Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Vietnamese Painting - Brushing Excellence On Canvas

There is nothing more beautiful than an artwork that stimulates aesthetic pleasure. Such aesthetic experience acts as a catalyst to enhance our happiness. Earlier, the classical works of art drew heavily from nature's beauty. But of late, modern art work chiefly draws inspiration from the mundane life of man. In other words, modern art captures both material and the spiritual on an equal plane. This trend of depicting the various aspects of human life is clearly evident in the paintings of Vietnam.

From a historical perspective, Vietnamese painting is not a very old art form. It's been only seventy years since the first official art academy of Hanoi, the Ecole de Beaux Arts, opened its doors to local students. However, the cultural origin of Vietnamese painting dates back much further. There has been a consistent effort on part of the Vietnamese people to devote themselves in serious artwork. When the first lessons in line, drawing, anatomy and landscape painting were offered in the early decades of the twentieth century, the art students began taking inspiration from the religious and cultural background of Vietnam. These new learners of art sketched their native villages and fellow farmers in the canvas following the lacquer and silk traditions. During the French colonial period, the students of art took to painting readily as they already possessed the materials needed to create a painting. Once the means to convey their artwork was secured, the new generation of painters began to produce an amazing variety of exquisite paintings. The vision of the past has changed but even today, artists of Vietnam keep on drawing inspiration from the past.

Connoisseurs of art, especially from the West, often complain of the deep influence of Europe in Vietnamese paintings. However, it is surprising to note that modern Vietnam artists still prefer to paint in the age of digital images and multimedia! Yet, if we analyze closely the environment in which the Vietnam artists live and work, we would conclude that painting suits the sensibilities of the Vietnamese artists as it incorporates the century-old cultural and religious motifs of the people. Besides, this expression of art is most immediately available to them. The European touch in Vietnamese painting is by no means accidental, but deliberate. A majority of Vietnamese painters love and appreciate the Western art and hence try to apply some of their techniques in their paintings so that the world would look up to them and give equal weightage to Vietnamese art. The West has not inspired the subject matter of Vietnamese paintings; rather the latter conveys the intricacies of the cultural and social life of Vietnam. Vietnamese artists, like other artists of the world, are moved by their environment and have taken recourse to a delicate way to voice their sentiments through color and poetic imagery.

For a great many years, Vietnamese painters struggled to give free rein to their expression on canvas. Lack of opportunities and adequate funds had created great obstacles to the success and recognition of Vietnam painting. Scarcity of information from the West set their imagination free and Vietnamese art thrived with luxuriance. Overcoming all these obstacles, the Vietnam artists showed their skill to paint under any adverse circumstances. Their resilience and determination are clearly mirrored in the originality and freshness of Vietnamese paintings.

Suzanne Macguire is an Internet marketing professional with expertise in content development and technical writing in a variety of industries.

Vietnamese Fine Art

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Paint Brushes Are An Investment

Brushes are the most important painter's tools. Buying brushes is not just a random decision, but one that should be made carefully. Selection of brushes is personal and is based upon needs and level of investment desired. Because a brush will only last as well as it is cared for, proper cleaning and storage of brushes is probably even more important than the decision of what brush to buy. Because no matter how wonderful a brush is, if it is abused it will quickly be discarded.

Types of Brushes

The hair of the brush is what primarily denotes what type of brush it is and it's purpose. Although natural hair brushes usually cost more, they do not all create the same results. Sable hair brushes are probably the most popular brushes. They are soft haired brushes that move the paint easily and keep their point. Sable brushes are great for watercolor. Hog hair is also used to make brushes, but has a very different effect with media. Hog hair brushes are stiff brushes for heavy paint and will leave brush strokes behind. They have spilt ends and hold more paint and are used in oil painting. Synthetic brushes are also common for artists to use. These are generally less expensive, but still produce quality work. Paint brushes are an artist tools and several different types are needed depending on the project and desired result sought. More expensive brushes keep their shape after a stroke and do not fishtail or bend when paint is applied to paper or canvas and therefore have a more professional result. Less expensive brushes may be suited for some jobs, especially when used in crafts and with products like glue. The other factor identifying a brush is the handle. Traditionally long handled brushes are used for oil painting because the artist is standing at an easel. Shorter handled brushes are for watercolor and acrylics because the artist is sitting and painting in greater detail.

