art Genre

All posts in the art Genre category

LOCAL ELEPHANT DUNG

Published September 2, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

While I created this blog specifically for the City and County in which I live, it can apply equally to anywhere or anywhen in America.

Let’s talk about that huge pile of elephant dung in the middle of the room; namely, that adults in my community of Fresno and Clovis as well as elsewhere who were educated in our public schools consider a print or statue from Target or Wal-Mart to be worth as much as an original painting or sculpture from a local artist. Why is this? Well, I believe it is because they don’t think of art or paintings as a cultural medium, but as mere decorator objects. I think this belief was created because they were not taught to appreciate art as children, either from parents (who probably weren’t taught it either) or exposed to the idea of art and music as cultural mediums enriching society in the local schools. Why don’t we teach the appreciation of arts and music to our young people here in our public schools? The dirty little secret is Money.

Despite numerous studies showing that students who are consistently exposed to and taught to appreciate art and music do better scholastically in Math and Science, Art and Music  subjects always get the short straw when it comes to allocating school funds. Art and Music are “soft” subjects and consequently hard to measure on tests. We do need both math and science in order to compete in a technological world. However, it is well established that in spite of spending more money per student than any other state, California students continue to fall behind not only national, but also world,averages and I believe that is due to poor emphasis on the subjects of art and music.

What do children learn from the arts? Well of course, the number one thing is creativity. Creativity doesn’t just mean you can draw, paint, or blow a horn. A creative thinker is a ‘MacGyver’. A creative thinker can be given a problem and come up with an independent solution that might not have been tried before. Children in the arts also learn to keep trying even if they are less than successful in the beginning, because they know they will get better. All they need to be able to do is focus in on their goal. Because they know they will get better, they learn to accept and value constructive criticism. Many art disciplines such as theatre and music require cooperation with other people, which teaches children that their actions affect others. This teaches accountability. I believe that until our schools are committed to giving our young people a well-rounded appreciation of art and music as well as math, science and sports, our graduating students are going to continue to fall further and further behind the national standard. Creativity teaches independent thinking and without independent thinkers, we have no future leaders, only little robots who can recite by rote the party line without once understanding or considering the consequences. What do youthink?

Now, of course if asked, county and State Schools administrations will agree, “There ought to be an art or a music class taught”. Nevertheless, this isn’t really happening and the classes that aretaught don’t really address the problem. A single class that lets students play around with band instruments won’t teach our children to appreciate different types of music and its contributions to our culture. Neither will a class allowing students to draw pictures, although both of the options are a good start in the right direction. Art and Music must be integratedinto all our subjects in order for our children to learn how valuable they really are. For instance, you can’t study Greek and Roman historical contributions without being exposed to their art and music as well. American history should include more than a paragraph mentioning Francis Scott Key’s National Anthem! A study of the American Revolution should include the contributions made by American artists in getting the message out to colonists. Many musical notes are based on mathematical formulas, but is this taught in math? Architectural structures, roads and bridges are part art, part geometry is this taught in geometry? I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.

The best way to raise art awareness was to put art out in places where John and Mary Public can take their children to see it. In Fresno, do have an art event three times a month called Art Hop, where the public is encouraged to tour homegrown galleries, restaurants and businesses that hang art by local artists. Taking the bus tour once a month would be a wonderful opportunity to raise art awareness if we could persuade our local parents and schools to participate. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that except for a small percentage of the population John and Mary Pubic are too busy working non-stop or taking their children to sports activities and have very little time to take in local galleries. I believe this needs to be joint efforts by artists, parents and schools to help our young people do better scholastically by immersing them in Art and culture. I encourage you to take up the challenge in your community. It seems to me that the chief issue here is a generally held opinion that prominent artists are only found in certain regions. This is simply not true; while a Thomas Kincade or a Bev Doolittle may not live in your community, it would be wise to check out exactly who does. For instance, my area of Fresno, Clovis and the surrounding cities in the Central Valley are home to national and internationally known artists. We also have many very talented local artists. The big secret is no one knows it. So how do we as artists raise the social awareness of art in our communities?

