Saturday, January 31, 2009

Monet and Manet – who is who and who is better?

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In my childhood when I first heard about Monet and Manet (Claude Monet and Édouard Manet) painters and saw their artwork, what was available to see at the time, I was thinking that they are the same person. Their paintings looked very much alike and the similarity in the name added to the confusion. So who is who and is one better than another?

Small biography tidbits from –

Claude Monet –

“Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840 on the fifth floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. He was the second son of Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians. On 20 May 1841, he was baptised into the local church parish, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette as Oscar-Claude. In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery store business, but Claude Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer.”

Édouard Manet –

“Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832, to an affluent and well connected family. His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the daughter of a diplomat and the goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince, Charles Bernadotte, from whom the current Swedish monarchs are descended. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. His uncle, Charles Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and often took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1845, following the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts, and a subsequent life-long friend.”

So one was born into royal family and another into family of a singer. What I found interesting is that both Artists in their early paintings kind of follow the same style. They were born around the same time, so I’m assuming this was pretty much the trend back then, and in their early artwork you can see influence from their teachers. It appears that the preference was portraits and paintings of people.

What happened next is that you can clearly see with Monet that even in his early work he start concentrating on the landscape in his painting as much, if not more, as the people – for example "Woman in a Garden" and "Woman with a Parasol". It seems that the landscape paintings were more appealing to Monet than any other types of paintings.

Manet on the other hand started more like a rebellion. His early artworks were considered controversial, since he painted nude women in some of his artwork – for example "The Luncheon on the Grass".

So one came from "nowhere" and loved to pain landscape even when painting for living, another came from royal family and could afford to paint controversial painting on his way to become famous.

The most interesting thing happens at the end, but throughout their carrier as an Artist you can clearly see how Monet concentrated more and more on landscapes and Manet keeps on creating controversial and 'populistic' paintings. Opposite to Monet, Manet has a lot of portraits, war related paintings and other paintings that go along with social and political life in the country.

I would say that if comparing early works of Monet and Manet, Monet is obviously better. Not because he has a better painting techniques or his paintings standout more, both are actually very much the same in the early works, but one thing that Monet had that Manet did not is a clear sense of direction and style that will eventually make Monet very famous.

There is a very big change towards the end of Manet’s carrier, looks like he is trying to follow Monet’s footsteps and started painting landscape and still life paintings. But, it was too late, Monet was The Artist in this field.

Overall I think the only reason we know about Manet is because he was a populist and could afford to created controversial paintings with his royal family connections and backing. We would probably never hear about him otherwise since there were a few thousand artists in France at the time who had better paintings, but never got popular or famous due to the luck of their family’s political and financial power.

Monet on the other hand is the real thing, the real ARTIST, who chose a style from the beginning and concentrated on polishing and improving his painting technique and skills throughout his life. One obvious thing that helped him to stand out from the crowd is his unique painting style that he developed.

In conclusion – we know about Manet just because he had great PR strategy, we know about Monet because he is real Artist.

Impressionism and Contemporary Art

Mikhail Onanov


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to create Mixed Media Artwork Paintings

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There is probably unlimited number of ways to create mixed media artwork. I want to share some tips on techniques on creating one specific mixed media painting type – oil and airbrush canvas artwork using fabric to create more depth and texture.

When I create figurative paintings of women I always try to make them more intimate and not as ‘vulgar’ (for the luck of better word). Also, using fabric for additional texture allows me to create a true 3D effect. Paintings end up having a lot of vantage points and look different virtually every angle and every lighting condition, so it can take a life time to get really familiar with it.

This is how I do it:

I take stretched canvas. I prefer 36 inches wide by 48 inches high – they are fairly inexpensive, large enough for the task and not too big to stretch when, primer oil paint or airbrush is applied.

I prime it first; any primer should work since it will only be used to create additional texture. Then I wait about a week or so, letting primer to dry out as much as possible.

The next thing is to glue fabric or cloth on top of the canvas. I use glue that will not go though the fabric and case paint to change colors later when it is applied on top of the canvas and the fabric. This is the time to decide how challenging and exciting artwork will be. The more bends and twists fabric will have the more complicated and rewarding it will be to paint over it. So, I always keep in mind that the final artwork has to look like the fabric was glued on top of the painting, and not like painting was done on top of the fabric. Again, I let it sit and dry as much as possible.

Now the exciting part – actual painting:

1. I always assume that the surface is flat, so if there are bends or bumps in the fabric I visualize what the women’s figure would look like if painted directly on the canvas, and just follow those lines.

2. In the ‘valleys’ between the fabric bends and twists – these areas will get less light and even some shade (especially when artwork is lighted from above ). So they need to be kept that way. I do not make them lighter or the effect of fabric glued over the painting will be lost.

3. The ‘hills’ (or ‘mountains’ if a lot of texture was given) will get more light then the rest of the painting, but to create the effect of fabric glued on top of the artwork I make them even brighter.

These are the three basic techniques to create figurative mixed media painting. There are obviously a lot more needed to insure that artwork looks intimate, exquisite, real but not provocative, but it is better left to an Artist to decide how to do that.

