3D Art

3D art is a computer created art form that endows 2-dimensional images with an unusual feeling of depth, perspective and realism. 3D artists use sophisticated computer programs to create images that have a natural, yet unnatural look, that, when it is done well, will totally blow you away. A lot of 3D art is devoted to comic characters and commercial products, but a significant amount is art-for-the-sake-of-art.



Abstract Art

Have you ever found yourself looking at a work of abstract art and asking yourself, "What is this?" or, perhaps, "Could this really be art?" You are certainly not alone. Abstract art, like other forms of abstract creation, is not at all easy to understand. Moreover, a lot of what passes for art is nothing more than creative rubbish, causing even more confusion. However, as a philosophy, the idea of abstraction is important, and as a form of artistic expression, abstract art is both rewarding and uplifting if you understand how to appreciate it.

So how do you learn how to understand abstract art? Start by looking at my Web site where you will find an essay entitled "Understanding Abstract Art". Once you have read the essay, take a look at some of the other resources. If you find it difficult to understand abstract art, be patient: a new world is about to open for you.



African Art

An enduring theme in African art is that ideas about life -- both spiritual and worldly -- can be portrayed through the rendering of human and animal images. Thus, masks, carvings, paintings and other works represent ideas and feelings. Here are some good places to start exploring African art and to appreciate its unique flavor.



Art Activism

Imagine a world in which art mattered. Imagine a world in which artists picked up their brushes and chisels in the service of cultural and political activism. You have just imagined "Art Activism". Now take a look and see what is already happening (and notice that there is a place for you).



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Art Conservation

Human beings have strong ties to the past. We may not realize it day to day, but what we think and what we do are influenced enormously by the people who preceded us. Although technology and fashion change, human nature doesn't. By studying art, we form a connection to our past, which allows us to understand the present. However, you can't study art if it doesn't exist: once a work of art deteriorates, the original quality is gone forever. Thus, if we don't spend our time, effort and money to preserve our heritage, we may lose it. Modern art conservation not only deals with traditional problems (such as molds and pests), but also with new techniques such as digital imaging and electronic records.



Art Criticism

When it comes to art, everybody may know what they like, but not everybody's opinion is worthwhile. If you are serious about art, you may want to read some art criticism or participate in a discussion. At least you can be sure there will always be one person who knows what he is talking about.



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Art History

I have mixed feelings about art history. Learning about art by studying paintings, sculpture, architecture, and the artists themselves can teach us to appreciate the creative spirit of human beings at their very best. However, it is all too common for art history courses to degenerate into the mindless memorization of slide after slide after slide (so you can identify them in order to pass the exam). Don't consign yourself to a life of temporarily force-feeding hundreds of images into your cerebrum. Use the Net to immerse yourself in a sea of electronic resources, and enjoy some of mankind's greatest creations at your own speed.



Art News

Don't get left out of the cool art scene. No matter where on Earth you are -- London, Cairo, or Fargo, North Dakota -- you can keep up with the latest happenings in the art world.



Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau movement flourished as a style of architecture and decoration in the 1890s and early 1900s. Art Nouveau started in France (in Paris and then in the city of Nancy) and from there spread to major European centers in other countries. Here is a nice overview of the Art Nouveau movement as it manifested itself in various European cities. Take a look at representative examples within the decorative arts, as well as a variety of buildings designed in the Art Nouveau style.



Art Resources

The best thing about art is you can define it to be whatever you want. For example, this book is a work of art (as are the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa and Mickey Mouse). To a greater or lesser degree, all of us have some creativity. In fact, the urge to create art is one of the distinguishing characteristics that separate us from the lower animals (although my cat once constructed a fascinating collage involving a dead mouse, some tufts of grass and a piece of leftover tuna). So when you are ready for an expérience d'art, start by visiting the Internet, where you can enjoy the good, the bad, the ugly, and the I-know-what-I-like-when-I-see-it.