 

FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPORT AS AN ARTIST

Published August 26, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

When I started to take my art seriously, I knew that peer group association was important for me to grow as an artist, but finding the right art group to join was a little frustrating.  Why is it so important to associate with other artists? Well, although you can create art in a vacuum, if your art is never evaluated by your peers, you may simply be stuck repeating the same type of art and art subjects at the same skill level forever. Peer groups challenge us to stretch our skills, reach for new goals and generally provide support when we are feeling down. Therefore, it is important to seek out those who are Sympatico with our ideals and feelings about our art. Local art groups can be invaluable in this area. Let’s face it, while our friends and family members may oohand ahhover our art, they really can’t provide an informed opinion about it. In addition, most of us suspect they are praising our art because they love us, and not really because they actually love our work or are really interested in art. Close family and friends also seem to devalue our work as artists because they consider it to be of secondary importance to our place in their lives.

I was sure that other artists usually wouldn’t fail to recognize how important my art was to me in the way friends and family might, because their own work is just as important to them as mine is to me. Therefore, I went looking for other artists to spend time with. I found the easiest and fastest way to meet many other artists was to join a local art group. However, as I said, I knew virtually nothing about any of the local art groups in my area, so I simply joined as many as I could find. In fact, until I got to know and talk to some of the members of the first group I joined, I didn’t realize how many other groups there werein my area. I then went to as many activities sponsored by each group as I could to get to know how each group functioned. To my surprise, I discovered that while most of the same local artists also belonged to many of the groups, each group didhave a different “feel” to it, depending on the group’s mission statement and who was actually directing the groups focus.  In my area alone there are five or six art groups, all with different standards and goals. One of the coalitions is simply a painting group that gets together to talk, paint or draw and critique each other’s work twice a month. Another aims its standards for professionals and is very picky about what they accept in their shows. A third group is warm and welcoming to new and beginning artists and seeks to encourage its members to strive to improve their skills. A fourth group is a very loose association that tracks events from all the others and tries to find places for artists to exhibit and show. All of these groups have valuable insights into the local art world. While I do maintain my membership with most of the original groups I joined, I did finally find the group I consider my “home” group. Once you do find the right fit, you will also find the friendship and support you are looking for in your peers.

However, If you are not feeling the love in the group you joined, then you need to do some honest evaluation of that groups focus and aims and what you were looking for when you joined. You need to decide what it is about each particular group that makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. While only you can draw these conclusions, I do have some markers that can be used to aid you in making your assessment.

What are the goals the group has set for itself? Do you agree with them?

What were yourgoals when you joined this art group? Friends?  Career advancement? Improving your skill set?

Has it met your expectations? If not, why not?

Have you been a member long enough to have made a genuine attempt to get to know the other members? Do you attend all their functions? Are youfriendly and approachable to other members?

Are you comfortable with the majority of the group’s socio-economic status? Why or why not?

Are you comfortable with the majority of the group’s education level? Why or why not?

Are you comfortable with the age/sex of the majority of the members?

Do the other members respect you as an artist? As a person?

Do you feel the criteria used in selecting winners at the group’s sponsored shows are fair? Why or why not?

Can you find topics to discuss with members at group functions?

Are the other members friendly to you? If not, they why do you think they are unfriendly?

Are these people you would enjoy spending time with outside meetings and group functions?

After evaluating your feelings about the group, then you need to make a decision as to whether to stay with the group or move on. Sometimes you may find that it is not one, but several local groups that give you what you need.  Once you do find the right group fit, you will also find the rapport and encouragement you are looking for in your colleagues.

CREATING AN ART CULTURE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Published August 19, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Do you live in a community that supports the arts? The sad fact is that art-wise, not all communities are created equal. In California for instance the Bay and Central Coastal areas are a lot more “arty” than the Central Valley. I live in one of these “art challenged” areas of California and for many years I listened to my fellow artists whine (yes, I said whine!) about needing to travel to the coast to find buyers for their work. It is true that there are very few galleries catering to local artists here in Fresno and Clovis. All the galleries here only show art by dead masters or don’t open their doors to local artists (Fresno Art Museum) or they are privately owned by one artist or by co-op groups of artists. These galleries do an excellent job of helping to create a local art culture, but most of them are full.

