Thursday, January 14, 2016

Artists Inspiring Artists Creating Art...

It is not unusual for an artist to have a muse.  One of the most famous Indian artists, M F Husain, had a muse for many years in Bollywood actress, Madhuri Dixit.  The movie "The Girl with a Pearl Earring" highlights Vermeer's muse as a maid working in his home.

Inspiration can come from anywhere; as I said in my first blog.  It can come from a person, a poem, a movie, a song, a sunrise/sunset...  The list goes on...

Every now and then, inspiration comes to an artist from other artists.  Well, actually; this happens more often than we think.  In the music industry, an artist will do a "cover" of another artist's famous work.  A guitarist will do his/her rendition of a pop song; a pianist can have still, another interpretation of the same song.  And a painter, sculptor or photographer will have a piece that is inspired from other famous painters, sculptors or photographers...

The Masters as Sources of Inspiration

Throughout history, there are many such examples.

To talk of a few in the contemporary art world include Andy Warhol's The Last Supper inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper.  Liechtenstein's 1992 painting Bedroom at Arles is a version of Van Gogh's original from 1888.

Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles

Liechtenstein's Bedroom at Arles

Whether as parody or tribute, many artists have found inspiration in works that have come from others.  Even the "Masters" as evidenced by Claude Monet's Le dejeuner Sur l'herbe inspired by Edouard Manet's Le de-jeuner sur l'herbs.

There is a sculpture by Tobias Stengel called Die Woge located in Dresden which commemorates the flooding of the Elbe River in 2002 that is taken from a wood block print by Katsukisha Hokusai called The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Wood Block Print
Katsukisha Hokusai
Die Woge
Tobias Stengel
And so it goes...We go to museums to be in there presence of great art - to feel, to ponder, to think.  Even if you are not an artist who creates actual paintings or photographs; you still come away inspired by the greatness that surrounds you.  As artists we study color mixes and brush strokes of famous masters to learn and apply to our own works.  We study the use of light and darks, the use of space, the use of different mediums... and then...       We can't wait to get back into our studios.

The Sumi-E Influence

I have been studying the Japanese brush painting art of Sumi-E for the past 2 years with 3rd and 4th generation Japanese Sumi-E artists, Shoko and Seiko Ohta - a mother/daughter team.  While Sumi-E is typically a black/white based art, the use of the brush to illustrate color is fascinating.  What I love most is the use of gold and silver metallics in the colored paintings.  I love way the gold and silver reflect light and highlight the paintings in a delicate, yet very bold manner.  I am finding ways to incorporate this with oil and having great fun!

The Blue Dragonfly
Sumi-E on panel
Rajul Shah

An impromptu birthday card I made for a friend
Sumi-E ink on Watercolor Paper
Mt. Fuji
Experimenting with Sumi-E and silver leaf
on Watercolor Paper

Work in Progress..  Oil on Canvas
Background is influenced by Sumi-E Art which uses
the same type of metallic square in some pieces
Rajul Shah
Work in Progress...  Oil on Canvas
Background of Gold and Silver
Use of a knife for this background allowed for deeper
texture and color.
Rajul Shah

The Element of the Artiste!

Recently, I have also had the fortune of meeting two artists whose works have given me much to ponder as I approach my own work.  Their use of metallics (albeit for different reasons) is refreshing and exciting.

Aude de Saint-Exupery likes to work with a metallic palette as it reminds her of the sun and heat.  Her work is inspired by her travels and living in Africa, the Pacific Islands and in Asia.  She uses metallics to highlight a landscape and/or call attention to detail.
Aude de Saint-Exupery
Aude's use of gold highlights the
foreground and background of this
piece drawing the eye to the woman
as the subject
le Pavillion d'Or
Aude de Saint-Exupery
The use of metallic gold highlights
the temple behind the tree

Another artist, Gwen Anderson, incorporates silver leaf or aluminum leaf into her collections, which I find to be haunting and intricate.  Gwen's work is influenced by her experiences as a child, surviving a shipwreck along with her sister and friends; while losing her father and others.  The mental images from this event, which have developed over time, are both "harrowing and beautiful" and an inspiration to her work.  In Gwen's works, the corrosive nature of the metals allows for her interpretations to reflect the distortion and change of memories through time.  Her use of metallics as a medium is interesting to me as an artist and motivates me to explore use of the color in my own artwork.

Gwen Anderson
The outline of a ship is is in the foreground against
the silver backdrop of the memory - the intensity of the
color in the ship can illustrate the emotion of the memory. 

Gwen Anderson
Another outline of a ship against the
backdrop of sea and land.
The distance of the island or the distance
of the memory comes into debate.

Metallics & Me...

Being of Indian descent, I grew up in a culture that celebrates the brightness of color.  Gold and Silver, in jewelry or any other form, is considered an investment.   "Jewel tones" which allow for reflective qualities in fabric and paintings, have always excited me.  But, it is the underlying use of reflective metallic color that has always attracted me.  The use of gold, silver and other precious metals in threads to adorn a border, a sari or interweaved into an outfit give it an ethereal quality.  The use of precious metals to outline precious and semi-precious stones within intricate designs are truly works of art as the contrast of color between the stones and the stone and the metal are definite considerations so that when the particular piece of "art" is viewed, there is a feeling of Joy that goes with it.  Of course, one could argue that any precious metal and/or stone would bring joy to its owner - but it is my belief that the design of such things is what brings one to "Succumb", to "Be Drawn into" the art of the textile or jewelry itself.  Forcing one's eyes to "linger" for just that one last sigh or just those.. added.. few seconds....

It is my hope that I can bring some of this quality forward in my artwork.  As such, I have been experimenting with the use of silver and gold...below is a metallic abstract I recently completed using 3 colors plus black, white, silver and gold.

Mandela & Butterfly
Oil on Canvas
Rajul Shah

And now...  I can't wait to get back to my studio!

Until my next blog...
With PEACE. In ART. To the SOUL...


R. Shah Studio


Shilpa Choksi said...

Very nice! Your write ups are equally great as your paintings/pictures!
Inspiring as well!!
Be inspired and keep inspiring!

Beth said...

Beautiful, Rajul!

irene ulbrich said...

Thank you Rajul, love the post!

Suzanne said...

Really liking the metallics, adds interesting texture. The Blue Dragonfly is my new favorite!