Art Doesn’t Transform. It Just Plain Forms

I’d always wanted to know the difference between a mark that was art and one that wasn’t. ~ Roy Lichtenstein

I’ve only completed the second unit of the online Illustration project I’m doing.  This is the third interpretation of Broncia Koller-Pinell’s nude portrait of Marietta.  A Klimt version during his golden phase was considered, mostly because Egon Schiele was his student and because Koller-Pinell’s work had a considerable influence on Klimt as well as Schiele. 

Eventually I decided that I’ve filled the brief to choose a painting that excites me and reflect on how different artists may have interpreted it.  I think I’ve also ‘let go and experimented without fear and played, simplified and allowed myself to feel the work using different material and techniques.’

So this is my third and final image, depicting my assumption of the approach of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.  His vivid, sensational work draws on popular imagery from advertising, comics and cartoons, with their easily strong, comprehensible lines, flattened designs  and strict colour pallet of primary colours.  His instantly recognisable two-dimensional imagery is known for colouring much of his canvas, and especially women, with his signature Benday dots.

His female nudes referenced 1960’s comic book caricatures, with his compositional technique of contrasting stark geometrical shapes and lines with the curvier form of the female body.

His artworks looked machine-made, but were carefully designed and rendered by hand.

The above image was created digitally.  I wasn’t able to reproduce the Benday dots to produce tones, but I had a go. I’ve made her look like she has a very bad dose of chicken pox, but she’s still smiling!

ILLUSTRATION: Brooding in a corner somewhere between art and graphic design….

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” ~ Charles Mingus, American jazz musician.

 

The second unit of my first online illustration course, was unexpectedly, both an intellectual and a creative challenge.  I’ve had to think back to school history of art lessons, analysing paintings and artists – it gave my  brain a much-needed nudge.

I was to choose a painting that excites me for some reason.

Then, I was to try out different versions of the same image, but demonstrate how different artists would have interpreted it, using a variety of materials and techniques.

The initial painting was to be faithful to the work and its meaning.

I chose an enchanting nude portrait of Marietta 1907, by female Jewish artist Broncia Koller-Pinell. I knew nothing about it or her until I stumbled  upon it when it was tacked on at the end of an Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt exhibition at the National Gallery in 2014. There is nothing quite like seeing it in real life – it blew me away, I gazed at it for a long time and couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.

The portrait of this lovely seated female nude has a simple L-shaped composition, with little attention given to the background other than graphic elements; blocks of flat, pale colour and a gold rectangle behind her head.  In this way, she gives the nude particular significance, focusing entirely on the harmonious lines of the subject’s body.  Paintings of nude women were still considered scandalous in 1908, especially when made by a woman.  Although nude, there is nothing provocative in this pose.

I was drawn by her efficient use of line, conveying the contours of the body.  There is much information and intent in each line, which limit the functions to construction and not description of specific anatomical data.  The fluid, precise, pared back line defines the edges of the form, effectively creating the structure of the body, traces contour and leads the eye from one part of the work to another.  They have their own merit.  They inform the rise and fall of the surfaces as the line travels over the breasts, the rib cage, down to the navel, over the abdomen and finally, down to the pubic area.  They describe the mass and volume of the form.  Every single mark is intentional.

Herewith my quick watercolour, attempting to be faithful to the original painting.

This was to help me unconsciously assume the structure of the work and its meaning.  A copy of the original is below, which was a postcard bought at the exhibition.

Creativity is intelligence having fun!

The traditional role of the Illustrator lies in the visual narrative, it is a practice with its roots in storytelling.”  ~ Marshall Arisman

To shake up my creativity, I’ve signed up for some online illustrations courses, the first of which is both more difficult and enjoyable than anticipated.

Unit one required me to create an illustration from random items seen at a flea market.  As Lockdown is in progress, nipping off to Portobello Road market was replaced with online searches.

Stalls crammed with worn teddy bears and others stacked high with gaudy crockery, I decided to create an illustration for children, showing teddies attempting to climb into a teacup. 

