Archive for April 2010

Ming Dynasty Porcelain

April 24, 2010

Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

The Ming Dynasty saw an extraordinary period of innovation in ceramic manufacture. Kilns investigated new techniques in design and shapes, showing a preference for color and painted design. During the Xuande (1425–35), a technical refinement was introduced in the preparation of the cobalt used for underglaze blue decoration. Prior to this the cobalt had been brilliant in color, but with a tendency to bleed in firing; by adding a manganese the color was duller, but the line crisper. Xuande porcelain is now considered among the finest of all Ming output. In addition to these decorative innovations, the late Ming period underwent a dramatic shift towards a market economy exporting porcelain around the world on an unprecedented scale.   In Yung Lo reign (1403-1424), both the potting and glazing techniques improved and wares attained a whiter body and richer blue than those of Yuan dynasty ware. The underglaze blue of the Yung Lo wares and Hsuen Te (1426-1435) wares noted or their rich blue tone. Throughout the Ming dynasty, dragon and phoenix were the most popular decorative motifs on ceramic wares.

“Dragon pattern as the nose of the bottle” China, Porcelain  Xuande (1425–1435)

Chinese style of Ming dynasty Original Size: Mouth 10cm xBottom 17.5cm xHigh 38cm

Private collection Unit Price (RMB): 6,000

The porcelains of the Ming dynasty have attained such recognition in the West that “Ming” has become almost generic for anything ceramic fabricated in China before the twentieth century. While, unhappily, many of the pieces called Ming have no possible claim to that attribution, the porcelains that were produced during the period are among the most beautiful and exciting to emerge from China’s kilns.

Cup, Ming dynasty, Chenghua mark and period (1465–1487), China, Porcelain painted in underglaze blue and over-glaze enamels

In doucai(contrasting colors) decoration, designs were completely outlined in cobalt blue on the unfired vessel, and a few areas of blue wash were painted in as well. After glazing and the usual high-temperature firing, the outlines were filled in with over-glaze red, green, yellow, and aubergine enamels that were then fired at low temperatures. 

Dish, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period (1488–1505) China Porcelain painted in underglaze blue with yellow, overglaze enamelsDiam. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)

The technique of adding yellow enamel to previously glazed and fired porcelains and then firing the enamel at a low temperature was probably developed in China during the Xuande period (1426–35). The dish belongs to a series of rather heavily potted dishes with this five-petalled flower as the principal design that originated in the Xuande period and continued to be produced until at least the Jiajing reign (1522–66).

I chose Ming Dynasty Porcelain as it has always intrigued me, it gives me a feeling of age-old wisdom coupled with a sense of tranquility. I find it extraordinarily beautiful, the graceful curves of the decorations and the harmonious colors applied to the dishware and skillfully glazed make for an unusual piece of “pottery”, but more in my mind a fascinating art-form.


Contemporary Wildlife Art

April 15, 2010

Contemporary Art: Art from the 1960’s or 70’s up until this very minute. Contemporary art includes any art created by people since the late sixties to the present. This exhibit will deal with Contemporary Wildlife art by three undeniably talented artist. These works  are easy on the eyes and senses and gives one a feeling of being connected to our animal neighbors. The viewer gets the feeling that they could be right there with the animal, this shows great skill by the artist.

Carl Brenders’ was born in Belgium in 1937. Brenders’  insistence on anatomical perfection in his paintings stems from his philosophy that nature, itself, is perfection: “That is why I paint the way I do with so much detail and so much realism — I want to capture that perfection,” he says.The wildlife images of Brenders’ art are first drawn with pencil sketches; from these sketches his mixed media paintings of watercolor and gouache are completed with a technique he has developed during the last 25 years. His paintings,  devote equal attention to the detail of the wildlife subject and its habitat and the mood created by the light.Double Dare” By Carl Brenders 1983

Eye of the Beholder” By Carl Brenders date unknown

Bev Doolittle was born in California in 1968. Bev Doolittle’s phenomenal success has been a by-product of her desire to work hard at what she loves to do most – create art with meaning. Realistic Western art has conventionally been dominated by oil painting, and Doolittle was instrumental in bringing watercolors into the genre.

Pintos” By Bev Doolittle 1979

Bev Doolittle is one of America’s most collected artists. Her camouflage art is loved by art collectors around the world. Through dedication and sheer force of talent. Doolittle has achieved a status in the art world few contemporary artists  dream of. Crowded with visual detail, haunted by presences seen and unseen, her paintings captivate the viewer on many levels.

