I love art. This despite how little ability for such that I was given.
A Little Dab of Paint
One of my favorite art forms is one of the best loved. Painting.
I couldn’t paint a stick man if I wanted to. Maybe that’s why I have loved to view good painting from others since I was a child.
Can’t do it? Then appreciate those who can.
Much of photography contains the art of painting (compostion,color, etc) within it. “‘Photography allows people like me to “feel” like a painter without the skill of the hand, and probably without the skill of the mind.
Today I have for you some photographs of paintings. Famous ones and the not so famous as well.
Most of my knowledge of current painting is from a technical standpoint. I know there is oil painting, watercolor, acrylics, and water-miscible oils. Going back in time as most of the images below do, oil or watercolor would be the normal vehicles with which to paint.
One of the most famous paintings ever.
The Mona Lisa by Vincent Van Gogh.
I cannot pretend I know what made this painting of a woman with a faint smile, one of this planet’s most famous works of art ever. Things like brush strokes and layers of color matter, as I am told.
I did not say I don’t like this legendary painting because I do. For me and many others over the years, it is about that faint but “all knowing” smile.
What does she know that I do not?
I am not a student of things like postmodernism and the such, although I do like impressionism. Then again to me, most classic painting is almost always in some sense impressionistic.
I know not who painted the work below, or when they did it. I only know that it made me smile. Color and design?
This Martin Koester cityscape with its “fogged” appearance and colorful reflections is obviously that of a modern (automobiles) city but I love it. If this was a photograph of mine I would consider it an abstract although I do not believe it is considered such as a painting.
These next two paintings are from Max Lieberman and MW Turner respectfully. To me they have similar qualities and seem to be period pieces from around the time of the American Revolution. I did not say they were both painted back then, only that they share both the mood and the character of that time.
From none other than Michelangelo. Not the hands, the painting. I actually like this painting and know not why.
The next work of art was painted by Jules Bastien-Lepage in 1877. A couple enjoying a picnic it appears. I like it. I love the feeling of texture that I get here, and I love that he is sleeping as she ponders the ‘meaning of all” so to speak.
It is titled “The Naturalist”.
Boatman and Child is the title of this next painting. I enjoy the subject matter very much as this old boatman tries to calm and shelter the little girl as he paddles his way through a monsoon. Robert Reid painted this in 1888 and I am glad he did.
Is it from real life? I know not, but to me it resembles what I might expect in 1888.
I will finish with another painting of rough seas. A fisherman in a boat, this time with his catch. I feel mood oozing out of this one. The painter was Winslow Homer but I know not when he painted it. To me this painting shows a little less texture, but a whole lot of scary action.
Photography was created because of a desire to copy the real world, but it gives us the tools to use our imagination as well.
I am in no way suggesting that any of the photography below is art. Only that our choices as photographers of light, direction as from above, below, one side or the other, composition, and how we use contrast, a lot or a little, or how we use light to show texture, all coincide with what painters use to cover a canvas.
My favorite season in my home range, is autumn. Quiet and peaceful but often filled with riotous colors.
Soft muted light allows for saturation and often produces powerful color.
That does not mean that we should run from the sun.
Backlight, which can create both bright spots and deep, dark shadows, makes for what I call semi abstracts. You know what the subject is, in this case an autumn tree, but it shares with us the natural God given art of what stands right in front of us. Deep shadows and very bright highlights can live together in harmony.
Among these three fall images, this is my favorite by far. It speaks to me not about autumn per say, but about the graphics that were right in front of me.
As photographers, our job is to recognize what is in front is us, and then to know how to translate that into a photograph.
The play of light and shadow, created via the low in the horizon winter sun, can make for dramatic and very real seasonal images.
Early autumn, with the early light of day, can bare fruit to spectacular combos of sun and shade.
Compose carefully as to balance the image, but let the contrasts give birth to a powerful, interesting range, rather than a boring one. In other words, embrace and “use” the contrast. Allow some shaded areas to go black.
Those same principals apply to the red rock deserts of the American southwest.
Here, the warm rock, the cool blue skies, and those deep shadows combine to add both drama and solace in a single image.
A vicious storm on the horizon, and a lonely desert road that leads us into that storm. Alas we will stay dry and safe, because someone, in this case me, made an image of the event and we need not have been there feel it. Once again contrast, strong but managed within the picture frame, makes an image dramatic.
Of course, sunrise or sunset, is always dramatic. Color, reflected light, and deep shadows.
Sunset, providing low angled, colorful lighting, shows off these pieces of ice that were floating on a quiet pond, and does so with the use of high contrast.
Drama is a valid photographic tool to be used. In the case below it was an autumn field next to a road where some New England Asters were found grabbing the first rays of sun. I clearly exposed for the sunlit flowers, in order to keep the background dark and unobtrusive.
Here the light here is a bit softer. Just the same, there was enough pop to give forth crisp details on the primary subject. An aperture of f16 was good enough to render the subject entirely in focus with all its details, but also keep the background only showing soft greens. That depth of field was shallow enough with my focus on the butterfly, to soften any bothersome shapes of leaves or such that make up that background.
Sometimes you just get lucky.
High bright overcast (bright sun, thin clouds) also gives the photographer the ability to have plenty of light for an image, while keeping the scene with low enough contrast to keep all of the colors vivid and saturated. As was the case in this Tulip garden.
Nothing will ever replace fine art painting. Thank God for that. With that said, those of us who carry our art in our soul but not in our hands, can be thankful for photography. It allows us not only to capture what we see, but to make contemplated, and maybe sometimes artistic choices with all of what we do see around us. It is a method to express ourselves by the use of exposure, direction and color of light, as well as point of focus and even camera settings.
You can be an artist too.