Masterpiece Conversations: Leonid Afremov

two sisters leonid afremov

When I think of autumn, I think of colors. Even though I’ve lived my entire life so far in Florida, I can’t help but imagine trees filled with all sorts of yellows, oranges, and reds. Combine the colors with cooler temperatures and fall is absolutely one of my four favorite seasons.

As I thought about all the great artists who used amazing and vibrant colors in their work, I couldn’t help being drawn to one in particular. He’s not a famous artists from hundreds of years ago. In fact, he’s still alive. Leonid Afremov is his name, and he must be one of my favorite artist of all time. His story is filled with struggles and people not being very nice to him or his family. He was born in Russia and worked very hard for years trying to keep his family fed and warm. He moved his family to Israel hoping for a better life, yet they continued to find hard times. It wasn’t until he was able to move his family to the U.S. and his two sons discovered online ways for selling his art that Leonid was finally free to paint whatever he wanted. And, what he wanted to paint was beautiful. He doesn’t tell stories with his paintings. Instead, he tries to share feelings. His paintings are so colorful you can’t help but feel good about life when you see them. The painting I chose to share with you is called “Two Sisters” and I love it. Look at all of those amazing colors! Everything from the plants on the ground to the colors of the leaves behind the girls. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Afremov even added polka dots to the girl’s hats. People believe that Leonid Afremov’s paintings help them feel calm and happy. I couldn’t agree more. When you look at these sisters playing in the colors, can you imagine being one of them? Can you imagine walking out in nature on a beautiful autumn day? I know I can.

A fun fact about Leonid Afremov…, he rarely uses brushes to paint. Instead, he chooses to use a palette knife. Look for more on Leonid Afremov and his palette knives in my next “Masterpiece Creation”!

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Ponder It!

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Kevin Bartle

Masterpiece Conversations: René Magritte

The Son of Man by René Magritte

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Apples are everywhere in art. Paintings of harvesters in fields frequently have bushels of them. A still life fruit basket may look less appealing without one. Adam and Eve wouldn’t be complete without a tempting and delicious looking apple.

Often art teachers use apples to teach how to use colors and shades to make objects look like they have form. It’s safe to say that next to people, landscapes and seascapes, apples may be one of arts most favorite subjects. Since we are talking about apples in art, I must bring up one of the most famous paintings of an apple ever, The Son of Man.

It is a painting by the Belgian artist René Magritte, and in it you see a man wearing a suit and a bowler hat. There is one part of this painting that makes it stand out as a completely unique piece of work… Where is the man’s face? It’s there, but it’s hiding behind a floating green apple. Why? Why did the artist paint a floating granny smith in front of the man’s face? Mr. René Magritte believed that knowing something is there and not being able to see it adds to its allure, its excitement.

Have you ever gone on a family trip to the beach? You know you’re getting close but you just can’t see the water yet. How excited does that make you feel? René Magritte thought people would be curious what the man’s face looks like and this would add to the excitement of the painting. What do you think? Do you want to know what the man looks like? Can you see his eyes sneaking a peek from behind the apple leaves? Why do you think he used an apple? What fruit would you use in a painting of you?

For additional activities and resources be sure to check out our TPT store!

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Ponder It!

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Kevin Bartle

Masterpiece Conversations: Julian Beever

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Snowman themed chalk drawings for the Daily Mail by Julian Beever.. NOT FOR WEBSITE USE. REPEAT - NOT FOR WEBSITE USE. FOR THE NEWSPAPER ONLY!

We usually talk about well-known masterpieces created by famous artist. Most often a piece of art has to be around for a long, long time to be called a masterpiece. I love so many paintings and sculptures that were created hundreds of years ago. It’s a lot of fun to look at old pieces of art and to come up with questions like: how many years they’ve been around? What did the artist use to create them? Where did they get the paint? What was it like to see their paintings when they were new? I can’t go back in history and watch Leonardo Di Vinci paint the Mona Lisa or Vincent van Gogh paint his Starry Night. What I can do is look at the world around me and try to find new masterpieces that are being created today. If you are careful you may notice a masterpiece right under your nose.

Let me introduce you to Julian Beever, a sidewalk artist. He uses chalk and paint to create amazing pictures on sidewalks and roads. He sometimes makes copies of other famous pieces of art, but what he does the most is create illusions. Illusions are pictures that trick you into thinking you are seeing something that you are not. If you look at the picture taken of Mr. Beever holding onto a street pole, it looks like there is a hole beneath him filled with buildings and kids playing on a yard. The truth is he is really standing on a painting. It’s not a hole; it’s an illusion. Julian Beever travels around the world creating pictures like this. He paints animals like frogs and tigers. He paints objects like cups and water puddles. My favorite of his creations are the ones that people can stand on to make the illusion look even more realistic. Look at the winter scene. It’s not really snowing and yet it looks like the children are playing in a winter wonderland. These sidewalk creations don’t last very long, usually only until it rains, but the pictures taken of them will help us to remember how beautiful and fun they were. They may not be masterpieces yet, but who knows, maybe one day you’ll walk down the street and see an artist creating a future masterpiece. Maybe one day, you’ll be that artist. Keep creating and using your imagination and see how much fun you can have.

Watch for my next post on how to create your own illusion art!

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Ponder It!

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Kevin Bartle

Masterpiece Creations: Color and Shapes!

Castle-and-Sun-by-Paul-Klee

Paul Klee was a master artist and he loved colors. We are going to recreate one of his most famous paintings called “Castle and Sun”.

What is needed for this project is one piece of your favorite color paper and any different colored pieces of chalk you can find.

Start by drawing an outline of your castle on the paper with a light colored piece of chalk. Be sure to leave room in the sky for a sun to be added later.

Once you have the outline you can fill it in with all sorts of geometric shapes. Make them big and small. (Squares, rectangles, and triangles all work nicely)

KleeExample1

Now that the guidelines are in place, use chalk to fill in the shapes with as many different colors as you can find. (Try to give each shape a color different than the ones next to it)

My favorite part of using chalk is getting my fingers dirty and blending. Use your fingers to rub the chalk and smooth out the colors making sure they fill their shapes all the way to the lines.

KleeExample2

Once your castle is finished, use your favorite bright colors and swirl them around to make a sun. Again use your fingers to blend the sun like you did the shapes in the castle.

KleeExample3

Your finished product should be a fun collaboration of shape and color that would make Mr. Paul Klee very happy!

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Have fun!

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Kevin Bartle