Reflection: Abstract Expressionism
Salut Tom by Joan Mitchell
The broad, confident brush strokes which are a staple of many Abstract Expressionist pieces are what first draw me into this piece. Also, the way the strokes stop before the edge of the paper is unexpected and gives a rough finish to the painting. She uses a palette of blues and yellows showing ability to choose an effect combination of colors. The colors of the piece produce an overall beach like feeling which is very soothing and positive. Similarly, I may choose those colors for my own abstract painting. I am also intrigued by the discontinuity between the four different panels. The paint does not connect smoothly from one to the next and rather jumps across each canvas. It makes me wonder if she painted the panels completely separately or if she referred to each of them as she painted.
Pagan Void by Barnett Newman
This piece is a bit smaller and more condensed than the other Abstract Expressionist paintings. The squiggles and shapes still have a feeling of spontaneity, but the brushstrokes are smaller and appear to be more careful. The amorphous shapes fit right into the abstract style. Additionally, I like how he uses shadow in order to make it seem like the two dimensional shapes pop off the page and I think that could be an interesting addition to my abstract painting. After reading the title, I realized there was a deeper meaning behind this piece and wondered if that small red dot in the large black expanse could be a commentary on religion. What point was he trying to make? Newman highlighted the importance of an engaging title which allows the viewer to think more deeply.
First Station by Barnett Newman
Now you may be thinking, of all the Abstract Expressionists, why did I choose two works by the same guy? Well, I didn't plan it that way, I realized they were the same artist after I began the second one, so I just kept with it. This brings me to my next thought which is that Newman changed his style between these two works so much that I did not know they were both by him. What motivated him to paint in such a range of styles? This piece uses contrast between light and dark just like the the other paintings, except this time it is with black and white. I quite like the stark contrast between the two opposites and the use of a slightly warm white. It is also fascinating how he juxtaposes clean, controlled lines with feathered edges of quick brush strokes.
Reflection: Play Page Inspiration
La Coiffure by Henri Matisse
The way Matisse captures the fluidity of the figure's movement with visible and confident brush stokes is captivating. Furthermore, he places the figure the center to make it the focus and he adds interest to the composition by allowing you to see the woman's reflection blurred in the mirror. He elegantly uses light and dark in order to create contrast between the figure and her background. I would like to gain the confidence to create such bold value choices. This work relates more closely to what I have done in recent play pages since I have been reaching out of my comfort zone and focusing more on the figure. I have used a similar style and subject, but his is much more elegantly executed. In the future, I want to create a larger scale painting and I am really drawn to the impressionistic style, so perhaps I will chose to paint a figure in a candid pose such as this one.
Nocturne in Blue and Gold by James McNeil Whistler
After completing an artist spotlight on Whistler, I was curious to see more of his work and I was once again intrigued by the dark blue and gray palette with blurred brushstrokes and speckled with pinpoints of light. The scene is dark and mysterious and makes you take a closer look. I was also interested to find out that this piece started out as a day scene but then Whistler painted over it to create a night image. This painting isn't closely related to what I've done in my past play pages. Though I have worked a little with paints and used dark backgrounds, it is nothing that similar to this. Instead, I was hoping this painting could inspire future works. I found a canvas in my family's hoard of art supplies and maybe I could apply similar techniques.
I am a Maggie Walker art student in Richmond, Virginia. This blog section is a little window into my art process, research, and experiences. You can follow along with my journey as you scroll.