Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Claude Monet

This photo was taken only 3 months before Claude Monet passes away. Although his sight was limited because of cataracts he still painted until he died in 1926.

As a young man of fourteen and fifteen, Monet would wonder around the beaches of his native LeHarve, making caricatures of tourists. He earned money about 10-20 francs for each caricature. 

Monet loved to paint the effect of light on a subject rather than the subject itself. Here we see early morning light on water. Water was one of Monet's favorite subjects. This painting gave impressionism its name. A journalist actually made fun of the painting, because it was not a complete painting it was only an "impression".  Despite this insult, Monet and his friends continued to exhibit their paintings. It would be ten years of ridicule and meager sales before impressionism became popular. 

Notice how the paint is applied in dots and dashes-an impressionists hallmark. 

Another Monet's favorite subjects; flowers, especially poppies. The boy in the foreground is his son, Jean. This painting is composed of colors, rather than forms. The lightness of the two puffy clouds is balanced by the pair of dark trees. The stretch of yellow sunshine against the grey line of the distant hills weights the right half of the picture (remember Leonardo how he painted the blue landscape in the distance also?). And Jean, surrounded by the bright flashes of red poppies brings the viewer's eye full circle. 

Monet did not make his pictures like Leonardo, sketching out each section and practicing form and placement. He quickly filled the entire canvas with tones, dabbing color everywhere and filling in the details as he went.  

Rather than paint staged pictures of historical or biblical subjects, the impressionist painted the every day world around them. Newly popular steam trains and the great glass architecture of the stations fascinated Monet, especially the effect of light on the steam. Monet painted this station  and its trains every day for 3 months, his first "series". You can still take the train to Givenry from this station. 

What draws your eye upwards? -peak of roof, steam. What balances it on the bottom?-dark color, solid form, tint vs. shade. What forms are repeated here?-circles, rectangles, organic and geometric forms. What keeps your eyes from wandering outside the station?- big puff of smoke. Where have we seen these clouds before?- previous painting also Leonardo's work.  

In the Haystack series, Monet sought to show the changes of light and atmosphere in each one. What time of day do you think this is?- Sunset. What kind of weather? Describe what is different about this painting compared with the train painting. Subject, choice of color, choppier brushstrokes, no atmosphere. 

Light radiates softly behind the hay, lighting the hills, trees, houses and fields. The peak of the haystack looks as if it is melting. 

Monet paid the farmer to leave the haystacks in the fields all winter so he could paint them. Notice how Monet balances the smaller haystack with the same amount and shape of negative space. Are there more tints of shades in this painting?-tints. Are there more warm or cool colors? - cool. Is this what you would expect? 

Monet moved to his country home in Giverny, 40 miles from Paris, in 1883. He virtually abandoned scenes of everyday life, to paint his garden and pond or "water landscape". He painted extensive gardens and created a pond with a Japanese footbridge as Japanese art was becoming popular in the late 1800's. This house, pond and garden survives virtually intact today. 
You can see the effect of photography (without which impressionism would never have begun) in this work. There are shadows on the path from trees we cannot see, outside the plane. 

Here we see the footbridge over the waterlily pond. 

This painting is probably a detail for Monet's last waterlily series which hangs in the Orangerie Museum in Paris. Monet had a large studio, and as he loses his sight, his canvas grows bigger. His brushstrokes are looser and freer, almost abstract. 

Notice the composition of this work. No horizon line, no background, little detail. What gives this painting balance? -equal tones, triangles. 

Contrast this painting with the last two. What is the difference? The same? How can you tell Monet did not paint this at the beginning of his career?


The kids got really creative in all of the classes for this project. Look at some of the totems made in Mr. Devlin's class today! Great Job 5th graders!! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NW Coastal Indians

Tlingit tribe are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. They have their own language called Lingit, Meaning "People of the tide". Their culture and society developed in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast.


