Monet Plants Seeds for Impressionism to Flourish into the Future

I bill myself as Dede Farrar, Impressionist Painter of Animals. It’s got me thinking. Is that accurate? My latest work, as yet untitled, has me thinking, yes. And I look back into the works I’ve created in the past few months and I say yes, again. Why? Because of the use of color, expressive, choppy brush strokes, and the use of the photograph.

 

Impressionism. A style of art loved by many of people of today, NOW. But what did they say back THEN? Claude Monet is credited with really starting the label Impressionism. And it wasn’t him that made that label. It was a journalist dissing his work. Guess we’ve got the last laugh, ey?

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet created 1872 is the first painting to have the label Impressionism stuck onto to it, a dismissive, negatively critical comment by a journalist of the time.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet created 1872 is the first painting to have the label Impressionism stuck onto to it, a dismissive, negatively critical comment by a journalist of the time.

 

Impressionists of the mid 19th Century made a new way of painting using choppy brushstrokes that people could see. It was “fast” painting. Impressionism had to do with light and color. Light is fleeting. If you watch the moon or sun rise you see how fast the light changes. You had to be fast to capture that. Or maybe there was another way. Maybe there was a photo to look at.

 

Back in the late 1860s and early 1870s photography was becoming a new technology more people had access to. Very baaaad news for artists. You see, artists, up to that time period, had earned their living rendering a realistic likeness on what they saw, and what the patron who was paying for it wanted. Who could afford a portrait? Or a girlie girl painting to hang on their private castle bedroom wall? Not people like you and me, regular folk. Rich, nobles and wealthy tradesmen. Yes, I said men.

 

When the camera came along, the lens captured a real likeness. It wasn’t always a pretty likeness. It was what the camera lens saw and nothing more. Real life. That’s what artists had been for—to capture that likeness. Well, not really, because artists are creative and they could make people better looking and more glamorous than in real life. But it took a lot of sittings.

 

The invention of photography could capture a moment. A moment in action. A moment captured forever. Then the artist could take that image and do whatever he pleased with it. Yes I said “he.” There were a few wonderful female Impressionists, like Mary Cassatt, for example. Back to the subject at hand. Stay focused, Farrar.

F Ewe by Dede Farrar created January, 2014. Clearly visible brushstrokes, bright coloring, based on photograph and impression of the moment makes this painting an example of a modern Impressionism. The bighorn sheep wears a tracking collar. Real life moment is shown and the image is not glamorized yet interpreted with the feelings of the artist, another hallmark of Impressionism.

F Ewe by Dede Farrar created January, 2014. Clearly visible brushstrokes, bright coloring, based on photograph and impression of the moment makes this painting an example of a modern Impressionism. The bighorn sheep wears a tracking collar. Real life moment is shown and the image is not glamorized yet interpreted with the feelings of the artist, another hallmark of Impressionism.

 

Some artists just love breaking rules. In the mid 19th century art academies taught “real” artists what was expected of them. But when the camera broke out into wide knowledge, some artists wanted to paint what was actually happening—a snapshot in time, plus they were sick of being kicked out of Academy shows. Japanese printmaking also had a big impact on the Impressionists as the Eastern way of composition was totally different than the European thought about composition. Japanese prints were used as packing materials in many ships bringing spices, tea, other tradable goods from the far East to Europe in the mid 19th century. Eastern composition was “weird,” more like a camera might capture. Major subjects cut off at the borders of the image, diagonal views, skewed perspectives. New idea! To Europeans anyway.

 

Some of the artists in France, including Monet, got sick of being excluded from French Academy shows and therefore, having no way to show anyone their paintings. They started their own art group and started having their own shows. Claude Monets’s Impression Sunrise was the first painting stuck with label Impressionism. We have him to thank for that. Thank you, you rebel Monet.

 

Advertisements

The Egg Sunny Side Up and Hard Boiled

The egg. If we eat the egg the energy contained inside the egg is transferred into our body. If we crack open the egg and let the contents drain out, the energy in the egg is transferred into the soil—or the landfill, its potential wasted, or maybe fertilizing the soil. If the egg is incubated, the energy contained inside grows into another being. No wonder the egg is seen as mystical.

 

In the Christian tradition the egg is seen as a metaphor for resurrection, the act of rising from the dead or returning to life. Resurrection also means the act of bringing back to practice, notice, use or revival.

 

In my most recent painting titled, “Allegory of the Artist,” I used symbols of Easter to tell my story of resurrecting my practice of art. I started this work in March with the promise of spring approaching. It’s been a long, cold winter in South Dakota and the thoughts of a warm spring time with Easter approaching were on my mind. I’m a Christian who doesn’t attend church but believes in the principles of Christianity. I believe in talents as being God given. After giving up practicing art for almost a decade, resurrection of a talent with a lot of hope added is on my mind constantly.

Allegory of the Artist by Dede Farrar, March of 2014. The egg is a hopeful symbol and a point of focus for positive light.

Allegory of the Artist by Dede Farrar, March of 2014. The egg is a hopeful symbol and a point of focus for positive light.

 

 

In “Allegory of the Artist” the fingers in the sky hold an egg, the promise of life, of returning spring, hope for the future. Energy, rays of light intersect on the highlight of the egg.  Light, sun, hope, positivity spread forth from the choppy spring sky with the cross nestled into the clouds. Rays of light shoot from the eyes of the American Jack Rabbit and the Rhode Island Red rooster. Rabbit and chicken are both common in the commercialized presentation of the Easter holiday but with their roots in far deeper meaning beginning with pagan symbols of fertility, and Christian symbols of vigilance against evil and ability to flee from evil. Rabbits also stand for fertility—lots of life to come.

 

The other painting I feature here is titled “Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man” created by Salvador Dali in 1943 as he visited the United States. Of course, 1943 was the height of the struggle of World War II. I admire Dali for his great skill as painter. He is a man, and therefore this painting looks very masculine in my opinion. Dali is known as being a Surrealist painter. Surrealism is an artist’s presentation of realistic images in a way that could not possibly happen in real life and often looks dreamlike or totally irrational. Surrealism didn’t come about until the 20th Century, probably as a reaction to more study of mind and thought processes, like psychotherapy and psychology really coming into their own as a recognized discipline in the earlier parts of the 20th century.

Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man by Salvador Dali, 1943. An ominous egg picture with symbolism depicting thoughts about World War II.

Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man by Salvador Dali, 1943. An ominous egg picture with symbolism depicting thoughts about World War II.

 

In “Geopoliticus Child…” Dali uses the egg to show North America emerging as the preeminent world power during the struggle of World War II with England in its grip. Blood flows from inside of the egg onto the ground showing loss of life that North Americans sacrificed to the world war effort. Really in 1943 no one knew what the outcome of the war would be, so the grip of the figure’s hand over England could be seen as potential rescue or perhaps devastating. Now we know that North America, and the United States in particular, was crucial in assisting England and Europe to save itself from the despotism of Hitler and the Nazis. The color scheme in this painting is not as bright and does not bring forth thoughts of happiness. To me, it is a rather ominous work, as many of Dali’s paintings are. To me Dali is full of rather nightmarish images, but to each his own, just as many people love watching horror flicks.

 

So here we have two presentations of the egg. One as very hopeful and with more of a Christian spiritual slant, the other egg as containing a struggle that no one at the time knew how it would end up being resolved. I wonder how this artist’s struggle will be resolved?