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Posts Tagged ‘Painting Tricks’

I have been doing some fascinating GOOGLING, on the subject of the revered Old Masters of art.  According to one well-known contemporary British artist*, the Old Masters were not really masters at all:  they were just a bunch of tricksters.  This critic claims that they only pretended to paint by “eyeballing” live subjects in their studios, that no human could ever paint like the Masters appeared to paint from observation—and that instead they achieved their art by means of secret pre-camera optical devices, boxes with pinpoint holes in them, etc.

How ridiculous, to the point of being sick!  The claim that the Masters were tricksters is as outrageous as to say that Bach didn’t really compose his classic works from his innate genius and disciplined musical studies, but rather that he used some kind of pre-electronic musical gimmick.  Such buffoonery ranks with the spurious “experts” who expound that Shakespeare didn’t really write all of his plays—a claim which drives us lovers of classical literature nearly off the wall with anger.

One cogent writer on the issue of debunking the Old Masters states that denying the reality of genius (in any field) reflects the current trend to bring every human down to the same level.  This trend is a denial of the truth that we are made in the image of a Creative God—and a mockery of the fact that each one of us is unique.  We are not stamped out of the same mold, randomly produced by a chaotic Big Bang!

I respect and acknowledge the genuis behind the Old Masters of art just as I acknowledge the genuis of Shakespeare and Milton, Bach and Mozart, Da Vinci and Einstein.  And it should not take a genuis to realize that there are exceptional individuals in every arena of human endeavor, manifested in diverse areas from the galleries of Le Louvre to the playing field of the Green Bay Packers!  (This Wisconsin person had to put that in!  🙂 )

Having said all that, I’ll move from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Unlike the Old Masters, my art is a bag of tricks.  Whereas there is such a thing as genius in art, there is also such a thing as folk art and simply having fun.  Art is big! Fortunately there’s room for anyone who wants to grab a paint brush and go for it.

The above “not masterpiece” is full of fun tricks which anyone can perform:  1)  The speckles (on the gold background and in the reddish flowers) were created by rubbing water soluble colored pencils on an emery board nail file and letting the grit fall on wet paint.  2)  Colored pencils were also used to shade around the letters, inside the handle of the jug on the right, between flower petals, etc.  Then a wet brush loaded with paint of a similar-in-range color transformed the pencil marks and blended them into the actual paint.  3)  Those charming blotches on the (presumed to be) teapot at the left were achieved by dabbing a balled-up tissue on parts of the wet paint.  4)  The letters were templates from a child’s magnetic alphabet.  5)  The bird’s nest type thingy on the lower right of the painting was formed by that completely no-brain device known as a stencil.

So you see, I am not an Old Master (although I am fairly “old”).  I’m just a happy folk artist with a bag of tricks!”

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

*For more on the ridiculous mockery of the Old Masters, you can GOOGLE:  “Why David Hockney Should Not Be Taken Seriously”, by Brian Yoder.

And here is yet another “artist in training” at my dining room table atelier:  our great-grandson James.  Who knows?  Perhaps he’ll move beyond the tricks and become one of the “greats”!  ↓  Human potential is an awesome thing!

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