The four house posts are among the oldest in Alaska. This is a N.W. Coastal Indian Tribal House. Long ago Indian people lived in houses like this with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and brothers and sisters. What would that be like?  What do you see? The Coastal Native Americans were famous for their carvings. Look for the TOTEM POLES. Totem poles are the largest, but not the only objects that coastal Pacific Northwest natives use to depict family legends, animals, people, or historical events. If you were from out of town and saw your clan’s crest atop the totem pole, you could go up to the house and be welcomed in.

Again, look for the totem poles.What shapes do you see on the house? (Ovoids (egg shape), U SHAPES) Why do you think it’s called a PLANK HOUSE? The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, made houses of cedar planks. 

Art is part of the Native American’s everyday life. What type of art do you see in this picture? 


This double mask has a raven on top with a hinged beak.The lower part represents a man’s face. Note the colors; white, red, black, yellow and green. Remember all the colors were made with things from nature. Often masks were seen by firelight and were very dramatic. Masks are a way of making the supernatural world visible. They are worn to heal the sick, drive away disease causes and for religious ceremonies. Since the Coastal Indians had no written language, masks were passed down and helped to serve as a “history book” by telling a certain story.


What animals are represented in this totem pole? What colors are used? How do you think totem poles were made? They cut down a tree, drew the design using TEMPLATES and then carved them.  They were painted last.


Every tribe made canoes in a variety of types and sizes.They all shared basic features; they were carved of red cedar, double ended with fine lines and the hulls were steamed into their final forms.


This box is about 200 years old. Notice the OVOIDS (eggshape) and U SHAPESWhy do you think it’s called a Bentwood Box? What might go in it? (food, tools, special blankets, masks etc.) They are often handmade from a single plank of cedar that is steamed and bent into shape.


What do you think they might have used woven baskets for?


What animal do you see on this hat? What do you think it might be made off? (woven roots, woven grasses)

The name derives from the Chilkat tribe in Alaska on the Chilkat RiverChilkat weaving is one of the most complex weaving techniques in the world. When making this weave, it is made from top to bottom instead of side to side.  A Chilkat blanket can take a year to weave. Traditionally mountain goat wool, dog fur, and yellow cedar bark are used in Chilkat weaving. Today sheep wool might be used. 
Chilkat blankets are worn by high ranking tribal members on civic or ceremonial occasions, including dances. Notice the fringe on the bottom. During the ceremonial dance it is made to sway!


Each tribe/ culture has different customs about how and when blankets may be used. All Blankets have the same rectangle shape. There are boarders on three sides, but not the bottom.  Button blankets are very special and are worn in ceremonies. They are made of wool. If there is a CREST on the back of the blanket, the person has inherited the right to wear it. What is the CREST on these blankets? The buttons are often made from Mother of Pear.

School Year~ 2016-17

Excited for Art lit for this School year!! 

The artists/projects for this year are..

West Coast Native American Art (cultural), Escher, Monet and Chagall. 

We will start with Native American art and we have obtained donated wood to do a totem pole project. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Here is our last artist of the 2015-2016 school year!! 
Calendar is at the bottom of post!  


All aboriginal art is an expression of Aboriginal Dreaming. Traditionally, Aboriginal people from central Australia used sand and body painting combined with song, dance and story. Aboriginal music plays a strong role in Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal people 'sing their country' in ceremony that combines song, dance and art. Each Dreaming has an associated song, and paintings should be seen in the context of the song and dance that accompanied the production of that work. 

  Photograph of Paddy Stewart Japaljarri, 1995

Artist, Paddy is standing in front of the community art center of Yuendumu.  Paddy is from Mugapunju, just south of Yuendumu.  When he was a young man, he was a station worker at Mt. Allen and Mt. Dennison.  He worked as a chef in Papunya, hence his nickname  "Cookie".  He has lived for a very long time in Yuendumu.  Cookie worked at the Yuendumu School teaching young kids, both non aboriginal and aboriginal culture (kardiya and yapa). He's taught painting, dreaming (jukurrpa), tracking (dingo, kangaroo, goanna, etc..), how to make wax for the sand painting, dancing, making boomerangs and many other important cultural traditions. 

