MEDIUM OF THE VISUAL ARTS Prepared by: ERIC F. PAZZIUAGAN, RN, MAN
MEDIUM Refers to the materials which are used by an artist. A means by which he communicates his ideas. Very essential to art.
Painting The art of creating meaningful effects on a flat surface by the use of pigments. Each medium exerts a pronounced effect on the finished product, is capable of varied treatment, and determines its own stroke. The materials of the painter are pigments applied to wet plaster, canvas, wood or paper.
Oil Pigments are mixed in oil. Surface: canvas, wood, paper, metal Most familiar type of painting is done with oils on canvas. Surface most suitable: must receive oil freely and yet not absorb it, can withstand temperature changes, and not crack the pigment on it.
Pigments mixed with oil provide a medium that gives richness in the opacity of light and depth of shadow. Pigments can come from different sources: minerals, vegetable matter, coal tars, and other chemical combinations. Ground by hand or machine then mixed with oil. Painters usually depend upon those pigments which do not change through the years.
Oil painting: popular because there are many ways of handling oil pigments. It is possible to get a wide range of separate effects. Pigment may be applied in a thick and heavy manner or in washes of almost water color transparency. Oil color is the best method for a convincing representation where reproduction of color is necessary.
Its ease of handling, the easy blending of tones, and the possibility of painting over and covering any mistake are some of the reasons why oil painting is a very popular technique. Two methods of painting in oil: Direct method- paints are opaque and are applied to the surface just as they are to look in the finished product; more flexible Indirect method: paint is applied in many thin layers of transparent color
Disadvantages: Dries slowly and has a tendency to rise to the surface and form a film over the picture, making it appear dull. Has a tendency to become yellow and crack so that preservation usually becomes a problem.
Tempera Mixture of ground pigments and an albuminous or colloidal vehicle, either egg, gum, or glue, used by Egyptian, Medieval, and Renaissance painters. Special characteristic: being an emulsion Watery, milk-like texture of oily and watery consistency.
Usually done on a wooden panel that has been smooth with a coating of plaster. The colors are mixed with egg yolk. There is little blending or fusing of colors since paint dries rapidly. Colors are laid on side by side or superimposed. Needs careful details. It is hard to obtain rich, deep tones, and shadows.
Advantages: Dries readily with the evaporation of water Great luminosity of tone Colors are clear and beautiful.
Watercolor Pigments are mixed with water and applied to fine white paper. Good watercolor paintings are not easy to make. Require a high degree of technical dexterity. In pure watercolor painting, all the light comes from the ground. Paper is the most commonly used ground. Other ground: parchment, ivory, silk, and cambric.
A medium familiar to every school child. Gouache: opaque water color Made by grinding opaque colors with water and mixing the product with a preparation of gum and adding Chinese white to transparent watercolors. It differs from the brilliant quality of translucent water color painting whose major effects are caused by the white paper.
Pastel The most recent medium. Possesses only surfaces of light, gives no glazed effect, and most closely resembles dry pigment. Pigment is bound so as to form a crayon which is applied directly to the surface, usually, paper. As support for pastel painting paper, pasteboard or canvas is used.
As far as the technique is concerned, the painter is free to handle the material to suit himself. It is a very flexible medium. Varied effects may be produced. Not a very popular medium because no one has yet to discovered the way to preserve its original freshness. The chalk tends to rub off and the picture loses its brilliance.
Fresco The most popular type of painting. Colors are mixed with water and applied to fresh plaster which absorbs the color. Since the pigment has been incorporated with the plaster, it lasts until the wall is destroyed. Flourished during the 15th and 16th century. Fresco means “fresh.”
The process begins with preliminary sketches, later enlarged to full-size cartoons which are transferred to rough plaster. The coloring must be ready as soon as the plaster is put on the wall. It is prepared by mixing a pigment with water or with water and lime. When this is applied to the wet plaster, the lime binds the pigment to the plaster and makes the painting part of the wall.
Since fresco must be done quickly, it is a very exacting method. There is no changing once the design is begun. Only earth pigments are used because of the chemical action of the plaster on the paint. These colors have uniformity of tone and no glaring contrasts.
Disadvantages: Almost impossible to move a fresco Painting is subject to disasters that may happen to the wall of which it has become a part.
