Category Archives: Art

Western Painting

Western Painting

Art Brut-History
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), a French painter and sculptor, invented the word Art Brut, which means ‘Rough Art’ or ‘Raw Art.’ ‘Outsider Art’ is the English synonym for Art Brut, devised by an art critic Roger Cardinal, in 1972. Jean was an avant-garde painter, who departed from the painting world for 17 years, from 1925 to 1942. Upon Jean’s return to painting, his focus and painting style had changed into one of the simple and prehistoric images. He switched his focus towards art drawn by children, the insane, and schizophrenics.

The Details
The term Art Brut is used in a board sense. This creative Western Art form is beyond the boundaries and the rules of traditional or mainstream artistry. This art form is raw and pure. Art Brut artists have no influence of cultural complexities and art institutions. Their artwork is totally different and independent of the mainstream art form, such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, and the other outdoor creations. In effect, artists with no formal training or Naive artists create Outside Art and are categorized as a separate niche genre.

The main advantage of raw art is that it is ahead of the hierarchical and the historical horizons of mainstream art. It is attractive, appealing, and fascinating. These artists are original and have unconventional, innovative, and creative ideas, as they do not modify, alter, and mediate the unique creative expressions. These artists select enigmatic topics, and are least concerned about the good opinion of others. In addition, Art Brut artists live and work forthright. They do not even believe in keeping their work a secret.

The Correlations
Art Brut includes nearly all the art forms, such as Folk Art, Tramp Art, and Primitive Art. In fact, Raw Art, Folk Art, Intuitive/Visionary Art, Marginal/Singuiler Art, Naive Art, Neue Invention, and Visionary Environments are interchangeable terms in Outsider Art.

Fame comes with smart marketing, publicity, and a good platform. Art Brut lacks all this, as the artists are creating things for their own, personal pleasure. Therefore, art connoisseurs and art collectors have always been skeptical about raw art, due to its limitless scope. There is often a prevalent intrigue about the uniqueness and the worth of Art Burt. Art lovers are also left wondering regarding the levels of creativity an untrained mind can have. Despite all these arguments and question marks raw art grew, and is widely practiced today.

Art Brut Examples
There are numerous notable raw art or Outsider Artists, who have contributed towards this art form, such as Adolf Wolfli – a Swiss artist; Nek Chand – an Indian, who achieved high reputation for his sculpture garden called ‘Rock Garden;’ Ferdinand Cheval – a postal worker in Hauterives, was motivated by his dream, and spent around 33 years in constructing ‘Palais Ideal.’

Raw art is the visual formation at its best. It is an impulsive spiritual flow from brain to paper. In 1991, ‘Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art’ was formed in Chicago. The organization is dedicated to Art Brut. Its non-profit museum that helps the Outsider Artists research, exhibit, and promote their art. Henry Darger, Joseph Yoakum, Lee Godie, William Dawson, David Philpot, and Wesley Willis are some of the key Brut Artists associated with Intuit.

Pop Art Paintings

Pop Art Paintings

The visual art movement known as Pop Art began in Britain during the middle of the 1950s. It later moved into the United States culture by the end of this same decade. Pop Art paintings are usually of characters that are popular in advertising, comic books, and anyone else who plays a large part in mass culture. Irony tends to be used extensively in Pop Art design. Even the most mundane objects can be painted or drawn in such a way that they are truly a work of art.

Sometimes the most intriguing paintings are of images that are common in everyday advertising. A prime example of this would be the painting of cans of soup that Andy Warhol made. Each of the 32 cans in the painting depicted the type of soup offered by a certain company at the time the painting was created. Andy Warhol played a large part in boosting the movement. His painting titled Eight Elvises, which is also considered Pop Art, brought 100 million dollars.

Paintings done in the Pop style varied between Britain and the United States, even though this movement was referred to as the Pop Art movement in both locations. In Britain, the paintings reflected what was popular in America and also added onto some aspects seen in Abstract Expressionism.

In America, paintings included irony, parody, and mundane reality. Pablo Picasso was considered a partial founder in the Cubist movement, but is also thought to have partially paved the way for future Pop Artists.

