Sunday, May 27, 2012

How to paint: a rose

Acrylic on Canvas. Approximately 60x60cm.

Ability: Intermediate to Advanced

While I was still learning the process of how to paint, I came across an article in an art mag how to paint a rose. A rose looks soo complicated and I had never attempted it, until then. Break down your image to make it easier for you to get your head around. Print out a grey tone copy and start by doing a black & white (greyscale) underpainting. Fill in the areas like a 'paint by numbers' exercise. Once you have the grey underpainting, you will feel more confident to add your colour knowing you have your base tone already there. Go on, give it a try!
Step 1: Draw your outline on the canvas in a pastel pencil, watersoluble pencil or charcoal
Step 2: Block in your greyscale underpainting, starting with your darkest darks first

Step 3: Start to block in your mid tones

Step 4: Block in your lighest tones -nearly white.

Progress photo: Sorry it is side on. I dont know why it uploaded like this. But you can see the photo printed image I am working from on top of the easel.

Step 5: Start adding your colours -again starting with the darkest areas first. You can see the greyscale underpainting.

Step 6: Add your mid tone colours in -only the lightest grey underpainting areas are left

Step 7: Start adding detail to the petals with visible unblended strokes of colour

Step 8: Fill in your lighest coloured areas and finish up details on petals adding highlights, sharpen edges and blur edges

Finished Painting. (c.) Chrissy Dwyer. Artist retains copyright of all images on this blog unless stated otherwise.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Art Market

The age old question of any artist is finding the key to how to sell your art. What information isn't abundant is 'who buys art'. It makes it hard to know how to market yourself correctly if you can't find the facts and figures. An old study, conducted by the Australia Council in 1997, in the report "To sell art, know your market" -though is very out of date to uphold the statistics, still provides an indication in general of the market demographics etc.
The following is a summary from the report;
  • An art purchaser is most likely to be an educated (academic) female aged 35-54
  • They [buyers] work in professional jobs and have a high combined household income ($80000 plus in 1997) 
  • The majority of buyers visit commercial and public galleries, however far fewer buyers visited galleries which actually sell artworks
  • Australian buyers value Australian themed and provenience artworks
  • Buyers value the personal connection or shared experience of the work
  • Traditional imagery resonates a memory for the buyer of a place or thing they have an affiliation with which means they are most likely rare or occasional buyers.
  • Around the time of the survey, Australian country style and domestic imagery was popular. 
  • Holiday goers are keen to bring home mementos, other Artists are of course part of the buying market.
  • Immigrants want to feel the connection with quintessential Australia.
  • Authentic Australian art is perceived to be Aboriginal art.
If anyone has a report on recent Australian Art Market buyer information or even international statistic, please share the paper/book/link.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Analysing art and semiotics

Semanatics is concerned with what words mean. Semiotics is concerned with how signs mean (textual analysis).
Most people have analysed artwork before as schools do this; looking at and disecting the elements and principles of design. Meaning and the artist's intention tends to be skim and not fully devulged into. Semiotics is a complex topic, and is aimed at tertiary level, however if you can understand the fundamentals then you have a better chance at creating more meaning in your artwork -if that is your intention.
Semiotics makes you look at all aspects of your artwork. Even the process can be important in assisting the meaning, the medium and supports, the subject matter - all have connotations.
So what is semiotics? Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols; a visual language of codes. Codes give signs their meaning. A things has its main meaning (denotation) however there can be other meanings associated with that thing (connotations). For example in different cultures the same word can mean different things. Colour is a code which does not hold the same meaning across cultures.
Texts are objects, sounds, visuals and things around us: traffic signals, billboards, documentary, a song on the radio, an artwork. A text usually refers to something that communicates a mesage. We (you and me) are the readers of texts.
A sign 'denotes' the actual idea or meaning of the thing; Brisbane Story Bridge, Qantas plane, Elvis. A sign is a specific concept (signified) and the sound image (signifier) of the thing. The relationship between the signifier and signified is called signification. For example a dog is the signifer -image, 'dogness' is the signified -concept. Dog is the denotation. Mutt, K-9, feral dog, wild dog, dingo, Kelpy, pet, man's mate, helper, farm dog, four legged animal,  etc are all connotations associated with the signifer of dog which produces difference meanings. These concepts can be very arbitary. Context changes meaning and thus a sign can possess connotations (different meanings).  A symbols is the vechicle for the concept of the object. 
So what does all this mean for you as an artist? It means you can look deeper into your thoughts, ideas, concepts, how you produce your art -what you are trying to communicate.
When your brainstorming. Write down the connotations associated with particular mediums for example aerosol paint -is associated with graffiti, street art, surburbs, city, allyways, trains, walls of buildings fences and toilet blocks. Is this medium the best for a still life? It doesn't mean it's not, it may communicate sonething you didn't intend. Just the same if you use any images from popular culture, they hold certain meaning.
This is what the meaning of art means.
I hope you now understand better the importance of what you communicate through your art and to be critically aware of interpretion and intneded meaning. This is a very basic insight into some aspects of semiology  and the affect this has on analysing our art.