Cleaning and Care for Brushes

Because how well a brush is cared for effects how long the brush will last, extra effort put in to properly care for these important tools will be well worth the time. All brushes will eventually wear out and will then need to be replaced, but lengthening the span of time before that is necessary will help the budget. Cleaning is crucial to extending the life of a brush. Each brush should be cleaned immediately after use. Use a mild soap and clean in the palm of the hand. Rinse thoroughly and when water runs clear, lay the brush flat to dry. It should not be left vertical to dry as this will cause water to be pulled into the handle and will ultimately cause the handle to loosen and the brush will no longer be usable. Paint brushes should never be left sitting in a glass of water. Other than the effect it will have on the handle, it will crush the bristles. If the brushes are soaked, use a brush container that will suspend them and only fill the water to soak the bristles and not the ferrule or handle. After the paint brush is cleaned and dried it may be stored upright, or in a flat brush holder. Cleaning brushes is not only done at the end of a painting session, but should be done as needed. As a person is painting, effort should be made to keep paint away from the ferrule of the brush, but inevitably will naturally be drawn up the brush. As the paint gets close to the ferrule, it should then be cleaned. This is to prevent the paint from getting under the ferrule and drying there. Natural hair brushes also need to be conditioned on a regular basis. There are paint brush soaps that come with conditioners in them, or conditioner can be bought separately.

Make the investment of brushes one that will be used wisely. The results that a good paint brush produces are worth the initial cost, but only if the effort is made to care for them and extend the value of the investment.

Emma Snow is a creator at Craft Kits leading portals for crafts and creative individuals.

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Acrylic Painting Basics

Today I am going to talk primarily about working with acrylics. Now, I would guess that oils are much like acrylics - at least in the way I like to apply them and in the end result I like to achieve. I know that they can be applied more like watercolors, too, but that's not how I prefer to use them. I will say right off that what I like most about the acrylics is also what I like least. They do dry very quickly and since patience isn't one of my virtues, that's what I like about them. However, on warm days, or if I want to paint outside, they really dry too quickly. But, I keep a spray bottle of water handy to wet them on the palette and I have found that some of the mediums you can buy really slow down the drying time, too. Plus, I like the look of the gloss medium added to the paints in many situations. Over the last couple of years I have started to use one of the "stay wet" palettes that can be purchased in most art supply stores or from catalogs, and they really do work wonderfully in the studio for extending the life of the acrylics you already have on your palette.

I don't buy any one brand of acrylic paint over the other, but do prefer some colors in one brand over another. For example, Sap Green in Liquitex is a lot different than Sap Green in the Dick Blick brand. I'm not sure why. I don't usually get the student grade paints in ANY brand, however. I like working with a limited palette, mixing my own colors, starting with an underpainting and using the color wheel when deciding on colors for my paintings. I think all of these will make wonderful starting places for topics in the future.

As far as painting surfaces go, I like to experiment there, too. I've tried a lot of different canvas types, and sometimes I gesso them myself, even if it says its already been done. I do like the portrait grade canvas better, especially when I am doing people, as it is much smoother. I also like painting on gessoed hardboard and even Pastelbord, which has recently become a personal favorite of mine! This is a rather unusual surface, but one you acrylic painters really should try if you haven't yet!

For examples of this fantastically versatile medium visit to view pieces done on the various surfaces discussed in this article.

Well, this is a start. I've enjoyed discussing acrylics in this very basic way and look forward to breaking down the different elements in more detail in the future.

