Technical info – I did this using the Blender’s video editor. Blender is a free open-source computer graphics program that gives profession level 3D & 2D animations with everything you need to design and share them.
July 7th 2019 – I went to see the great works of Monet at the Musee l’Orangerie. The building was first built in the 1850s to protect orange trees (thus the name) in the orchard of a local palace near the Lourve. Serious decadents to build something this big an lush as a greenhouse. It was modified to hold Monet’s painting in the 1920s following his very specific instructions that they should be displayed in natural light.
The size of Monet’s paintings bring up some ideological issues for me. I admit they are beautiful in the classical sense that they give you a feeling of safety and comfort, maybe peace. They are the opposite of what Picasso seemed to be aiming for.
However, their size means they could never be owned by ordinary people. In fact, I don’t think they could be owned by the super-rich today. They were created by an artist who knew he wanted them in their own government-operated museum or gallery. As they are. Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t have a ton to learn from him, as a maestro of the techniques and how to communicate feeling through art.
When I questioned other artists about this matter of size, they bring up the artist should not consider such things and go with the inspiration. But to me our beliefs, our desire for status, our politics and values are all part of how inspiration works.
The limitations, whatever they might be, are also important. These artists I’ve brought this up with are quite happy to limit their medium, their palette of colours for a project, take commissions for a specific location, and place various other boundaries on the work. But to consider your audience and their taste, their experience of your art is somehow capitalist or compromising or something.
To me, art is always a negotiation. I have to negotiate between my vision, my skill and my bodily coordination and the medium I’ve chosen. It doesn’t seem to be a great imposition to me to acknowledge the next level negotiation that goes on when I consider the reality of who my audience is and then between my taste and the taste of those who may buy or even just look at my art.
There is, it seems to me, a class or status thing at play subconsciously with many artists, especially those I put these thoughts to.
While I was in Vienna I attended an exhibition at the Mumok (Museum of Modern Art) focused on a group that was around in the 70s called ‘Pattern and Decoration’. They pointed out there struggles with the minimalists of the 60s and 70s who used decoration as an insult. These people wanted to go back to figurative work and to take inspiration from the decorative arts of different cultures around the world.
A long and well-exercised tradition which these snobs seemed to have forgotten.
After all, Picasso and his peers took inspiration from African masks and decoration. Some Impressionists, especially Van Gogh, were inspired by Japanese decoration. In all my travels around Europe showed me that the vast majority of ‘Art’ through history was decorative particularly murals. And most of these had political themes that sucked up to the powers that be. Donald Trump and Obama would both love an artist to surround them with angels, the Apostles, prophets and spiritual light to bless his presidencies.
It seems to me that doing art in a size and medium that can be afforded by people with an average or even median income is somehow below artists. It is proven by the way artists and others in Australia react to Ken Done’s success by turning his art into t-shirts, coasters, postcards and other useful bits and pieces. He doesn’t even rates as a designer, on Google (though he did come up as an artist there). Interestingly Mambo’s politics, cynicism and humour seem to protect them from the same attitude from many artists.
I’m not sure what this will mean if anything to my art over the next few years as I decide what to do to earn a living.
I did two painting of my own to learn from the masters.
Here’s slide show of the pictures I took in the museum, including pics of the originals of the above.
Dali and Picasso are arguably the most famous names of 20th Century art (Picasso seems to be a tad ahead of Dali in recent times for recognisability). Will they be remembered in 500 years like Michelangelo and Da Vinci? Who knows. Art has its fashions, too.
They had several things in common
A love of myth, dreaming and symbolism,
A prolific output to the point of compulsion,
Their creative instincts were smack on the zeitgeist of their times,
A confidence (or arrogance) that freed them to pursue their creative and life impulses, regardless of criticism.
They both used caricatures and simplicity to tell stories.
Through their lives, they picked up and played with the art fashions and movements of their day, except the absolute abstraction of that came to the forefront from the 1940s to the 1970s and onwards – abstract expressionism, minimalism etc – although they might have been the original pop artists or at least inspiration for them.
