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What I Used to Think About Art and Artists

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Part One – What I Used to Think About Art and Artists When I started taking this class this semester I wasn’t really sure exactly what to expect or which artists we were going to study. When I started this course I used to think that artists, as in painters, were all somewhat strange quiet people with few social skills. From my previous experience most of the people that I knew or knew about were a bit on the strange side. I knew a lot of unknown artists when I was younger and I still know some unknown artists now, it’s just that most of the ones that I know fit that particular stereotype. Rather messy in appearance and kind of closed off from most of society. I used to think that most artists behaved in a somewhat wild manner with wacky thoughts. Being an artist myself, pretty much everyone I knew in my high school art classes were all pretty strange, we were always causing a ruckus. I used to think when artists did art it just kind of happened. I guess I felt like it just came naturally to artists and the magic kind of just happened all on its own, like that it didn’t take a lot of effort to do it. I think that when I was in high school and taking a lot of art classes I just don’t remember thinking to much about what I had to do, I’m sure I probably did, I just don’t remember consciously think about it. I never really thought about what sources there would be for artists other than love, drugs, and alcohol. I guess that it what used to first pop into my mind when I would think of what kinds of things inspired people. There are many sources of inspiration out in the world such as religion, children, nature and many others but for some reason I guess I never used to associate those things with artists in the past.