Debbie Hughbanks

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Greatest Renaissance Painter and Engraver of All Time

When Albrecht Durer died in 1528 he left some 80 paintings, over 100 etchings, about 200 wood carvings and 800 drawings behind as his cultural legacy. His artwork has deep stories and hidden inner meanings of which many have only been theorized on. Below are some of his works and the theories on the meaning behind them.

Knight, Death and the Devil (also known as The Rider):

An engraving carved in 1513 by Durer, Knight, Death and the Devil, also known as The Rider, represents an allegory on Christian salvation. Unflustered either by Death who is standing in front of him with his hour-glass, or by the Devil behind him, an armored knight is riding along a narrow defile, accompanied by his loyal hound. This represents the steady route of the faithful, through all of life's injustice, to God who is symbolized by the castle in the background. The dog symbolizes faith, and the lizard religious zeal. The horse and rider, like other preliminary studies made by Durer, are derived from the canon of proportions drawn up by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Knight and the Landsknecht (Soldier Servant):

This woodcut was created in about 1497. It has been suggested by Friedlander (universally recognized as the greatest expert on Dutch and German paintings) that the subject is Saul on the way to Damascus to pursue the Christians who had fled Jerusalem.

Three Peasants in Conversation (Marketplace Peasants):

This scene has been connected by a number of commentators to the peasant uprisings of the period. It should be remembered, however, that Durer's wife Agnes sold her husband's woodcuts and engravings in a stall in the market square of Nurenberg , as well as at the fairs in other cities. Peasants were ever-present at these events, as vendors as well as buyers. The sword which the pheasant uses for a cane is similarly used as a satirical accessory in Martin Schongauer's engraving, Pheasant Family Going to to Market.

This engraving is related to the Sol Justitiae and to the Rustic Couple in technique, especially in the horizontal shading devoid of crosshatching.

The original plate was sold to Prince Dolgorouky, a Russian collector, in 1852. Its present wherabouts is not known. An impression of this engraving is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Peasant Couple Dancing (also known as Dancing Peasants):

There are different views and theories on what Durer intended by this image.

Koehler describes this print succinctly as follows: For individuality and for the happy expression of a transient mood in face as well as pose, these Dancing Pheasants are quite as much without rivals in Durer's oeuvre as knight, Death, and Devil.

Wolfflin comments that in spite of the elephantine stamping of their feet, the impression and the form are magnificent. The pheasants are not shown sneeringly as earlier, but as a character study.

Tietze finds that the group fills the picture area in a magnificent manner and, in spite of the massiveness, a feeling of their being swept off their feet is conveyed.

But Panofsky, in contrast, commented that it is a spectacle of statuesque heaviness and immobility; unambitious in content.

Evelyn Whitaker writes articles for German Toasting Glasses which specializes in custom engraved wedding gifts from Germany.

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Acrylic Painting - Color Palette Basics

Today I am going to be talking about choosing your palette of colors, color mixing, and how I choose to apply my acrylics to my painting surface of choice.

I don't have a very extensive array of acrylic paints, but I think it is a lot of fun mixing colors. I think the color wheel is a good tool and starting off place for me (as well as for most artists, whether a beginner or professional), and experimentation is great fun and as artistic expression. I also read a lot of books and talk to a lot of artists to get hints and suggestions about everything from all directions. I think that is helpful to us all and I highly recommend it!

For starters, as a "color basis 101", I have been told to use black very sparingly, and I do. If I do use anything close to that, if is "Payne's Gray", but usually I like to mix complimentary colors for the darker areas and try to put lots of colors in my shadows. This really adds a lot of interest and beauty to your painting. Besides, if you are a true observer of nature you will notice that shadows are not black at all, but are made up of multiple and varied colors, values, and hues. Try to be a great observer!

I choose to paint with a pretty limited palette and mix my paints to achieve the effects that I want to achieve. This accomplishes several things. This will save you money (if that is a concern of yours) by limiting the number of tubes of paint you are required to purchase. This will teach you a lot about mixing paint to achieve the colors you require ( by referring to the color wheel). I feel that your colors are much more stunning and true to life by painting this way than using colors straight from the tube, anyway. I never use any colors directly from the tube anymore. And, by mixing your own colors, you will have a continuity through out your painting that can only be achieved in this way.