The Independent Group in London consisted of many young sculptors, writes, painters, critics, and architects. These individuals approached culture with the idea that it should be challenged. Discussions revolved around popular culture and often gave rise to various works of art that also focused on popular culture. It is this group that inspired paintings in the Pop style.

Paintings during the movement weren’t always created from paint on canvas. There were other visual arts that came to be as well. Paint applied to paper or material backgrounds, faces painted onto furniture or on many other objects were also considered Pop Art. These works of art took an ordinary object and forced the viewer of the painting to take this simple item into consideration. An example would be the flag painting made by Jasper Johns.

The American flag was made from a combination of oil paints and collage pieces, and then these were placed on canvas. This painting is of what looks to be a plain American flag, but it is actually a collage of materials that are red, white, or blue. These pieces of material gave depth and texture to the painting, causing it to be more than just a flag painting.

A Brief Overview on Painting

A Brief Overview on Painting

Painting as an art is a way of expressing emotions in a creative manner. Typically it is the practice of applying medium such as paint or color pigments to surfaces such as walls, glass, canvas and paper. Application can be done using objects such as brushes. Painting can be used as trade among artisans and construction designers. Painting occurs in numerous forms. They can be drawings or collages. Different aesthetics can be used to represent the conceptual intention of the artist. Paintings can represent stories, nature of the landscape, motile life or emotions. Painting as an art has a great deal of history and consists of four elements.

Tone and color are fundamental since they are the essence of painting. Color in itself has significant meaning behind the observable characteristics. They depict social, cultural and strangely linguistic meanings. For an artist color isn’t basically primary and derived. They deal with pigments, and the color shades bear symbolic meanings. Colors add meanings and life to the paintings thus making their perception more subjective. Colors don’t complete the painting as there are other aspects to consider.

As in creating a symphony, rhythm is imperative in painting. Rhythm allows creativity to be manifested and coloration be exploited. Distribution of the data to be portrayed is of crucial importance as the value of the art is affected. Rhythm also illustrates the flow of energy thus purpose of the art is enhanced.

Painting is vastly enabled by representation of intensity and its perception. This makes intensity a key element in painting. Different areas in the support base have different intensities. This can be illustrated by coloration such as the use of black and white. Shades of grey can also be used. This makes painting distinct from means of ideology such as symbols, perception, different points of view and geometrical figures. Painters can articulate shapes of different objects by juxtaposing areas with alternate intensities.

New age painters have enhanced the art of painting so as to include ancient practices such as collage. They incorporate different materials such as wood, straw, concrete, and sand for their texture. Since the use of computers, there is a growing population of painters who use them to paint. They use programs such as Corel Painter, adobe Photoshop among many others to paint color on a digital canvas. These paintings can be printed on natural canvas if required. Therefore, the beauty of painting lies in its variation.

Abstract Painting

Abstract Painting

Can art be of importance without meaning? Must “good” art convey the zeitgeist of the times in which it was created? Does “depth of meaning” correlate directly to “goodness” of art?

A definition of terms here would be of value but the terms in question are so based on individual and subjective opinion that the defintions would be questioned.

Abstract painting, particularly the nonobjective painting of many artists since the 1940s is arguably devoid of meaning. In fact many artists want it that way. They prefer to see purely compositional factors, the tenets of design as the measure of their works. Does this relegate them to the level of design, not truly “high art.”

Abstract paintings can do two things. 1) They can ascend to the highest level of design, and 2) they may transcend it to “high art.” Just as Kurt Schwitters paper snips transcend the craft of hobbyists cutting paper, and Joseph Cornell’s boxes transcend the craft of cabinet makers or box designers – so can an abstract paintings transcend design.

The criteria of meaning needs some discussion in my opinion. The “meanings” that some narrow-sighted critics refer to as being the paramount criterion of “high art” revolve around historic, philosophic, and religious dimensions. These meanings purportedly reflect the highest ideals and aspirations of man and god(God?).

I appreciate meanings as much as the next person. I like the classical, epic struggles of mythology, the ancient renditions of the history of the world, the religious icons of every century, the struggles of mankind and every individual in mankind. These are wonderful meanings and certainly worthy of artistic depiction.