They both made their meanings clear and usually pretty obvious, in ways that provoked their audience to think and feel.
They were both very intellectual in their expression of passion and imagination.
Both were unafraid money and fame, or of tags like commercialism or capitalist.
They were both Spanish and loved the heritage they were born into – expressed it in different ways.
Both were recognisable by the last name.
They were very different too.
Dali harnessed realism to his surrealist imagination, while Picasso, though he used the full gamut of his skills, seem to separate realism from his symbolism and expressionism.
Dali found a partner he was happy with most of his adult life, a relationship of equals, it seems, in many ways a true partnership. Picasso was known for “not keeping it in his pants” as the cliche goes. Some going as far as saying he was misogynist, though I’m not sure. His paintings certainly suggest sexually provocative appetites.
Picasso’s art seems to me to be more macho, violence and analytical, deconstructive in ways that I think Dali was gentler on the eye of the beholder.
My feeling is that even in these wonderfully weird mixes of abstract symbolist images the colours are delicate, transparent. There is a classical beauty aesthetic at play as in all Dali’s work, even at his most provocative. Picasso doesn’t have this. He is truly wanting to tear down the status quo using the same stories and myths that have been used throughout Western art history from classical times, through the Renaissance, and onto the Romantics of the 19th century. He uses highly skilled techniques sometimes, but at other times he doesn’t seem to give a shit. He wants to get the ideas out ASAP with thinking too much about the process or the meaning.
I love both of them as the Yin and Yang of modern art. Both inspire me to be freer in my thinking, in my arts, to be highly skilled and to use history as a jumping off point for growth.
I know I’m running late by 3 weeks, but I’ve been busy living the dream.
Accommodation – Couchsurfing Host: Donald
April 1st – the flight
Arrived 5 pm local SA Time after leaving Sydney at 1200 noon for a 14 hour, 6862 miles or 11043-kilometre flight. I watched several movies I’d missed. I won’t review them. I can sleep on planes, but not well. So I only slept an hour or 2, and fitfully and read for some of it.
I realised recently that I don’t read fiction very often, just for fun. I also realised that I enjoy James Bond movies but haven’t read the books that inspired them. So I’m reading “From Russia with Love” which interestingly is quite close to the Sean Connery movie from the ’60s.
It took only about an hour to get through customs. It was storming with a full lightning show as I got off the plane at SA’s O. R. Tambo International Airport. I had three quarter of an hour wait that seemed like two hours for Donald, my couch-surfing host.
website not unlike Airbnb but mostly free accommodation. You can
register as a host and traveller. Hosts offer help travellers because
it’s fun, they get to meet interesting travellers. Those of us who
are couchsurfers are backpackers, creatives, Bohemians, travellers at
the poor end of the demographic or just cheapskates. Hosts are often
similar to couchsurfers because they have travelled the same way. So
they reciprocating. Both hosts and couchsurfers are also at the
courageous end of the spectrum. For some reason many mainstream
people seem to think that the traditional Capitalist approach to
pay-per-day plus extras accommodation (as in hotels and Airbnb) is
perceived as safer than the generosity of hosts offering free
services for fun and out of idealism is less safe. For safety sake
you can check the reference system for both hosts and travellers for
their mutual experience with each other. I hosted when I was living
in Annadale, and had a spare room, then I couchsurfed three times on
my last trip to Europe, five or six years ago.
Still as comfortable as I am with meeting strangers, the first
meeting with a couchsurfing host when you don’t have a local phone
number is anxiety filled. The airport free Wifi required a local
phone number, so no Whatsapp.com call to reassure me Donald was on
his way. I was only staying for a week in SA, so I have experimented
with not having a local phone number.
It worked. More later.
Donald had a spare room, which regardless of the website’s name, is actually most common among Couchsurfing hosts. We sat talking for a while and he cooks me a quick dinner. I don’t have rules around food when travelling, or at other times I’m a guess. I take the Buddha’s Original Rule that you be flexible and open to experience so eat what is on the table. It’s the host’s Karma (in Buddhist terms. For me, it is about being a grateful guest and an adventurer. I went to bed about 10 pm local time which was 6 or 7, wakeup time in Sydney. I didn’t realise this until day 2.
