05. February 2017 · Comments Off on What is Woodblock Printing, and How Does It Work? · Categories: Printing Methods · Tags: ,

Woodblock printing is one of the earliest methods of printing text, images or pattern widely used in East Asia. This method uses engraved woodblocks to print out texts or images. It dates back to 9th century in China as a method of printing on textiles and later paper.

How it works

drawing on paperFirst, an image is drawn on plain paper with a lead pencil. An alternative to this is printing the image then covering the parts you want to be printed with a lead pencil. The image is transferred onto the wood by turning the drawing face down. To have the pencil transfer to the wood, a burnisher is commonly used to rub the back of the drawing.

Tracing the Illustration

Tracing the illustration with a pen typically makes it easier to see before starting to carve. The carving part of the printing is the most technical, and that’s why the wood is placed on top of a rubber mat so that it doesn’t slip. The large U-shaped gouge is used for clearing most of the material, whereas the small U-shaped gouge carves the details.

Proofing the Block

Proofing the block is the next step after the image has been carved out. It may not be easy to tell what the print will look like if the block is not proofed. It is done by applying a line of ink on the glass, mixing it then rolling out an even surface of it using the rubber brayer. The brayer is then rolled onto the block. Additional carving is done on areas that pick up the ink and are supposed to be clear.

Printing the Block

The block is then printed once the image has been carved to perfection. This is done by repeating the inking process done before then placing the paper face down onto the block. The back of the paper is then lightly pressed down starting from the center with the bottom of a rice spoon. The paper is then lifted and the block allowed to dry.

Cleaning/Framing the Woodblock Print

cleaning up before framingThe last process is cleaning and framing the woodblock print. Some little water is used to scrub off the unwanted prints lightly. However, this part of woodblock printing is not necessary, so most artists don’t do it.

This type of printing has been extensively used to decorate leathers, fabrics, and wallpapers. It is usually easiest when working with repetitive patterns since the carving and handling process is reduced. In the case of a multicolor pattern, an artist will have to carve each color element as a separate block. Ink is also applied individually.

02. February 2017 · Comments Off on The World’s Best Art Museums · Categories: Art Collections · Tags: ,

To comprise a list of the world’s best art museums is like trying to make a case for the best artist ever to grace a brush or a chisel. The criteria for making this list is relatively straightforward – to take the art lover on a global tour of the most historic museums containing the best historical art. We will start in New York City, then fly to France, take a short hop in Athens, advance to St. Petersburg, and finish in The Forbidden City before returning home.

New York

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the place to go when you are looking for a combination of international art and historical works. European art is represented by work from many of art’s masters, including Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Rodin. Middle Eastern art from Egypt finds itself represented in the Temple of Dendur, and naturally, American art is displayed in a separate wing. One example of the depth and breadth of the available works is the engraved masterpiece by Albrecht Dürer – “Adam and Eve.”

France

The Louvre in Paris, France

Perhaps the most internationally known of all art museums is the Louvre in Paris, France. The building itself was built as a medieval fortress and later was the palace of kings. The museum holds the most famous artworks in the world, including “Venus de Milo” which has now been credited to Alexandros of Antioch, and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” Though the vast number of the museum’s works date only to the 19th century, its contents are an entire survey of the major forms of important art and its evolution.

Athens

Acropolis in Athens, Greece

When it comes to the combination of Western history and art in the form of archaeology, there may be no better place than the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. You can view archeological excavations by peering down through the transparent glass floor, and experience firsthand what it was like to be in the environment of the homes, towns, and buildings of Athens. There are also excavations of smaller settlements to give you a broader perspective of historic Athens. Perhaps the biggest attraction for artists is the incredible amount of detail that has been preserved in the excavation process.

St. Petersburg

Flying north to St. Petersburg, Russia, you visit the State Hermitage. Though not very well-known to the average person, this museum holds collections totaling more than 3 million pieces of art dating from the Stone Age and including works of the 20th century. No significant geographical location is absent of works, as Western European works, along with Eurasian displays, Oriental works, and of course, Russian art all have their own sections. Some of the great Masters’ works are represented here, including Rembrandt, da Vinci, Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, and van Gogh.

The Forbidden City

The last leg of the tour ends up in The Forbidden City of China. Located in the center of Beijing, the city is no longer forbidden but was once an imperial palace. At the heart of the Forbidden City is the Palace Museum. Containing art from the collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties, it is the most visited art museum in the world, making it a must-see on the list of the world’s best art museums. Though the collections are vast, a part of the complete collection was moved to Taipei and now is displayed in the National Palace Museum.

Once you have finished this tour, you will have visited the best art museums in the world as they store works that have cultural, artistic, and historical value to the international community. You will also have been exposed to virtually every form of art, expanding your knowledge in your areas of interest while opening your eyes to new, unknown works of art.

31. January 2017 · Comments Off on Contemporary Art History: A Brief Look Over the Decades · Categories: Art History · Tags: ,

Contemporary Art as an art classification has a fluid description. It is like floating down a river. You are always on the river, but as you move along sometimes it’s fast and rocky, and other times it’s calm and serene. Contemporary Art is like that river; it changes with the seasons of our culture. A generally accepted definition of Contemporary Art would be art that was produced during our lifetime. Obviously, a lifetime will mean a different amount of time to various people, but current contemporary art would be starting around the 1960’s through present day.