Since moving to the coast wasn’t an option (my husband’s pool service business is located in Fresno), I decided to become proactive about the situation. I decided I needed another option to show my art.

It seemed to me that the chief issue was the general opinion apparently held by the public that my community didn’t have prominent artists. This is simply not true; while a Thomas Kincade or a Bev Doolittle doesn’t live here, Fresno, Clovis and the surrounding cities in the Central Valley are home to national and internationally known artists. We also have many very talented local artists. The big secret is no one knows it. So how do we as artists raise the social awareness of art in our communities? After some consideration, I realized that the best way to raise art awareness was to put art out in places where John and Mary Public would see it. We do have a monthly art event here called Art Hop, where the public is encouraged to tour as many galleries, restaurants and businesses who show art. This would be a wonderful opportunity to raise art awareness if we could persuade our local schools to participate. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that except for a small percentage of the population John and Mary Pubic are too busy working non-stop or taking their children to sports activities and have very little time to take in local galleries. They will however, take their children to the library. If art is displayed in that library, it gives parents and children the opportunity to recognize and see the local art culture. Historically, libraries have always been centers of the arts and culture for society. Artists who support this by displaying their art in the library are doing a great service to the community. Even though artists might not make many sales displaying art in the libraries, our contributions to the art and culture of the area is immense. When we put our art in the library, we not only remind the public what talented, creative artists live here, but how much we care about the community as a whole. One of the things artists contribute to our community as is culture. By displaying our stuff in the libraries, we bring art to life for the general public. Although it is not directly about sales, one of the ways that we artists in Fresno and Clovis convince the buying public how wonderful is our art and photography (and indirectly to buy that art) is the development of a reputation for being a center of art and culture. Sometimes we have to give before we can get.

 

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A CRITIQUE

Published April 6, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

For many of us, giving our work over to an individual or a group to be analyzed is scary, but so much can be learned by having someone not intimately connected to you evaluate your work. An unavoidable truth in the art world is that all through your career all kinds of people are going to say all kinds of stuff about your art. Some of them will even tell you to your face. Others may write about it, post about it or gossip behind your back. An artist not only has to learn how to handle this nonstop blitz of feedback, comments, and criticisms, but also how to gage and respond to what is said, and most importantly, how to not take what is said personally. To get the most out of a critique, it is important to decide Before submitting your work to a critique, what you really hope to gain from it. This is where some honest personal soul-searching can be useful. Most of us always try very hard to create the very best art we can. We put the total sum of our skill into every painting or sculpture. Unfortunately, when we ask, “how do you like it” we do usually hope for an endorsement of our efforts instead of an evaluation of what is technically wrong. Evaluate the person doing the critique. An important determination you need to make about responses to your art is whether a comment is based on the individual’s personal tastes or is instead based more on their overall knowledge and understanding of the type of art you create.

Decide what you like about your painting before asking for criticism or reviewing a critique. The better you know what it is you like or dislike about your work beforereceiving criticism, the better you will be able to evaluate what is being said. Listen to what is said, make sure it applies, and then ask yourself: “would it be better changed, or do I like it just the way it is?” Don’t get defensive! Remember; a critique doesn’t have to become an argument to win the critic over to your side.

Seek the opinions of your peers whenever possible. The more respect you have for the critic, the easier it is to accept the evaluation by him or her. It helps also if you attempt to understand his or her biases. We all have them. Some of us are technical sticklers and others like to see the breaking of rules.

Don’t discredit positive feedback. Because we often feel guilty at accepting praise, It is often easier for us to accept negative criticism than praise.

Painting The Familiar

Published March 30, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

When selecting what to paint or write, we all have familiar subjects or places we return to time after time. For me, when paging through my reference photos to paint a landscape, I inevitably return to a scene with water because I find water movement visually interesting. Perhaps this is why I find my own still life paintings so uninspiring, although I do often admire those done by my friends.

