Category Archives: Artistic Style

Light Creates Space, Color, and Perception

Light Creates Space, Color, and PerceptionThe unique art of James Turrell infuses space with light. The artist makes entire rooms, museums, and even craters his canvases by transforming large areas into viewing experiences that manipulate how observers perceive their environments when natural and artificial lights alternate.

Turrell has been experimenting with light since 1966. He seems to be fascinated by the way light impacts how an individual understands space, perception, and even color. In relation, the American artist says this about the miraculous correlation:

“We teach the color wheel, but we really should speak about the light frequencies of each eye, and then the context of vision in which they reach the eye, because that’s how we perceive.”

This post explores James Turrell’s approach to art by briefly exploring how light manipulates space, how light changes perception, and the necessary relationship between light and art. At the conclusion, there are resources to inspire further exploration into this intricate subject.

Light Manipulates Space

Most people understand that light affects the way we see color and perceive the world around us. But is it comprehensible that light can manipulate space regardless of physical material? Turrell sets out to prove that a limited and definite space can be created without manmade parameters, like those set up with wood beams, steel rods, or concrete. This is because light itself creates space. When light stops so does vision. And when vision stops, so do the confines of a space. Turrell calls this, “using the eyes to penetrate the space.”

Light Changes Perception

This offers a little help in grasping how the absence or presence of light changes our perception of space. To further explain, Turrell points up. He says this earthly phenomenon is best understood by looking up to the atmosphere we experience every day.

In the light of the sun, it is impossible to see stars. However, as the sun goes down, an individual’s penetration of vision goes out, and the stars become evident again. Stars, which are constant in placement, are only visible lights when our eyes are able to perceive them as such. This can only happen when sunlight is mostly absent from our view.

Light and Art: A Relationship

Artists have always looked at the world with curious fascination and longing to use light as a means of creating space. This is why, when artists began using lights, shading, and perspective within paintings, the world marveled at how lifelike the images became. The reality is, like Turrell, artist have always seen what does not exist because they have brilliance all their own.

To read more about the effects of life on art, follow the works and study of James Turrell. Here are some helpful links to begin this exploration:

If you enjoyed this Segmation blog post, you are sure to love:

-The Importance of Color Vision and Art

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/paint-by-number-color-vision-effects-art-appreciation/

– Are Your Colors What They Seem to be?

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/are-your-colors-what-they-seem-to-be/

– The Benefits of Making Art Outside

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/the-benefits-of-making-art-outside/

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William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase was born on November 1, 1849, in Williamsburg, Indiana.

His parents had six other children after his birth. William’s father, a businessman, decided to re-locate his family to Indianapolis in 1861, when Chase was twelve. In Indianapolis, the young man was hired by his father to be a salesman.

www.segmation.comChase’s artistic talent was not necessarily nurtured in his childhood. He received early training from Jacob Cox and Baton S. Hays, artists who were self-taught. Though Chase had very humble beginnings, studying under non-notable teachers, he would mature to become a famous impressionist painter.

William Merritt Chase joined the army only to be encouraged by his teachers to seek further artistic training. He received this advice, and in 1869 moved to New York to study with Joseph Oriel Eaton. Soon after, he began studying at the National Academy of Design. Lemuel Wilmarth, pupil of Jean-Léon Gérôme, taught Chase during his time at the National Academy.

Although he grew rapidly under the tutelage of excellent art instructors at the National Academy of Design, Chase moved to St. Louis in 1870 to help support his financially struggling family. He did this by selling still life paintings. While in St. Louis, he was involved in the local art community. He won prizes and awards for the excellence of his works. The time spent in St. Louis was something of a springboard for Chase’s career, as it gave him an opportunity to exhibit his works and showcase his rare talent.

Chase’s artistic talent was evident to all, including the elite and upper class of St. Louis. These wealthy individuals favored Chase and provided a way for him to live in Europe for two years. Their only stipulation was that he would provide them with paintings and assist them in obtaining the European art they desired for their collections.

www.segmation.comThe burgeoning artist’s two years in Europe were excellent for his stylistic development. He enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and was privileged to be a student of Karl von Piloty and Alexander von Wagner. During his time in Munich, Chase sought out friendships with other American artists, including Joseph Frank Currier, Frank Duveneck, and Walter Shirlaw.

While in Munich, William Merritt Chase began to experiment with his artistic style. He painted figurative works in the “loosely-brushed style popular with his instructors.” His painting titled “Keying Up” is an example of his work from this time period (1876). Chase was later awarded a medal for “Keying Up” by the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.WMC001thumb

In 1878 Chase moved to New York and began teaching art. A few years later, in 1886, he married Alice Gerson, whom he had eight children with. Alice, along with two of Chase’s daughters, frequently posed for him.

William Merritt Chase established and instructed at the Shennecock Hills Summer School in 1890. It was at this school, located in New York, that he taught the “plein air method of painting” (meaning he taught his students out of doors). The Chase School of Art was opened in 1896.

His ability to excellently paint many different subjects was one of the defining talents of Chase, the artist. Throughout his life he regularly painted portraits, landscapes, studio interiors, figures, cityscapes, and still life pictures.