He has been drawing and painting for a long time, including work on the Yuendumu School doors which he was commissioned to do in 2000.  He produced 30 etchings of the original Yuendumu Doors in collaboration with Paddy Sims under the guidance of Basil Hall. Northern Editions Printmaker (Northern Territory University). 

He also has served as the chairman for the Warlukurlangu Artists Committee. In 1988, his work received world wide acclaim when he was selected by The Power Gallery, Sydney University , to travel to Paris with five other men from Yuendumu to created a ground painting installation at the exhibition "Magiciens de la Terre" at the centre Georges Pompidou.  The trip took place in May 1989.

 Photo of Pansy Napangarti, Alice Springs, 1994

Many of the Australian Aboriginal artist are women.  Many people believe that the patterns and symbols used in this art are  "random" and/or "abstract", however it is usually well structured with may recognizable symbols used to represent men, women, babies, creatures both in their daily lives and mythical traditions, along with features of their country. 

Pansy is painting in her back yard. Pansy is from Papunya, West of Alice Springs, Central Australia and was known as one of the leading foremost women artist of Papunya Tula Artists. Pansy has exhibited her works from 1988-1992. Notice Pansy's paint tin contains both white and yellow paint, used in her distinctive half-tone dotting style. Pansy's work is meticulously dotted, often taking many hours or even days of intense concentration to execute a painting. Her Dreamings include: Bush Banana, Water Snake, Kangaroo, Cockatoo, and Bush Mangoe from her Father's side, and Two women, Seen Sisters, Hail and Desert Raisin from her Mother's side. 

 Carpet snake Dreaming, 1987, by Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri

This dreaming is near Ylpana, or Mt. Denison.  This is an important dreaming site to men of Tjungurrayi/japaltjarri skins.  The carpet snake is seen encircling his home, the central circles.  Men perform ceremonies here today.  The linked background circles are of symbolic meaning and used as body paint designs during ceremonies.  Billy was born in 1927 and is one of Central Australia's grand Old Masters and highly respected artists.  Billy is one of the senior keepers of all his tribe's Dreamings.  He has painted Budgerigar, Spider, Yam and Wild Potato Dreamings for his region. 

Billy was raise by his aunt after his mother was killed during the Coniston massacre of 1928 when the area was invaded by whites.  He began work as a stock-man and later worked as a cook in the Papunya communal kitchen.  He was one of the Papunya Town Councilors in the 1970's and an accomplished wood carver before he took up painting. Billy was one of the founders of the Papunya painting movement after he received approval to use guarded stories.  It was then that he and a few others painted the Honey Ant Dreaming design on the school which set the painting movement in motion. 

Billy was a Central Australian delegated to the NAC during the '70's. Aboriginal Arts Board member 1975-79; and Chairman of Papunya Tual Artists during the '70s.  He has exhibited his work form 1974 to 1994, and has visited the USA several times. In 1988, he was part of the opening of the "Dreamings: Art of Aboriginal Australia" exhibition in New York.  He and his wife have four children; two daughters and two sons.  The daughter, Gillian paints occasionally having been taught by her father. 
 Aboriginal People during Ceremonial Dance 

Notice all the dotted work of body paint-similar to what we see on many canvas paintings. 

 Bush Bean Dreaming, 2003, by William Sandy, 60" X 48" 

Born in 1944, and had his first solo exhibit in 1990.  Participated in group exhibits from 1982-2000, and was the winner of the Northern Territory Art Award in 1985.

 Rainbow Dreaming, by Peggy Nangala Jurra, 1987, Synthetic Polymer paint on canvas, 106.7 X 76.5 cm and Bush Potato Dreaming, by Leo Peterson. 

Rainbow Dreaming is associated with the Water Dreaming that also belongs to Nanagala and Nampitjinpa women.  The country of the Dreaming is Puyurru where a big rain left to travel north in the Dreaming.  As the rain traveled, the Dreaming created people out of the small rain clouds.  