Now consider the meaning of a man/woman who struggles to create pure beauty. The artist. The artist who wants to create not only “high art” but does so without the tools of religious thought, without the maps of cultural revolutions, without the applause of an informed and socially motivated political movement, without the traditions of a craftsmens guild. Consider this courageous individual.

These individuals not only attempt real, although only mortal, creation at its highest level – they do so in a unique and hardwon individual style. In addition, their work is meant to free, enhance and amplify your perception of art and beauty in all of its mysterious manifestations.

That “is” meaning. You can witness this meaning in its visual record of each abstract painting. No, not every painting is a masterpiece – and it can’t fall back on cliche’ or a social nomenclature. It stands as a testament to a real struggle to push something to the highest level of art with no help from all the other “manifold meaning packages” that were the reason for art in previous centuries.

The Beauty of Body Paint Art

The Beauty of Body Paint Art

Since the beginning of time, humans have always had the desire to create art. Through this desire body painting was born, making the human body the first canvass. The history of this craft stretches so far back that historians consider it to be the earliest form of art. Compared to other types of body art like tattoos or piercing, this is impermanent. It lasts only for a few hours at most.

During the ancient times, tribes would often use this during celebrations and important ceremonies. Each color had its own corresponding meaning. Chieftains and warriors commonly had their own styles to indicate their status in the tribe. Around the 12th century, a new kind of body painting known as the Mehendi became popular. The Mehendi is an extremely old ritual that originated from Egypt. It is the art of using henna to paint the body. This type of dye usually lasts a little longer, about a 1-2 weeks before fading.  Natives of South America also had their own methods of ornamenting their bodies. They would use wet charcoal also known as huito. Like henna, huito is also semi-permanent lasting for a few weeks.

In today’s modern era, this has become a way of self-expression. This has been spurred on by the liberality of modern society. If before nudity was deemed by society as inappropriate and improper, now it is something to be flaunted. In the guise of self-expression and the practice of human freedom, this has become a means of grabbing the public’s attention. This is especially effective during protests and rallies. Instead of bringing placards and sign boards, the protesters would instead paint on themselves.

The art of body painting can morph a human being into a beautiful work of art. It can make a statement that words alone cannot express, create a more appealing presentation, and add meaning and significance to an important occasion. It is used not only for the living, but also to preserve the dead. Truly it has attained world wide significance that will last till the end of time.

Cindy Lee is an avid face painter and enthusiast. Her website provides free resources, tips and advice on how to learn face painting easily and quickly.

Body Painting Art

Body Painting Art

In fact we are fond of painting our bodies since prehistoric times. In past we were used to paint our bodies with materials like natural dyes, paints and pigments. In some cases we used ash, and clay, too.

The markings that the people make on their bodies are thought to have magical powers with which one could ward off evil spirits or the tribal enemies. Such was the thinking in past. The painting of bodies was also coined with celebrating of auspicious occasions like New Year or a dance party. Same practice can still observed in the indigenous populations of the countries like New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and certain parts of Africa.

In India the women and men are fond of using Henna. It is a colour extracted from a plant of Henna; it is also known as Mehandi.  This type of body painting with Henna has been a fashion in India and the Middle East since many years. People paint their hands and legs and other parts of body with Henna during auspicious ceremonies like weddings. The use of henna or Mehandi has become popular in the Western countries, too, since last two decades.

The art of body painting is not a new phenomenon in the countries of South America, too. People here have been using indigenous materials to paint their body and body parts. They use wet charcoal and other materials available in the local surrounding. In some parts of America, a material known as Huito is used to paint the bodies and faces. Huito is a black dye, and it takes weeks to fade away.

Miniature Painting

Miniature Painting

Summarized briefly, miniature painting is a form of painting that is deeply rooted in many cultures and spans centuries. The Lathams are a family of American artists practicing it in today’s modern art market of galleries and exhibitions. As an artist, Rebecca Latham as well as her mother, Karen, and sister, Bonnie, strive for detail in their painting. Studying with a Flemish master, they have developed their styles for painting extreme realism. Their works, both large and small, are painted “in miniature”.

