Friday, March 4, 2011

lets talk ART

Let me be frank. Prior to Art History 101 in college, I couldn't tell you a darn thing about art. I knew of some famous pieces and I knew of some famous painters but I couldn't tell you who did what or when they did it. And to be even more honest? I can't really do that now. But I did pick up a few things that I wanted to share when it comes to the basics. It's good for casual conversation while at an event where you don't know many people or you don't have much to say.

Okay, first off, you should probably know the difference between a portrait, landscape, or still life. A portrait is... duh, a portrait, a person. A landscape shows a place -whether that's a field, a skyline, or a building. A still life portrays a thing. It's not typically difficult to determine what the piece is, so call it what it is instead of "a picture".

Let's take it to the next step, which I call the "ism": Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, and Abstract Expressionism. Realism is the easiest to spot because it looks the most realistic {tough one, huh?}. You will see great detail and an image that looks like a photograph.

Impressionism is a bit more complex; look for unusual angles, emphasized lighting and brush strokes.

Geometric shapes, blurry strokes, or radical distortion? You are looking at Expressionism, which I think is comparable to avant-garde in the fashion world. Expressionism is supposed to allude to poetry and evoke moods.

An image that looks like your dog could have painted it with his tail is Abstract Expressionism. It looks like doodles or swatches of paint or specks... I think you get the drift.

Now, if you want to really sound like you know what you're talking about; mention the negative space in the piece, what isn't shown. The negative space in a piece can sometimes be more beautiful than anything else because it adds balance.


Lastly, I want to tell you about form and line. The difference between the two: line is the shaping of an object and form is shading and texture. Together they give movement or the lack of movement. This one is easy to remember, just think of a coloring book. A coloring book typically gives you the line and you give it the form {whether it's both shading and texture depends on your coloring style}.

Next time you are at your wacky roommates art opening, an event for work, or a fundraiser, don't be afraid to get into a conversation about art. Like anything, the more you talk it, the more you know about it. When it comes down to it, just be honest, whether you love it, hate it, or don't understand it. At least you are thinking about it. And don't be afraid to share your limited knowledge; there's a good chance the other person doesn't know much either.

{image sources 1&2 shutterstock; 3 wiki; 4 wiki; 5&6 layers; 7&8 familystyle}