Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Thinker - The Mind of the Artist and Problem Solving Techniques

Thinking is actually an art; it is a noble past time engaged by men and women of thoughts. Thinking is a great favourite habit of great minds, men of lofty dreams and ideals. Mind you – I did not say worrying, in that from the very surface of things, worrying and thinking may seem like one and the same, but you and I very well know deep down that there is a big difference. And sometimes too, there may just be a thin line separating the two concepts.

'The thinker' by Auguste Rodin

Great men, including great minds of the arts solve problems pertaining to their preoccupations and would-be issues of everyday life by thinking through issues. But worrying leads rather to an increased blood pressure tending to escalate the already bad situations. And this brings me to the issue and famous figure of ‘The Thinker’ – a universal image and symbol of a man in deep contemplative mood. I am referring to the work of the famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), who in his life time produced a great number of iconic images of which the most famous is ‘The Thinker’. He was highly noted and respected for the way he rendered human forms in whatever medium or style he chose to execute his works – clay, bronze, or stone, etc.

It is an established fact however that the habit of meditation which is a positive aspect of deep thought is the basis for all real knowledge. It is thinkers that brought about revolutions that have turned around societies for eternal good; it has been the one instrumentality - the positive act that led to the building of empires and civilisations. Great thoughts gave birth to the huge industrial developments, designs, and inventions we have seen, heard and read about throughout the ages.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Understanding the Power and Psychology of Colours, and Colour Application in painting

Colour is a sensitive aspect of painting; the psychology of colour makes you to understand that it is not just enough to apply colour to a drawing, but it calls for a sensitive mind to understand and use colours; this of course comes from training and a considerable period of practice. In fact during the course of training I came to understand why the artist is completely cut out from the rest of society. I have come to understand why the artist may appear even strange in the eyes of everyone else; it is in the same vein that the artist to my mind is the most observant of all ‘species’ of human beings. The artist is very sensitive to everything. As a matter of fact, I tend to notice everything that has to do with colour (harmony) and balance, be it in art or architecture, fashion, textile design, graphics, etc. 

Colour palette - coutesy:

Colour application, and sensitivity is freely encountered in the fleeting and permanent dialogues that ensue when pigments of various hues interact on the various mediums of expression in art and design, including also interior decoration and industrial design as well, etc. It is the nature of colours to react either harmoniously or otherwise in the course of mixing and eventual final application. Thus complementary colours will always blend and give you a sense of harmony and calmness. But when colours do not seem to match, they immediately will arouse a feeling of disharmony, riot or uneasiness and, what have you? Thus a combination of brown of umber, and ochre will readily blend into a calm earthy mood; but try juxtaposing a brilliant red with cadmium yellow, it is not exactly very complementary if you are out in search of true harmony. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Prepare Quality Homemade Primer and Canvas

There is no hard and fast rule actually concerning what to use as support or surface for your oil painting. By this I mean you could paint on any surface that has been well treated for the purpose of painting on, and these supports may range from very cheap paper to wood, and to expensive canvas. The bottom line is that the surface must be well treated or prepared before you set out to paint. 

Quality Control

The point in all of these is that you make sure the oil from your oil paint is not sucked up by the surface; you do not want to see the oil from your pigment sinking to the back of your support and leaving the pigment flaking off or looking like chalk afterwards.

'Mobile' (oil/canvas) by Morgan Nwanguma

Another important thing you must guard against is that if your painting surface is not well primed or prepared, you are likely to end up having your painting cracking in no distant time. You must make sure to avoid this because it could lead to a very big embarrassment and also able to badly soil your reputation as an artist. How will you feel if perhaps you have just produced what you term as a masterpiece and before long you or even worse still, your patron reports that he has observed crackles in your painting which he just bought the previous year?

Every practicing artist I dare say, will be damned to see this happen to him or her; it will be most unethical and unacceptable for a professional. To avoid this sort of embarrassment I will now take you through a simple process of priming or preparing your canvas that you could undertake at home, in your studio by yourself. But if you can afford to buy the ready primed canvas from your art store, good for you, yet this is a skill every (professional) artist ought to know right from art school.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Preparations for Painting

A couple of years back I was in a gallery and the owner of the place, as he was selecting a few of my canvas works began conferring with me: He asked “Morgan, please how can I be sure that these paintings would last for a long time, at least enough time for me to have fully enjoyed them?” I was very curious to know why he had asked because he had had amongst his numerous collections a few of my older works that are still in great condition, even while I assured him of the durability of the paintings, he just could not stop expressing his worries as he continued to point at some works he had dug up from a certain heap of collections from the adjoining room. I enquired to know why he was so concerned at this time.

'Kitchen fresh' oil on canvas by Morgan Nwanguma

My dear collector responded: “I am not actually referring to your paintings per se, but I am worried about every other new collection I take into my gallery”. He continued: “Just a week ago I searched out among some of my favourite collections, a canvas from one of the younger artists, but to my greatest disappointment, the painting that is not up to two years of age was already peeling off!” He wanted to know why so many paintings today hardly stand the test of time, adding that so many paintings that were executed centuries ago are still hanging in galleries abroad especially in Europe and America, and still looking very healthy.

To cut short the story of our conversation, I had to allay his fears and explained to him what I thought was the problem. 

You see, I find so many faults in the curriculum, or should I say – it could just be laxity on the part of the lecturers who perhaps are too lazy if not selfish, to impart the right knowledge to their students. Some people, including lecturers, frown at the idea of staging practical demonstrations before their class for fear of leading the class towards being one directional in their approach to practicing their art, say for instance - painting. The argument is that when they (lecturers) do this, the students will not be able to chart their own personal course or style.

All in Your Eyes