Early Beginnings

Miniature painting is a traditional style of art that is very detailed, often referred to as painting or working “in miniature”. Because of their origins as illuminations, they are also painted to have as smooth of a surface as possible. (It is also suggested that miniature art may have been influenced by the medals of ancient Rome as well) Miniature art can be traced back to ancient Egyptian manuscripts on papyrus scrolls. Monks are also often highlighted for their contributions to early miniature painting with their beautifully illuminated manuscripts such as the Celtic Book of Kells and England’s Lindisfarne Gospels (both of which measure around 9″ x 12″). Some early manuscripts contain miniatures on their pages that depict beautiful arrangements of life sized flower arrangements on their borders. The history of the art is also seen throughout the world in various other cultures.

Miniature painting began out of necessity for illustrating documents and manuscripts to aid those reading them during a time when many were not able to, before printing was invented. The miniature helped to convey the story and meaning of the written word. Therefore, the art of the miniature is directly connected to the book arts. The various sized illuminations (pictures) were cut out of these books or documents so that they could be carried more easily. Later, developing from the carried miniature, portrait miniature artists were commissioned to paint small portraits – paintings that were used as we use wallet sized photographs today. These sizes of miniature paintings became popular with collectors and are often referred to as “hand held miniatures”. Portrait miniatures were painted in larger sizes as well, for example master miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Oliver, and Sir Charles William Ross all painted works that were of a larger size.


Miniature painting is sometimes confused and assumed that the pieces must be small or depict subjects on a smaller scale to be considered miniature art, though this is not the case. It is helpful to keep in mind that the origins of the term “miniature” have nothing to do with a size. The word miniature comes from the terms ‘minium’ (used for the red lead paint used in illuminated manuscripts) and ‘miniare’ (Latin for ‘to color with red lead’).

Miniature painting is a style and technique of painting, and as such, a wall sized work could be painted “in miniature”. Authors of the Yale University Press publication, “The English Miniature” have stated that miniatures have been painted large and some works are even considered to be gigantic. Numerous faculty members of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London confirm that miniature paintings are not restricted to smallness. Larger sized miniature paintings are documented throughout history and are recognized today, though painting larger works in miniature is more difficult and time consuming than a smaller piece if the same attention to detail is observed. Miniature art is also unique in that it was and is often used on objects, such as the Russian lacquer boxes that are beautiful examples of Russian miniatures.


Today, there are miniature art societies in western society to help promote and preserve traditional miniature art and the “spirit of miniature”. Their exhibitions feature the hand held miniature paintings (or sculptures) and each exhibition has its own unique guidelines and rules for artists showing in their exhibit. Some of these rules limit the size of work to be no larger than a set square inch. Others limit the size of a subject, such at the 1/6th scale rule that a subject may not be painted larger than 1/6th of it’s natural size, or the 2″ rule, that an object in the painting may not exceed 2″. Scale rules were initially put in place as a guide for artists starting out in miniature art. There are also many framing restrictions for society miniature works as well. All of these rules are put into place by each show for their own individual and unique exhibitions, and do not define what miniature art is.

Artists painting miniatures throughout history were not restricted in their artwork by scale as their subjects were painted to any measurement or scale that the artist deemed pleasing to the eye and their patrons, for both manuscripts and other miniatures. Subjects that are naturally small in size, such as butterflies and insects, were painted life sized. Thus the 1/6th scale rule that is used by some shows and societies today unfortunately causes a bit of confusion to those new to the art form who commonly assume that is it a part of a mechanical criteria of the miniature’s definition. The world’s experts in miniatures do not recognize the rule as legitimate, and view those embracing it as unknowledgeable, and dismiss them.

The term “miniature”, as it addresses miniature painting, is often confused with “miniaturize” and some miniature art exhibitions do not refer to miniature as it’s initial meaning of techniques, but rather the size of the painting (miniaturized painting). They are two very separate descriptions.

Miniature painting is an art form that is very rich in history that continues today by artists from around the globe. The beautiful ornamental qualities of the miniature should be preserved whether it be the intricate large pieces, or intimate hand held works.

Many thanks to Joan Willies RMS, the Victoria & Albert Museum, & Patrick Noon.

