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Why does the Visual Arts Forum seem deserted?

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48 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Well, no, I just don't agree with your definition of "clarity".  To you, clarity is "realism" and to me "clarity" is the intent of the artist.

Clarity to me is simply visual clarity. I do not mean photo realism which I recoil from - I mean stylised realism. To give you a small but important example say: if you observe that when you have sunlight next to shadow the light area directly next to the shadow appears brighter and the shadow next to the bright area appears darker. When an artist observes reality and recognises this, the artist can then show this and exaggerate it to achieve added clarity. Clarity in painting is important because it is a artist's choice of style - "style expresses a view of man's consciousness." Ayn Rand (she put it better than I can). Clarity in style is equivalent to clarity in thought. 

Edited by RomanticRealism

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12 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

 "style expresses a view of man's consciousness." Ayn Rand (she puts it better than I can). A clear style is like clarity in thought.    

I just don't place much stock in Rand's opinions when it comes to the visual arts or music.  And any one who doesn't like Bach doesn't know what they are talking about. 

 

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1 minute ago, New Buddha said:

 

24 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

 "style expresses a view of man's consciousness." Ayn Rand (she puts it better than I can). A clear style is like clarity in thought.    

I just don't place much stock in Rand's opinions when it comes to the visual arts or music.  And any one who doesn't like Bach doesn't know what they are talking about. 

Ayn Rand never said Bach (or even Beethoven for that matter) was not a valid choice of art - she simply said it was not her taste (not her sense of life) and explained why. Her own choices or "dislikes" do not invalidate her theory on aesthetics.

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4 hours ago, RomanticRealism said:

Clarity to me is simply visual clarity. I do not mean photo realism which I recoil from - I mean stylised realism. To give you a small but important example say: if you observe that when you have sunlight next to shadow the light area directly next to the shadow appears brighter and the shadow next to the bright area appears darker. When an artist observes reality and recognises this, the artist can then show this and exaggerate it to achieve added clarity. Clarity in painting is important because it is a artist's choice of style - "style expresses a view of man's consciousness." Ayn Rand (she put it better than I can). Clarity in style is equivalent to clarity in thought. 

"Visual clarity" can be a bit ambigous. Ayn Rand for example didn't like visible paint strokes, but is smooth blending really clearer or just smoother? Is Leonardo's sfumato technique clearer than Sargent's?

(Sargent painted with thick, opaque, brush strokes, making sure to really nail the color and value with every stroke. A technique that demands incredible skill and focus.)

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As an observer with too little artistic knowledge to weigh in meaningfully, I just want to express my appreciation for all parties in this conversation -- and especially New Buddha, RomanticRealism and Alfa -- for a civil and very engaging and informative conversation.

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47 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

As an observer with too little artistic knowledge to weigh in meaningfully, I just want to express my appreciation for all parties in this conversation -- and especially New Buddha, RomanticRealism and Alfa -- for a civil and very engaging and informative conversation.

Why, thank you! I also very much appreciate the civil tone. It's much more fun to discuss things in an open and civil way. 

I wont be checking in here fot a little while, so I wish you all a happy new year!

 

 

 w

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7 hours ago, DonAthos said:

As an observer with too little artistic knowledge to weigh in meaningfully, I just want to express my appreciation for all parties in this conversation -- and especially New Buddha, RomanticRealism and Alfa -- for a civil and very engaging and informative conversation.

Thanks Tyler! I've learnt a few things as well.

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14 hours ago, Alfa said:

"Visual clarity" can be a bit ambigous. Ayn Rand for example didn't like visible paint strokes, but is smooth blending really clearer or just smoother? Is Leonardo's sfumato technique clearer than Sargent's?

(Sargent painted with thick, opaque, brush strokes, making sure to really nail the color and value with every stroke. A technique that demands incredible skill and focus.)

The problem I have with brush strokes is that it conveys nothing except brush strokes, where as blending in all its forms, broad and precise, conveys form, texture & light on its subject. Vermeer didn't use thick, opaque, brush strokes because his aim was to retain the vibrant colour from his paint. His technique allowed him to do this by painting a monochrome under-painting (a bit like sculpting in 3d but on a 2d surface) so he would get all his form (including texture) and lighting developed. Then he would glaze individual thin layers of pure colour (mixed with his oil medium to make it thin). This would achieve a similar effect to a stained glass window except the light travels from the front, through the glaze and reflect off of the under-painting - brighter when it bounces off white and darker when it bounces off black, and all gradations in between. Mixing colours "generally" muddies colour (unless the colour is very close to each other on the colour spectrum). You may say that you want to muddy the colour to get brown - but why do that when you can get the pure beauty out of burnt sienna or ochre straight out of the tube. 