When painting do you revisit a favorite subject many times? I know that I do, despite having heard critics ask, “Why does he/she always paint the same thing” about myself or other artists. I take issue with the idea that painting the familiar will mean you are creating a clone of a prior work since I believe that even if you are attempting to re-paint a scene or subject that you have painted in the past, the painting will be different. you are not the same person you were when you previously rendered this subject so why should your art be the same? it is true that as artists we have the need to stretch our boundaries by working with materials and subjects we are relatively unfamiliar with, our life experiences and what we have learned will shape our work even if we are painting a familiar subject. If you returned to the scene of a previous work and painted the same scene would it be the same?

In my experience, the 2nd painting never comes out the same as the 1stone. For one thing, I have learned new techniques, and grown in my artistic abilities. For instance, I did two paintings, “Hunting The Levee” in 2002 and “A Man And His Dogs” in 2003. Essentially they are the same scene, taken from a single reference photo. However, in the 2ndpainting, I felt much freer to play with the tableau and add and subtract elements from the photo. So yes, I feel that returning “to the scene of the crime” as it were can be valuable to an artist.

 

WHAT GENRE IS YOUR ART?

Published July 23, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of what that Genre was, and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet:  “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well, so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres. For this blog, I will confine myself to the genres and sub-genres of interest in the one-dimensional Fine art shown at art shows: Abstract/non-objective, Botanical & Still Life, Contemporary, Drawing, Landscape, Portrait, Realism, and Representational.

Abstract/non-objective art seemed to be images, which did not reflect pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all!

Botanical & Still Lifeis usually art about flowers and plants. However many different objects other than plants and flowers have been used in still life art. I placed Still Life with Botanical because so much still life art does use botanical subjects. Wikipedia defines botanical art as “the art of depicting the form, colour, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolourpaintings. Historically, these paintings were often printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media. Art of this type required an understanding of plant biologyand access to specimens and references. These works were often composed in consultation with a scientific author.”3Currently, Photographs have replaced most botanical art in textbooks or other pharmacopoeia (medical textbook). The second most common subject matter found in Still Life is food and the third is the décor stuff my mother called “dust-catchers”. Still Life in art is all about lighting and composition; keeping a painting of inanimate objects interesting is much harder than it looks, and I have nothing but respect for those who paint this type of art successfully.

Contemporaryart was defined on the internet as “Artwork that has been produced employing techniques made popular after World War II”. This was interesting because it certainly didn’t agree with what I have seen in the “Contemporary” categories at art shows! In fact using this definition, most painting materials available are made using modern techniques all artwork painted by living artists could be considered contemporary. At art shows put on by local art groups, I have generally found art depicting abstracts, non-representational art, expressionism, etc., all in this category. It seems to me that oftentimes the subject matter was being used to define the category.

Drawingis defined as images created with conventional drawing materials – pen and ink, pencil, chalk, charcoal…  “Drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation. Drawing is regularly used in preparation for a painting, further confusing the distinction between drawing and painting. Drawings created for these purposes are called studies. There are several categories of drawing: figure drawing, cartooning, doodlingand shading(cartooning and doodling are not usually considered to be fine art). There are also many drawing methods, such as line drawing, stippling or shading. A quick, unrefined drawing may be called a sketch. In fields outside art, technical drawingsor plans of buildings, machinery, circuitry and other things are often called “drawings” even when they have been transferred to another medium by printing.”3 Upon review, I found that although drawing is often considered a Genre at art shows and competitions the internet doesn’t consider it a genre at all. According to Wikipedia “Drawingis a form of visual artthat makes use of any number of drawing tools to mark a two-dimensional medium. Tools can include graphitepencils, pen and ink, inkedbrushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, and metals (such as silverpoint). A small amount of material is put on a surface or support, leaving a visible mark. The most common support for drawing is paper, although other materials, cardboard, plastic, leather, canvas, and board, may be used. The readiness of drawing tools makes drawing more common than other art media. Drawing is one of the major forms within the visual arts. Old-style drawings were monochrome, or at least had little colour, while modern colored-pencil drawings may cross the boundary between drawing and painting. In Western vocabulary, drawing is distinct from painting, even though similar mediais often used in both. Dry media, normally associated with drawing, such as chalk may be used inpastelpaintings. Drawing may also be done with a liquid medium applied with brushes or pens (Chinese art). Similar supports can serve both: painting generally involves the application of liquid paint onto prepared canvas or panels, but sometimes an under-drawingis first drawn on that same support.”3 For the purpose of an art show, the Drawing category is often divided by medium, with Pastels most frequently considered a separate category all others lumped into “Graphics”.