The Path of the Dreaming follows a creek with a fresh-water spring, called Lungkardajarra, shown by the central wavy lines.  The central circles represent big clouds; the outer circles, small rain clouds and the bars indicate cloud fronts.  The Rainbow Dreaming is indicated by tri-colored arcs, which are painted in primary colors to emphasis its radiant power.  

 From the Tingari Cycle, Morris Gibson Tjaplatjarri, 2003, 
60" X 48" 

 John Weeronga Bartoo's work and unknown artist

Artist statement: I am an Australian Aboriginal Artist, my Mob come from around Cunnamulla in South Western Queensland.  It was late in 2002 while recovering from illness that I felt an urge to paint.  At that time I did not understand where this feeling came from.  Through my art I am learning more about my culture, promoting my art and communicating with people is giving me more confidence in myself.  I paint primarily for myself and am happy when others enjoy my work.   I
believe that the spirits of my ancestors are guiding me with my art and through my art.  I can express the stories of not only the Dreamtime but of my family and my life's journeys.  As for my future in art, I will be guided by my heart and the spirits.

 Flying Dingoes, 1974 and Honey Ant, by the Papunya Community 

 Bark Paintings: Fish and Black Headed Python and fruit Bats

During the flowering season in September, "flying foxes" are attracted to the blossoms on certain trees.  When they root, their droppings fall to the ground and smell as sweet as the blossoms they feed on.  The black-headed python waits nearby to eat the old and sick as they fall.

Australian Boomerangs and Didgeridoos

Beautifully hand painted 16" boomerangs by local Aboriginal artists, feature native Australian animals.  These boomerangs can be used for throwing, but most visitors buy them for the lovely art- one sales for approximately  $47.00.


 Australian Aboriginal Art. 50,000 years ago to present
(Author Unknown)

The fist known people of Australia, the Aborigines, came to the continent about 50,000 years ago. They have strong beliefs that tie them to the land and culture of storytelling and art.  The Aboriginals had a difficult time when settlers came to their land and many people died. 

Traditional paintings were done on people's bodies, on rocks and on large sheets of bark that were carefully dried and flattened.  Paints were made from colors found in nature.  The most common colors were red, Yellow, brown, black and white.  Tools used for painting included brushes  {made from twigs chewed at the end), hands, feathers, leaves, and hair.  Most Aboriginal paintings have symbols, snakes, plants, animals, houses and people.   Designs are called " Dreaming." These dreamings tell stories about special places, tribes (groups of people) and clans (families) all over Australia.  

Modern Aboriginal painters use modern canvases, paint and brushes like what we use. Some artists prefer traditional methods.  

Again, The fist known people of Australia came to the island continent about 50,000 years ago. They and their decedents, the Aborigines were nomads.  Moving from place to place, they hunted and gathered food.  They made tools out of wood and stone. 

The Aborigines are an intelligent, intuitive and deeply religious people.  They believe that the world was created by  " Dawn Beings" who inhabited the sacred mythological past, the "Eternal Dreamtime." Aborigines think of the land as a living being, their mother to whom they belong. They mother land nurtures them and they in return respect and honor her. 

Australian Aboriginal art is the oldest visual art tradition in the world (more than twice the age of the Lascaux Cave paintings in France). Until this century, the art of this highly nomadic people were mostly created during ceremonial performances in which tribesmen would paint the designs on one another's bodies or on the land itself. The only artifacts that have been found of early versions are those that the Aborigines painted and engraved on rocks. 

Traditional Aboriginal paintings were usually done on large sheets of bark, carefully cut out with a primitive rock ax and pulled from the stringy Bark or Eucalyptus tree. The bark is then carefully dried out over a small fire and quickly flattened.  It is then pinned down with heavy weights to prevent re-curling and walked on to keep it flat.  After a few days of seasoning, further trimming and smoothing the bark is prepared for paint. 

