In case you aren’t tired of seeing my amateur paintings yet, here is one I created today. I’m not sure of the title yet, but I’ve been thinking of calling it “Assimilated.”
I hope you are able to take a moment for yourself as the semester winds down. If you’re looking for something to do, I highly recommend turning towards art – such as painting – for stress relief. As evident by my work, you don’t need to have experience or artistic ability to enjoy it!
Last week, I shared a painting of fireflies on a summer night. I’m not very good at painting, but I enjoyed the activity enough to want to do it again! This time, I suggested a paint night with some of my housemates. This blog post is coming to you late as we just finished our pieces.
Despite living under the same roof, my housemates and I rarely spend quality time together. It was great, then, to schedule a “paint night” on our Google calendars and make it official. One of my housemates decided to try painting a face, while another housemate and I followed along with a Bob Ross tutorial. My painting turned out much differently from the expected result, but it was nice to create memories doing something creative and relaxing.
The past few weeks have been hectic, and my schoolwork shows no signs of slowing down. Nonetheless, today I decided to take a moment for self-care. With the weather warming up, I was inspired to paint something that reminded me of summer. I am definitely no Bob Ross, but here’s the finished product!
Earlier this semester, I learned about a watercolor workshop for students through Passport to the Arts. By using Passport to the Arts, I registered with Flipside Art Studio for a Zoom class and picked up a free art kit. I recently added my own flair to the painting by using black Sharpie to outline my cacti and provide detailing. While my watercolor painting turned out differently than the instructor’s version, I was relatively happy with how it turned out and wanted to share it with you!
Creating this painting was one of my first times working with watercolors since I was a child, and it was interesting to play around with them. At times, I accidentally painted blotches on the page or had the paint bleed in a way I didn’t intend it to, as it’s easy for watercolor paint to bleed if wet paint gets too close to another color. I worried about it ruining the painting, but “mistakes” such as these turned into opportunities to play around with new shapes and create interesting visual effects, like gradients.
On one last unrelated note, I hope this Thanksgiving break proves to be a restful and rejuvenating time. It might be a great opportunity to take a break from schoolwork and do that art project you’ve been dying to do (like watercolor painting!). Whether you stay in place or share the table with family, my whimsical watercolors and I are wishing you a safe and happy holiday.
I recently finished Dali the Paintings, an amazing collection of Salvador Dali’s works accompanied by commentary and an interesting account of his life by Robert Descharnes and Gilles Neret. I’ve written about my particular interest in surreal art before, and Salvador Dali was one of the most influential leaders of the movement; as he said himself, “the only difference between me and the Surrealists is that I am a surrealist”. He was well known in popular culture for being eccentric and arrogant, and many of his works are iconic today. In reading through his biography, I was surprised by how much depth there was to him as a person, and how much his personality and art style changed throughout his life. I definitely recommend reading Dali the Paintings if you have the time, even if you aren’t typically interested in art history; the story itself is stranger than fiction. However, instead of reviewing his life, I thought I would highlight some of the most interesting paintings, provide some context, and explain why I find them so fascinating.
One of the first paintings I ever saw by Salvador Dali was Atavistic Ruins after the Rain, and it is easily one of the most memorable. I was struck by how different it was from the fine art that I was used to; it was strange and other-wordly, with a feeling of gravity and oppression that was completely unusual. After learning more about surrealism and Dali, I realized that I enjoyed the ominous and unexplainable atmosphere of surrealism just as much as the amazing technical mastery. Most of my favorite works by Dali were made around this time, when he was 30 and leaving his group of surrealists for popularity in America. I find these paintings to be the most haunting, with similar landscapes based on the Catalonian cliffs of Spain where Dali grew up. Many of his motifs were first introduced during this period, such as the crutch, the standing figures, and the soft, melting architecture. In general, this painting represents to me what makes Dali great, not only as a painter, but as an artist of atmosphere.
Another iconic painting by Dali is The Elephants, painted in 1948. There is a lot of important context needed in order to understand this painting relative to Dali’s life. Firstly, Dali was greatly affected by the bombings of Japan in 1945; he turned to mysticism, and adopted a unique belief in the atom and nuclear physics as the closest representations of God. These new beliefs led to prominent religious imagery in his paintings and a new form of atomic surrealism. This painting in particular has a nuclear feeling, with its red sky and barren landscape, and the elephants carry giant religious obelisks. Dali was also affected by the death of his older brother who died before Dali was born. His brother’s name was also Salvador and they bore a strong resemblance; as a result, Dali often said that he felt as if he was already dead. This feeling comes across in paintings such as this; even the decay and fragility of the elephants induces anxiety.
This is an incredibly brief introduction to Dali and it’s only the tip of the iceberg as to why I find his work so fascinating. I will definitely be writing more about surrealism in the future, but in the meantime I encourage you to explore the movement yourself. I recommend learning more about Dali and his works as well; he was prolific and each painting is an entire artistic universe.
Felipe Pantone, an Argentinian-Spanish artist, creates futuristic, colorful art that breaks the boundaries of art technology. I first came across his work on Instagram, and naturally pored over his intriguing sculptures, described as “a collision between an analog past and a digitized future.” Infused with prisms of rainbow gradients, black and white glitches, and mesmerizing patterns, his art is an invitation to immerse oneself in another dimension.
Pantone acknowledges that he is “a byproduct of the technological age,” an identity that is familiar to we Gen Z’s and millennials. Growing up with the television and internet has shaped the ways in which we interpret visual information, something which Pantone plays with within his contemporary work.
Trained as a painter and graffiti artist, Felipe Pantone now holds shows all over the world and creates murals, sculptures, and paintings that tie together the natural and the digital–some can be read as “glitch art” and alludes to traditions of Futurism. His unique, futuristic, and dynamic works of art are also sometimes kinetic, allowing the viewer to experience different parts of the work as it moves. I find them completely alluring and fascinating–one day, I hope to own some pieces of his configurable art, such as works from the Modular Art System.