Face paint and Halloween

Well, this afternoon was spent preparing for the Cubs Halloween party where even the leaders have to dress up. Since I’m an art student, I’ve decided to be a painting (because, why not?!) I chose 4 possible paintings:

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Matisse painting.

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Picasso painting.

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Another Picasso and the final choice.

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Frida Kahlo.

Ultimately I chose the third painting which is a particularly striking Picasso. Couple of hours later and here are the results (prepare for a lot of photos):

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Before

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Initial black outline

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After (obviously)

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Only took me about 2 hours

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Better lighting

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Right side of my face

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Left side of my face

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And another from the front

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And with a hat – I don’t have a red beret

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Never doing this again so appreciate all these photos

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I also painted my Mam and my sister’s faces

Pumpkin Carving

This morning’s achievements – carved 2 pumpkins and 1 persimmon.

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Initial pumpkin design.

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Cheshire cat design.

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Finished Cheshire cat.

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Finished scary pumpkin and trapped persimmon.

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Close up of persimmon.

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Ready for the Cubs Halloween party.

“Designing is not a profession but an attitude.”

László Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946) was a Hungarian painter, photographer and well-known professor at the Bauhaus school in Germany.

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Moholy-Nagy photographed by his wife.

Born László Weisz to a Jewish-Hungarian family, Moholy-Nagy changed his surname to Nagy in honour of a friend of his mother’s who helped raise him and his brothers after their father left. He later added Moholy to his surname after the Hungarian town of Moholy where he grew up.
In 1913, Moholy-Nagy enrolled at the University of Budapest to study law but it wasn’t long before he was called up to join the Austro-Hungarian army during WWI. In 1915, whilst recovering from shell-shock in a field hospital, Moholy-Nagy began to create his first sketches using pencil and crayon. In 1917, he received a severe wound which mutilated his left thumb and during this time away from the battlefield, he began to paint watercolour and oil pencil portraits.

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Early sketch by Moholy-Nagy whilst he was recovering.

After WWI, Moholy-Nagy returned to Budapest to finish his law degree but decided to give up this career in favour of becoming a painter.
In 1920, he moved to Berlin, Germany and in 1923, he replaced Johannes Itten as the professor of the foundation course at the Bauhaus. Whilst there, Moholy-Nagy taught in a diverse range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, photomontage and metalwork. He also experimented with new photographic processes including exposing light sensitive paper with objects overlaid on top of it – this was called a photogram.

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Example of a photogram

Between 1922 – 1930, Moholy-Nagy created one of his most famous pieces – the ‘Light-Space Modulator’ which was seen as a pioneering piece of kinetic sculpture. It was designed, with the help of Hungarian architect Istvan Seboek, to have light shone through it to create moving light reflections and shadows on surrounding surfaces.

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The ‘Light-Space Modulator’

In 1937, following the closure of the Bauhaus school, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago on the invitation of Walter Paepcke to become the director of the New Bauhaus, which closed the following year. He then opened his own Institute if Design in 1939 which became a part of the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1949.
László Moholy-Nagy died of leukaemia in 1946.

“To Create a Work of Art is to Create the World”

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) was a Russian abstract painter, art theorist and fellow Bauhaus master to Marcel Breuer.

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Wassily Kandinsky

Due to Kandinsky’s fame in the art world, you may be surprised to learn that he originally enrolled at the University of Moscow to study law and economics and gave up a promising teaching career to pursue an arts education at the age of 30. He has since been credited with creating the first modern piece of purely abstract work.

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Composition VII – Kandinsky’s largest piece

In 1896, Kandinsky moved to Munich to further his art education and ended up at the Academy of Fine Art. He returned to Moscow in 1914 but did not agree with the Communist party’s official theories on art and so returned to Germany in 1921 following an invitation by Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus school. From 1922 – 1933, Kandinsky taught classes on basic design and art theory at the Bauhaus. He also conducted painting workshops and examined the new idea of colour theory. Upon the Bauhaus’ closure in 1933, Kandinsky moved to France where he continued to create his abstract paintings from a studio in his living room. He remained here until his death in 1944.

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Composition VIII – my favourite piece

Kandinsky’s work consisted of bold blocks of colours and geometric and organic shapes. He would create his large paintings based upon pieces of music he heard. Some believe Kandinsky to have had a condition known as synaesthesia which may have allowed him to see sounds and hear colours. This would explain Kandinsky’s close connection between art and music. Even if he was not a synaesthete, Kandinsky was preoccupied with the relationship between sound and colour throughout his life. He saw that both can convey strong emotions and feelings and sought to capture this in his paintings.
It is, therefore, interesting to learn that Kandinsky also played an instrument – the cello. He said that he saw the cello as the deepest of blues and

“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure. . .”

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Composition IX – one of his final pieces

“The Artist Works with the Highest Level of Feeling. . .”

“. . . The Technician Works with the Highest Level of Logic.”

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Marcel Breuer

Marcel Lajos Breuer (1902 – 1981) was a Hungarian modernist artist, architect and furniture designer who was a key player in the Bauhaus movement.

Breuer left Hungary at the age of 18 to gain an artistic education. He became one of the first and youngest students to study at the Bauhaus school of art and design. Gropius (the head of the school) saw much talent in the young Breuer and made him head of the carpentry shop. After the school was forced to move to Dessau, Breuer returned to teach at the newly established architecture department.
Breuer is perhaps most well known for his pioneering work in furniture design. He strongly believed in the Bauhaus ideals of ‘form follows function’ and ‘less is more’ which helped inspire his most famous creation – the Wassily chair.

