A Leonardo da Vinci Painting with an Illustrious and Deceptive History Re-Surfaces

new salvator mundi

I love how the art world has a history filled with intrigue, mystery, and conspiracy. I heard on the news this morning about an unquestionable and unexpected 21st century discovery of a finished Leonardo da Vinci painting. My ears perked as I was pulled away from my Clash of Clans game. The journalists were very excited about how much money it will be going for at the auction, and how much the painting reminded them of the Mona Lisa.

I can see right away that technically the painting has the luminescent quality of Leonardo’s work, especially in the careful detail of the curls in the hair. Notice the hair in this detail of the angel from Verrocchio’s, The Baptism of Christ, which was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.angel hair da vinci

When I first laid eyes on the Salvator Mundi painting I didn’t think of the Mona Lisa. I saw differences in the background, in the placement and the position of the figure, and in the symbolism of the hands. Also notice the absence of the cleft chin in the Mona Lisa painting.

Instead, I thought of Albrecht Durer’s most famous Self Portrait from 1500 where he expressed his divine creative inspiration by painting himself in the reminiscent style of Christ.

Here we have many similarities with the background, with the straightforward positioning of the figure’s body and with the positioning of the hands. You can also see that both figures seem to have a cleft chin. (The beard on Durer does make it a little bit hard to tell.)

The experts aren’t 100% sure when the painting was done, but they have narrowed it down to around 1490 – 1500. The experts are however confident that this painting is an authentic Leonardo da Vinci. It first resurfaced in 2005 disguised as a copy. Over the span of 500 years it had disappeared, had been damaged, had been painted over . . . and at the same time, had been remarkably preserved in some areas like in the curls and the hands.

I hope you check out this website to learn more about the interesting history, and the unusually unanimous authentication of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting. I love art . . . it never fails to amaze me.

While very different from Leonardo’s version, Albrecht Durer also painted a Salvator Mundi portrait. It was unfinished and kinda creepy looking.

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Creepy Goya Artwork Perfect for Halloween

Before I turned 1 my dad introduced me to scary video games like Castlevania and DOOM and scary movies like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. Been hooked ever since.

I love scary stuff all year long but I always feel extra creeped out around Halloween. Well, I was driving home today when I saw an 18 wheeler that had the word “Chronos” written on it. I immediately thought about the Francisco de Goya y Lucientes painting, Chronos Devouring One of His Children. I haven’t looked at that painting in years, so I dug out my very heavy art book and took a look.

chronos devouring one of his children

Also named Saturn Devouring One of His Children

Goya painted this in 1820-1822 during the Romanticism period. I remember thinking that period would actually be romantic but it wasn’t. Instead you get a bunch of creepy and scary artwork.

Last night, I was watching Rocky V with my friend (who’s 13) and when Adrienne said she wanted her son to use his mind, not his fists, my friend said he didn’t understand how you’d fight with your mind. Well, he’s got some learning to do because our minds are the most fascinating and mysterious and most powerful parts of our body.

It’s my vivid imagination that usually scares me the most. And the creepy and scary things the human mind can think up is something that a lot of artists were trying to depict during the Romanticism period.   

chronos close up

Close up

I like the bright red blood pouring onto his hands which are clenched so tightly around the miniature body of one of his children that he must have broken the bones. His long hair and that crazy desperate look in his eyes sends chills down my spine. Even the color of his skin and the way Goya positioned the titan god’s body makes me feel sick.

Apparently, Goya originally painted 14 paintings known as the “black paintings” directly onto his walls in his Madrid home. That would be sooo scary to have this “dad” staring at you as you go get a drink of water . . . or gosh . . . a late night snack.

los caprichos

Another scary piece by Goya that’s perfect for Halloween is Los Caprichos, plate 3, from his aquatint etchings series. In this etching, The Boogeyman is Coming, Goya depicts an irrational and common fear which was created by parents and society to scare children into behaving.

I was never afraid of the boogeyman, but I knew people who were. After staring at this etching for a while and contemplating the fear I do start to get a little scared. Goya’s use of dark and light go really well with the terrified looks on their faces. And I can’t even see the Boogeyman’s face. The unknown is always scary.

My imagination has no trouble running away from me. Especially as I sit here in the dark on Halloween night while the rain beats on the roof.

