Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks

J. C. Leyendecker, Norman RockwellWhile I realize the American holiday of Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for weightier and more immediate concerns, like being here at all, having enough to eat, clothes, shelter and basic freedom, at least for those of us fortunate enough to enjoy these things; lines and colors is specifically about art, and the day gives me a chance to reflect on the amazing cornucopia of visual art that we enjoy, from the past and in the present.

In the course of writing this blog for the past year and few odd months, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing some of the art treasures I’m aware of, rediscovering some I had forgotten or neglected and discovering new ones. In all, I’m just flat-out amazed at the bounty of great drawings, paintings, illustrations, concept art, cartoons, comics, webcomics, woodblock prints, digital paintings, animations and images of all kinds that we have access to, whether through reproductions on the web, books, libraries, and periodicals, or in person in the halls of museums large and small, galleries local and national and, perhaps best of all, from our own hands.

When I was in the first few weeks of writing lines and colors I found myself wondering if there were enough topics to sustain the kind of daily posts I was doing once I got past the favorite artists I had in my head at the time. Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I simply don’t know how I can ever find time to write bout all of the great stuff that I have remembered or discovered in the process, particularly in light of all of the exciting things I see happening in the various art communities.

I’ve been thrilled to watch the painting-a-day phenomenon bloom and spread, individual artists and galleries reach for new ways to make contact with those who would appreciate and support their art, and students, young and old, forging their way through the process of artistic discovery and sharing that experience with other artists and the world at large through the ever-growing list of sketching and painting blogs. I’ve seen online comics explode from a handful to hundreds, sketching clubs, illustration challenges, and artist groups spring up like crazy and art resources of all kinds appear on the web.

Wow.

So my hat’s off to all of those participating in the explosion of art appreciation that I think is happening, partly on the net and partly in the rethinking of art on a local scale, with galleries banding together to promote gallery walks, schools looking for unorthodox teaching methods, independent ateliers springing up, and individuals taking the first steps into artistic creation since leaving it behind in adolescence when wrongfully told that only “professional artists” should pursue it past that point. Attitudes are changing, the role of art in society is expanding, not contracting as pundits were afraid would happen under the pressure of popular entertainment. It’s an exciting time to be interested in art.

And thanks to all of you readers of lines and colors, for your interest, comments, suggestions and support, and for making this project more than worthwhile and tremendous fun.

Oh yes, the illustration at left, top is by J. C Leyendeker, one of the most amazing of the great illustrators from the early 20th Century (and sure to be the topic of a full future post). It’s the cover of The Saturday Evening Post from November, 1928. You can find more of his fantastic illustrations, and those of many other artists in the SEP cover archive on the Curtis Publishing site.

And yes, that archive also includes the image you were probably expecting to see here today, at left, bottom: Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want“, not specifically a Thanksgiving image, but part of a series of “Four Freedoms“, posters created by Rockwell as a response to a speech by President Roosevelt to Congress in 1941 on those really basic freedoms: Freedom From Fear, Freedom of Speech, Freedom From Want, and Freedom of Worship.

3 thoughts on “Thanks

  1. =shane white=

    Man, I love the Leyendecker. His studies are just as amazing as his finishes.
    His show in Stockton, CA that’s going on right now is something I wished I could get to!

    Thanks for putting this up.

    =s=

  2. peacay

    Thanks to you Charley. In all seriousness I’ve learned a hell of a lot from your diligently assiduous and erudite posts.

    And I feel the same way – although perhaps on a slightly different tangent – in being astounded by the amount of excellent material available to admire, investigate and post about and that it is neverending. I had no idea I would keep it up this long either and I think we’ve been going about the same amount of time.

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