Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunflower Inspiration

Sunflowers are a frequent subject of art and a source of inspiration for artists. Beginners and masters, painters and graphic artists depict sunflowers on their pictures.

Sunflowers in Symbolism 
Sunflowers' heads follow the sun and looks like the sun due to its colors and shape. People usually associate sunflowers with warmth and adoration. In heraldry sunflowers symbolize sunshine, prosperity and peace. Psychologists noticed that watching them help people to cope with stress and depression.

Famous Sunflowers
The two most famous artists who depicted sunflowers probably were Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.
Oscar-Claude Monet, a famous French artist, painted his sunflowers by oil on canvas in 1881. At present, the picture is located in New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Oscar-Claude Monet. Bouquet of Sunflowers. 1881.
Metropolian Museum of Art, New York.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch post-Impressionist, left for us several sunflower still lifes.

Vincent Van Gogh. Four Cut Sunflowers. Oil on Canvas. 1887.
Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo.

Vincent Van Gogh. Vase with Twelve Sunflowers. Oil on Canvas. August, 1888.
Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

Vincent Van Gogh. Vase with Twelve Sunflowers. Oil on Canvas. August, 1888.
Located in London National Gallery.

Vincent Van Gogh. Sunflowers. Oil on Canvas.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

How to take a photo of a picture

Taking photos of pictures is quite different from taking photos of people, nature and other objects. A photo taken by an unexperienced photographer can spoil all impression of a picture and even Photoshop will not help to correct the image. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use help of a professional to take a photo. Anyway, if you have decided to take a photo by yourself, here some basic advices on how to make it.

  • Pictures of a size less then A4 can be scanned. Scan preserves all colors and details of a picture. You can easily use it later for uploading to Internet and printing.
  • Take a photo of your picture outdoors during day time. Artificial light at home is not enough to take a quality picture.
  • Disable flash. Never use flash for picture shooting as it illuminates some parts of a picture more than needed.
  • Disable time and date display.
  • Use a tripod. It will help you to avoid the effect of shaking hands.
  • The camera has to be directed to the center of the picture and strictly perpendicular.
  • Do not take a shot from a very close distance. Fix camera few meters from the picture and zoom it. 
  • Before taking a shot, make sure that no shadows drop on the picture.
One more advice: always keep quality photos of all your pictures. You never know then you may need them.

See also:
Fujifilm FinePix S1800 12.2 MP Digital Camera with 18x Wide Angle Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom 
and 3-Inch LCD
Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch Articulating LCD
Nikon Coolpix L22 12.0MP Digital Camera with 3.6x Optical Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to choose a picture for children room

If you decided to decorate your kids’ room by yourself, you need to know how to choose pictures for it. There are many aspects of this task like color, subject, size, place and cost.

Have a look at your kid’s room. What colors dominate in its design and furniture? Determine three main colors and try to choose a picture in the same color spectrum. For example, if the main colors are green, orange and red, do not choose a picture, where the dominant color is pink, it will not match the interior. You also need to avoid dark images and backgrounds. Most of children like pictures with vivid colors and clear images. They like to see clearly what is depicted on a picture, not to guess and imagine. Otherwise they can imagine something, you never wanted them to.

Subject of a picture for children room

If your child is grown up enough allow him to choose a picture by himself. Boys usually like cars, trains, planes, etc. Girls like flowers, animals, dolls… 
Never place scary pictures in your kid’s room, even it depicts a Halloween pumpkin. Children have very vivid imagination. They can imagine something even scarier than you can see on that picture and it may cause such problems as insomnia and nerve disorders. For the same reason psychologists recommend to avoid placing in the kid's room pictures with human faces.

Picture size and place

Picture size depends on empty space available and zones separation. For example, if you have only a bed next to a wall, you can put a large picture on it (for example, 50x30 cm). If you have sleeping and studying zones along one wall, you can put two small pictures, one above each zone. If you decide to put different pictures on opposite walls, use pictures of different sizes and colors. For example, you can hang one large picture on one wall and two small on the other one.

Picture price
High quality pictures for children rooms are really expensive and their price can reach up to a thousand dollars. It is up to you to decide whether you want to invest such an amount into a picture for your kid. The positive thing is that quality pictures help children to develop good taste and understanding of aesthetic beauty. In addition, expensive pictures can be transferred from generation to generation in your family and become a family tradition. Another choice is to buy a picture print or a poster. It is much, much cheaper of course and can save you a lot of money for other important things.

See also:
Art4Kids Go Man Go Airplane Mounted Art Print -12"x12"
Art4Kids Mallory Giraffe Mounted Art Print - 08"x20"
Art4Kids Posie Power Mounted Art Print -36"x12"
Art4Kids Laughter Music Mounted Art Print -18"x12"
Art4Kids Fireside Bunnies Mounted Art Print -16"x20"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Contemporary Art History

Contemporary Art period started in the second half of the 19th Century. Usually the beginning of it considered to be the year of 1863, when Salon des Refusés was opened in Paris where all pictures that has been rejected by the official salon were placed. One of the famous artists of that period who exhibited his works in Salon des Refusés  was Edouard Manet. Contemporary art history is divided into several periods. 

Beginning of Contemporary Art, the Second Part of the19th Century

It starts with movements of Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism. 
Romantics brought sensibility and expressiveness into visual art that was rejected and confronted by Classicism that was dominating before. The  most famous romantic artists are Thomas Cole, Francisco Goya, J.M.W Turner, Eugène Delacroix, Samuel Palmer.

A Dream in the Appenine. Samuel Palmer. 1864.

The main idea of Realism was depicting life as it is without idealization. Realists were presenting ordinary people in their usual surroundings. Among important realists in visual art were Rosa Bonheur, Karl Briullov, Ilya Repin, Gustav Courbet.

Horse Fair. Rosa Bonheur. 1835.

Impressionists were the first who started to paint outdoors. They were trying to capture real atmosphere, light effects and colors of nature. They made a revolution in painting techniques by using short brush strokes of pure colors. For example they blue and pink strokes in order to reach to violet color without mixing colors on a palette. Impressionists emphasized colors and visual effects not detailing geometric forms.Among famous impressionists were Claud Monet, Pierre-August Renoir and Berthe Morisot.

Water Lilies. Claud Monet. 1916.

At the end of the 19th Century Post-impressionism and Symbolism appear. Post-impressionists continued using vivid colors, sometimes much more bright that in reality, but paid more attention to forms than impressionists.
Subjects of Symbolists' paintings were closely related to imaginary world like dreams and fairy-tales. Nicholas Roerich, Mikhail Vrubel, Gustav Moreau, Elena Gorokhova were among outstanding representatives of this movement in visual art.

Mikhail Vrubel. Swang Princess. 1900.

Contemporary Art in the Beginning of the 20th Century

Beginning of the 20th Century was marked by such movements as Cubism, Fauvism, Expressionism and Futurism. In 1914, the first surrealistic work was presented by Giorgio de Chirico.

Love Song. Giorgio de Chirico. 1914.

However the beginning of Surrealism is considered the year of 1924 when Surrealist Manifesto was published by Andre Breton. The main idea of Surrealists was irrational combination of imaginary and real world in their works. Other famous artists working in surrealistic style are Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dali.

The Persistence of Memory. Salvador Dali. 1931.

To be continued...