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"He who despises painting has no love for the philosophy in nature." - Leonardo Da Vinci

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An Edward Hopper style birdhouse

July 29th, 2014

If Edward Hopper had a birdhouse, do you think it would look like the one below left, seen yesterday in Sandbridge, VA? While certainly not a direct match, it brought to mind Hopper’s 1925 painting “House by the Railroad,” seen below right.

A bird house that reminds me of the Edward Hopper painting House by the Railroad


Perhaps taking advice too seriously

July 28th, 2014

We’re on our usual summer trip to Sandbridge, VA, for a week of relaxing on the beach. This morning, as I went out for an early morning jog, I noticed the “relax” message on the wood post, below left, which perfectly sums up the mindset here. However, about a hundred feet away, I saw two traffic cones laying down on the job … it seems they’re taking the “relax” orders a bit too seriously, as they won’t be stopping many cars from entering that driveway.

p.s. If you recall, Sandbridge is the location of one of our Arts Adventures … check it out here.

views of Sandbridge, VA


The Arts Adventurer in Bridgeport, CT

July 26th, 2014

This is just one of over 20 examples of amazing graffiti murals that we saw in Bridgeport, CT … we’ve been long overdue in adding Chapter 2 of our Bridgeports Arts Adventure, but you can finally see it here.

The Arts Adventurer finds countless graffiti murals in Bridgeport CT


Proclaiming a love of art via graffiti

July 25th, 2014

I saw this graffiti on the sidewalk in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC … I like the eyeball with the Basquiat/Biggie Smalls-style crown on top.

graffiti on the sidewalk in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC


The Seven Art Elements via The Old Schoolhouse

July 23rd, 2014

I happened upon an interesting article at The Old Schoolhouse by Pat Knepley that describes teaching children the “seven art elements.” She mentions that having a knowledge of these seven fundamentals is a key to understanding, discussing, and making art. So what are these seven elements? Line, shape, space, value, color, texture, and form. The first three, line, shape, and space, are all pretty self-evident to me, but how is “value” defined in the arts? In this case, “value” is not the auction price of an Andy Warhol painting, but rather the light and dark found in a piece of art. Knepley specifically mentions Rembrandt as being an artist who used a wide range of values in his paintings to create dramatic effect, but I think another obvious choice for being a master of value would have to be Caravaggio, both of whom are represented with examples below.

examples of paintings using value by Rembrandt and Caravaggio

Back to the overall list of seven art elements, color and texture are also relatively self-explanatory, but how would one define form? Knepley describes it as the 3-D version of “shape,” whether that may be an actual 3-D object such as a sculpture, or creating the illusion of 3-D within the confines of a two-dimensional drawing or painting.

For more art articles by Pat Knepley, check out The Old Schoolhouse’s overview here. If you happen to be a homeschooler or are thinking about it, make sure to take advantage of their Homeschool Welcome Basket, which comes in two versions: one is a range of digital-only materials and resources that can be ordered for free, or the second includes a mix of digital and physical products for a minimal fee.


Animated gifs by Hayden Zezula

July 23rd, 2014

I saw some really cool animated gifs by designer/animator Hayden Zezula, based in Austin, Texas. Here’s my favorite one, titled “Memories.” To see more of Zezula’s animated gifs, check out his Dribble page here.

animated gifs by Hayden Zezula


Getting advice from Rodin’s Thinker

July 23rd, 2014

The angle of this view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art makes it look like Rodin’s Thinker is sitting on the shoulders of another Rodin sculpture, whispering advice into the big guy’s ear. What do you think he’s telling him?

View of two sculptures by Auguste Rodin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Harvard President says a key skill needed to succeed is imagination

July 18th, 2014

I read an interesting interview with Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust. She was asked about the importance of a liberal arts education in a time of great technological advancement. She said:

“We don’t know where the world’s going. Technology is disrupting so many traditional assumptions, employment options, and economic foundations that we don’t know what kind of jobs students are going to have a decade from now. People need to have the skills and adaptability that will make them flexible enough to be successful in a world that we can’t predict. So what are those kinds of skills? Imagination. Insight. Perspective.”

Seems like a good reason to keep your kids involved in the arts and encourage their creative thinking …

President of Harvard University says imagination is important for success


Become a Pencil King

July 17th, 2014

If you wanted to improve your art-making skills, and were offered an opportunity to get lessons from artists who have worked for companies such as Marvel Comics, Dreamworks, EA Sports, Nickelodeon and others, don’t you think that would be a pretty amazing opportunity? Well, you can do just that at Pencil Kings, a website that offers video training which allows one to easily learn new techniques by watching over the shoulder of professional artists. Some of the video topics include: Face Drawing Fundamentals, Drawing Hands and Feet, Drawing Expressions, Painting in Photoshop, Environmental Concept Art, Intro to Digital Media, and many more … there’s 33 different courses spanning over 300 individual videos, with a range of interests and skill levels (scroll down for more info).

Examples of video art lessons available at Pencil Kings

There’s a significant amount of free lessons and information, including a blog with articles often featuring practical advice for working artists. There is also a membership section which provides unlimited access to all lessons, a private community where you can share your work with others and get critical feedback, and … I think this next one is pretty amazing … they even offer conference call coaching sessions, where they bring in professional artists to share their insights and answer your questions. I had a chance to go through several of the video lessons, and they’re done at a pace and with a clarity that makes it easy to follow along. I know that online education is a growing field, and this site is a good example of how it can really work.


Nicolas Ferrando “covers” Diane Arbus’ Twins

July 17th, 2014

Below left we have Diane Arbus’ iconic image titled Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, from 1967. And below right, we’ve got Nicolas Ferrando re-creating the image, but with a twist – the twins’ faces are covered with paper bags. Ferrando explains: “The effect of the paper bag is, not to protect the models’ identity but to signify to the audience that this is a stage as opposed to real life. The paper bags are more important than the individuals. They are the characters, a construction.”

Diane Arbus Twins compared to Nicolas Ferrando Twins with paper bags


Vincent Van Gogh at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page. Pablo Picasso paintings at Artsology

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