January-February 2018 Newsletter
The Fluvanna Art Association News is published bi-monthly and is written and edited by Page H. Gifford.
A Good Frame, A Drill, and Wire
One of the rules that Fluvanna Art Association tries to enforce is proper hanging technique for shows. Proper hanging ensures the preservation and safety of the art work and the safety of viewers. In the past we have had a professional framer and other artists show members how to frame and add hangers on the back of the work. We’ve also had work fall, nearly hitting an onlooker and also breaking the glass so this is why we ask artists to pay attention to this simple step-by-step guide to adding a proper wire to the back. Your work should be worth the extra effort.
- Get a good, solid, frame. Preferably one that does not detract from the work in a simple neutral; metal, black or brown are usually good choices. Beth Nichols of the Nichols Gallery stated that if a frame is too elaborate or ornate that it sends the message that the artist is more interested in the frame than the work its framing. This can work against an artist in a judged show.
- If a mat frame is used, in a judged show a plain white or off white is preferred. And it should be a professionally cut or use a commercial mat frame. Do not cut a mat yourself unless you have the appropriate equipment.
- On the back of the frame, measure the length and divide into thirds. For example if you have a 9” long frame and divide it into thirds it will be 3” down from the top, and mark it.
- You will need the following, a drill with the appropriate bit ( I use a small Dremmel), some eyes or D rings and wire.
- Where you marked the 3” down from the top, drill a hole. If you have never handled a drill or not sure what bit to use, ask your local hardware store or your husband, son, or a neighbor or friend. You might in this case get a few frames done so you don’t need to ask someone for help. It’s not difficult to invest in a small drill (like the one above) which will do the job.
- Once the hole is drilled, screw in the eye or screw and D ring.
- Once that is complete, get a piece of wire long enough and insert it through the eye and pull and twist. Pull it to the other ring and pull it taught but leave a little give in the middle and twist it like the other side. You are now ready to hang.
If anyone has any questions or needs help with this, let us know, contact Linda Bethke or Susan Lang, or myself or any other fellow artist. We recommend doing this in advance of the March show.
The Bauhaus School
If you are familiar with abstract modernism then you are familiar with the Bauhaus School. If not, then you are familiar with its influence, often seeing it throughout the 20th century in architecture, furniture design, interior and graphic design. It reached its height in the 50’s and 60’s when society was entering a more forward thinking, modern age with space travel and other breakthroughs in science and human rights.
The school founded by architect Walter Gropius, operated between 1919-1933. Its focus was on combining crafts and fine arts. Fearing the demise of artistic purpose, the aim was to combine creativity and manufacturing. They embraced the progressive thinking of the time but united it with traditionalism, creating the new art age, a movement known as modernism. They had abandoned most of the old academic art education, stressing design skills, techniques and craft creation reminiscent of the medieval guild system.
However, with the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s growing leadership in Germany, the school was seen as a subversive element, a center for communist intellectualism and was closed down. Once closed, changes in venue and leadership took place and the movement carried on, influencing the development of the arts.
Several famous artists emerged from the Modernism Movement. Most of their work is innovative, stark, and bold in its design and for some it is a unique style and an acquired taste. Paul Klee, was among the famous, known for his experimentation with shape, color and patterns. His human forms were more stark, broken up and abstract, but accepted by those who favor certain forms of modern art.
Wassily Kandinsky was known for combining shapes and lines in abstract clusters. Far more abstract, it has a certain appeal. However, never often seen, Kandinsky did do landscapes in a bold, colorful graphic style bordering on realism.
Josef Albers, a forerunner to Rothko, his work is the influence for early graphic design and commercial art.
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, like Klee, he was more experimental in his work but gave more meaning to his shapes. However, Nagy’s work also incorporated photography, combining images into one offbeat statement.
Johannes Itten was a master at the Bauhaus, teaching color theory, which is not surprising since he is credited with many theories on color in art. Some believe the seasonal color schemes for fashion and makeup originated with his color ideas.
Itten’s use of color is striking and he features bold, bright strokes of color in all forms of his painting. He breaks down his human forms into streamlined fractured shapes, that are recognizable in striking colors; an idea often used by realist painters today.
After viewing their work, many would agree it is progressive and modern for its day but challenged traditional art forms and they designed work and structures that still influence artists today. After staring at it long enough it helps us to develop a different understanding of art in all its forms; not only those we love but those we are reluctant to embrace but are willing to accept.
Recently I have been leafing through my many art books, looking for ideas for future projects. One book I got at the recent library sale, was Creative Composition and Design by Pat Dews. I thought it was going to be one of those standard texts about composition and good design layout etc. but to my surprise she had a lot of interesting techniques. Here are a few techniques you could utilize to come up with ideas or add some pizzazz to existing work or ideas.
- You can learn more about design from collage. Use photographs, old watercolor paintings cut up etc. and move the pieces around to make a design.
- Mix realism and abstract by using wax paper or plastic wrap on watercolor or acrylic and use it as a background for realistic floral arrangement. Try other items like a piece of mesh for a variety of interesting backgrounds.
- Bubble wrap placed in gesso and ink or pressed into acrylic paint.
- Try a clear granular gel.
- Plastic wrap pressed into clear pumice gel.
- Plastic wrap pressed into wet gesso.
- Alcohol spritzed over an acrylic/gesso mixture or on watercolor.
- Salt flung onto watercolor.
- Try an open weave fabric, lace or a paper doily.
- Try scraping paint out for an interesting effect.
January 19, 9:30 a.m. Fluvanna County Public Library, Artist Linda Staiger will discuss her her oil paintings followed by a Q&A.
January 19, 2 & 7 p.m. Free movie and popcorn at the library, featuring the much acclaimed film “Loving Vincent.”
February 16, 9:30 a.m. Fluvanna County Public Library, Join us when Laura Foussekis from the Louisa Arts Center talks about art and exhibiting.
March 24, Judged Show, so get working on those paintings, drawings and scuptures. More on the show in the March/April newsletter.