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Art Talk and General Discussion

Here are the places on the Net where artists gather to talk about the art community. These discussion groups and mailing lists are where you can post announcements about new exhibits and gallery openings, rant about the politics of art, and offer critical appraisal and analysis.


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Art Terminology

How well do you know your art terminology? Never again need you feel embarrassed because you thought that gouache, mischio and sinopia were the names of the Three Musketeers. (A gouache is heavy, opaque watercolor paint; a mischio is a smoky pattern in marble; sinopia is a reddish-brown earth color.)



Artist Encyclopedia

My editor, Carolyn, and I were talking about deadlines when, suddenly, she changed the subject. "I saw a Georgia O'Keefe exhibition the other day," she told me. "It was magnificent." "Really?" I replied. "I can look at paintings anytime," I said. "All I have to do is use the Artist Encyclopedia. I can look up any artist and find, not only information, but links to Web pages with pictures of that artist's work. I can look at all the art I want and never have to leave the house." "That must come in handy," said Carolyn, "seeing as you are not allowed to leave the house until the book is finished."



Arts and Crafts Movement

When I was a young sprout at summer camp, we would spend time doing "arts and crafts". We made various craft-like objects, which we would then send home as proof of our cultural development. The label "Arts and Crafts", however, is actually an old one, referring to an important social and aesthetic movement that started in England in the last half of the 19th century. The movement developed as a reaction against the mass production of the Industrial Revolution, and promoted a return to the values of craftsmanship that flourished during medieval times. The Arts and Crafts movement was particularly devoted to design and architecture, and had a large influence on Art Nouveau.



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Ascii Art

The basic system used to represent text-based data on PCs is called ascii (the American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Thus, the term "ascii data" refers to information consisting of characters (letters, numbers and punctuation), such as documents, memos and so on. However, if you are artistic, you can use those same letters, numbers and punctuation characters to create images, and have a blast making cool pictures without ever having to throw down a dropcloth or pollute the room with brain-damaging chemicals. As long as you have a keyboard, there is no sense getting your hands dirty just to make art.




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Body Art

Pierced, tattooed, scarred, painted, and more. These resources are where you can find body art in all its forms.




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Ceramic Arts

We're talking about clay here. Mushy, moist, malleable clay. And glazes. Mellifluous, marvelous, multicolored glazes. Not to mention kilns, pottery wheels, greenware and extruders. I love ceramics (inorganic, nonmetallic solids processed at high temperatures) and what you can do with them. So hot, yet so cool.



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A collage is a piece of art consisting of various disparate elements joined into a whole. Traditionally, collage consists of pasting pieces of paper and possibly other materials on a surface to create a picture. Collage (from the French word for "pasting") was first practiced by Picasso and Braque. Later, the techniques were used by the Dadaists and Surrealists. In modern times, some of the most imaginative and talented artists do collage, including one of my researchers (Elaine).




When I first started medical school, I had to spend each afternoon dissecting in the anatomy lab. After the class, I would stay and practice drawing the various muscles and bones. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it for more than a week or two, as medical school was just too demanding. However, it did reinforce in me the idea that drawing is, and always has been, the basic skill of an artist. These days, most of my art is confined to abstract painting, but I still plan each painting with a drawing. I believe that, with practice, anyone can learn how to draw. If you would like to try for yourself, visit these Web sites, where you will not only enjoy some fine drawings, you can also take an online course to develop your own skills.



Gargoyles and Grotesques

Are you a fan of the dark? Do you, at sunset, glance upward to see the grotesque statuary on the edges of skyscrapers or Gothic cathedrals? These Web sites are devoted to gargoyles old and new, as well as grotesque statues of every sort. They provide a history of and writings about this unique form of sculpture, as well as dramatic pictures of some of its more interesting examples.




Impressionism is a style of painting that started in France during the 1860s. Impressionist paintings portray a quick visual impression of a scene (often a landscape), with particular attention being paid to the effects of light. Such paintings are particularly soothing and inviting, with almost universal appeal. Among the well-known Impressionists were Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and Pierre Auguste Renoir. The name "Impressionism" comes from one of Monet's paintings, exhibited in 1874 under the name "Impression Sunrise".



