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A-Z Glossary of Artistic Terms

ABRADED

Having a worn or rubbed appearance as a result of mechanical or chemical action. An abrasion is a localized abraded area.

ABSORBENT GROUND

A chalk ground which absorbs oil and is used in oil painting to achieve a matt effect and to speed up drying.

ACCULTURATION

Borrowing between cultures, or the modifying of one person’s or group’s culture by contact with a different culture. Also, the process by which people acquire knowledge of the cultures in which they live.

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Art Hanging Tips

By John Barry

I recently listened to an expert describing how to arrange paintings for an exhibition. Producing a pleasing arrangement of paintings where all aspects are considered, involved a great deal of preparation, including laying the whole display out on the floor to replicate what would eventually be on the wall.

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Hanging Artwork

You’ve bought a masterpiece, or you are hanging one of your own works. Why is it always so intimidating to look at a blank wall and decide where to hang it?

If furniture doesn’t look as if it is in the right place, it’s easy to pick it up and move it somewhere else. It doesn’t involve technicalities like which hook to use, is this a load bearing area, am I going to make a hole in my wall, which I am going to have to laboriously repair? ‘How to hang pictures’ is a Google search worth doing, but the variety of tips are incredible — from simple to complex, there’s something for everyone in the 87,000,000 odd results it turns up.

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3D Illustration With An Art Gallery

The Business of Art – John Botton

johnbotton_camera-aotearoa-artistDuring my recent visit to Sydney I popped into one of my favourite hangouts, the Art Gallery of NSW and headed straight down to the photographic exhibitions (why do galleries always bury photography exhibits in the basement?). I was surprised to find a number of pieces by Andreas Gursky, whose name didn’t mean much to me until a few years back when one of his photographs sold for over three million dollars. 

While contemplating the huge print of “Chicago, Mercantile Exchange” (it was estimated to sell for over five hundred thousand Euros), I got to thinking about the first time I presented my photography to the owner of the Red Square Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa. I now cringe at the thought of how naive I was; I just arrived at the gallery without an appointment, my work was very poorly presented and was very higgledy-piggledy to say the least with no structure or cohesive theme. The gallery owner was very polite in rejecting me but it took me ages to come to terms with it. So how do you go from aspiring artist to commercial success? 

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Sketch Club 3 – Dougie Chowns

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Dougie with his faithful companion, Leah

SEE FOR YOURSELF AND SKETCH IN MUSEUMS

By Dougie Chowns

Painting is only drawing with a brush, and there is no better way to improve your painting than getting into the habit of using a sketchbook. I talked about this in my first editorial in Issue 10, a year ago. Hopefully some of you are finding that you are building a reference of sketches to go back to, ideas and concepts that is bringing your creative thinking together as well as by thoughtful observation analysing your subjects before you launch into brush on canvas or paper.

At long distance from the great art centers of the world, New Zealand students are restricted to art books, internet reference or video programmes. Sadly seen in small format even when a video presenter is shown alongside. However, if you have never actually stood in front of a Goya, Botticelli’s Primavera, a Francis Bacon or Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon or Guernica, you are missing out. 

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Expose Yourself

johnbotton_camera-aotearoa-artistBy John Botton

I’m not sure about you but I always feel a bit self-conscious when exposing myself to other people, especially in public. What I have found over many years though, is that it pays to ensure you are presenting yourself in the best possible light. OK, so maybe you think I’m a bit of a pervert... but what I’m actually talking about is showing my fine art photography (so who has the dirty mind now ;-). 

After labouring long and hard over your masterpiece it’s worth making the effort to present it with the same care and attention you took over its creation. After all, it’s often the packaging that intimates at the value of the artwork; much like a Michelin star chef who presents his fine cuisine, not as yummy food but as a work of culinary art. 

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Sketch Club 2 – Dougie Chowns

ASTONISH ME!

By Dougie Chowns

Art is many things to many people. My ex 1950’s writer colleague, a London poet, art writer and critic in 1991, when lecture touring in NZ, said “Dougie, what you must understand is that art has nothing to do with art, it has everything to do with money”

He was talking about the art industry, that is, the big time, big money business where interestingly, the actual artists - the producers of artwork, are but a tiny percentage of those involved. They only provide the product. Their name with publicity becomes legend and like the music industry those names generate a whole enterprise that many benefit from - not always the artist, however.

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Confessions of a Couch Photographer

johnbotton_camera-aotearoa-artist10 WAYS TO GET YOUR FOJO WORKING

By John Botton

As I staggered to the summit of North Ridge on my daily dog walk (OK, it was a hill that felt really steep) dragging two puffing bullmastiffs behind me, I fixated on the stunning cumulus clouds billowing upward into the heavens above the Auckland skyline to the South, the late afternoon light describing the subtle curves and nuances of every shade of white.

In my minds eye I could visualise the framing and exposure settings of my photograph. I could even imagine the final print hanging on the entrance wall being admired by visitors. Alas, I had no camera with me and the truth be known, I was in a photographic slump. It was the equivalent of writers block or a bad case of stage fright. I had lost my Foto-Mojo or Fojo for short. This got me thinking about ways to get my camera out and re-discover all the things that motivated me when I bought my first digital camera. Here are a few ideas that I hope will re-ignite your photographic fuse.

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Sketch Club 1 – Dougie Chowns

ONCE UPON A TIME ART WAS POWERFUL

By Dougie Chowns

In the early world some 30,000 BC, art birthed when Paleolithic humans conceived the idea to make images of the hunt, the animals they revered and images of themselves. We know this from 16,000 BC cave paintings discovered in Altimira Spain, the Dordogne France and Africa. 

Art and the status of the artist was quite different to what we consider art and the artist to be today - the imagery portrayed was not intended to be a pretty drawing to be admired or even easily seen. The work was a powerful communication with the other world, not for humans at all. However it had humans in mind I believe - art was all about survival.

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