As of April 1st, I’m touring the world. Well, South Africa, Europe, North America and South America. This itinerary is going to change. And already has. I’ve split the French leg between Paris and some time in the country-side. And I haven’t booked the South American leg because that depends on my budget. I will be posting regular reports on the travels, that will include art (mostly watercolour pencils), photography and the occasional video here.
I’m already behind on postings as this demonstrates, being near 3 weeks late. Enjoying participating in the experiences does interfere with writing about them. Stay tuned I will be catching up soon.
ITINERARY 1 April – Flight to Johannesburg Origin: Sydney NS AU (SYD) Flying Time: 14 hrs 5 min Airline: Qantas
8 April – Flights to Paris Origin: Johannesburg ZA (JNB) Destination: Frankfurt DE (FRA) Flying Time: 10 hrs 45 min
Origin: Frankfurt DE (FRA) Destination: Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt FR (CDG) Flying Time: 1 hrs 10 min
BusAbout Europe 1 May – Bus to Amsterdam Departs Paris: 08:00 AM Arrives: Amsterdam: 18:00 PM
6 May – Bus to Berlin Departs Amsterdam: 08:00 AM Arrives: Berlin 18:00 PM
11 May – Bus to Prague Departs Berlin: 08:00 AM Arrives: Prague: 13:15 PM
16 May – Train to Vienna (One-Way Train Ticket) Departs Prague: 08:50 AM Arrives: Vienna: 12:50 PM
20 May – Bus to Krakow Departs Vienna: 08:00 AM Arrives: Krakow: 16:00 PM
25 May – Bus to Budapest Departs Krakow: 08:00 AM Arrives: Budapest: 18:00 PM
29 May – Train to Venice (One-Way Train Ticket) Departs Budapest: 09:10 AM Arrives: Venice: 20:05 PM
5 June – Train to Florence (One-Way Train Ticket) Departs Venice: 07:25 AM Arrives: Florence: 09:30 AM
8 June – Bus to Cinque Terre Departs Florence: 08:00 AM Arrives: Cinque Terre: 10:45 AM
10 June – Bus to Lauterbrunnen (Swiss Alps) Departs Cinque Terre: 10:45 AM Arrives: Lauterbrunnen: 20:00 PM
12 June – Bus to Nice Departs Lauterbrunnen: 08:00 AM Arrives: Nice: 18:00 PM
15 June – Bus to Barcelona Departs Nice: 08:00 AM Arrives: Barcelona: 18:30 PM
20 June – TO BE ARRANGED: MOROCCO + SOUTH SPAIN
2 July – Bus to San Sebastian Departs Barcelona: 08:00 AM Arrives: San Sebastian: 16:00 PM
2 July – Train to Bilbao (One-Way Train Ticket) Departs San Sebastian: 18:55 PM Arrives: Bilbao: 20:30 PM
7 July – Train to San Sebastian (One-Way Train Ticket) Departs Bilbao: 05:15 AM Arrives San Sebastian: 06:40 AM
7 July – Bus to Paris Departs San Sebastian: 08:00 AM Arrives: Paris: 18:00 PM
Flights out of Europe
8 July – Flights to Los Angeles Origin: Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt FR (CDG) Destination: Frankfurt DE (FRA) Flying Time: 1 hrs 15 min
Origin: Frankfurt DE (FRA) Destination: Los Angeles CA US (LAX) Flying Time: 11 hrs 45 min
24 August – Flight to Sydney Origin: Los Angeles CA US (LAX) Destination: Sydney NS AU (SYD) Flying Time: 15 hrs
Colour is central to our lives. As artists we have active control of colour to communicate with our viewers. There are observable ways colours interact to express our tastes and feelings. As we create we explore the feelings, the stories the colour helps us to tell. We can purposely go against our taste, in order to provoke or flow with it in order to placate or the third option is to downplay colour by going black and white. Knowing how they play together gives you freedom of choice.