Edited by RomanticRealism

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Painting as Vermeer did is a certainly a fine way to paint.  But linking the "clarity" of Vermeer's work to the moral character of either Vermeer or his admirers is unwarranted.  The use of emotionally laden, pejorative terms such as "muddies" and "smears" is to not understand a fundamental aspect of perception.

As an analogy, maybe a composer should not score a work for violin.  A violin is "messy" with it's overtones and resonance, making it incapable of producing a clear, pure tone.  So anyone who likes the messy overtones and resonance of a violin must also endorse muddy and unclear thinking?

Another analogy. Maybe an architect shouldn't use marble or onyx slabs due to the fact that they have "random" imperfections, which are the result of impurities.  If one does like the random patterns, then this must mean that he believes that Reason and Logic are futile and that one is at the mercy of random events?

multibrownonyx.jpg.jpg

Edited by New Buddha

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2 hours ago, New Buddha said:

As an analogy, maybe a composer should not score a work for violin.  A violin is "messy" with it's overtones and resonance, making it incapable of producing a clear, pure tone.  So anyone who likes the messy overtones and resonance of a violin must also endorse muddy and unclear thinking?

I don't get this analogy - considering that a violin can produce clear, pure tones. Maybe a better analogy would be a composer choosing between a violin and bashing a tin with a stick.

2 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Another analogy. Maybe an architect shouldn't use marble or onyx slabs due to the fact that they have "random" imperfections, which are the result of impurities.  If one does like the random patterns, then this must mean that he believes that Reason and Logic are futile and that one is at the mercy of random events?

This is not a good comparison to objective visual art either. I wish you could provide better examples. The above further strengthens my position: the above is an example of decoration only, just like abstract art - it has no cognitive meaning beyond the perceptual. If someone chooses for any personal reason or taste marble over onyx, a random busy pattern or simple, it has nothing to do with art. The above is an example of design and there could be any number of reasons a designer/architect may want to use a busy random onyx slab in contrast to something else or the colour may tie in with another element or.... but this is NOT an example of art as I have described in earlier posts.

2 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Painting as Vermeer did is a certainly a fine way to paint.  But linking the "clarity" of Vermeer's work to the moral character of either Vermeer or his admirers is unwarranted.  The use of emotionally laden, pejorative terms such as "muddies" and "smears" is to not understand a fundamental aspect of perception.

I would say emphatically that clarity in artistic style is moral. Clarity in style is equivalent to clarity in thought. Clarity in style is observing those attributes of entities that make it real and then emphasizing them to the viewer. Why real? It is the way in which we observe the world. One of the best examples of clarity in style is Atlas Shrugged - and why would she have done this? To convey her story/theme in a clear and succinct way.

Isn't it a farce that abstract art is called abstract art when the best cognitive level it can reach is only sensations.

Edited by RomanticRealism

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54 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

I don't get this analogy - considering that a violin can produce clear, pure tones. Maybe a better analogy would be a composer choosing between a violin and bashing a tin with a stick.

I don't want to derail this post too much onto violins, or sound in general, but you are wrong.  And I'm not just making this up.  An Issue such as this is important in discussing perception with regards to art.  I'll post another reply tomorrow.  I'm moving the discussion to a point related to an earlier post you made.  This lays the foundation.

From Quora

All notes played by any musical instruments have overtones. The most pure is something like a flute - but even that has a “breathy” tone in it. The reason is that any musical instrument has overtones is related to the fact the no instrument creates pure sine waves. Neither would we want them to. Sine waves by themselves sound terrible. All instruments - your violin included - create a complex periodic waveform, which may be represented mathematically by a series of frequencies. These frequencies together make up a ‘Fourier series” which have as the major or fundamental sine wave which is the “frequency or note” plus a series of other frequencies varying in amplitude which make up the periodic wave you hear - or see on your Audacity screen (or any oscilloscope).
Why does your violin not make a perfect sine wave? Because your vibrating strings, the violin body and a dozen other factors all act in a non perfect* fashion to produce the unique sound of your instrument.

