As a beginning artist I didn’t have much knowledge of the different artistic periods and movements. Of course there are always names that are well known and that you hear of such as Monet, Renoir, Salvidor Dali, and many others. It’s easy enough to buy cheap prints from these artists, I think I used to have Van Gough’s Starry Night, but I didn’t really understand the period or the painting style, I just knew that I like it. Throughout this quarter I have learned a lot about different artistic styles and I feel like I have a better understanding of the stylistic characteristics and the history and reasoning for many of the different styles.
When I look at my own work, which I have to admit was done a while ago, I can associate some different artistic characteristics and styles associated with different periods, even though at the time I had no inkling of these things. In my acrylic painting, Bayonne, I was interested in showing the affects of light and color in the reflections of the wet pavement in the parking lot. The brushstrokes are loose and, like many of the Impressionists artists, it is done outside. From the paintings we’ve studied this semester in art history, it more closely resembles characteristics of the Impressionist artists Monet and his painting, Impression: Sunrise.
In Sunrise Monet captures the time of day, when the sun is low on the horizon and throws wonderful spectrum of colors into the sky, which is also reflected in the water. The few similarities to my painting include his use of loose brushstrokes, albeit much looser than mine, interest in capturing a certain moment in time, the “plein air” or outdoors, and the interest in the affects of color and light. His painting captures the Realism of the moment at sunrise, whereas Bayonne captures the moment right after the rain. He contrasts the cool colors of the water with the fiery brilliance of the orange sun. In my painting, the cool blues contrast with the warm colors of the leaves on the ground and those being reflected in the puddles. Differences in Monet’s style from mine include much looser brushstrokes, a thicker application (I tend to use my acrylics more like watercolor), and his painting is done right at that moment, capturing it at that moment in time. Mine was done from a photograph that my mother took of the town we lived in southern France. I always liked the picture and I thought it captured the city well. It’s interesting looking at it now how it captures the old architecture with the modernity of the European cars and the tarred pavement. I did this painting when I was in High School and acrylic paint was my favorite medium at that time because it dried quick and was easy to cleanup.
The photograph, Dark Dog, was done while taking a black and white photography class. The dark reflection of the white dog always makes me think of people’s wilder and more primitive nature within us, that it’s there just underneath the surface. Although not similar in technical style with the modernist painter, Gauguin and his paintings (that show abstraction of figures and the landscape, bright colors, bold lines), his ideas of primitivism can be applied to the photograph. The white dog’s resemblance to a wolf, takes the domestic tame dog and makes it more wild, and closer to nature. As we can see from Gauguin’s paintings of Brittany, such as Vision after the Sermon, and his zincographs, he was interested in studying “primitive and savage imagery” and getting away from modern life. Primitivism was about getting closer to nature and away from modern society
So even though I didn't know about the different art movements at the time of creating my works of art, I can now look at them and see different characteristics that tie in with different art periods and styles. This class has giving me a much better understanding, and I know will probably influence my future art endeavors, whether consciously or not.