Landscapeas a Genre was defined as images of landscapes, real or imaginary. This is a category where I wanted to place several “sub-genres”: Seascapes, Cityscapes, interior scenes, etc. I once asked a master artist her definition of a landscape and she told me “anything with a horizon”. Obviously, a street scene might or might not have a horizon line, but a painting of the inside of a house sure wouldn’t have a horizon although I suppose the floor line might be considered in the same definition. This raises another question: does a painting of say a group people on a city street come under the sub-genre cityscapes or portrait/figurative? And what about an indoor scene of a party or a scene in a restaurant that looks out the window to the landscape? Where does this go? Does a scene inside a house or other building come under landscape? If there are people in the scene, does it then become a portrait painting?

Portraitsare images that focus on the personality and representation of a person or animal. This is another category where I wanted to put sub-genres. Portrait implies a single subject, group or object for which that person(s) posed so the art could be created, even if it is a group being painted. Into what Genre then, does a group of people, who are incidental to the painting (there by happenstance) go? For instance into what genre would you place a painting of a street scene or a party or a family dinner where the subjects are imagined? Categorize this for me and put it in the proper Genre:imaginary people, imaginary house, imaginary scene of a modern family on Christmas morning (Mom and Dad in the kitchen making coffee or whatever, a young girl curled up in a chair with an I-Pod or phone, two teenage boys playing a video game on the wide-screen TV and grandparents coming in the kitchen door with packages). It’s not a portrait because the people aren’t real, yes or no?

Realism Artis artwork that focuses on portraying subjects and objects accurately, as they really are. Wikipedia defines this genre as “the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without changingitand avoiding artistic principles, implausible, exotic or supernatural elements.”3Another source, absolutearts.com, says, “Realism is defined by the accurate, unembellished, and detailed depiction of nature or contemporary life. The movement prefers an observation of physical appearance rather than imagination or idealization.” There isa type of art called Photorealism, defined as “the Genre of painting based on using cameras and photographs to gather visual information and then from this creating a painting that appears to be photographic.” I have most commonly seen this art done with either graphite or colored pencil and it allows for more detail. However, some master artists do not consider photorealism to be art at all since the image reproduced on paper or canvas is usually copied exactlyfrom a single photograph. However, I have also seen this done purely from imagination of the artist. If several photos are used as reference material and elements from them combined into a painting, then you have produced Representational art rather than Realism art.

Representational Art in the dictionarymeans to symbolize or to stand for. According to Wikipedia, all art is representational if it shows a recognizable object. “The degree to which an artistic representation resemblesthe object it represents is a function of resolution and does not bear on the denotation of the word. For example, both the Mona Lisaand a child’s crayon drawing of Lisa del Giocondowould be considered representational, and any preference for one over the other would need to be understood as a matter of preferences.”3So if you paint a landscape and leave out elements  that are actually in the scene, shift things around or add in things, to make the painting look better then you have created a piece of representational art. Humbling, isn’t it?

 

Defining Your Artistic Genre

Published June 25, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Abstract/Non-Objective

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of that particular Genre and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet: “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres.

Abstract/Non-Objective Art seemed to be images not reflecting pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all! 

A truly abstract work of art is derived from an actual object or things in the real world, something found in nature that the artist has ‘abstracted’.  Abstract art can include abstractions of real-life objects such as trees or it can be non-representational. A non objectivework of art has no ties to any real world objects or things and so it is not an abstraction of anything, it is aptly named, non objective.Non-objective art is a type of abstract or non-representational art. It tends to be geometric and does not represent specific objects, people, or other subjects found in the natural world.

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