Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spotlight on Joan Miró

“The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later.” ~ Joan Miró

Joan Miró was born April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Spain. Son of a goldsmith mother and watch-making father, he was encouraged to go into business at an early age. Miró was drawn to the arts though. He acquiesced by attending both business school and art classes at La Escuela de la Lonja. It proved to be the art that won out though. Leaving the business world behind,  Miró continued his art lessons and was rewarded by the first solo exhibition of his works in 1918 at the Dalmau Gallery.

The Farm -1922
With a taste of the art world, Miró decided to expand his horizons and visited Paris in 1920. It was here that he met Pablo Picasso and was introduced to the Cubist movement. He also met the likes of André Masson, Pierre Reverdy and Tristan Tzara, who would come to be his friends, confidantes and influential on his artwork over the years. His earlier Fauvist style, now showed signs of these influences and by 1921, he had the first exhibit of his works in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne.

Carnaval de Arlequin -1924
Miró was never one to settle into a rigid style though, so as time marched on, so too did his artwork. He divided his time between Paris and Spain, drawing on his Catalan roots, Fauvism, Cubism, and gradually showing an influence from Surrealism. In fact, by 1924 he joined the Surrealist group and exhibited with them at the Galerie Pierre in 1925.

La Femme Angora - 1969
This change in style saw Miró drifting away from traditional mediums and start exploring other art forms. He began experimenting with collage on almost any surface he could get his hands on, including paper, copper and sandpaper. He tried his hand at lithography, etchings and painting other surfaces, such as stones and other found objects. He pulled away from the very idea of the frame that surrounded a painting in fact and while subject matter could still be found in his work, landscape was gone.

Dona i Ocell - 1982
While Miró embraced more sculpture and public works in his later years, he is credited with painting over 2000 oil paintings, 5000 drawings and collages, 500 sculptures and 400 ceramics. It wasn't until the 40s that he started working with ceramics, but by the 60s his focus turned to sculpture. His monumental achievements were recognized by galleries and museums around the world, including the Guggenheim.

For this reason, and so many more, he is the focus of this week's Master Series Children's Art Workshop held by Budding Artists. Join us for 90 minutes of fun, history and a dash of creativity as we explore the Surreal world and works of Joan Miró. Workshops are held at the London Farmer's Market in London, Ontario at 10:30am and 1pm. Contact Budding Artists today to reserve your child's spot!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Point About Georges Seurat

"Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science." ~ Georges Seurat

Shall we get straight to the point today? We are talking about Georges Seurat. He was a French painter. He was born on December 2, 1859 and he revolutionized the art scene with his new fangled approach to art called Pointillism. In his short 31 years on the planet, he painted over 60 canvases, filled many sketchbooks full of drawings and was instrumental in ushering in Neo-Impressionism. Sadly, he passed away March 29, 1891, but left behind some of the most impressive examples of artwork that exemplified his interest in colour, linear movement, and indeed the science behind art as a whole.

Bathers at Asnières
So what exactly is pointillism and how did Seurat introduce it to the world? While Seurat was encouraged to pursue his artistic interests via relatives, and attended the École des Beaux-Arts from 1878-1879, it wasn't until he struck out on his own that his art blossomed. He discovered the Impressionist painters of the day and realized that he did not have to be limited by rigid academic dictates. It was at this point that he began studying colour, light and began experimenting with tiny brush strokes that evoked a bigger picture when looked at from afar.

The Gardener
In fact, the more that Seurat studied the science behind vision and colour, the more he developed his own style. He used tiny dots of colour, to form his paintings and in such a way added immense depth to his canvases. By 1884, he helped to found the Société des Artistes Indépendants, with artists such as Maximilien Luce and Paul Signac. Signac was to become a good friend of Seurat's and ultimately followed in his artistic footsteps. By the time the two artists exhibited their work in Brussels in 1887, alongside other artists who were also using a pointillist style, they decided to form a new group and called themselves Neo-Impressionists.

Young Woman Powdering Herself
While Seurat continued to paint, disagreements between members of the newly formed Neo-Impressionist movement soon found him withdrawing from the formal group. He met Madeleine Knobloch in 1889 and became smitten with the young, simple woman (who is the model for Young Woman Powdering Herself). The two had a child together, but Seurat suddenly became ill shortly thereafter. He left an unfinished painting ("Circus"), as his last piece before his death. His infant son died shortly thereafter, probably of the same illness (unproven, but quite possibly their deaths due to diptheria). What was not lost though, was a new style of painting that influenced the likes artists to come, such as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Lautrec.

Budding Artists hopes to influence a whole new generation of artists this Saturday April 21st at the London Farmer's Market during our weekly children's art workshop. Georges Seurat will be our Master Artist to explore, as children learn a little art history, have a lot of fun and get to bring home their very own Seurat-inspired artwork made by themselves. Workshops are held at 10:30am and 1pm and run for 90 minutes, so register today to make sure your child gets to enjoy artwork with a point.

I offer you a moment to enjoy and explore one of Seurat's most famous paintings "La Grande Jatte", set to music. Can you remember what movie this famous picture was featured in and who got lost in the little girls face?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Impressions of Claude Monet

Inviting meadows, serene ponds and idle women relaxing in reverie are all images that were caught by the deft hand and delicate impressions from one of France's most renowned painters, Claude Monet. Born in Paris, France on November 14, 1840, Monet was destined to become a Master Painter. By the age of five, his family moved to Le Havre, where he began to show interest in the arts. While his father encouraged the young Monet to go into business, his mother supported his artistic endeavors, so by the time he entered secondary school he was already well versed in drawing caricatures of his fellow students and teachers. With lessons in drawing, from Jacques-Françoise Ochard, his skills further developed, setting him firmly on the path of the life of an artist.