*Where non perfect means deviation from idealized sine wave. I happen to think the violin is a pretty damn perfect instrument in other ways.

Another Link discussing the matter.

Edited by New Buddha

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38 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

The reason is that any musical instrument has overtones is related to the fact the no instrument creates pure sine waves. Neither would we want them to. Sine waves by themselves sound terrible.

So wouldn't the aim be to achieve harmonic sound and not just "pure" sine waves which is only one component? Are you saying harmonic sound is not "pure" enough for you?

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On 1/1/2017 at 11:47 PM, RomanticRealism said:

So wouldn't the aim be to achieve harmonic sound and not just "pure" sine waves which is only one component? Are you saying harmonic sound is not "pure" enough for you?

Technically, harmonics refers to the following:

Harmonic:

An overtone accompanying a fundamental tone at a fixed interval, produced by vibration of a string, column of air, etc., in an exact fraction of its length.

So all musical instruments are harmonic.  But that is not what give a musical instrument it's expressiveness.  It is the timber.  It is the complexity of the sound over and above the harmonics.

A very explicit example of this is Ravel's Bolero.  The melody is repeated by different instruments.  Whether this is a "masterpiece" or not isn't really relevant to the point that I'm trying to make.  It's that the concepts of "clarity" and "purity" in novels (words) and the perception of "clarity" and "purity" in painting, music, sculpture, architecture, dance, etc. are not one and the same.   You state above:

On 12/31/2016 at 3:47 PM, RomanticRealism said:

You may say that you want to muddy the colour to get brown - but why do that when you can get the pure beauty out of burnt sienna or ochre straight out of the tube. 

Burnt sienna is not "pure" just because you choose to use it unmixed straight from the tube.  The RGP profile of burnt sienna is 215, 138, 75.  And the only reason that RGB might be considered "pure" is because of the photo receptors cones in our retina.  By your overtly literal interpretation of "pure" you should only paint with red, green and blue.  I've poured through thousands of paint swatches by various manufacturers (all with RGB profiles) and just because a paint manufacture chooses to make a paint called "periwinkle surprise" or "seafoam sunrise" doesn't make it "pure" - nor should any moral connotations be attached to it's use.

 

 

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In a similar way to Ravel's Bolero, American Composer John Adams Harmonielehre doubles up many instruments so that, if you are used to listening to symphonic music, you can never quite make out which insturment(s) are playing at any given moment.

I consider this (and much of Adams' pre Nixon in China compositions) to be a masterpiece.

 

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4 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

and "purity" in painting, music, sculpture, architecture, dance, etc. are not one and the same.   You state above:

The method is not the same but the end result is ie to clearly portray and "communicate" a theme by the artist. This does not justify "abstract art" which portrays nothing.

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45 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

The method is not the same but the end result is ie to clearly portray and "communicate" a theme by the artist. This does not justify "abstract art" which portrays nothing.

You left out a crucial part of in my post:

57 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

It's that the concepts of "clarity" and "purity" in novels (words) and the perception of "clarity" and "purity" in painting, music, sculpture, architecture, dance, etc. are not one and the same.

And could you elaborate on why burnt sienna - straight from the tube - is "pure beauty" but paint mixed on a palette is not?

Edited by New Buddha

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10 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

And could you elaborate on why burnt sienna - straight from the tube - is "pure beauty" but paint mixed on a palette is not?

Firstly, there is an important clarification I must make. When I referred to burnt sienna as an example, I used it in the way an artist uses it to paint ie subtractive colours NOT additive colours. When subtractive colours are mixed they become darker, or "muddier" when paint is applied to a surface or in the printing process. That is why they add black to the printing process, because cyan, magenta, yellow together  become too brown. Additive colours become brighter when light is mixed together ie monitors, projectors. RGB colours are additive - but can be translated to paint colours for when you want to paint your house.  "periwinkle surprise" is created by adding white plus what ever colour(s). This makes it quite pastel, which is perfectly fine for a commercial paint. Now, when they manufacture artists paints they make a large range of colours for a reason - so you don't need to mix the paints too much to reach the colour you need. Burnt sienna is a vibrant colour because of the natural oxides it is extracted from -  and would be impossible to replicate by mixing colours even if technically it is made up of primary colours. The glazing example I gave is a very good way to create multiple shades of say burnt sienna or ultramarine depending on the number of layers, plus a combination of glazed colours multiplies the colour options available. Now glazing is just my preferred technique - and yes glazing is the only method where you could limit your palette to magenta, cyan, yellow as you not quite accurately suggested (you suggested red, green, blue which can not work for painting since they are additive). You could create burnt sienna out of magenta, cyan, yellow using the glazing technique - but using the colours from the manufacturer is much simpler. If you want to apply paint in an opaque method, that's fine - but what is the most crucial issue here is that if the chosen subject is so important to the artist, the only way to do it justice is to adopt a style of clarity.