I hope you enjoyed looking at Goya’s creepy artwork. I know I did. Have a Happy and Scary Halloween.

 

Is it Legal for an Artist to Sell Photos of Graffiti?

free art school graffiti-7

In my last post I shared some pictures of some graffiti I found. I went back and took some more photos that I’m pretty happy with and I would like to sell. I haven’t finished researching the copyright issue but it’s probably a good idea to get permission from the artist before trying to profit off of your documentation of their work. I don’t know how I’d get a hold of the artist . . . maybe hang out around the area for a while and hope for a little luck.

I don’t want to take any chances though, because I really want to avoid legal issues. I’ll just share my favorite shots with you guys in the meantime. (I do see a signature on the Juicy Lips, and I’ve seen his signature on a mural downtown. I could probably find him.)

 

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Jumping Cowboy

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Sad Cowboy

I Found a Hidden Free Graffiti Art School

 

 

I was driving down North St. one day near the college, when I noticed this Octopi graffiti painted on the wall of a closed down fast food restaurant. I snapped a few pictures then I turned around and saw some juicy lips and the familiar “Nac Rats” rat.  Even the concrete had been painted. As I continued to explore I stumbled on a whole bunch of graffiti hidden in this little area.

I walked along the wall checking out this little art museum wondering how the people who live in the apartment feel about their view. Then I noticed a hole in the fence, a couple of couches, and the words “Free Art School” written on the wall in sharpie. Hmmm . . . I’m really curious who attends this free art school, but nobody showed up while I was there. Maybe I’ll visit it again sometime and run into an artist.

Spray Painting the Total Eclipse

eclipse 1

The weather has been so hot and humid that I haven’t spray painted in months. But with all the excitement of today’s Total Eclipse, I thought it’d be a fun subject. The above painting was the first one I did. I wanted to put some silhouetted stuff in the foreground, but I didn’t know what, so I left it blank. Maybe I’ll add some details later. I used a really small bottle cap which made it kinda hard to create the Diamond Ring Effect and the Baily’s Beads.

eclipse from space

This was my second painting which shows the eclipse from space. My proportions are a little off, and my poor finger was getting really tired. I guess I got weak from not spray painting for so long . . . so, I had a little trouble controlling my cans. To create the eclipse I used a larger cap, possibly from a Parmesan Cheese container, but I still struggled to create the effects.

eclipse 2

For my third try, I used a much larger circle which was an old car part that held the headlight, or the tail light. I started to get the Diamond Ring Effect at the top, but I still need to add some details to create the rays. I also managed to create the beginning of the Bailey’s Beads, but I was impatient and didn’t let the paint dry, so it got all gloopy. I might go in later and re-add those beads.

total eclipse pyramids

My fourth attempt was on a larger piece of paper and it’s my favorite one. It reminds me of the Nile.

spray painting supplies

In the picture above you can see all the supplies I used for these paintings. I used a circle cut-out for Earth in my second painting, and the caps and car part to create the eclipses. I used Rust-oleum White for my stars. I also used a Seaside Blue Rust-oleum for the sky and water.  I used Black and Clear Rust-oleum to create the palm trees and rocks. The rest were the cheap-o cans from Wal-Mart, which were Blue, Black, White, and some Green. These brands work really well together.

Remember when you’re working with spray paint to protect your health and wear a mask and some eye protection.

I remember viewing the total eclipse in California when I was a kid. We had a perfect view of it, and my dad was in the Air Force and brought home some special viewing glasses. I also made a pinhole shoebox thing at school. I don’t think I’ll have a good view of it today though.

I actually read that Native Americans believe you should stay indoors during a total eclipse. I’m pretty sure I wont be able to resist trying to get some kind of view of it. You can even use the shadows created by the trees to look at it. (Which reminds me a lot of basic photography.)

Anyway . . . Will you be viewing the eclipse? Everyone have fun and be careful as you enjoy today’s total eclipse. The next one wont be for another 7 years . . . which will be going directly over my area.

A Basic Lesson on Value – Drawing a Dog with Graphite Pencils

hp photosmart 720

This Picture broke my first digital camera that I got when I turned 15.

Shadows, midtones, and highlights which are caused by our trusty light source the Sun, make all the awesome stuff we see everyday visible. To create a believable and interesting 3D image on a 2D surface you must become BFF’s with these three things that make up the design element: Value or Tone.

