Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where is the Creative Art?

 Gustave Klimt

A couple weeks back, I saw posted on Facebook that it was Gustav Klimt's birthday (July 14, 1862) and it immediately made me think of the countless times that I have recently heard the comparison of contemporary artist Brad Kunkle's work to Klimts. Being very familiar with Kunkles work, I decided to learn more about Klimt to make a comparison for myself.

  Brad Reuben Kunkle

Both artists use gold leaf and oil paint together on canvas, and both focus primarily on the female figure/portrait (which is probably the most common and popular subject matter). So, past this use of gold, I really didn't see much unique similarities that would justify the hype.

The more I looked through the various paintings, the more one major thought came rushing to my mind. Whether you like their works, or think they are similar, I think the greatest point is that they both are doing more than just painting reality, they have gone a step further and added creativity. Design, simplicity, materials, composition, abstraction . . . these are all elements within their work, and also considerations and judgments that they planned for well before starting to paint.

 Gustave Klimt

I am a firm believer that a painting (or "art") needs to be nothing more than a glimpse of the beauty in our world. Whether an exact representation of the subject or the artists judgment on what elements are specifically important. Both of these general approaches encompass the majority of paintings in the "non-modern" art world and I'm happy to spend hours looking and creating them. But I now see that although the majority of these types of artistic works are filled with great brushwork and exquisite renderings, they may lack the creativity or maybe even better said, the potential for creativity that limits them from being ageless masterpieces.

   Brad Reuben Kunkle

This creative touch that is so apparent in Kunkle's work (and so non-existent in most of today's popular representational masters) has really got me thinking, and a bit convicted, that I could go further with my art and pay more attention on the design and concept of a piece. I bet that if artists took the time to be more creative, we would see greater individuality and perhaps a monumental new era that could stand up to the 19th century masters or in some respects the Modern Art age that predominated the 20th century and today.

 Gustave Klimt

The shift to be more creative in the late 19th century (that Klimt was clearly a part of) was taken to the extreme and spawned Modern art. Losing almost all technique and natural beauty, modern art became only creativity and the striving need for something unique and shocking. Maybe this time around, with the right combination of technique and creativity, and maybe with the help of artist like Brad Kunkle, we can actually get it right.

 Gustave Klimt

  Brad Reuben Kunkle

Note: In the late 19th century, Klimt was highly rejected for his paintings. The main cause of this was for his erotic and overtly nude pieces. I am personally discouraged by this strange association with nudity and sexuality to highly creative art. I feel that these additions pushed art toward the shocking and obscene that modernism was hungry for. This ever growing rise of nudity in both modern, and in some cases, classical art is desensitizing our culture and instead of conveying a new and undiscovered beauty, it is stripping beauty away from intimacy and personal relationships and slapping it onto canvases to be shared with the world. This is strictly my own opinion, but for fear of adding to the noise and problem, I err on the side of caution and stay away from it in my subject matter.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rebecca, 9x14

Just finished this little painting of my sister-in-law Rebecca. I've been working on a huge painting of her for a long time now and I need to keep taking breaks from it so I don't go crazy. I think this little painting will act as a good study for me, there were some problems that I solved that should help with the big one . . . it's always hard for me to play around, or try out different things on a big painting. I get scared of building up to much paint, or wasting a big canvas, but with these little paintings, I could care less if it doesn't work out and I can always just throw them away if I'm not happy. I wish I could get my head to think like that for the big ones too, I bet the outcomes would be even better (and quicker).
I was planning on taking more photos throughout the painting, but it moved pretty fast so I only got three.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Inspiration: Sir Frank Dicksee

I just stumbled on a collection of paintings by Sir Francis Dicksee and saw some really great paintings that I was completely unaware of. I didn't know much about him or his work, and previously thought of him as a genre painter and member of the pre-raphaelite movement. Upon reading his biography, he apparently only has a loose association with the movement – mostly because of his general style and popular genre paintings like the Romeo & Juliet or Othelo works that you most likely have seen.

Francis Bernard Dicksee was born in London, 1853. He studied in the studio of his father, Thomas Francis Dicksee, who painted portraits and historical genre scenes; he then enrolled at the Royal Academy in 1870, was elected RA in 1891, and became it's president in 1924. Through some early studies with Henry Holiday, a designer of stained glass, Dicksee grew to enjoy the decorative and detailed aspects of painting. With the further influences of Fredric Leighton and G.F. Watts, Dicksee filled his wonderful compositions with orchestrations of color and elaborate detail.

It's because of this attention to composition, detail, and decoration, that I find it an inspiration for my own work. I can't imagine the amount of time and devotion that went into these paintings. I consider them masterpieces and I hope to someday create works that warrant the same title. Although I personally like a loose, painterly style, I admire these works very much, and feel that they still have plenty of exquisite brush work that is generally unnoticeable in much of today's "classicism" and photo realism styles.

Other interesting historical notes is that his sister Margaret Isabel and brother Herbert Thomas were also painters, along with his uncle John Robert Dicksee and his aforementioned father.

Sir Frank Dicksee passed away suddenly on the 17th of October 1928.

 For more on Dicksee, check out the Art Renewal Center info