Monday, February 12, 2007

The Art of Joyfulness


I’m no art historian (not by any stretch) so it’s difficult for me to offer many insights into the underpinnings of fine art like Uncle Eddie can. However I can still try my hand at it. In that light I really enjoyed reading this Guardian article on the unapologetic pleasantness of Renoir’s paintings. The article begins…

We have no language in which to praise gentleness. A century of revolution since Pablo Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has made it almost impossible to say: “This art is pretty, unchallenging and middle-class, and I like it.” Well, I like the art of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and it is all those things.

I’d love to be able to show you the dark side of Renoir’s art, but close as I look, I can’t find social criticism or anxiety in his canvases. Even when it rains, his Paris is a joyful place where people don’t so much cower under their umbrellas as flirt and chatter beneath a dancing cluster of bobbing blue canopies. His painting Les Parapluies (The Umbrellas) in London’s National Gallery may as well be called I Love Paris in the Rain.

While other ’serious’ artists of the time mocked and derided his work, I think there’s a lot to be said for trying to find a way to celebrate life through art. I’m sure I betray my unwashed bourgeois tastes when I admit that we had a few Renoir prints in our house in the States. I liked them. The pictures just added a lightness to whatever room they were in. I mean life is hard and dark enough already, why gloom it up at home? I’m sure if I had attended art school I’d have been informed about how low minded I would be to like Renoir. Thankfully I never attended art school. :) But I am reminded of this helpful little passage from The Good Book

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

A refreshing imperative in the age of post modern de-constructivism, no? This Guardian piece has come at a good time for me. I’m in the midst of some deeper self critique right now and I’ve come to realize that I’ve picked up a bit of a negative habit from ye olde’ family tree. Namely, I easily tend toward being a bit too critical in life. In time one wakes to find he sees a crumudgeon in the mirror. Crumudgeons make great cartoon characters, but they’re utterly sorry traveling companions on the road of life. Thus a new effort is under way to arrange my constitutional cupboard to be a bit brighter and a good deal less spider-webby. Our little animated corner of the world has enough rancor as it is. Who needs another big mouth being negative about it? I think that constructive critique is good and necessary and you can be sure I’ll not shy away from it. Yet the polarity of dialogue in animation is astounding. I’m thankful for the few reasoned voices out there and I quote them and their blogs here often. But critique is necessary to improve and refine. The key word is ‘constructive’. Critiques can be offered in a pleasant- even joyful way. In fact the critiqued individual is owed this level of respect. Moving forward I hope to be more pleasant, kind and joyful in my life — including my writings and my animation.

Speaking of which, I need to get crackin’ and post some new stuff I’ve been messing with. But I still have the CG Character controls thread to wrap up and I have a backlog of Ant Bully scenes that I have ripped that need to be plunked up on my gallery page. (not that they’re that great, but they’re at least newer than what’s already there.) I’m such a slacker. Heh.

1 comment:

Keith Lango said...

original comments here...