The Gulf Stream

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The Gulf Stream (Winslow Homer, 1836 – 1910)The Gulf Stream (Winslow Homer, 1836 – 1910)

Homer was the son of a hardware merchant in Boston, America, but was only really interested in fishing as a child. After he graduated from high school, his father – who was always chasing after gold rushes and get-rich-quick schemes – apprenticed him to a commercial lithographer in the hope of making money out of Winslow.

The boy found the work a drudge and turned to illustrating for popular magazines instead, where he proved successful. He later remarked ‘from the time I took my nose off that lithographic stone I have had no master, and never shall have any’. After he settled on the coast of the American State of Maine in 1882, he developed an obsession with depicting the might of ocean waves, and dramatic sea rescues.

Pictures like the one we illustrate caused him to be regarded as one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America, and a distinguished figure in American art. In it, he depicts a lonely man on a demasted, rudderless boat tossed by stormy waves, and surrounded by hungry sharks. He followed up with a sequel of the man washed up on a lonely shore unconscious but alive. They had no radio, television, movies or internet back in 1889. The artist was the great entertainer and Winslow Homer did that well.

Whorls and Swirls

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Bush by Thomas DowningBush by Thomas Downing

Looking at the picture the viewer might first only see the colorful whorls and swirls the artist had depicted his notions with. Then the viewer out of curiosity will come closer attracted by the colorful concept and would want to further his knowledge of how the whorls and swirls would look up close.

The beauty of abstraction lies on the images that the viewer may perceive from the work of art. Dependent on the perspective with which he views the masterpiece is his discernment; he could interpret the images too through his mood when he took his assessments. 

The whorls have to start from somewhere, progressing along it will eventually culminate into its purpose. Colors come and go, here and there until the resulting work of art illustrates the artist’s mastery. Creations are initiated by an idea, feed by emotions and nurtured by longings, thus when it finally comes to fruition will be an exposition in its entirety, a BUSH?

Ferry Across the Rokugo River

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Ferry Across the Rokugo River (Torii Kiyonaga, 1752 to 1815)Ferry Across the Rokugo River (Torii Kiyonaga, 1752 to 1815)

Some say Torii Kiyonaga was the grand master of Ukiyo-e prints. He produced these using a series of carved wooden blocks, and intended them to decorate the homes of prosperous merchants. This picture is what is left of a set of three panels called a triptych. I do not know how or when the left hand panel went missing, but I know it was a great pity. I would have loved to see who else is in the boat.

Torii Kiyonaga lived at a time when Japanese people were obsessed with the minutiae of human life, including what went on behind closed doors. I prefer to ignore these aspects of his work, and focus on his social landscapes such as this one instead.

He introduced a less formal style of painting, and was especially interested in the female form as depicted here. His deep sensuous tones contrasted by delicate shades are almost extraordinary for his times. I find the delicate expression of the horizon in the background quite superb. It is as if he wished he were a young boy set free to go fishing and climbing mountains again.

Delineated Ambiguity

Delineated Ambiguity

An oil painting on paper of an abstract with sensual undertones so subtly suggests that innocence and awareness are delineated by the single dividing line.Ambiguity … read more

Summertime

Summertime

I breathe in the salty air and it fills my lungs with a sence of calmness. Everything is fine, I can smell it. I feel the hot sand beneath my feet. I leave footsteps in the … read more

Caught Unawares

Caught Unawares

Sleepless Nights, by TuHongtao A doll like figure of a girl leaning over an unmade bed, wistfully staring at nothing while a huge vista is offered to her by a fully opened glassed … read more

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