Acrylic The newest medium and one that is used widely by painters today. Synthetic paints using acrylic emulsions as binder. Combine transparency and quick- drying qualities of watercolor and are as flexible as oil. They are completely insoluble when dry and can be used almost on any surface. They do not tend to crack, and tun yellow with age.
SCULPTURE In choosing a subject for the sculpture, the most important thing to consider is the material. Substances available for sculpture are limitless. Different materials require different methods of handling.
Soft medium: will lend itself to a modelling technique that uses squeezing and shaping and continuously adding itself to it as the work goes on. Allows for the expansion of gesture. Hard medium: requires the process of cutting and taking away from the block. Confined to the limits of the piece of wood or stone.
Two Major Sculpture Processes Subtractive process: Unwanted material is cut away Carving of stone and wood Additive process: Example: Construction of figure by putting together bits of clay, or by welding together parts of metal. Final result if putting together smaller segments of the material.
Two types of Sculpture Relief: figures which are attached to the ground
Stone and Bronze Stone: durable, resistant to the elements, fire, and other hazards Heavy and breaks easily Marble- Favorite material in Greece and Italy; high gloss when polished
Metals: Most commonly used is bronze May be solid in small statues Hallowed in most large statues (heavy and expensive) Tendency to crack when cooled Disadvantages: difficulty and intricacy in casting bronze Rich color and texture: most beautiful media Light and can support itself in many positions Other metals: forged iron, welded steel, and duraluminum
Wood Advantage: cheap, readily available, and easy to cut Polishes well and has a smooth shiny surface and beautiful color. Relatively light and can be easily made into a variety of shapes. Popular in Paete, Pkil in Laguna and Betis, Pampanga, Drawback: limited in size, burn easily, discolor and decay easily
Ivory Intrinsic value of the material. Lends itself to technical mastery. Lacks the vigor of wooden statues Like wood, it also cracks Seldom used today.
Terra Cotta Plastic clay Yields to even the slightest pressure and can be worked and re-worked until the artist has achieved what he wants to do. Unfired clay is a fragile material and sculpture in this medium would have a short life. For a more durable work in clay, the sculptor can fire the original in a kiln.
Result is terra cotta which means “cooked earth” Moderately coarse clay product fired at comparatively low temperature. Usually painted and coated with heavy glaze. Breaks and chips easily. Not a strong material and it cannot stand strain or weight. Beautiful and versatile medium.
Other Materials Aluminum Chromium Steel Plastic Less expensive Less fragile light Chemically treated clay Stone for casting in liquid form
Architecture Art of designing and constructing building. Functional definition: to fulfil a need that leads to its creation. Materials used and the methods of assembling them are among the factors contributing to architectural style. Materials: stone, wood, brick, concrete, glass.
Wood: Common building material Advantages: abundance, relative durability, and high tensile and compressions strength Disadvantages: Easily destroyed by moisture, insects, and fire Plywood: improved the structural possibilities of wood; stronger than any known material.
Stone: Material used when permanence is desired Concrete: made of sand and gravel mixed with cement high compressive strength doesn’t crumble or break down when subjected to heavy weight Does not corrode and is fire resistant Stronger: ferro-concrete or reinforced concrete (reinforced with steel)
Steel: Tough alloy of iron in variable amounts Malleable under proper conditions and greatly hardened by sudden cooling Tensile strength Made possible the building of the high-rise structures which are very popular this days.
Types of Construction Post-and-lintel: Consists of two vertical posts for support (post) and horizontal one (lintel). Generally used for wooden buildings.
Arch Dominant in Roman architecture Architectural forms built from pieces of wood called voussoirs with joints between them and are arranged in semi-circle. All materials are in compression Typical for stone construction: can stand great pressure Dome is an extension of the arch Roof resembling an inverted cup or hemisphere, formed by round arches or vaults rising from a round or many-sided base.
Cantilever Any structural part projecting horizontally and anchored at one end only. Needs a beam with tensile strength, and does not crack or break easily Largely utilized in buildings with steel as medium Wood is also used but is limited since it has a tendency to warp, sag or rot. Used in construction of skyscrapers which depends for support upon a steel skeleton.