Art 3 – Due Monday 1/7

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Watch the video on Gabriele Munter and note the portraits in particular.

Look at the information on the following site:

paint like an expressionist

Read the following blog about Munter.

Daily Art Display about Gabrielle Munter

Have a virtual conversation with your classmates about the visuals, the art, the information on these sites and the portrait painting you are working on.  Like any conversation, someone will start with a comment and invitation to discuss a particular aspect, giving reasons why you are interested in the direction you are leading the conversation. Each student will contribute at least twice, not necessarily in any particular order, but always waiting for a response before you post a second (or even third time.)

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11 responses »

  1. I like Munter’s style of painting. She uses basic geometric figures to base her artwork off of. I suppose I just like the simplicity of it all. The colors are basic. The paintings make me believe that Munter was painting just for the sheer enjoyment of it all. She was painting for herself. Her paintings seem to have inspiration from her own life and personal experiences, as was clear from the blog about Munter. I do that in my art all the time, and I think most people do as well. I guess her painting style has just taught me that I should just start painting, without too much thinking/planning, and my piece will turn out just fine. The other website was helpful to me mostly by telling me how to go about an expressionist painting. It explained how I could pick a color scheme and how to use those colors nicely.

    • I think that’s great advice to not over think your art and just get started. Practice can be a great impetus and opportunity for refinement and growth. It’s too bad though that many people with expectations that good art is only realistic do not see the growth and refinement that shows up in an expressionist’s body of work.

  2. I also really liked the simplicity of her work. I loved the way she outlined shapes within the paintings to define them and make them pop out of the work. She mixes a huge variety of color, and I find it really interesting how within some shapes she has a really free hand and you can see each brush stroke. She doesn’t bother mixing all the colors together, and that adds different shadows of color in each shape. I think that without her unique bright color choices her pieces would be too simple and bland. She has inspired me to not be afraid of using a variety of colors within one piece, as the “paint like an expressionist” page gives a helpful guide. I want to try to have an open mind when painting, and use her free-hand, brush stroking technique, not worrying about correctly portraying every shape.

    • It’s interesting how expressionist paintings seem simpler but to make them can be actually harder because there are no visual parameters like realism has; it’s all intuition. I like this quote by Matisse because he reminds us that it is not only color but composition that is expressive too:
      “The whole arrangement of my picture is expressive. The place occupied by the figures or objects, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything plays a part.”

      • Yes, I find expressionism much harder than realism! I think it has something to do with imagination—when you’re painting realistically, you don’t have to think about anything besides the technical aspects. But in expressionism, the thought goes much deeper, bringing up many questions and possibilities. That’s one of the reasons why expressionism is interesting.

  3. I also like the simplicity of Munter’s work, especially contrasted with the vibrant, unrealistic colors. It’s so simple, and yet it still manages to capture the essence, the feeling, of the image. My favorite painting of hers was the one from the video at 3:05 (three minutes and five seconds in). I love the colors in it: the greens, the reds, the blues. It’s a bit more complex than her other paintings, but I think it works well.

    Expressionism seems to be based on instinct. (Maybe that’s why I’m bad at it: I have terrible instincts!) It’s like painting emotions. I find it interesting and enlightening that color is used so symbolically. It makes me want to paint another—I chose my colors just because they looked nice.

    It’s very typical that men are seen as the originators, the inventors, while women are looked down upon as simple followers. I feel sorry for Frida Kahlo and Munter. They were such fine painters in their own rights, but their husbands took all the credit. I do like, however, how Munter describes paintings as moments of life. They’re just stories, like anything else. What’s more, it’s very intriguing that she had to hide artwork from the Nazis. I didn’t know that they cared about that kind of thing.

    • Instincts just come with practice and experience – and you notice how Munter says that in the classes with him over that first summer, Kandinsky taught her how to speed up and trust herself, develop her instincts, so to speak. I’m glad you finally mentioned the gender issue – it seems such an important one when you look at how much importance Kandinsky is given and how only relatively recently Munter is being given her due. In fact, her recognition started to rise when she died and left her collection and the work was reevaluated in context. It is good she hid the work from the Nazi’s – very clever on her part. They were interested in the work, not because they agreed with the aesthetics, but because they knew it’s market value.

    • About the gender issue; I like what you said about how men are supposed to be the originators and women the followers (well I don’t like it, I mean I agree with it). It’s an eternal issue. It started forever ago, I bet there’s a ton in the bible about it, and is still going on today. The funny, and cool, thing about Frida Kahlo and Munter, despite their credit-taking men, is that I’d heard of both of them and neither of their lovers. I looked at Diego Rivera’s art which I think is just as beautiful as Kahlo’s but the difference for me is that Kahlo’s has such obvious pain and emotion that it’s hard to critique it just as a piece of art. It’s like a piece of her and you can’t really critique a person. Kandinsky’s art is also nice, but I don’t really like abstract art so it’s hard for me to compare Munter with him.

  4. I agree with everyone about how simple her work is; the figure, colors, shapes, lines. Actually, I think the simplicity is what makes her work so compelling. I feel like it’s better to go simpler rather than complicated and big and bold and busy. House always says that in his opinion it’s better to crunch your work down to the raw, naked details when writing; that it’s more powerful than fluffy descriptions that tend to cloud the subject. I know he says this in accordance to writing but I think in some cases it can be applied to art as well.
    There’s such a range in her style as well. Like, I saw pieces (the first portrait for example, or the still life at 2:16) with great detail, shadowing and precision, but then I saw pieces that looked very childlike. It was a little weird, the whole series of houses I wasn’t too into.
    I do like her work a lot though. I guess it’s kind of refreshing to have an artist that doesn’t paint the same thing over and over again.

  5. Much of her art seems very simplistic and almost child like. This style, however, is mostly found in the landscapes. The portraits if people are a distinctly different style. The appear very detailed and she uses a variety of colors around her face to create depth and give the piece a specific mood. I find her two different styles very interesting because, if I didn’t know better I would say they were two completely different artists. Neither of her styles are really my type of art but I have more of an appreciation for her portraits. I have always struggled with using colors other than black to create shadow in a piece. I found black to be very effective when creating shadow but it doesn’t give the piece any sort of depth or mood. The colors she puts u to her piece like the deep purples give the piece a feeling.

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