
Collage and mixed media pieces are often exciting and experimental. They can be made of anything the artist’s imagination chooses. Artists not only use paint but also use glued on objects. They are almost always fragile, so be careful when handling them.
No matter what kind of art you choose to own and live with, be sure it is something that speaks to you. It doesn’t have to match anything. It doesn’t have to “go” with anything. After you hang it on a wall or stand it in a space, you should want to say “WOW!” every time you look at it. That’s when you have connected with the artist. That’s when the artist’s work is completed.
Award winning artist and writer, Jan Statman’s paintings are owned by museums in Italy and Spain and by corporate and private collections across the USA. Best known for her colorful acrylic and her delicate watercolor paintings, she also paints portraits, judges area art exhibits and teaches painting classes. See her work in area art galleries or on-line at: janstatmanamericanartistwebstartscom.webstarts.com/index.html or on Facebook at Artist’s Studio of Jan Statman American Artist.