The brushes used by the people are quickly make and quickly discarded. Usually they are twigs shewed at the end to cause fraying and often both ends are frayed to accommodate two colors of pigment.  The most advanced brushes are made from a flat pice of wood with regularly spaced cuts at one end so that wit each application it produces a net line of dots. The aborigines also use their hands, bird feathers, leaves or their hair to apply pigment. 

The palette is limited to red, yellow, black and white, all from earth pigments. The materials are ground as finely as possible between stones and mixed with water.  As the ochre's tends to be friable, fixatives such as orchid bulbs, wild honey and eggs are mixed in.  Contemporary Aboriginal artists use modern canvases and paints and brushes, as well as the traditional media.  

Fore the Aborigines, the paintings have little to do with western ideas of art or beauty.  They are instead about their land, heritage and more recently, their efforts toward greater political power. Their designs are described as "Dreamings" is not so much a translation as art analogy for the Aborigines belief of how the world came into being.  Very briefly explained. Dreaming are the spiritual ancestors who created a world out of chaos.  They shaped it, made the plants, insects, animals and human society.  There is a Dreaming for just about everything; A water Dreaming, a brush-fire Dreaming and even a Dreaming for the common cold. 

All the Dreamings are stories that are tied to sacred sites, tribes, and clans all over Australia.  They connect to form an enormous narrative web understood by all Aborigines.  Each dreaming is " owned" by a family line and is respected as property, just as we respect copyrights. 

Until this century, the Dreamings were mostly created for ceremonial purposes.  In 1971 a young American art student, Geoff Bardon, arrived in Papunya in the Western desert region to start a children's mural painting project.  What he found, however, was the adults were equally enthusiastic about painting and immediately began re-creating their traditional designs.  By giving the narratives western paints and canvas, Bardon inadvertently uncovered a whole new visual arts school.  Painting on permanent materials quickly spread. 

The Aboriginal painting have bold graphic designs. Many depict mandalas, snakes, plants, animals, houses and people.  Most often they are rendered as though they were seen from high up in the air. Nearly all are strikingly detailed.  Some "x-ray" paintings actually show the internal structures and organs of animals.  It was widely believed in Northern Australia that by painting an image of a kangaroo (for example) in a cave or on bark, magical control of the animal could be obtained.  Thus, ensuring a successful hunt. Producing the image was also a request that the ancestral spirit  (or Dreaming), who became the kangaroo, send forth life for the increase of the species.  

The Australian Aborigine is a culture in flux. After 200 years of genocidal policies, the Aborigine population is less than 200,000. Now the Australian government has had a change of heart and courts have ruled in favor of the Aborigine in several land rights disputes.  Interestingly, in one case, painted Dreamings were actually used successfully as evidence, serving as proof of ownership of the land. This political power is one motivator of the contemporary Aborigine artists.  They believe that by selling a painting the artist validates his claim of land ownership.  Artist Charlie Jararu Jungurrayi is quoted as saying " If I don't paint this story, some white fella might come and steal my country." Their paintings are the Dreamings of the Aborigines.  Nature in its entirety; landscapes features, water hole, plants, creatures, every kind of animate and inanimate object and event is metamorphosed evidence of the historical pathways and journeying of these people. All of them is their Dreamings; creation is not complete, it is process. Their time frame is one the western mind can not readily understand. Their infinity, their states of being are not the same as ours.

Some of the themes of the Aborigine art are social and political, dealing with the racism, poverty and addiction. Some of the designs are too sacred to be seen by the western eyes and these are often covered by detailed cross hating to obscure the original Dreamings. 

(Author Unknown)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Jonathan Green


Jonathan Green was born in 1955 in the Garden Corner, located in the "Low Country" of South Carolina. He was born with a membrane or "veil", over his face, which in the Gullah culture is a sign of a special person who will become a "seer," prophet or leader of his people. Therefore, he received special training by the elders of the community as he was growing up. Today, he sees his special gift as that of recording through his painting the Gullah culture he knew in his childhood and youth. When asked what he wanted us to know about him, he said, "I love life."