On October 25, 1915, the world lost a painter who had contributed much to society. William Merritt Chase passed away in his Town House in New York. He died a well-respected, highly esteemed artist and teacher.
Chase’s New York studio and home (now known as the William Merritt Chase Homestead) are both part of the National Register of Historic Places. Chase is an example of an artist who worked with integrity and relentlessly developed his talent. He is still celebrated to this day.

William Merritt Chase established a school for artists known as the Chase School. He played various roles in his life including an artist, teacher, father, and sophisticated cosmopolitan. Although he worked with all media, he was most talented in oil painting and pastel, as well as watercolor.

He is best known for his portraits, who sitters included important people of the day and also his family members. Locations including Prospect Park, Central Park in New York City, and Shinnecock Hills on Long Island were popular locations for his outdoor paintings.

Patterns includes several self portraits, and numerous portraits including Portrait of a Lady, lady in Pink, Lady in Black, The Blue Kimono, Girl in Red Embroided Jacket, The Mandolin Player, Still Life Fish, At the Seaside, Azaleas, Girl in Japanese Costume, Portrait of Miss Dora Wheeler, and Portrait of Louis Betts.

Do you have a favorite Impressionist Painter? If you could paint an impressionist painting, what color would you choose? Share with Segmation by leaving a comment below.

Sources:

http://www.nga.gov/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Merritt_Chase

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Coming soon: If you love art as well as technology, you won’t want to miss our upcoming blog post about word cloud portraits.

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Seeing the Soul of an Iceberg

Something or someone’s immortalization in a portrait is a testament to that individual or thing’s value and beauty. Down through the years people, some rich, some poor, and some of little consequence in the world’s view, have been captured in portraits. The artists that chose to portray these individuals have each seen something wonderful in their muses, something so worthy of attention that they wanted others to see it too. This is how portraitist Camille Seaman feels about her subjects: icebergs.

For eight years, Camille Seaman depicted icebergs in portraits. She first saw an iceberg on the Weddell Sea on a trip to Alaska. The sight of the iceberg shook Camille to her core and reminded her of her humanity and frailty. It also made Seaman desire to depict these mammoths in her own personal artwork and display them for all to see.

Photographing icebergs has become somewhat of a love affair for Camille Seaman. She doesn’t merely view icebergs as huge hunks of ice, as some do, but rather as living, breathing personalities. Seaman is blessed not to perceive things the way the average person does, or even the typical artist. Rather, she sees the way her grandfather instructed her to.

When Camille Seaman was a child, her grandfather taught her to view nature in a way that was consistent with her tribal heritage. He encouraged her to see the soul of an inanimate object. For example, he taught her to study a tree until it became as familiar to her as a “relative.” Ms. Seaman’s grandfather is partially responsible for her sensitive approach to her artistry and her depiction of icebergs.

Part of an artist’s job is to give people “new eyes” with which to see something. Giving others this gift enables them to venture beyond their own perceptions and journey into new possibilities of truth. An artist can give someone new eyes by presenting a subject in a fresh way. This is what Camille Seaman has done with icebergs, portraying them in such a manner as to give voice to their true personalities. This has helped many individuals see the true beauty and majesty that icebergs possess.

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/icebergs-frozen-in-time-by-portraitist/?hp

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Vintage Typewriters Create Artwork


Can you believe a vintage typewriter created this image?

Believe it. This unique art is made possible by the ingenuity and creativity of one woman: Keira Rathbone.

Keira Rathbone is a vintage typewriter collector, but as you may be able to  tell, her collection of old typewriters is not at home collecting dust. Her vintage machines are put to good use!

The London based artist creates detailed and unique pieces of art with only a piece of paper and a vintage typewriter. Rathbone has thirty typewriters in her collection. This fact alone is impressive, but how she uses these typewriters to create art is even more inspiring.

Rathbone’s style is similar to a sketch.  It has been praised and called distinctly different because she is able to go over the same area of the page multiple times with the typewriter’s keys. She goes over and over a page to create shaded areas and white spaces. Others have claimed that her style resembles a digital art style, ASCII.  But her typed pieces have an additional dimension that hints at a more traditional artistic style.

Another interesting fact about the creative Keira Rathbone is that she does not only work on her typewriters indoors. She ventures out into the world with paper and typewriter in hand. She also wears clothing that reflects the era each typewriter is from. While she works, she chats with those who admire her artistic talent and appreciate the fact that she has saved these vintage machines from extinction. Rathbone has also encountered many who love to reminisce about the glory days of the typewriter.

Are you impressed yet?  If not, this next piece of information is sure to make your jaw drop: Keira Rathbone doesn’t begin any of her typed pieces with a sketch or an outline.  She has a natural eye for how to shade a space on a page to create an image.  She enjoys the challenge of creating pieces of art on various models of vintage typewriters.

In a day and age when we constantly seem to be doing away with the old, it is nice to know that these vintage typewriters are serving an artistic purpose and delight so many – especially Rathbone.

Do you have a unique interest? Can it become your artistic style?

Read more about Keira Rathborne and her vintage typewriter art here: http://weburbanist.com/2012/04/07/typewriter-artist-creates-prints-one-line-at-a-time/

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