Caribou Country” By Bev Doolittle 1986

“I love nature,” Doolittle says. “I try to look beyond the obvious and create unique, meaningful paintings depicting our Western wilderness and its inhabitants. I start with a concept and attempt to convey it through strong design coupled with detailed realism. I want people to think when they look at my paintings…my advice to aspiring artists is simple – paint what you know, paint what you love and always paint for yourself.” For me, success followed my passion. Passion is what drives me.”

Dan Smith is one of America’s foremost wildlife artists. Smith enjoys wide acclaim for his  depictions of landscapes and wildlife as well as his conservation “stamp” artwork. An ardent supporter of wildlife conservation, Smith feels indebted to the natural world that has provided him with the sole inspiration for his award-winning career.

Still Water Crossing” By Daniel Smith 2009

“In my opinion Dan Smith is truly one of  America’s great wildlife painters.” Says John Geraghty, board member of the Autry Museum of the American West, “Viewing the art of Dan Smith I am impressed by the meticulous attention to detail, the purity of realism and conspicuous depth of knowledge in his subject matter…Dan is unique in his approach to painting. He straddles that line of photo-realism with a masterfully painterly style. He has an ability to capture the personality of his subjects at that magic moment in time.”

On Common Ground” By Daniel Smith 2008

Stuart Johnson, owner of Settlers West Gallery in Tucson claims “To take the subject matter beyond the constraints of the photo is something few can do and Dan does it better than anyone else….His animals appear to be right there for the touching. His compositions are terrific.”

Through his art, Dan Smith endorses and aids many conservation efforts.

My love of wildlife and my admiration of these  marvelous pieces of art,  are almost equal. I can only marvel at the skill these artist possess to create these wondrous lifelike paintings.


Early Modern Photography

April 6, 2010

“Migrant Mother” Series By Dorothea Lange March of 1936 in Nipomo, California.

Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-58355

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration. Lange’s photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of photography documentation. “Lange’s stirring images of migrant farmers and the unemployed have become universally recognized symbols of the Great Depression.”^3

“From 1935 to 1939, Lange’s work for the Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration brought the plight of the poor and forgotten — particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers — to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, her poignant images became icons of the era.”^1

I chose this frame of the  “Migrant Mother” series as I had seen it before many years ago, in an old magazine that my mother had. It struck a chord with me then, as it does now.  It is not that they are poor, dirty and hungry, these things are bad enough. The fact that they don’t even have 4 sides to their tent seriously moves me.  Art illicit s feelings, good ones and bad ones, and in this photo for me, sad ones.

Photography underwent huge changes in the early part of the twentieth century. This can be said of every other type of visual art, but, unique to photography is the transformed perception of the medium. It moved from being a credible documentation of  objective evidence for  science from 1850-1900. Photographers struggled for artistic recognition throughout the century. In Paris’s Universal Exposition of 1859,  photography and “art” (painting, engraving, and sculpture) were displayed together for the first time; photography then slowly transformed into an artistic practice by the 1920s

In the sciences photographs had credibility as people could document other people, places, and events. Images too rapid for the human eye to observe could be photographed, this allowed for the  enhancement, or even creation of  new forms of scientific study. As shown in Edweard Muybridge,Thoroughbred bay mare “Annie G.” galloping, Human and Animal Locomotion, plate 626, 1887

In the arts, photography was valued for its replication of exact details, and for its reproduction of artworks for publication. Since art 1s considered the product of imagination and skill, how could a photograph made with an instrument and  chemicals, not a paintbrush and canvas, ever be considered  real art?  “Elite art world figures like Alfred Stieglitz—promoted the late nineteenth-century style of “art photography,” and produced low-contrast, warm-toned images like The Terminal that highlighted the medium’s potential for originality.”^2

Photography is still documenting people, places,  and events. With  improvements to photographic instruments coupled with  education of the photographer, the art of photography cannot be denied. Photo contest for things such as originality, style and placement are everywhere. Photograph exhibits are shown in all major cities covering everything from landscapes to nudes to the stars of the universe. The subjects and styles of photography are just as varied as the visual art of coating surfaces with paint for an  artistic effect. This picture “Tuona – Thunder” is amazing in every detail. Even though it is a photograph it very much reminds me of an Impressionistic painting.

Tuona-Thunder By Cavagna Ottavio, Milano Italy 2005



3. Photography