Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chauvet Cave

So I just watched the new Werner Herzog film, 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams' (in 3D!), a film about Chauvet Cave: a cave located in southern France that was discovered in 1994, containing the oldest known cave drawings in the world to date. Most of the artwork dates back 32 000 - 30 000 years, though there are traces in the cave of humans and animals from as recent as 25 000 years ago. A landslide around 25 000 years ago sealed off the cave until 1994, preserving the paintings drawings, animal bones and even the footprints of humans and animals - animals, some of which are now extinct, such as the cave bear, the cave lion, wolly mammoth and woolly rhino! among others...
Very fascintating stuff! And the drawings are just beautiful, so much motion in the overlapping animal figures; a beat, a rhythm over the curving surface of the cave walls...Amazing. In short, everyone should check out this movie! Seeing it definitely made me want to pick up the charcoal and conte again.

 Chauvet Cave is located very near this natural archway, Vallon Pont D'Arc, in the valley of the Ardeche River. As mentioned in the movie, we have to think of this as a very different Europe 30 000 years ago: A Europe partially covered in glaciers, with forests full of animals such as horses, rhinos, mammoths, lions, panthers, bears...along with the humans and neanderthals. A crazy, crazy time.
 A very stunning rock 'panel' of horses, and combatting rhinos below.
 love this movement...and the white around the dark rhino....ah, so good...
 Cave lions! And possibly panthers? In the movie it's mentioned that the drawings of cave lions in Chauvet cave were able to prove that the cave lions/ lions of the time did not have manes like the lions of today.
 One very stunning rock face in the cave...though there are many, many more. The cave is actually enormous! You can find topographical maps of the cave, it is surprisingly extensive.
A 30 000 year old handprint (wow).

Monday, 1 August 2011

...And now for some Color!

Haven't been up to as much painting as I would like this summer - but! I have done a few little things, messing around, getting used to color again! There are two cats who live in the apartment below mine, and often roam the backyard when I am out sitting on the steps. I was tempted recently to paint one of them, a black cat who I believe is named Tofu. Not finished yet, but here is a glimpse!

And some little flowery sweet nuthin's...

Still Life chatter...

Was at my parents' house for a few days recently, and spent some time checking out all the great coffee-table books on art! I was especially absorbed (as per usual) by the impressionists and post-impressionists. Not usually one for Cezanne, but looking at his pencil sketches and still lifes I have to say I was definitely inspired!
I haven't yet set up my acrylics (which I am really excited to do very soon!) but here is a late-night-kitchen still-life sketch (brought to you by photos, still without scanner ah'mafraid!)

Also, did this little watercolor of bananas in June, really enjoyed the water color still life action! Plus a little pencil crayon overtop.

And for some visuals of what I'm talking about, check out these still-lifes I'm really into from the late-great-Pauls Cezanne and Gauguin:

 Gauguin, Still Life with Teapot and Fruit 
 Cezanne, Still Life with Apples 
 Cezanne, Cherries
 Gauguin, Still Life with Fruit
 Gauguin, Still Life with Japanese Woodcut
Cezanne, Still Life with Apples

It's that time again!

Finally bought some film, I'm excited to start using my camera again, especially to attempt to document some of the beauty that is all around me here in montreal! I've been itching to photograph every inch of my surroundings, but of course there is great merit in just looking, admiring and letting go as well. Thinking about ways to fuse photographs and art: probably going to use some of these as compositions or color studies to base illustrations and drawings off of...exciting stuff! Below are some photos from last summer.

 experiment: trying to use my hand to get some color in the photo...but perhaps a bit more subtle next time so's it looks less like a hand in the frame....