1960’s — Minimalism and Pop Art

The 1960’s art has two important branches. One is Minimalism Art, and the other is Pop Art. Both of these styles can be seen coming out of the culture as a whole. The love and free spirit movements of the 60’s were about throwing off the structure and established practices and beliefs of the previous generation. Art was art simply because it was art. It didn’t have to mean anything. Minimalist Art was about simple lines and colors often on industrial mediums that lacked texture. Pop Art was art that involved anything current, whether that be colorful paintings of the famous Marilyn Monroe or a set of images on canvas of cans of Campbell’s soup.

1970’s — A Continuation of the 1960’s

The artists of the 1970’s continued the tradition of the previous generation. There was a continued deconstructing of what art was. It is not uncommon to see text used in pieces of 70’s artwork. Also during this time artwork started to take on a more “earthy” feel. Dirt, sand and other natural mediums were experimented with during the 70’s.

1980’s — The Pictures Generation

The 1980’s artists were known as “The Pictures Generation.” The human form began to become more commonly used in artwork. Artists would manipulate and merge photos creating a combination portrait and painting in one. Neo-conceptualism began sometime during the 80’s. It has no real hard defined characteristics but if the piece of art led to discussions on politics, social issues or economic issues it likely would be classified Neo-conceptual.

1990’s — Installation Art


Perhaps the most recognizable art of the 1990’s was Installation Art. This sometimes meant transforming a room in the art gallery into the actual work of art, or it might mean constructing a large piece of artwork in the middle of a field or downtown New York.

2000’s — Time Will Tell!

Art at the beginning of the 21st century is probably too recent to be able to look back on the decade to see what defined the decade. If anything it might have been a mashing together of the ideas of the last 50 years.

Final Thoughts…

Contemporary Art is hard to draw lines around and define. It changes with the current cultural revolutions, with the politics of the times, and with what is considered edgy or different. As King Solomon of ancient Israel said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Art flows from one generation to the next. It is rejected, adapted, modified, copied and then rejected again. It is an ever-present expression of the inner thoughts and feelings of the human race.

27. January 2017 · Comments Off on The Best the Places to Learn Drawing Online · Categories: Learning Resources · Tags:

Drawings communicate so much while at the same time eliminating the use of words. How far you can communicate is highly dependent on how detailed and fine your drawings are. You may not be good at drawing but you need not worry. You can develop this talent with the help of online platforms that reach how to perfect drawing.

Whether you are looking at professional drawing or simply looking to fulfill a desire or perfect your hobby, you will find the following best places to learn drawing online. These websites offer varying courses to suit the different needs, wants, likes, and preferences of different artists.
About.com Drawing/sketching

About.com Drawing/sketching

http://drawsketch.about.com/

This website offers beginner drawing lessons starting from the most basic concept such as how to hold a pencil to leaving an outstanding complete drawing. It offers guides on drawing as well as overall art. This is a great site to help you get started as well as enhance on various projects of your choice. It also advises beginners on drawing and how best to go about it.

Sketch up

http://sketchup.google.com/

Just as the name suggests, this site offers great step-by-step tutorial videos on how to sketch with the objective of leaving a 3-D effect. Google offers a free software will help you meet this goal. This software has many videos that are easy to follow so you can perfect your sketches. With this, you are on your way to updating your sketches into the 21st century.

Uncle Fred

www.unclefred.com/index.html

Uncle Fred has a niche market targeting the young artists. You can have your kids grow their talent from a young age. It provides easy to follow tutorials for your kids to draw cartoons. To help capture kids’ attention, the site is fun and indulging so your kid(s) can have fun. It offers specific steps for drawing specific characters on its site.
How to draw cartoons online

How to draw cartoons online

www.how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com/

This website is specific to cartoon lovers. It offers diverse styles and techniques that will help you bring out the best of your cartoon characters. It is ideal for both beginners as well as intermediate artists. You can be the next Charles M. Schulz with this website. Navigating the site is easy for right about anyone. It is exciting, engaging, and clear.
Art graphica

Art graphica

www.artgraphica.net/

This website offers some free as well as paid programs to help individuals make the best from drawing. You will be able to not only draw but also paint as well as sketch. This is a handy website for those looking to explore boundaries. This site will not only get you started but it will also turn you into a pro.

Draw space

www.drawspace.com/

Draw space is a great site to learn how to draw as a beginner as well as offers courses for intermediate as well as advanced drawers. In this, this is an all rounded site that will guide you through to perfection. It is recommended for individuals looking to make a career from drawing. This is because it offers a wider variety of illustrations. The courses will teach you how to draw cartoons, faces, and figures, as well as illustrations.

Now Get Out and Learn to Draw!

Man drawing a woman's face

The above are the best places to learn drawing online. They are diverse with the aim of fulfilling your objectives. These sites offer easy to follow tutorials to help beginners to understand what drawing is all about. Some are free while others require a fee as you advance.