Installation Art

The environment in which one views a work of art can be as meaningful as the work itself. Installation Art celebrates this idea by the recognition of environments as works of art in their own right. Sometimes there are smaller, static pieces of art serving to complement the larger creation. Sometimes the installation is itself larger than life and overwhelming. Regardless, Installation Art does more to blur the line between art and experience than the first three seasons of The Brady Bunch (put together).



Mail Art

Mail art is a fun means of creating interactive art that stays in the hands of the artists, instead of being behind glass or in stuffy exhibits. Find out more about mail and email art, see images of mail art, and get a list of people on the Net who participate in mail art.



Native American Art

There is no word for "art" in most Native American languages, because the idea of creating beautiful objects is simply part of their culture. Native Americans want to "walk in beauty", as the Navajos put it. To an American Indian, common everyday objects, such as spoons, shoes, blankets, bridles, and so on, are created to be visually pleasing as well as useful. Prior to European contact, Native Americans did not create art as an end unto itself. Rather, they produced crafts that fit into their everyday activities including ceremonies. Native American Art started when Indians were brought into white society (as prisoners, interpreters and students), given ledger books, and asked to make drawings of significant events in the history of their tribes. At first, Native American Art consisted mostly of colorful, 2-dimensional pictures of traditional subject matter. Since the 1940s, Native American artists have created a large, diverse body of work, both traditional and non-traditional.



Painting: Oil and Acrylic

One part of painting is being able to conceive of images and put them on paper or canvas. Another part, just as important, is to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to work with various materials. These resources will help you learn about pigments and modifiers, varnishes, brushes, colors, mixing, acrylics, tempera, stretching canvas, and other tools of the trade.



Painting: Watercolor

Watercolor refers to painting with pigments that are soluble in water, usually on white or tinted paper. Watercolor painting relies upon the transparency and soft harmony of the colors, and as such, requires a high standard of technique. (Unlike oil or acrylics, you can't just paint over your mistakes.) Watercolor painting was well-known as far back as second century A.D. Egypt, but did not become an important art form until the time of the German painter Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). In eighteenth century England, the modern tradition of watercolors was established by the "English School" including Sandby, Blake, Girtin, Turner, Crome, Cotman, Varley, Cox and de Wint. In later years, America came to develop a tradition of its own, with the work of Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth and Ben Shahn.



Pop Art

Pop Art focuses on objects taken from the popular urban culture, such as advertisements, comics, and the labels and packages used with mass-produced consumer products. The basic idea was to fashion art based on vernacular images and icons shared by everyone. Pop Art originated in London in the mid-1950s with the work of the Independent Group. Within several years, the same type of ideas were being explored in the United States, where they flourished into the 1960s, partially as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism. The most well-known Pop Art artists were Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.




A print is a picture that is transferred from one medium to another to produce a finished product. To create a print, you render an image on metal, wood, silk, stone or rubber. (Some people even use cut potatoes.) You then use the rendering along with ink or another type of pigment to create images of the original design. Prints can be made on a variety of materials, usually some type of paper or fabric. The art of printmaking is an old one, dating way back in history (even before the discovery of potatoes). Although modern printmaking has new techniques and materials, the basic concepts haven't changed. Printmaking has always required artistic skill, manual dexterity, and the ability to attend to details.



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It is inborn in us to create three-dimensional works of art, and sculpture has been a pastime of every civilization since ancient days. The activity of sculpture involves either carving (cutting away) or modeling (building up), using any of a number of materials, traditionally wood, stone, clay, metals or plastics. However, just about anything that can be manipulated (such as ice or beach sand) has been used as a sculpting medium by somebody. (I myself have done some wonderful things using nothing more than leftover rye bread and chunks of tuna.)




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If you don't understand it, I can't explain it. Let your mind dance on the edge of radical thought. (Fish.) Take a look at paintings by famed Surrealists or participate in some fun thought games. Don't be afraid. The only thing it can hurt is your brain.




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