Friday, July 19, 2013

Fine Art Friday!

"Idylle" 

Henri Martin

I've been fascinated with and have admired the technique of pointillism since I first learned about it in tenth grade art class. Though I've never been an artist, I have liked art since way back when. 

I remember as a child, we would occasionally travel to the closest large city to shop for things special on a Saturday during the school year. It was a memorable day because we got to eat lunch out, something we rarely ever did. There were few fast food places then and none in downtown-big-city. So, we always ate at the department store cafeteria. It was a upscale-ish place compared to places now because waiters wore pressed white jackets, napkins were white cloth, and the food was delicious. I still like similar cafeterias because the food is always good. 

Anyway, my sister and I were always allowed to go to the large "dime store" on one of the trips. Remember Woolworth's? And Woolworth's always had a pile of discounted books of no-rhyme-or-reason subject. One day I found a slim book about art. Thinking back now, the printing wasn't quality by any stretch of the imagination, and the cover wasn't ever attractively colored - it was in drab, dark tones. But, I wanted that book. I couldn't have been but in the sixth grade and didn't know a thing about art. But, I wanted that book. And with the coins I had, I bought it. And I kept it until just a few years ago. That book, as far as I can remember, was my first "introduction" to real art. 

Interestingly enough, twenty-five years after buying that book, I realized that it, which I still had though in a much early edition, was one of the book suggestions from, I believe, Child Light, the educational approach brought to our knowledge through Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Child Light eventually became known as the Charlotte Mason method.

When I was in the ninth grade, I decided to go to summer school and take English 10 simply so that I could take Art during the regular year. Of all my high school classes, I remember more about that class than the many others I took. And it was there that Mrs. Davis taught me about pointilism. I'm sure she taught more than I remember, but I learned enough to recognize it. And that's just the technique Henri Martin used.

French neo-impressionists developed pointillism as a "mind over matter" technique using small to tiny pure color dots next to each other. At a viewing distance, the mind blends these colors and they all come together to form a recognizable image. A time-consuming technique, I imagine, but one used in a rough form to test for color-blindness today.

Henri Martin was a French Post-Impressionist living in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who picked this up and used it in today's Fine Art Friday but using more tiny strokes than dots.

When I first saw this painting I liked it. Maybe because of the water, maybe because of the animals grazing. I like the encounter between the two people. Look at their gaze. And look at the dog's gaze. Wonder what she has in her hands?

Martin titled his painting "Idylle" which is French for idyll, usually meaning something charmingly simple or picturesque which this painting does convey. But, to my surprise, idyll can also mean a brief romantic affair. (Maybe that's what Tennyson is referring to with Arthur and Guinevere in his series of poems, Idylls of the King.) And maybe that's what Martin is referring to in his painting "Idylle."


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