See examples of my figurative canvas artwork using mixed media here, (4 of them are figurative women mixed media paintings created using cloth or fabric glued to the canvas that the painting was painted over) - Figurative Mixed Media Oil on Canvas Paintings - Women

Mikhail Onanov

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oil Paintings versus Acrylic Paintings

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Everyone probably knows that oil paint dries a lot longer than acrylic paint. However, not so many people realize that when oil paint is drying it is changing color.

When a large quantity of oil paint is used for oil painting it can take a year for it to completely dry and settle. Here are a few tips on how to handle oil painting before it is ready to be displayed or sold.

Day 1 – Day 10
The issue in the first few days is how to protect oil painting from dust and other debris while the paint is still fresh.

One approach is to cover oil painting with a cloth or plastic wrap, which for obvious reasons can be tricky and might not work 100%.

Another approach is to cover oil painting with thin layer of lacquer. It dries faster and will protect the painting from duct and debris. The flip side is – the oil underneath will take a lot longer to dry. It will actually be drying from the back of the oil painting through the canvas (if the oil painting is on canvas). This technique should only be used by experience artists, since applying lacquer on top of the painting will also cause oil paint to change its colors a little.

Acrylic paintings do not have this issue, however acrylic paint seem to work better on canvas board not canvas, or it works well when used for watercolor drawings since it can be diluted with water.

Day 11 – Day 100
After a few days have passed oil paint on the painting can still be sticky, but it is more or less stable enough for the painting to be unwrapped. Now, the other issue is sunlight.

Obviously direct sunlight is bad for any painting, but in the first month or so after an oil painting is completed the paint is still fresh and it seem that the sunlight is doing a lot more damage during that time. Keeping the painting in dry and dark palace (not dusty) should take care of this issue.

Again, Acrylic paintings will not have this issue since they dry so fast.

Day 100 – Day 367
Now, the best thing is to leave oil painting alone for a while. If you planning on taking pictures of the oil painting to publish, created prints or post on the Internet, just wait. The colors have not settled yet, and they will be different when oil painting is ready (mostly there will be a slight difference, but the difference can be obvious depends on the paint brand and colors used).

If it is absolutely necessary to take photographs of the painting before it is ready, then they should be retaken later on when all the color on the oil painting have settled.

Acrylic paintings do not change colors over time due to drying out, however all paintings change colors with age.

Day 368
The oil painting is now ready for expositions, galleries, shows and to be sold. If you are selling a painting make sure to take a lot of good quality pictures of it for your portfolio and possibly for reproductions such as art prints posters.
Based on the amount of oil paint used this process can take less or more time, but in general a year is a good amount of time for oil painting to settle.

Here are some examples of Oil and Acrylic Paintings:
Oil Paintings On Canvas

Acrylic Paintings

Mikhail Onanov


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is there such thing as Real Art?

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In my other topic a conversation about "Real Art" came up. I think it deserves a topic on its own.

So what is Real Art? I searched the Internet and failed to find an acceptable definition of what real artwork is. I guess it is just the nature of Art - anything is Real Art to at least one person - the creator. So, usually any attempt to come up with a definition ends up in a conversation about difference of opinions.

Has anyone come across a "decent" definition of Real Art?


Mikhail Onanov

Art Prints, Oil Paintings, Acrylic Paintings, Pastel Drawings and Photography Art

Friday, January 2, 2009

Signed Art Prints - is it the next big thing in the Art World?

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Hello World,

I've been an artist for over 30 year now, and recently I’d started noticing big advances in printing quality and photographic / poster art prints technology. Looks like just about anyone with a good digital camera and a decent printer can create a nice photographic or art print or poster and actually autograph (sign) it to. So, I started wondering if this is the next big thing in the Art World – signed art prints or signed art posters?

Have anyone noticed the trend?

I mean most of my friends are now “professional photographer” because they owe a 10 mega pixels or so digital camera and out of 100 pictures even an amateur (like me) can get one good one.

So, what will stop amateur Artist to start creating their own signed art prints and art posters out of their garage and sell it on already crowded internet? (I believe search for Art on Google returns about 1,440,000,000 results – don’t think anything else does).

Original Oil Paintings or any original Art like watercolors, mixed media, drawings, etc are even harder to get to the people. There are only a small percentage of art buyer who actually looking for “real” artwork for sale, most people are just decorating their space with whatever looks more appropriate for the interior and whatever is cheap.

So I’m trying to beat the crowd, I have very nice collection of Original Oil Paintings of City of Chicago – mostly cityscape urban environment like Chicago (Windy City) skyline and I’ve started selling signed art prints, art posters and photographic prints as well as my original oil paintings. I’m thinking this would be a more affordable option, yet autographed art print (even in open edition) is a collectable item and real artwork, where regular art prints and posters are not.
Please share your ideas and comments and feel free to checkout my website for some samples of art prints, art posters, fine art photography and original oil paintings at: Signed Art Prints and Posters and yes please feel free to critique my work.


Mikhail Onanov