What is Art?

Art according to dictionary meaning is 'Skill'. A skill in any field and in any sphere. People who can mesmerize the audience with their eloquence and erudition are skilled Speakers.

People who can take the hearers in to a trance by virtue of their singing qualities are Skilled singers.

People who can weave magic with their graceful movements are skilled dancers.

From the above it's clear that art need not be related to Painters and sculptors only. Hence keeping this in view, The entire gamut of Arts has been divided into two broad categories. They are

Visual Arts

Some of the well known Visual arts are Painting, sculpting, architecture to name a few.

Some of the well known performing arts are. Dance, music and Drama to name a few.

Before delving deep in to the categories and sub categories of Visual arts, it's essential to  deal with Design which is common to both  Visual and Performing arts.

What is Design? 

In the simplest possible terms Design can be defined as "Embellishing the product created by an Artist,  Artisan or a Technician." No creator wants his product may be a piece of art or any creation look ugly. He pours all his efforts to make it as attractive as possible. This process of making an article look good to those for whom the product was created,is 'Designing' In this process the creator makes use of the following factors to make his art piece ' A Master piece.'

  • Composition
  • Layout
  • colour
  • Size and setting
  • Drawing and Draftsmanship
  • Light effects
  • Methods and materials,

All the above mentioned are the prerequisites of a good Painting or a sculpture. If you go to the Louvre in Paris and look at the original painting of Leonardo Da Vincis greatest painting Mona Lisa , you will see all the above said factors. Or if you see the greatest Master piece of Michael Angelo's"Pieta", You'll find the best of the elements of Design were used by Michael Angelo.

Now coming to Visual arts, we see there are several sub-categories depending on the Medium used'

What is Medium?

Medium is that substance which is used to apply on the surface of the material on which the artist paints. For example Water is the medium used to mix and apply the colour on the surface of a board or a paper. The paintings done with them is known as Belle-in-the-forest" Water colour Paintings,"

Similarly if the medium used is linseed oil or turpentine, such paintings are known as  Oil Paintings.

If a  Draftsman's pen, or a ball Pen is used as a medium, such paintings are known as Pen and Ink Drawings.

Where pencils are used as medium, such paintings are known as Pencil Drawings

Where Acrylic colours are used, such paintings are known as Acrylic paintings.

Other media are

  • Chalk
  • Charcoal
  • Conte Crayon
  • Human finger ( In this mode of painting, Paint or ink is applied with human fingers especially  with thumb).
  • Marker
  • Pastel.

With the advent of computers, a new genre of art has come in to vogue. It's known as Digital art.

Water colour techniques:

When it comes to water colour techniques there are two important techniques widely used. They are : "Wet on Dry" and "Wet on wet."

Wet on Dry means,wet paint is applied on dry colour or under paint. Wet on wet means wet paint is applied on wet paint or wet background.

Oil Painting techniques:

most fundamental technique, every Oil painter has to learn is known as , " Fat over lean.", Fat colour means a colour directly squeezed from the tube. If this colour is mixed with Linseed oil, the paint becomes more fatty. If the paint becomes more fatty,it takes lot of time to dry. Lean oil paint means, if the colour is mixed with Turpentine instead of Linseed, it dries up fast. So its essential to know, when  and how fat and lean paint layers should be applied and also its vital to know if a fat layer could be applied over the lean layer, or vice versa.

Pen and ink techniques:

Many are of the opinion creating tonal value with pen is difficult and impossible. It's not so. There are many ways, the tonal value can be achieved in Pen and ink method of painting. Following are the ways to achieve the tonal values :

By hatching : involves drawing  fine parallel lines with a slight distance apart. If the lines are closer, we see less of the paper. And it looks darker. Illusion of darkness can be achieved by making the lines darker by using a thicker nib or pressing the pen more firmly.

By Cross hatching :  The same mode of drawing parallel lines, but by placing the lines at an angle.

By contour hatching : A technique often used in figure drawing. The basic principle in drawing the lines is following the lines of the figure or contour.