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3 hours ago, New Buddha said:

In a similar way to Ravel's Bolero, American Composer John Adams Harmonielehre doubles up many instruments so that, if you are used to listening to symphonic music, you can never quite make out which insturment(s) are playing at any given moment.

If you learn about the physics of sound and observe certain components that make up music and then draw particular conclusions from it, that's fine. But when you apply those same conclusions to the visuals arts, that is just rationalism - it has absolutely no basis in reality. Especially when it negates everything we already know about the visual arts - that is, it must represent actual objects for it to convey any possible meaning.

3 hours ago, New Buddha said:

A very explicit example of this is Ravel's Bolero.  The melody is repeated by different instruments.  Whether this is a "masterpiece" or not isn't really relevant to the point that I'm trying to make.  It's that the concepts of "clarity" and "purity" in novels (words) and the perception of "clarity" and "purity" in painting, music, sculpture, architecture, dance, etc. are not one and the same.

When I mention clarity it is in relation to the style of an artwork. The term purity is only use in a specific painting technique which is optional. 

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58 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

Firstly, there is an important clarification I must make.

Thanks for this kind of detailed response.  I was hesitant to continue this post because I (apparently) underestimated your ability to discuss the technical aspects of art.

I think we still have areas of major disagreement, but if you are game, I'd like to continue exploring them.

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28 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

If we stick to the visual arts - I am game.

Well, my position is that all aesthetic disciplines are cross modal, and that they derive from from a central common core of perceptual and cognitive abilities.  But we can explore that.

Edit: While all aesthetic disciplines share a common core, some are more closely aligned that others.  Music and Architecture are more closely aligned than Painting and Literature.

Edited by New Buddha

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Okay, so what is the difference between visual fine art as I have presented it and the design disciplines? I use design discipline as a contrast because it is similar to Non-representational "art" and decoration. Decoration including abstract patterns only deal with attributes, omitting the entities they relate to; colour, texture, shape. The best cognitive level these attributes can reach are sensations. When these attributes are used in a design discipline combined with form (including light) such as architecture or jewelry design it then becomes perceptual - perceptual relationships between entities. What makes fine art unique is that it is conceptual.

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Budda and RR:

Sorry to interject but I am curious about the slight conceptual differences between you. Could you each state what you think distinguishes art from decoration?  I think the process of creation of each can be strikingly similar: selective, deliberate and purposeful, but that the result and how it interacts with the viewer is somehow different.

Slight aside related to getting at the issue of "art" and "decoration".  Is the Fountainhead about artistic integrity or simply creative integrity?  Did Rand hold Roarke to be an artist or "just" a creator?  Did Rand claim that F Wright's architectural works are art?  Why  (why not)?

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SL,

This may sound like a cop out to answering the first part of your post, but I see ART as a broad enough concept to incorporate: Literature, Painting, Music, Architecture, Sculpture, Clothing/Fashion Design, Poetry, Product Design, Furniture Design, Landscape Architecture - and maybe a few others that aren't coming to mind.

My interests in aesthetics has always been discovering what each discipline shares in common and what makes each discipline different.  And more specifically, what are the evolutionary, psychological, neural, perceptual and conceptual mechanisms that make art even possible in the first place.  

"The marvel is not that the bear dances well, but that the bear dances at all."  Russian proverb

I believe that Rand explained why she chose architecture to be the center of the Fountainhead.  Maybe someone with a searchable data base << cough, cough, Dreamweaver, cough, cough, >> could find the quote. 

Is this Gustav Klimt painting art or decoration?  I wouldn't see the value of getting into such a debate.

 

 

Klimt.jpg

Edited by New Buddha

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