Dressing up, 1988. Oil on Masonite, 23X23' 
In "Dressing up." the artist takes off on pop art optical illusions as seen in the geometric design of the wallpaper in the painting. He goes even bolder by positioning one pattern against another, the little girl's green and white polka-dot dress with the wallpaper. The images seen through the mirror offer a sense of greater depth to the flat plane. In the mirror, we observe the figure of a young woman in a white slip about to put on a blazing red dress. What shapes do you see? What is happening in the painting? How do you think the people feel? How can you tell? How does the color, space and size of the figures affect the mood of the painting? 

Escorting Ruth, 1988, 36X48" 
This painting emphasizes the theme of family and communal support in the traditional Gullah life. Such support was considered necessary because it was believed to help ward off evil influences,as can be seen in the image of the pregnant Ruth safely placed between two women companions while the young men steer them safely toward a waiting midwife. A large sweet grass basket is a dominant image in the painting as is the boat. The image of water and its importance to almost every facet of low country life is a recurring theme in Green's work.

The Silver Slipper Club. 1990, Oil on Canvas, 99X67"
Green spent most of his early life in Gardens Corner. While his mother found employment in New York. He lived with his grandmother.  "When I was a kid," Green said, "my grandmother was such an important figure in the community." She was the matriarch of the family. She was a seer of the community. "She believed in having a house as in a house of God, and a house as in a house of the Spirit. She had a nightclub, and it was very important for her to be in between worlds. She would go to church, and she would be in her nightclub. She conducted business of the church, and she conducted the business of the nightclub. In the middle of all of this were these grand kids whom she loved. That's what I learned about life-That you always have to live between worlds." What shapes do you see? What kinds of lines? Flat, wavy, horizontal, diagonal, vertical? Do you see repetition of lines? Shapes? What textures do you see? How does the artist show texture? Artists us line, shape, form and sometimes color to indicate movement. Does he create movement in this painting? If so, how? 

Pride, 1990. Oil on canvas, 72X55"
Green's work comes from the Southern experience. Out of his fond childhood memories come celebrations of life. That is why his painting appears pure, innocent and honest. He pulls the past generations to the present and builds a bridge between the two. In the process, he emphasizes the importance of love, belonging, and a sense of spirituality and work- which for Green are the four most significant elements of the Gullah Community. Why do you think Green painted this picture? What does this picture tell us about the people? Why might someone paint something so ordinary? Does anyone in your family tell stories? 

Daughters of the South, 1993. Oil on Canvas, 72X72"
The whole idea of painting hats is homage to Eloise, Green's grandmother. He seeks to recall the feel, texture and color of a way of life he knows is rapidly disappearing. And quite literally on some of the islands near his mother's home, a a way of life is being bulldozed out of existence in the name of progress: condos, highways, fast food chains which is causing displacement of people. What do you think the artist wants to tell us in this painting? How do you think the people feel? How do color, space ans size of the figures affect the mood of the painting? Would you like to spend time here? Why?

White Breeze, 1995, Oil on Canvas, 48X60"
Here we see the connections and contrasts between clouds and a white sheet, land and sky, and women and birds which are painted in the tight detail. The woman stands with pride in humanness and whiteness as she vicariously soars with the crow to new heights in the clouds and cloth. She is in the middle. Green portrays what was once the competition in the countryside- to have the whitest and brightest laundry on the line. He remembers that everyone washed their clothes-the white ones first and next came the colored clothes. As you went down the road one would see all of these wonderful colors blowing in the breeze.

White Scarf, 1995. Oil on Canvas 18X24"
Is there a focal point in this painting? If so, what is it? What are the main colors of this picture? How does it affect the  mood of the picture? What is the significance of the book and its color? What does it tell you about this girl?

*Here is a more info about Jonathan Green. (If you click on the text it will show up as a picture and you can increase the size)