The Rock Needle
And The Porte D Aval
Always preferring to be outdoors, when the young artist met Eugène Boudin in 1856/7 it proved to be providential. Boudin encouraged Monet to paint outdoors or "en plein air", and this style of painting stayed with him throughout his life. Boudin also introduced the use of oils into Monet's repertoire and soon landscapes began to appear in his paintings as well. While the death of his mother devastated the young Monet in 1857, it also propelled him forward in his career. Shortly thereafter, he moved back to Paris and met the likes of Édouard Manet and Camille Pissarro, both of which were to become friends and influencers of his art.

Impression Sunrise
Between 1861-2, Monet joined the military and served in Algiers. Due to poor health, he was discharged from service and returned to Paris, where he began studying under Charles Gleyre. It was during this time that he met Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille, fellow painters that would prove to bring a new style of painting to the art world. With rapid brush strokes and a focus on lighting, which could often only be achieved by painting outdoors, these influential artists were to become the founders of the Impressionistic movement.

Camille aka
The Woman in a Green Dress
Long before the world hailed Monet as a Master Artist, he faced many struggles. While he gained a measure of fame when he had a few pieces selected by the Salons in Paris, a lack of financial stability and depression threatened to erase this budding artist. In 1870, he married Camille Doncieux, who had been a long-time model for many of his portraits. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war forced the newlyweds to flee to England, then the Netherlands, before returning to France in 1871. While his connections in the Impressionist movement grew, the health of his wife failed, and in 1879, Camille died of tuberculosis.

Water Lilies - 1905
Monet was devastated by his wife's death, and vowed to never again live in poverty. He threw himself into his work, entering the most productive phase of his life. He continued to paint en pein air and created magnificent landscapes and still lifes of everything from haystacks to water lilies, some of which today are now worth into the millions of dollars. He made Vétheuil home for a number of years, until he discovered Giverny. It was in Giverny where he finally bought himself a property that allowed him the luxury of painting to his heart's content in his very own gardens long into his years. Despite failing health and vision, this prolific artist painted up to his death on December 5, 1926.

On Saturday April 14, at the London Farmer's Market, you too can be swept away by the light of this Impressionist painter. Claude Monet will be the featured Master Artist in the first session of Budding Artists third Master Series Art Workshops for children. Register your child now for either the 10:30 am or 1pm workshop and expect them to have fun exploring art history, games and of course artistry, as they create their own masterpiece to take home with them. See you then!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Subject I Know Best: Frida Kahlo

Meet Frida Kahlo, born July 6th, 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico. This Mexican artist is well known for her surrealist paintings, but most especially for her self-portraits. Plagued by troubles throughout her life, she still managed to paint 143 paintings of which 55 of those were self-portraits. As she was often bed-ridden, she was
"...the subject I know best",
hence finding herself so often among her portrayals. What was it about her life that led to her inward eye though? Let's take a look...

Self Portrait -1926
Kahlo was a young girl at the start of the Mexican revolution (began 1910) and as such, was often exposed to the violence that occurred outside her door. The "Blue House", her childhood home and residence later in life, may have protected her from some of the ills of war, but it could not protect her from illness, and at the age of six she developed polio. While she survived, Kahlo was to bear the scars of her illness in the form of a thin and stunted right leg. She learned to cover up this deformity, but tragedy was to strike again. On September 17, 1925 Kahlo was in a serious bus accident that left her bedridden for upwards of a year recovering from multiple injuries, that included a fractured spine and collarbone, broken ribs and pelvis, as well as multiple injuries to her right leg and foot. Sadly, her uterus was also damaged in the accident, meaning that at the age of 18, she was humbled by the knowledge that she would never have the opportunity to bear children.

What the Water Gave Me
As doctors questioned whether Kahlo would live, she herself refused to give up. She underwent over 30 surgeries, but took the time while she was recovering to delve into a new talent, that of painting. With her dreams of medical school behind her, she refocused on her artistic endeavours and began to paint portraits of herself, family and various friends. The colour and form were derived from her Mexican roots, but the style was all her own.

Self Portrait - 1940
It was via her budding artistic career that she met Diego Rivera, a well-known local muralist. Despite their difference in size (he was 300lb and she a mere 98lb) and age (he was 20 years her senior), they found themselves quickly entwined and by 1929 they were married, despite her mother's disapproval. While their original interest in art and communism drew them together, their differences made for a volatile union. Both of them had extra-marital affairs (Kahlo with both men and women), that brought them to divorce each other in 1939. It would seem that the old adage of "can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em" was in evidence for this couple though and they remarried again in 1940.

The Love Embrace of the Universe,
the Earth (Mexico), Me,
and Senor Xolotl
Throughout her pain-riddled life, Kahlo turned to the easel to help her through the turbulence. Her personality was large and flamboyent, as was so often portrayed on her canvases. She drew on images from her Mexican culture, as seen in the variety of monkeys, birds and brightly coloured flowers that graced her paintings. Often enough, her brooding eyes were the first draw for the viewer though. While she had various showings of her work in the USA and Europe, it wasn't until 1953 that she had her first exhibition of her work in her native land. While time would bring more fame to this spunky Mexican artist, her life was cut short by her death on July 13, 1954.

This weekend, Kahlo's fame lives on as Budding Artists features her in their Children's Art Workshop at the Western Fair Farmer's Market. Register your child today for either the 10am or 1pm 90-minute workshop, so that they can explore her style while creating artwork all their own. See you then!