moon_custafer: (acme)
(Transcribed from a Facebook PM conversation I had with a friend this morning, re: yesterday's Art Party at Emily's. Names deleted.)

So, Art Atelier III went well. More people showed up this time.


One of them asked for advice, so I got to give some.
He also asked Andrew a lot of stuff, and I think he was a documentary-maker, so that may just be how he interacts with people.

well, it could just be he knows how to talk with people like Andrew
passionate people don't tend to make good listeners
I tend to ask more than I I talk
although I've been working on that recently.

He started off by showing me a photo of an old guy holding up a little drawing, and said that this was a famously grumpy artist whose permission they'd needed to film something, and he'd challenged one of them to draw a dog, and Robin (the guy telling the story) had scribbled a little thing that vaguely looked like a dog, and the artist had liked it.

It was sort of a cubist dog.
He tried to redraw it, but didn't like it as much, but I used that as the basis for demonstrating some stuff about colour.

colour eh?

Like, "the warmer/lighter colours appear to come forward and the cooler/darker ones appear to recede."


It tends to depend on what the image is of. A dark human figure on a light background will still be appear closer than the background, because our brains know that solid humans are more common in reality than human-shaped holes.

very true!

One of the recent xkcd cartoons is about how hard it can be for computer scientists to explain to others which tasks are easily done by a computer, and which are virtually impossible for them. The programmer is told "when someone takes the photo, the app should identify if the photo was taken in a national park."
"Easy," she says, "simple GPS lookup, give me a few hours."
"And whether it's of a bird."
"Give me a research team and five years."
Much of the human brain is devoted to processing visual info, and it's still not perfect, which is why we perceive optical illusions.
Painting and movies are about exploiting the flaws in human visual perception for fun and profit
Sorry, that was rather an essay wasn't it.

An enjoyable essay

And I could have example pictures.

This, for example, was painted partly to demonstrate that blue doesn't *always* recede:
The Blue Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Blue Boy (c. 1770) is a full-length portrait in oil by Thomas Gainsborough, now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.[1] Perhaps Gainsborough's most famous work, it is thought to be a portrait of Jonathan Buttall (1752–1805), the son of a wealthy hardware merchant, although this has…

I think that may be due to the background colour?

Hm -- reading the text it looks like what he was actually trying to rebut was the theory that the dominant hue in a painting should always be a warm one. But yeah, he finessed it by having some shadows outlining the arm in the upper half of the picture and making the background there paler for contrast; and the light-coloured stockings in the lower half stand out against the darker background there.

You'll notice the middle sort of disappears into the shadows, though.
But like I said above, the brain knows that the kid probably has a torso, even if we can't see it as clearly was his head, shoulders and feet.

think I need food


wait wait


I'm not actually going

oh. Sorry.

I know, that is my usual cue isn't it? or sleep

I have the option of a tuna sandwich
or a pastie from the fair yesterday whose ownership I am not entirely certain of

Tuna sounds safer.
moon_custafer: (Default)
I grew up around the campus of Mount Allison University, the school he'd attended, and consequently was exposed from an early age to his paintings, mainly in the form of murals in the university buildings. My brother commented today that he couldn't find an image of the Colville mural in the Mt. A gymnasium building, but that if he saw it he'd be able to smell the chlorine from the pool. I suppose in a way he was the Canadian Magritte -- not exactly, but there was something of the same quality of the strange in the everyday.

An interview with his son today reminded me of those paintings, in a way, and why not -- Colville's family were often his models. It suggests to me that the Colville family was one where genuine affection was conveyed not in spite of, but through, a certain formality:

“He managed to maintain a high quality of life including reading and conversation and so on until really a few days of the end. As recently as Friday at noontime, he was lying in bed and he said to me when I came into the room, ‘It seems that everyone around here is worried about my condition, but I really feel quite well.’ That was really the last conversation I had with him and we shook hands.”
moon_custafer: (Default)
So, I'd been dimly aware that Winston Churchill painted and that he wasn't half bad at it, but apparently he also wrote an essay on the topic in the 1920s (short version -- just jump in and do it). It sounds as though he painted to get away from being Winston Churchill, which is understandable.

ETA -- fixed it.


moon_custafer: (Default)

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