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The ‘Wassily’ Chair

What really inspired Breuer’s famous chair design was the new invention of seamless tubular steel used in bicycle handlebars. He admired this sleek design and was inspired to create the simple, sleek and elegant design of the Wassily chair. Although widely believer to be designed for fellow Bauhaus master, Wassily Kandinsky, Breuer only later made an additional copy for Kandinsky after he remarked how much he admired the chair. The chair was renamed from the model B3 chair to the Wassily chair by the Italian manufacturers of the chair, Gavina, who wanted to capitalise on the anecdotal Kandinsky connection.
Breuer’s simple yet functional, Bauhaus approach to furniture design has had a huge impact on modern day furniture with pretty much any item from Ikea being a prime example of this.

Bauhaus and the modern world

Our next task in relation to our Bauhaus research was to find a modern object or piece of design which was influenced by the Bauhaus movement. I have chosen to base this task on a cutlery draining thing (can you tell I don’t know what it’s called?) but I use it as a pen holder.

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Whatever this thing’s called…

I feel that this is a good example of the Bauhaus style as it is a simple, sleek and functional piece of design. It is a fairly minimalist piece and adheres to the Bauhaus principles of ‘less is more’ and ‘form follows function’. It is not overly complicated and is very functional in its design making it a very Bauhaus style object in my opinion. The clean lines and material used is also a feature present in the Bauhaus movement which goes to show how much this school of art really influences the modern day. Even everyday objects as simple and mundane as this ‘pen holder’ are influenced by the style and teachings of the Bauhaus.

RIBA and the Bauhaus

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Bauhaus school in Dessau

As part of our critical studies sessions at Coleg Menai, we have been introduced to the Bauhaus movement and art school. The school had a very short lived and difficult existence, being forced to move more than once.

The school was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany by the architect Walter Gropius. His aim for the school was to merge all the different types of art together so there would no longer be an internal hierarchy in the art world. It used to be that white, male, fine artists were the pinnacle of the art world but Gropius wanted his new school to be inclusive of everyone regardless of age, gender, background or discipline. It is from this view that he decided to create a school which would fuse together fine artists, designers, craft workers and architects all in the same building. Even though the school was founded by an architect, the first incarnation of the Bauhaus lacked an architecture department.
Due to political pressure and a sudden lack of funding, the school was forced to relocate to Dessau in 1925. Gropius himself had designed the building which the school was to be housed in. He had created an open and integrated space between all the different disciplines offered at the school. Through designing the building himself he was able to trailer the building to the exact needs of his school.
History of the Bauhaus
It was again forced to move in 1932 to Berlin due to political pressure. The school now had to be housed in an old factory and required both the teaching faculty and the students to make up the building as they required it – including painting all the walls white. The school managed to function for a further 10 months without any political influence but, by 1933 the Gestapo came and closed the Bauhaus school for good. The Nazi party deemed the Bauhaus to be ‘un-German’ and were against the school’s modernist approach to art and teaching.
However, even though the school only existed for 13 years, it’s influence is still present today in every sector of the art and design world.
A modern example of the Bauhaus principles in architecture is the newly refurbished Manchester school of art which was nominated for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize.

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Manchester School of Art

The Manchester school of art is one of the oldest schools in the country so was no longer functional in the modern world. The space no longer worked for its purpose and was in desperate need of a facelift. This allowed the school the opportunity to completely redesign the school to its new needs and the needs of the students who would use it.
The inside of the building is now all open plan and allows all the various disciplines to occupy the same space. This is reminiscent of the Bauhaus school in Dessau and its focus on integrating all the different sectors of arts and crafts. The space is designed to create a unified whole and makes the most out of the space available. The teaching staff and students of the Manchester school of art agree that the open plan nature of the building really works for its purpose.
It’s not only the inside that borrows elements from the Bauhaus school of art, but also the outside aesthetic of the building. It is a sturdy and very domineering building which is very striking against the city landscape. However, the main feature which links both buildings is the large glass curtain which was a feature pioneered by Walter Gropius himself. He wanted the building to receive as much light as possible to illuminate the artists’ studios. This is also present in the Manchester school of art as can be heard in the linked podcast below.
RIBA Sterling 2014 nominee
Manchester School of Art

In a Bind

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Begin to stitch the book together

Since making very simple handmade sketchbooks on Thursday, I have had the urge to try a bit of book binding and make a much sturdier sketchbook. Well, this morning I found a video on YouTube which showed a step by step guide to bind a sketchbook. Here’s the link to the video which inspired me to make my own: How to Make a Sketchbook: Coptic Stitch
And here are the results of said video:

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Close up of the spine and stitching

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Here’s the cover

And here’s a simpler, little folding sketchbook I just made as well:

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Back of folding sketchbook

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Full view

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Cover – Matisse quote

Day 35: Jan and Life Drawing

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Finished image

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Close up of the figure

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Like how I’ve done the face

Last Friday before half term and we were back in the life room finishing off our large drawings from 2 weeks ago: Day 25: Poses and Sketches
Since our sculptures are based on our life drawing sessions, we were told to incorporate our sculptures into the final piece as well so we all had to fit our various pieces into the rather small space.
The rest of the morning was spent changing and adapting our final images to bring them to a conclusion which I think went fairly well for me and I managed to make a fairly complete image.

For the afternoon session we were given the choice to continue working on our sculptures from last week or remain in the life room and carry on sketching Jan – I chose the cleaner option.
I really enjoy working in the life room and so I liked the afternoon session of sketching in my new sketchbook. Here are a few of my sketches from this afternoon.

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Jan’s sleeping face – pen

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Another sleeping Jan – ink

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Did I draw anything else?!

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This time with flash

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Final image of the day – not a sleeping face!