By scumbling and random hatching :  Also known as 'brillo pad technique'.  In this, small calligraphic and scribbled marks are used to create the desired texture  to the drawing.

By Stippling : Stippling means placing tiny dots on the paper using a fine nibbed pen to create an exceptional depth in the drawing.

Pencil drawing techniques

There is no tool that can excel Pencil  for doing simple to complex mind boggling drawings which are no less than any full fledged paintings. The beauty in pencil drawings lies in its simplicity.

Techniques used for Pen drawings like hatching, cross hatching, contour hatching can be used in pencil drawings too. What all you need is  pencils of different darkness like HB, 2 H, 3 H etc, a putty rubber which is soft and liable enough to be formed in to any shape. These Putty rubbers are available in rectangular shapes. These can be broken in tune with the necessity of the drawing in to smaller pieces. Putty rubbers are ideal for creating stunning and realistic highlights.

The next item essential for pecil drawings is 'Paper stomps'. The paper stomp is a pointed stick made by rolling a moderately thick paper.

Types of paper to be used for pencil Drawings

Though there are several ways to find out the suitability of paper for pencil drawings, i prefer to  'Feel' the paper. A paper that is available in the market with the name 'Cartridge paper' will be the most ideally suitable paper.

Sculpting :  Sculpting. like architecture, is concerned with solid forms and space.The art of creating objects by chiseling, modeling, carving, casting, welding and using many such other methods. Sculpting was used mostly for decorative purposes since ancient times. Examples are Indian temples, interiors of places of worship like in the Sistine chapel.

Sculpting techniques

Carving : The process of removing the raw material ( Wood, marble etc) until the desired form is achieved. 

Ideal materials for sculpting : Marble tops the best list. But several other countries chosen their own favourite material for sculpting. It all depends on the availability of the material in those respective countries.

Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians used  granite and basalt for centuries. Where as Chinese are comfortable with Jade. Indians used all sorts of material for their sculpting including sand. In general the criteria for the eligibility to serve as the best material for sculpting is, availability and ease of work.

Modeling: Carving involves removing the raw material, where as modeling involves just the opposite. That is adding up and building up and shaping up of the material with the raw material.

Ideal materials for sculpting : The most sought after modeling material since centuries is wax and clay. Out of these clay tops the list.  Clay and wax give the sculptor a chance to work with spontaneity. It also gives an opportunity to the sculptor to make quick changes, and corrections.

Limitations : Limitations lie in the fragility of the materials. Owing to this reason, the work consists of filling and stiffing with the help of a core metal. It means, first of all a frame-work made of metal has to be created. Then , over this framework the modeling material will be applied.

Luminaries and all time greats : I place Michael Angelo above all in the field of painting, though he proved his worth both in Painting an sculpting.  If His 'David" and "Pieta" stole my heart, his wall paintings of sistine chapel made me his lifelong fan. Leonardo Da Vinci will be remembered for eternity for his "Monalisa." And of course, the list will not be complete without Vincent Vangogh, Francisco de Goya, Cezanne, Rembrandt and Renoir, not to forget Pablo Picasso. the inventor of Cubism.

Among Indian painters,Ravi Varma takes the pride of place. followed by Amrita Shergil and M.F Hussain. 

Among sculptors Michael Angelo made his place secure since centuries which none can surpass. Then the sculptors who made a niche of their own in the annals of world art history are Gianlorenzo Berrnini, August Rodin, Constantin Brancusi , Allexander calder. Henry Moore are  shining like polar stars in the skies of Art history.

Now it's my turn

My inspiration was a small time street painter, whose dexterity used to send waves of awe in me right from my childhood. This inspiration did not go waste.

My family conditions could not allow me to study art in an art school. But it didn't dampen my spirits too. I started painting without any guidance from anyone ( There were none around, though) though secretly as in those days the very thought of studying art was considered as a sacrilege. Despite the hurdles ,i learned almost all genres of Visual arts on my own  to such an extent, i was made a professional designer adept in both conventional and digital paintings.

The examples shown here are my creations. 


Like it on Facebook, +1 on Google, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet