“Te ricordo che impare prima la diligenza che la presteza.”
--Leonardo Da Vinci—May I remind you to first learn diligence not speed.
We all possess an innate ability to learn. Whether it be a new language, or learning how to draw, with exercise and practice, nothing is ever out of range. As it stands, I am an eternal student.
As an emerging artist, I realize that I merely know nothing. Painting by gut may be a lot of fun (expensive fun though considering the price of materials), but the application of specific techniques used as far back as one can remember and perfected over the centuries by the Masters can substantially alter the feeling of any painting. Lines, straight, horizontal and vertical, diagonal and curved; geometric figures like squares and rectangles, circles …. Changing and interchanging by the addition or subtraction of a line; I find it utterly fascinating. (and strange considering that growing up geometry was not one of my favorite subjects 😉) Anyway, that’s why we have “The Great Courses,” and I’m excited to start watching the lectures and try out the exercises/projects. I am already looking forward to taking the course “How to Paint” after this one. Il faut de tout pour faire un monde …. A world awaits.
When talking about Edgar Degas (1834-1917), what comes to mind is the fact he was a French artist and one of the founders of Impressionism, rendered famous for his works in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking. Degas loathed the term impressionist and preferred to be called a realist. He could draw magnifically.
Half his work depicts dancers, but let’s not forget the paintings depicting racetracks nor his female nudes, all showing his mastery in the representation of movement and considered to be the best in the history of art.
After the Franco-Prussian War, in 1872, he traveled and stayed in New Orleans to stay with his brother and other relatives for an extended period of time. It is there that he produced many works depicting family members. As a matter of fact, the only work purchased by a museum during his lifetime was a painting he did depicting “The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans.” (Musée Municipal de Pau, France) during his lifetime. It can still be viewed there.
Around the same time, there was another French painter, Paul Cezanne (1839-1906),who would become one of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists artists and whose works and ideas were influential in the aesthetic development of many 20th-century artists and art movements, especially the cubist one.
Cézanne’s art was often misunderstood and discredited by the general public during most of his life. Eventually, he chose to curb his impressionist style and challenge all values conventional to painting in the 19th century. He fervently believed in personal expression and the integrity of the painting itself. “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one's sensations." - Paul Cezanne.” He exhibited in the “Salon des Refusés,” established by Napoleon to counter the growing agitation of the less conventional artists who had been rejected by the “Salon de l”Academie.”
These painters, all denounced by the critics, were one in a true revolutionary spirit. It is there that Cezanne became associated with the likes of Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and of course, Degas. Most of them were in their 20ies and just discovering their styles. They were to become, except for Manet, the Impressionist School. While Cezanne at first offended many of his compadre artists, he was inspired by their revolutionary spirit as he sought to integrate the influences of Courbet(Realist movement – depicting treatments of the commonplace subjects) and Delacroix (Romantic artist) whose works would emphasize color instead of lines. Visit the website below and take a look at the marvelous paintings he produced during his life. No need to specify that he is one of my fave painters/"teachers."
And last but not least, A longer than usual rant, I confess. My apologies. And as usual, to en this rant I’d like to pinpoint a few important facts, happening right now. The coronavirus is in full swing. The administration claims that” they have everything under control.” Hmmm …. Let’s assume they do. It’s a virus. We all know how viruses work. Much is being done to counter what can be countered, but we all can help to prevent its promulgation as much as possible. If you are ill, do not go to work or school. Seek medical attention. Better be safe than sorry.
WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN, 20 SECONDS AT LEAST. WITH SOAP AND WARM WATER. Avoid being around sick people, and again, if you are sick, STAY HOME / SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. And keep in mind that hate and violence will not make this virus go away. Instead, good hygiene, common sense, and cooperation may help to stifle it. Many other topics should make us all think. The mere fact that science is being pushed aside for … who knows what …. The mere fact that name-calling, intimidation, vengeance are taking place at a level not often experienced. The mere fact that hate, indifference, greed, and self-service are winning. Think and think that we stand to lose is way more than what we stand to win.
To this, I bow to you, peoples of the page. Be kind. Be safe, Have empathy. Namaste.
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As always, I am thankful for your patronage
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Como siempre, estoy agradecido por su patrocinio.