. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year's Motto and Expressionism

"Chance favors only the prepared mind."

Louis Pasteur, French scientist and inventor of the process of pasteurization, can be credited with the above quote, but I'm going to adopt it for my motto for the New Year.

We've started the unit on Expressionism in Art class and since I know nothing of it, I'm going to prepare myself so that I can have an intelligent conversation with the Art teacher (or anyone else who comes up with the subject in the future). What our teacher reminded us today was that Impressionism is the painting of light, Cubism is the painting of what you know, and Surrealism is the painting of what you imagine (previous post here). Expressionism is art created in order to make a statement or to evoke emotions that developed during the early 1900's (during the time of World War 1). 

Mr. J gave many examples, such as the German Expressionist painting on the top right, "The Scream" by Edvard Munsch, which started the movement. The painting was done to reflect the horrors of war. Other types of Expressionism include Abstract, Fauvism, Dadaism, Minimalism, and Gestalt (shapes, geometric). 

Of all the kinds of Expressionism, I think that Abstract Expressionism is the most interpretive. Each different person can see a different image and feel something different as well. It is also the kind of Expressionism that a chimpanzee paints (previous post here). One famous Abstract Expressionist painter is Jackson Pollock, who painted this piece on the left called "No. 5."  To me, it looks like it was painted by dripping and drizzling paints over a canvas.  Guess what? It was! Is that talent or what?

Another form of Expressionism that I found interesting is the form of Minimalism. Maybe it is the simplicity of paintings that aren't all "cluttered up" with chaos. If you know me, you know I don't do too well with chaos, whether it be crowded places, loud parties, or Los Angeles traffic. Visual chaos is too much as well. The minimalist painter tends to paint the solid black squares on a canvass or a vertical stripe from the top of a canvas to the bottom and will call it art.  But there are good pieces out there like the one here on the above right, "Composition No. 10," by Piet Mondrian.

So now I go prepared and am confident that I can carry on a conversation about Expressionistic art.  For at least two minutes, anyway.

One other thing, I've gotten a reading assignment from the 6th grade teacher. Next week, she'll introduce the novel, "Tangerine" by Edward Bloor to her 6th grade Language Arts class. Since "chance favors only the prepared mind," I've got to read it this weekend so that I can work with the students in the weeks to come on their question and vocabulary packets. It looks pretty good. 


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