Monday, May 23, 2011

Humanities: Painting Exercise - Adventure and Fantasy

Abe V Rotor

Mural Detail by AVR. Cover photo of Living with Folk Wisdom by AVR 2010

This exercise relies principally on imagination and fantasy. We are in adventure-land. What kind of scene is this? It is one made by our imagination and dreams. It is the world of Jonathan Swift’s second book, Gulliver in Brodningnad, where Gulliver was a dwarf in a land of giants where everything is big, yet things far down below and up in the sky are small.

Imagine yourself a dwarf on a mountain cliff. How insignificant you are to the massiveness of the mountain. A cave could easily swallow you up. One false move and you plunge into the ravine. Mystery waits inside the dark tunnel. You gather courage and share it with your companions, or vice versa. There is danger and this makes anyone humble. I remember Honey, I Shrunk the Kids? If you have seen the movie you imagine how insignificant humans are. If we were the size of an ant or anything as small, everything is a giant.

We are like that in in this world. You can easily get lost in a forest. Trees grow to several meters high, the sea is vast, it seems it has no limit. In the middle of it you are just a speck - in the same way our Solar System is just a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy. The grassland is a sea of green, vast and endless, as well. The sky has no roof, except the passing clouds - or when they gather into rain or snow.

Yet it is harmony with nature and other creatures that we seek. In so doing we don't get the feeling we are lost. For indeed we are - in many respects and reasons, physically and psychologically. In this exercise man leaves behind the amenities of living - no cars, buildings, comforts and ease. Nature is left alone in her pure state. This is communion with her.

Use Oslo paper and pastel colors. Draw a part or section of that that landscape, a sample of which is shown in this painting. Include the things that make that landscape of your imagination, with the elements of adventure and fantasy. There should be the essence of discovery that awes and excites you.

For a musical background, The Last Rose of Summer by Flotow and Life Let's Cherish by Henry Farmer, fit well in this exercise. Schubert's compositions fit well, too. For local compositions, try the music of Lucio San Pedro, Ryan Cayabyab and Francisco Santiago.

Critique your work. Tell about what you were imagining, and what you were feeling while working on it. Show your work to your art teacher. He will tell you its good points, and those you can do to improve it - or do next time. Take criticisms positively. Congratulations!
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