Part Two – What I Learned From Bruce Rigby Looking back at the beginning of the semester when we studied Bruce Rigby I went into the class not really knowing what to expect. I knew nothing about Bruce Rigby, I had never heard of him, and didn’t really know too much about abstract art, which is how some of his series were done. His work was very interesting the way he did so many types of art. He did everything from drawing, to painting, to very unique abstract art using many different power tools and materials to complete these works of art. For instance I absolutely fell in love with his reproductions of the classic cars. When I first entered the exhibit and started looking around I actually did not even realize that they were paintings at all. I thought they were super-enlarged photographs that the artists had taken. I was amazed at the fine detail and reflection reproduction that he was able to do. The technique he used was called “zoning” which was interpreting three-dimensional forms into flat monochrome shapes. He would work from photographs, which to me made sense because you can focus on the shadows and reflections more I think that way, crop the image then draw it in charcoal, graphite, white pencil, and white acrylic then would start the actual process on acid-free paper. I would have never known how these paintings were done; I would have just assumed that they were done perceptually, in real life at the place where each car was. Rigby was a conceptual artist for the most part, most of his works where done elsewhere. So in that way he was different from some of the other artists we studied later,which were perceptual artists, seeing what they were painting. I felt like I got a lot out of Rigby’s booklet and from seeing he’s great works of art in person.
Part Three – What I Learned From Frida Frida Kahlo was an amazing person as well as a great self-taught artist. There is so much to say about Frida and her life I don’t even know where to begin. I’m ashamed to say I had no idea who she was before this class. I had seen her paintings before but did not know her name. I have to admit I find a lot of her works vulgar and I don’t like a good deal of them. But I have great appreciation for all of them even the ones I don’t like. Frida’s accident was the beginning of the cause of so much pain and trouble in her life. Be kept bed ridden for over 3 months with major painful injuries must have been devastating. Devastating, as it was I was so amazed to see what a strong woman she was and how well she handled is a push forward with determination in her life to be successful.
Her works were very unique she had her very own style with a traditional Mexican flare. Some of her works were perceptual, like the self-portraits and some of her works were conceptual painted from the mind like “Henry Ford Hospital.” She always painted herself with a large almost connected eyebrows and sometimes even a slight mustache. This was very surprising to me. I personally do not think I would ever feel comfortable painting that on myself. This said a lot about her personality. Also her artistic process was amazing. I can’t believe she had mirrors attached to the ceiling above her so she could see herself to paint self-portraits while she was ill. I would have never even imagined something like that without watching the movie and documentary about Frida.
Psychology plays a major roll in her art, her accident, her longing for children with no success, and her issues with her husband Diego Rivera all played a major role in her paintings. Many of her paintings dealt with the issue of fertility due to the fact she could not have a child because of her accident years earlier. She had many miscarriages that were just devastating to her. She met her husband Diego when she was young, not long after her accident, she wanted to know if her paintings were any good and wanted Diego’s opinion a famous mural artist in Mexico. He said he thought her work was very good and asked her to paint him something else, from this point on they became very close and later married. Part Four – What I Learned From Nancy Hagin
Nancy Hagin is a great painter. I learned a lot of new things from her sessions that I did not know before about artists. Being a painter myself when I was younger I always enjoyed still life so I have a particular liking to Hagin’s work. I loved her use of bold colors and the fact that she used both acrylic and watercolors. In the past knowing what I did about artists I would have assumed that the same painter wouldn’t really choose to do both acrylic and watercolor styles because they are both so very different. But her watercolors were so detailed they almost didn’t even look like watercolors to me at all.
In hearing about Hagin in class and reading the booklet on her I realized a lot about why she choose to do her watercolors. The reason being when she decided to start traveling back and forth from the city to the countryside it was too difficult to carry all her acrylic supplies like big canvas, big tubes of paint, and an easel. It was much easier to transport watercolor because all she needed was brushes, small tubes of paint, which fit nicely in a small tackle box, and watercolor paper. This soon became a great method for her while painting being in up state New York. She also covered her watercolor paintings with glass. I had not thought about this before but it makes so much sense to cover them to make sure that an accidental spillage does not ruin them.
NacnyHagin’sartistic process was interesting to me how she set up her still life scenes. She remarked that some of them were “accidental” still life, where the arrangements would come for day-to-day use of using objects and putting them back done someplace. Nancy also said that she would arrange some of her setups and move about the room to see what cropped section looked the best. She would often use a digital camera to take a picture of the setup and then go put it on the computer where she could play around with the cropping of the setup to find the section she wanted to paint. I thought this was a pretty interesting process. I enjoyed doing the section on Nancy Hagin, I really enjoyed seeing and reading about her work. Part Five – What I Learned From Lust For Life I learned so much from the Vincent Van Gogh section of this class. I have always loved Vincent Van Gogh, and being able to see movies and documentaries about him makes me now enjoy his art even more. Van Gogh is a prime example of someone who was always making decisions. I believe although he made have had some serious mental health problems I don’t believe that this hindered his ability to do great work. As it said in the documentary there is no way a crazy person could have produced this type of quality work. I have to agree with that. I believe he suffered many mental illnesses but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be particularly sane at some time. Watching this films made me see it seemed like the act of creating his art helped him keep his sanity that was his way of controlling his wild emotions. I also found it interesting that the documentary really spoke about Van Gogh’s life being possibly plagued with epilepsy, which is a very serious illness. This is what have cause many of his problems that people thought were mental disease. Also the fact that he often used a drink Absinth, which has hallucinogen properties to it, could have been part of the cause of some of the wild paintings and fits of lashing out. Vincent Van Gogh had many inspirations for his art one was religion. I did not know before this course that Vincent Van Gogh was a very religious man, that had a father that had also been a minister preaching faith. Vincent wanted desperately to spread the word of God and went to a dingy miner town to do it, going there is what seemed to indirectly spawn his artistic side. He wanted to draw the conditions of the workers and what they had to go through. When the church banned him, he went to live with his brother Theo, who was coincidently an art dealer. This is when Vincent really started to paint. Overall Vincent Van Gogh was a perceptual expressionist. He painted what he saw, but he was able to distort the reality of the picture twisting it to look the way that he wanted people to see it. He also used complimentary colors throughout most of his painting to trick the human eye to just wildly about the painting, I did not know that Van Gogh had used these color selections on purpose, I just assumed before that they were random colors that Van Gogh chose to use.
Part Six– What I Learned From Pollock
By watching this movie on Pollock, whom I had actually never knew anything about before; I realized that many artists seem to have the same problems even though their styles are very different. Artists have to be in their creative zone. Making art is constantly making decisions. It is not just paint on a page but rather a method to how the paint gets on the page. Being creative for some means they must be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For other artists such as Pollock they do their best work when they are sober. Personally I liked most of Pollock’s earlier works, they seemed to be more creative to me. However his best selling works were his drip arts. When I first saw the paintings knowing nothing about Pollock I didn’t like them at all. To me it did not seem creative but rather a mess of paint splats just thrown onto a canvas. However after watching the film I saw the creative thinking process that went into Pollock’s painting and it changed my opinion a great deal. I still liked most of his earlier work better, although there was some of his drip painting that I really took a liking to in the movie. I especially liked a big black and white one that was on the wall, which gave me a very winter and cold feeling. Pollock’s artistic personality was a lot like Lionel’s to me. The thinking process behind the works was drawn and thought out. They both stared at the canvas for sometime before really starting in on the work and when they did the creative spark they had gave them a surge to continue and finish the piece of art. They were also somewhat sloppy the both dressed very casual and relaxed. Making an assumption on their appearance to me it seems most of the artists we’ve seen that are very good, have a somewhat relaxed image to compliment their artistic personality.
One of the questions that I still have left that will probably never be answered is how a man as brilliant as Pollock could ever do work being drunk and hung over all the time. It is amazing to see an artist at work. Even though these movies are realistic it would be so amazing to actually see them do their work in real life in person. I would love to see the look in the artist eye while they are thinking of their next move.
After watching this movie it is still unclear to me where Pollock’s ideas actually came from. I do not feel that the movie went into great detail about how or where he actually got his ideas. Just showing him do the work was interesting but I would have felt better, like I would have gotten a better understanding if they explained a bit where his ideas came from. I understand with the drip paintings that he did not want to use brushes, but even being abstract art it would have been nice to see some thought behind the abstract art.
I also would have like to learn a bit more about his actual technique for doing his drip paintings. I like his use of canvas and the swirling patterns. There must be a specific way that he holds the brush and makes the actual strokes in the air. They did not go into too much detail about how he did this; there was only a brief explanation while he was doing on of his interviews on how this was actually done.
I would also like to know more about Pollock’s life. They started off the movie showing his life as an adult they said he was from a big family with siblings but they did not say how Pollock go into art, whether one of his parents were artists, or if he actually went to school for art. I would have liked to know more about his childhood background like the explained in the Van Gogh movies.
I used to not like abstract art very much I have always been a fan or representational art. But throughout this course we have looked at many other artists, Pollock to me was very interesting. I really liked his early abstract work. I still like those more than his drip paintings although from watching the movie on Pollock there were a few of the drip paintings I saw that I took a liking to. I have learned that abstract art is like any art, it requires a lot of thought before beginning the painting. Good thought process I believe now is the key to any good painting, also combined with a bit of bizarre mentality especially in abstract art. It is a really interesting form of art and I would like to continue to see more other abstract artists works on my own time to compare to what I have seen in this class.
My appreciation for abstract art has really grown since the beginning of the semester where I can say that I really didn’t like it much at all. Although it is still not my favorite type of painting I can appreciate the hard work that goes into making these painting. I actually feel that some abstract work may be quite harder to do even than representation art.