Indecision meant that both a watercolour and a digital version of the teacup were created.

Drawing hyperactive teddies proved more difficult than I’d imagined, but I got there in the end.

Zazzle Dazzle Greetings Cards – Making Art Pay

I don’t have any controversial unmade beds nor hideous dead creatures suspended in formaldehyde to flog – and I don’t want my art just sitting around taking up shelf space – so as passion and creativity won’t generate an income, I’m commercialising; selling (very cheesy) greetings cards and other merchandise on the internet. This allows me to paint and draw what and when I want without pressure.

June-Malones_zazzle©lcards

Initial enthusiastic research rapidly dwindled into bewilderment and I had to enter a darkened room for a little lie down.

I’m currently limited to creating for greetings cards and various items such as t-shirts as my technical ignorance regarding converting images to acceptable vector file formats excludes me from contributing to Stock sites for now.

Being under no illusion, I admit my cards aren’t particularly original and realise that just because I’ve decided to put them out there doesn’t mean people will actually buy them; I’m a small voice in a very crowded room.  So definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme.  Nevertheless, even a few pennies here and there, must be better than a deft boot to the derrière.

Here is a link to the first site – my ** Zazzle store front… which will be regularly replenished.

One benefit of shopping here is that nobody will have to endure “All I want for Christmas” played on a perpetual loop just because it’s November.

Perseverance!  I’ll let you know how I get on.

** I closed my Zazzle shop in March 2017.

Christmas comes every year…thankfully only once!

Ok, I give in…I have embraced the whole twinkly palaver and descent into mild over-stuffed hysteria that is Christmas.  I have made my own card.

The halls are decked, tinsel tamed, bells jingled, mince pies baked and I have Santa’s mail-order number on speed dial.  I’ve refrained from scowling when every store assaults my ears with Christmas muzac playing on an endless loop.  Three cards have been received already – two from the Chinese takeaway.

The only problem is that red fluffy bits of marabou feather trim have migrated to every item of clothing and room in the house – I’m literally spitting feathers!

Wishing you all a happy, sparkly and peaceful Christmas.  See you next year.

Punny?

This little watercolour painting was my attempt at humour.  It was a birthday gift for my youngest step-daughter who runs her own personal training business.

After the picture was left to dry on a table in another room  I forgot all about it until I overheard two teenage friends of my son talking and realised they were discussing it.  One lad obviously didn’t get the joke as the other said “That’s a trainer, see?  And it’s making personal remarks to the weights – the trainer is telling the weights that they’re dumb”.  He still didn’t really understand it.

So I thought it would be prudent to include his explanation just in case my sense of humour is less quirky than I’d imagined and is far more strange than is conventional.

Market Mayhem

I HATE SELLING!  I’ll happily draw and paint for days, but detest marketing the completed picture.  Just deciding on a price makes me squirm.

So who knows why I’ve set up shop on Etsy?  It’s a shop with nothing to sell yet.  My head throbs from thinking what to write on the profile page and I may never wade through the slew of advice on how to make my stuff sell over the million and one other Etsy-ites doing exactly the same thing.

Last week I designed five tea towels.  (You can see more detail via the ‘Digital’ page if you click on each one.)

The printing quote was inhibiting and necessitated orders of 150 of each.  The vision of me trying to live amongst floor-to-ceiling piles of toppling, unsold tea towels wasn’t attractive.

So a quick rethink later and the current plan is to paint a few quirky greeting cards and offer commissioned portraits to see whether anyone is mad enough wants to pay for them.

Next week, who knows?  I wonder what Wonder Woman would do?

Pleased with this I am

I wanted to say something fascinating and existential about this picture but am too tired from focusing on drawing with a mouse instead of a pencil and I think my computer may be running a temperature.

Being too impatient to closely follow rules in instruction books, I applied my usual trial and error approach by throwing myself at Photoshop and…yes it hurt, but I’m taking antibiotics for it.

Anyway, PROGRESS!

You can probably hear me patting my own back from where you are.

I’m pleased with it – did I mention that before?