When working with a painting that will have a large amount of green in it, I like to first start out by placing a wash of red over the entire canvas (surface). Red being the complement of green "greys" down the green making it a more natural color in the end. This is a great tip to use when painting landscapes, etc. that will require a lot of greens, but that you don't want to have a harsh, or "kelly" green look to them. Another thing that I would definitely suggest is to mix your own greens (using blues and yellows) instead of a tube green - unless you go to a sap green or one of the already "greyed down" greens. Even those greens I mix with something else, I as said, previously.

I almost always like to do a wash on the surface before starting the painting as this does give a nice sense of cohesion to the painting. I have been told by a lot of artists that they feel the same way. Many times this is a complimentary color that will come shining through the subsequent layers of paint.

I usually start at the back of the painting and work toward the foreground saving the greater detail and stronger colors for the main subject and the aforementioned foreground area. When painting masses, such as muscles on an animal for example, these are usually darker areas and I start with these first when starting the subject. Then I work in many, many layers until finally reaching the lighter areas and highlights. My paintings always consist of multiple layers of glazes and/or washes - many times in the double digits - in order to achieve the effect that I wish to achieve.

Most importantly when working with colors, as with any aspect of painting, is to have fun with it! I think that if you do that it really comes through in your work. For examples of my acrylic paintings please visit I hope you can see that I have a passion about my work and that the "fun" I spoke of is coming through in my own pieces!

Debbie Hughbanks

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Sir Winston Churchill - The Painter

It was the summer of 1927. King George V was in Scotland at his northern home, Balmoral Castle. Staying with him for a few days was his Finance Minister (or "Chancellor of the Exchequer"). While most visitors enjoyed the outdoor life of the Scottish countryside, during this visit the minister spent much of his time indoors with canvas, oils and brushes.

Winston Churchill painting at Miami Beach, FL. Photo by Bettman/Contributor, via Getty Images

The king had an idea. He was sponsoring a charity auction in the neighbourhood of the castle, and was on the lookout for good items for the sale. Now he knew where he could get something that would raise a fair price. "Minister, how would you like to donate your painting to the local charity?" Although by no means an authoritarian monarch, a request from the king was as good as a command, and duly the painting was sold to the highest bidder, raising a sum equivalent to around $10,000 today.

Shortly afterwards the Chancellor joked in a letter to the king's private secretary that maybe he should sell some more paintings to raise funds to reduce the national debt. More than sixty years later the story was included in a book about her father's paintings by the youngest daughter of Sir Winston Churchill.

Churchill's paintings (more than five hundred of them over a forty year period) were suited to far more than charity auctions. From Paris galleries to Royal Academy exhibitions in London his works were given honoured place - frequently submitted and displayed under pseudonyms to avoid any favouritism.

How good was he? Maybe we can assess that by the fact that one leading expert almost succeeded in have a Churchill painting excluded from the judging of a prominent amateur competition because, he said, although it was anonymous it was so easily identifiable as having been painted by a professional!

Churchill first took up his hobby only at the age of forty, when he was out of office with more time on his hands, and needed some form of therapeutic relaxation. From then onwards, almost wherever he went, either on private or public business, his artist's kit went with him. In the 1950s an exhibition of more than fifty of his works toured the world. Today there still exist hundreds of his impressions of places he visited, many of them now on display at Chartwell Manor, his former country home which is in the care of the National Trust and open to the public.

Our web site explores the career of this remarkably talented human being and provides links to books on varied aspects of Churchill's life and work, including many available from our own stock.

David Murray has been an adviser on managerial and ethical issues to companies, governments and voluntary agencies for almost thirty years, and as a speaker has addressed appreciative audiences on every continent except Antarctica. He has also been an avid book collector for more then forty years. and now advises the family book-selling business, including acting as creator of its new initiatives, and

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