Monday, January 21, 2013

How Seeing Actual Works Of Art Helps - In Life and In Doing Your Own Arts and Crafts

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE

I have chosen the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO to focus on -- as that is where I saw the most ACTUAL WORKS OF ART - especially world-renowned ones.

I guess some would say that I was lucky, but then I was lucky to have the family that I had, because they were the ones who introduced me to the WORLD OF ART - including the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO.

Growing up in Chicago, where the Museum is, helped.  When I went for a day to Downtown Chicago, it was not surprising for me to end up spending some time over there - this included every time I went home to visit for more than a couple of days!!

Having the opportunity to stand directly in front of a great painting and just look - see the Colors, the brush strokes, how the painter formed each object - you can learn an awful lot.  Especially the paintings I loved - it was sort of wonderous and some of my happiest moments - to observe the creations up close.

How it affected me, as a person - and my actions in life, I am not sure -- but the experiences added something important to me.  And I will never forget them.

I am sure that observing these WORKS OF ART added to how I feel about COLOR in life and in Art - and how it affects a person.

My Mother Judy had studied Art - and encouraged me as a very young child in drawing and imagining.  My parents wrote about it in my "Baby Book" and I have some childhood workbooks from when My Mother Judy spent time with me on it - it is not just some vague memory.

I was a relatively young child when I knew that the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists (though I thought of them all as Impressionists at that young age) - with their use of such vibrant Colors - were my favorites.  I am not sure when I decided than VAN GOGH - with his slashing brushstrokes in such bold, expressive (communicating such strong feeling) Colors - was my favorite.  To be honest - to this day, he remains my favorite, though I do like many other painters and artists and their works.

But this time, I want to share my experiences (and resulting Studies) with another WORK OF ART:

Special Issue of Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies:  The Grande Jatte at 100

This Book is about the painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte" by Georges Seurat - known for his painting in the Technique known as "Pointillism".

If you go to the link for the Book, the Articles in it are listed.  I have the Book - the year it was published (1989) I had a non-local Membership with the Art Institute of Chicago and received it as part of my Membership.

Awed - Fascinated - a little overwhelmed at the detailed accomplishment by the painter of creating such a large painting with such small brushstrokes - in so many colors!!!

In the early years when I looked at it, I really was just overwhelmed and amazed - would look and look and look - and loved it!  It was only in later years, when I had a better understanding of artistic techniques that I had any real understanding of the accomplishment by the painter.

It actually took understanding that "Pointillism" existed as a type of painting, seeing the actual "dots" on the painting -- and other paintings by him -- and later reading the Articles in "The Grande Jatte at 100" plus reading up about Georges Seurat and some of the Color Theorists (almost "scientists" on the theory of Color) that he studied:  Eugene Chevreul, Charles Blanc, Ogden Rood.  (These days it is easy to find papers and information on them online.)

I find fascinating the work Seurat did in creating such a composition with "dots" of colors, "optical mixtures" - I humbly think he must have been both a "scientist" and an "artist"!

I am not sure how experiencing seeing such a creation directly in person affected me, but I am sure that it did - especially as relates to COLOR in ART!

From the Article, "Seeing Seurat Politically" in this book, "The Grande Jatte at 100", I would like to give this quote (pgs. 217-218) where the artist himself (Seurat) "....described his aesthetic:

"Art is Harmony.

"Harmony is the analogy between opposites and the analogy between elements similar in tonal value, color and line, considered in terms of the dominant, and under the influence of lighting, in gay, calm or sad combinations ...

"Given the phenomena of the duration of a light impression on the retina, synthesis is the unavoidable result.  The means of expression is the optical mixture of tonal values and colors (both local color and the color of the light source, be it sun, oil lamp, gas, etc.), that is to say, the optical mixture of lights and of their reactions (shadows) in accordance with the laws of contrast, gradation and irradiation.

"The harmony of the frame contrasts with that of the tonal values, colors and line of the picture."
I feel A Huge feeling of THANKS to GEORGES SEURAT - for Doing it!!

Also, I wanted to share this Video about the newer Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago - which is a certified Green Building - including information about sustainability in running the whole Museum!!