Acrylic Paint Art

Acrylic Paint Art

Acrylic paint is made from pigment mixed together with an acrylic polymer to form a relatively thick paint emulsion. Acrylic art is a plastic paint. It is a new entrant to the art scene when compared to other art paints – it was first used in the 1950s. But despite its late introduction, acrylic has certain distinct qualities that make it the preferred choice for a number of artists.

Some artists prefer acrylic art work because of the ‘oil painting’ finish that acrylic paint provides. To achieve this glossy feel, the acrylic paint used must be thick and not overly diluted with water.

But thin acrylic artwork also has its benefits – if you are looking to develop a painting that mimics water colours you can thin the paint by adding a third part water to every whole part of paint. Other than water, there are additional additives that can be added to the paint to make it thinner or thicker.

Additives can also be used to increase the paints transparency and reduce the speed of drying. The need to reduce speed is because acrylic paint dries relatively fast once applied. Depending on the thickness and additives used, the paint may take from just a few minutes to a maximum of a day to dry – this is a short time when compared to oil based paints which can take up to a week to completely dry.

The acrylic art used on canvas surface dries in the shortest time making it suitable for artists who prefer to do their work quickly. This quality however can also be a downside because it is difficult to blend different colours on the canvas since the first colour will already have started drying by the time the next colour is applied.

In addition, the paint binds well to a wide range of surfaces. This versatility makes it possible to have acrylic art work not just on canvas but also on glass surfaces as well as ceramic items such as pots. There is a special type of acrylic supplies that can be used on clothes.

Certain types of acrylic paint can be used to paint the outside of the home. The type of acrylic for exteriors depends on the nature of the wall surface – for instance, the acrylic paint you use on a wooden surface will be different from the one you use on a concrete one.

Acrylic work art can be preserved for a long time due to its ability to resist the elements (especially water) once it dries. This compares well with other paints such as oil paints which can start to wrinkle or turn yellow as the painting ages and is oxidized.

Oil Painting Art Course

Oil Painting Art Course

Edgar Degas painted from photos: Degas became a painter just at the beginning of photography. He first had others shoot photos for him for his use in his paintings. Later, he became an expert photographer. Degas’ paintings show the influence of photography in the cutting off of figures. Before Degas, the whole person was inside the painting. In many of Degas’ work, the figures are cut off mid leg or their figures are cut off on the left, right and top by the edge of the painting. This cropping came from his reference photos.

Photos were a tool in his paintings, drawings and sculpture. Degas’ photographs had the look of his paintings. His paintings were based on his photographs.

Students ask me if it is proper to use photos: I have a classmate from the art school from which I graduated. He has had a very distinguished career painting all his life. He said that anything you do to help you develop a painting is a correct method.

Seven Ways to Project or Transfer Photos or Drawings onto Your Canvas: 

1. Tack them up on your easel as reference: There is a famous Norman Rockwell self-portrait (Google it). The painting shows Rockwell painting himself at an easel covered with photos of portraits by Rembrandt and Van Gogh and a drawing of himself. Rockwell is also looking in a mirror as he paints.

2. Opaque Projectors: The opaque projector is a machine that projects photos, book pages or drawings by shining a bright light onto the photo from above. A series of mirrors, prisms and lenses project the image onto a canvas. The artist then draws the outlines of the photo on the canvas using the projected image as a guide. Opaque projectors are available from Dick Blick, Jerry’s Artorama or Mister Art online or at some art stores.

3. Camera Lucida: A camera lucida is a lens on a metal arm that clamps onto the artist’s drawing board. The camera lucida superimposes an image on the artist’s drawing surface. One sees a scene or the reference photo on the drawing surface. You can then trace the outlines of objects.

4. Mirrors: David Hockney, a well-known contemporary artist, was interviewed on “60 Minutes” on CBS-TV. Hockney had Lesley Stahl stand outside his studio window, in full sunlight, facing a mirror set up inside the window. Her image was reflected in the mirror and it was projected inside Hockney’s dark studio onto Hockney’s canvas. That projected image can then be copied. Hockney had written a book called “Secret Knowledge” about which Stahl did the interview. In the book Hockney theorizes that artists in the 1400’s learned how to use lenses and mirrors to project images onto their canvases.

