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The art of painting

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The art of painting

The art of painting is in many ways a natural extension of the way that we relate to the world.

The art of painting is in many ways a natural extension of the way that we relate to the world.

Our eyes, along with our other senses, constantly take in what we perceive from our world. What we perceive as pleasing and beautiful, we savor and try to keep, and almost automatically reject those views that are repulsive and ugly.

So how best to keep these moments that are memorable and blissful to us? Writers write them down on paper and computer hard disks, composers used to scratch musical notation on to paper, photographers click away quietly, and painters paint.

As we are mostly not selfish and want to horde these experiences only for ourselves, we record these better moments of life also to share with other people.

Who these people may be often does not matter very much for the creators. But these creations that this unknown audience relates to and treasures, like timeless symphonies, novels, poems and paintings, are horded permanently people to be enjoyed again and again.

Looking at Sunday painter Jan, who has come to sit by her favorite place under a tree near the lake with a wonderful vista of forests and mountains, complete with her sun hat and a little painting easel, you can appreciate better this natural act of painting.

Jan has not studied at an art school but learned herself from just brushing oil or acrylic paint on many ready-made canvases. Like thousands of painters before her, Jan feels every time the power of being able to apply paint, maybe in many layers or in small blobs, to make a pleasing composition on her little canvas.

Jan may also see one day that a particular painting of hers "sings" back to her, by somehow reflecting her feelings, either joyous or reflective, of that particular moment and making her image come "alive".

Looking at this striking painting entitled Wisteria by impressionist Claude Monet (1840-1926), one marvels at the new-found freedom of his brush marks, layers upon subtle layers of them, for the oil paint to play and dance on the beautiful surface of the canvas.

This art of painting here magically captures sunlight, a hint of the spirit of the flowers and the mood of that moment. And if the viewer lets it, the painting also invites you to enter the surface of that gorgeous blue paint, to be lost in there with your own reflection, for as long as you wish.

Not bad for just a bit of paint on canvas.

Towards the end of his life at 86, while fighting lung cancer, Monet did his best paintings, of water lilies in the pond at Giverny in France. What an epitaph the paintings were for this master of the art of painting.

The history of painting is, fortunately for us, filled with these moments, like the above, captured in many paintings that are deemed by contemporary and later audiences to be masterpieces.

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), the mercurial American abstract expressionist, in his very unique, ground-breaking way, carried on this way of painting of the landscape from Monet.


His large canvas, entitled Number 1, 1949, shows Monet's gentle searching brushwork, becoming still-searching drip marks made by Pollock's brushes or sticks using gravity to drip wet paint on the canvas waiting flat on the ground.

If an orchestral conductor was conducting, say Stravinsky's The Rites of Spring, with his baton dripping paint, the result may resemble this painting.

Pollock was also brandishing his freedom to make whatever bold brush marks he wants for this "landscape". True to the quest of his American Abstract Expressionist compatriots like De Kooning and Frank Kline, Pollock also enjoyed thumbing his nose at the traditional way of painting.

By working in this new and freer way after World War II, this American avant-garde movement advanced painting in leaps and bounds.
Looking back into art history, you can see the evolution, and at times revolution, in the simple art of painting that the Sunday painter was using.

From the powerful marks of cave paintings of early man and woman, showing their reverence for the wild animals that they depended on for their food, to European Medieval and Renaissance painters painting to worship God, or to celebrate the commercial success of the bourgeoisie in Holland, the act of painting fulfilled many purposes.

Many movements in art history were the results these different ways to apply the art of painting. For example:

Art Nouveau
Initially named in Paris as Style Mucha after the distinctive decorative "whiplash" motifs in the posters of Czech artist Alphonse Maria Mucha, this became an international philosophy involving architecture, applied arts, and especially the decorative art, that was very popular during 1890–1910.

Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec and Gustav Klimt made work in the design style with its characteristic curves formed by dynamic, undulating and flowing lines, flying in syncopated rhythm.


The avant-garde Cubism art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger and others, hit Europe with the force of a revolution early in the 20th century.

Cubists painters suddenly sought to analyze their model objects differently then broke them up and reassembled them in abstracted forms, not depicting objects from one viewpoint but from a multitude of views, to give different context to the subject.


French artists after Manet from 1910, such as Paul Cezanne and Odilon Redon, were called Post-Impressionists, who rejected limitations of Impressionism.

But they still used vivid colors, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but emphasized more geometric form and distorted it for expressive effect.

The paintings you see here, and hundreds more, are available to be ordered online, either as excellent canvas prints or hand-painted oil replica, from's extensive database of paintings in western art.

The professional artists employed by ArtsDotCom to paint the oil-on-canvas replicas of the historical paintings that you have chosen, or even your family portraits from photos supplied, also enjoy their particular genre of using the art of painting.

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