Part Seven – What I Learned About Art and Artists In This Course What are artist’s doing every moment they are creating art? Making decisions. This is what we learned through out the course by seeing different artists and the way they create their art. When I first started this class I used to think that artists were sort of strange and possessed few social skills. After this course I see that some of my stereotype was correct about some artists like Van Gogh and Lionel, but then in other artists like Gauguin or Frida they both had great social skills, even Pollock was very out going except for his drinking problem. Some artists dress strangely and ragged but other dress very nice and somewhat normal like Rigby or Hagin. So after this course my stereotype of artists has vastly diminished, and my views of what an artist so act like and look like has become very open. I used to feel that artists behaved in a somewhat wild manner. And although we have seen some of them that do, some are very quiet and relaxed artists. Lionel Dobie was a rather relaxed person most of the time the only time he ever used to get loud and excitable seemed to be bad situations involving Paulette. Vincent Van Gogh would get wild it seemed when people wouldn’t listen to him, when they didn’t see his point of view. That seemed to get him very excitable but overall he was a loving intelligent person just longing for people to understand him. I used to think that sources for artists were mostly just based on drugs and alcohol. After going through this course, we learned that really only a sane person can create good art because they must be constantly making decisions, and when you are messed up you cannot make sound decisions. In Van Gogh’s case I think painting is what kept him sane most of the time, it was when he was not currently painting I feel his mind drifted into fits of insanity. Sources for artists like Van Gogh was not drugs, it was religion and the quest to have someone actually understand him. In Pollock’s case alcohol was a major addiction and while being an amazing artist this ultimately slowed his creative abilities down and ended his life in a drunk driving accident taking the life of another with him. For Pollock he had to be sober to really create his best work. In Frida’s case her accident became her first source, the need to do something other than lay around all day, later she had many other sources of artistic inspiration like animals, fertility, and her husband Diego. There are other artists such as Bruce Rigby and some of his sources of inspiration came from other artists such as AntoniTapies, or from his students at The College of New Jersey. For Hagin it was her surrounding of city images and beautiful landscapes in the country. I used to think that when artists created art it just sort of came naturally for them. I know realize after this course that while ideas may come naturally the skill is that decisions must be made on how to do the art. Art is a whole process from start to finish, constantly making decisions, on how the artist’s would like the art to turn out and how they want others to views it, and what kinds of feelings they will get from it. I loved this course and really feel that I have learned so much about artists and their art and would like to continue learning about more artists and their art in the future.…...

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Art Appreciation Artist

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What Do I Believe About Abortions

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