5. Print the photo or drawing on your canvas: You can print your photograph directly onto your canvas and then paint over them in oil paints. Ink jet printer paper suppliers offer ink jet printable canvas. You need to ask your ink jet/canvas supplier how long their inks last according to scientific testing.

There are printing services that offer Giclee fine art reproductions for painters, photographers, galleries and museums on fine art canvas. Some artists use these services to make reproductions of their paintings for sale in addition to selling the original oil painting. Giclee (French for “a spurt”) is an inkjet process for making super high quality and long lasting prints. A good supplier uses fade-resistant inks or dyes that some claim last as long as 100 years.

Other artists print photos on canvas at Giclee printers and then paint over them in oil paints. Giclee prints are not only long lasting but also have no visible dots as do most ink jet printers. Google “giclee printers” to find giclee printing suppliers on the web.

6. Camera Obscura: In his book “Vermeer’s Camera” Philip Steadman poses the theory that VerMeer used the early version of the photographic camera: the camera obscura. Camera obscura are the Latin words for dark room.

How the camera obscura works:

  • A box (or room) with a pinhole in the front end is placed in a well-lit room.
  • The room in front of the hole will then be projected onto the inside back end of the box.
  • Later, the camera obscura evolved into what we now call a camera. In a photographic camera, film is placed on the inside back end of the box where the image is projected from the lens in the front end of the box.
  • Using the camera obscura principle with additional lenses and mirror, one can project an accurate image onto a painting surface and trace over the projected lines. Some suggest one can paint onto the canvas directly guided by the projected image. People still make camera obscuras … Google “camera obscura” on the web.

7. Tracing: Some artists trace and transfer the outlines of photos onto their canvas or other drawing surface. They staple together a “sandwich” of the traced photo, a transfer sheet and the canvas. Drawing over the traced photo drawing on the top of the sandwich with a ballpoint pen causes the transfer sheet color to be transferred to the canvas. They then paint using the transferred line drawing as a guide on their canvas with the original photo(s) tacked alongside their canvas as reference.

Is Using Photographs OK? Like Edgar Degas and Norman Rockwell and countless other great painters and illustrators, I think so.

The author has painted and taught for 50 years and has had over 30 art exhibits of his paintings. My USA based online art school has students in 19 countries. I have taught art classes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Manhattan, USA, Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, Famous Artists Schools in Westport, Connecticut, USA. I have also lectured on various art subjects all over the USA and in Holland, Belgium, France, South Africa and Australia.

Paintings Art Guide

Paintings Art Guide


Contemporary art paintings cover broadly the years of post World War II up to the present day. The styles of painting in contemporary movements vary widely from one to another. This article covers the major movements of contemporary art, and tries to explain how they link with each other. Some of the key contemporary art eras from the 1950s and 1960s included Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Neo-Dada, Minimalism and the New York School.

Famous artists from this era include Andy Warhol, Wassily Kandinsky, Robert Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock. The earlier art movements of Cubism & Fauvism are believed to have been part inspiration for many of these new directions. The 1960s represented the start of modern culture, and Gallery art was a key part of it. Traditional art was now joined in the mainstream with these new contemporary styles that had gained popularity and respect across the board. Since the 1970s many additions to contemporary art have been technology based with digital, software & installation art. In parallel with technology, they continue to develop even today and go off in new directions, or sub-movements.

One relatively new, and already very popular art movement is Street art from artists like Banksy which is a progression of the earlier Graffiti art.Many new movements are seeking to break away from the thinking and methods of traditional art, as Abstract Expressionism had tried to some 60 years ago. The independence of mind and creativity remains strong in contemporary artists today, and they have broken away from simply using different canvas or painting techniques, to use entirely different forms of expression, as shown in the Installation art of artists such as Dan Flavin.

Contemporary art represents the completion of the transition from Baroque and Renaissance painting, through Romaticism & Impressionism up to what we have today, with the likes of digital art movements breaking out frequently. The future for contemporary movements seems likely to blend with the path of technology and other new directions which are impossible to foresee.