As an 18-21 year old student in my early art classes I really struggled to comfortably discern between the three and determine what I needed to adjust to make everything look right.

What Exactly Are Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights?

Basically, Highlights are the really bright spots that get the most direct amount of light. The Shadows are the dark spots created by something that is blocking the light. The Midtones are everything in between the two extremes.

After I got my initial sketch of Dynamite down with correct proportions it was time to focus on building the variety of tones that will form the dog.

  1. I like to start with my darkest darks and my lightest lights. I mark where the white parts and the bright highlights are so that I make sure to keep them clean. It’s a lot harder to remove than to add. And I like adding the darks early on because they help me to adjust and refine placement and they’ll eventually disappear a little bit as the drawing develops. They’re also really easy to see.
  2. After filling in the darks and lights, I start filling in the midtones almost everywhere, following the shapes of the muscles and folds in her coat. I also add a light layer of pencil in the background so that Dynamite has a place to live in.
  3. The last step is to continue adding the variety of values (tones) until the drawing can be called finished. After drawing for a while, I noticed that her belly and her back leg area needed to be moved down some. Both were easy fixes.
dynamite sketch 3

3.

Practice working gradually in a balanced pattern throughout the image being careful not to focus on just one part of the image for too long. If you do work on one single detail you run the risk of making irreversible mistakes.

So that’s Value in a nutshell.

I’ve noticed that at first, the people I’ve taught art to really struggle to discern Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights . . .  and it’s easy to get a little discouraged. Just Remember it will eventually become second nature. I can barely remember a time when my brain didn’t notice these three and all the other elements of design. If you diligently practice seeing these details you’ll get to the point where you can’t NOT see them.

Guy From Burn Notice who sees patterns

The guy in the middle

I always think of that crazy guy from Burn Notice in S3 E5 who said,  “Once you see a pattern, you can’t un-see it.” That’s what we’re going for, minus the crazy part. Then again, if crazy works for you . . .

Quick Tip Before you Go:

When you’re working with graphite, you can cover the entire page with a graphite powder if you like to speed up the process. It’s such a light layer of graphite, that you’ll be able to draw in details with your graphite pencils and your kneaded eraser. Read the label carefully! It’s pretty dangerous stuff to breathe in.

Getting Motivated to Make Art

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The days are still long and hot. The deafening sound of cicadas can still be heard. I’m still waiting impatiently for football to start! Summertime isn’t over yet and even though I love those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (any other Gilmore Girls fans love that song in s3e1??) I can’t waste another second . . . . I miss making art! But as much as I love making art I have to admit that being an artist can be crazy hard sometimes.

Where Do I Begin?

nike just do it

My biggest struggle is getting the motivation to get started. Self-employed artists can’t wait for motivation to kick in. Gotta be like Nike and Just Do It. I’m sure you’re like me and you have plenty of projects and ideas to work on so pick one and just get started. It’s that simple.

Self -Discipline

teddy roos discipline

I remember in High School our band was the best band in the area. For band members school officially started a month before classes started. And two Weeks before classes started we were at the school with the football team doing our 2 a days. dragon band

The Dragon Band had pride and discipline and that’s what made us so great. Or it’s possible that our band director scared the discipline into us . . . but heeey, that’s cool. Band was awesome!

If you struggle with discipline you might try making yourself accountable to someone. Or imagine what the end result will be like. I have a friend who makes bets with people. His last bet required him not to shave his face (which he hates).

Meet Dynamite

dynamite

This picture is the main thing stopping me with this project. I’m guessing it was taken with a disposable camera, or at least a film point and shoot, and they used flash which makes the details in the dog’s eyes and coat really hard to see. It’s just not a fun drawing and I don’t really want to do it.

But I know the finished piece will bring a huge smile to the face of Dynamite’s owner. I also know that overcoming the challenge feels awesome. And my skills will improve. PLUS, I might possibly help somebody who is reading my blog and looking for some motivation encouragement.

What exactly am I waiting for? A Firm Kick in the Pants! This is the perfect project to pull me out of summer time and get me back to work again . . . What do you do to get motivated to make art? Hopefully, you don’t struggle with that and you ARE making tons of art.