Sunday, March 25, 2012

How To Stretch a Canvas for Painting

There are several options for an artist today. Pre-stretched canvases are available in many sizes in most art supply stores. But there are times when an artist may wish to stretch their own canvases.

Begin with the frame. Some artists like to use precut frame lengths that have a fitting tongue on each end. You will need two pairs of wood (four pieces) per frame. For a 16 x 20 frame, for example, you will need two 16" lengths and two 20" lengths. Fit one corner together of a long and short length and tap together with a mallet. Proceed with the other pieces alternating long and short. Use a T-square or a Right-angle triangle to make sure you have hammered together a rectangle and not a trapezoid. If your frame is not in alignment, gently squeeze the two corners furthest away from each other until they are square.

To make a frame using uncut wood lengths you will need a wood saw and a miter box, or a chop miter saw. You will also want a heavy duty staple gun or V type nails made specifically for joining together two pieces of wood. You will be cutting two pairs of wood lengths. All eight ends will be cut at a 45 degree angle with the miter equipment. The longest edge of each piece will form the outer dimensions of your frame. After you have cut your pieces, put together a long and a short length and join with one staple or joining nail. Check that you have a right angle. If desired, you can clamp the wood pieces to a right angle (such as a block of wood) to assist you while you join it. Proceed with the other corners, and give a final check for right angles.

You are now ready to stretch the canvas over your frame. You will need a light weight staple gun or tacks and a hammer, and artist grade canvas. Cut your canvas in a rectangle with an extra 2" or more on all sides of the frame, enough to pull the canvass around to the back of the frame. Place the canvas on the floor or table face down with the frame centered on it. Pull up one side of the canvas and attach with one staple or tack only, in the middle of that side on the back. Now gently pull the opposite side, and pulling so that there is no slack but it is not stretched tight, attach that canvas to the middle of the back.

Now go to the sides that are not yet done. Take one side and gently pull it to the middle of the back and attach. Avoid puckering the canvas. Take the middle of the fourth side and pull so that the canvas is like the top of a drum. You want neither too tight nor too loose. After this side is attached, start adding one staple or tack to each side, about 1 - 2 inches apart, continuing in a circle around the sides. Work your way towards the corners from the middles of each side. When you get close to the corners, neatly fold the corner. This is done much like "a hospital corner" on a bed sheet. Secure corners and your canvas is now ready for priming and painting.

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Understanding Space in Painting - Pictorial Space

Space is an essential knowledge in the understanding of design. Human beings live in space but a picture comprises only of a 'flat surface' with no actual space. It would be foolish to disregard this 'flat surface' as something insignificant in the context of Art. In fact this ' flat surface' can be transformed into what is known as 'pictorial space'. Pictorial space is a virtual space created by the artist in which the viewer is able to orientate himself to the art work.

This is no different from the space that architects and designers work with. Space is the first creative act of any drawing or painting scrawled on a piece of paper. Like an architect, a painter needs to determine before hand the manner in which the space can be depicted.

The way in which space is created tells us a lot about the painter' s style and technique. There are several ways in which pictorial space can be composed.

1) Flat v.s Deep

Flat surface works are pretty much decorative while the invention of light, shade and shadow give art a whole new dimension.

2) Overlap

Overlapping image gives us an idea of what is front and what is at the back

3) Diminishing Sizes

The contrast in size of similar object such as a rock will suggest that the smaller piece is further away from the larger one

4) Planes

The movement of planes and the relationship of one plane to another create a powerful 'push' or 'pull' effect in which depth is instantly recognized.

5) Positive and Negative space

Within a composition, an expert artist is able to plan and handle positive and negative space effectively

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5 Drawing Tips For Beginners

Drawing things is a moderately easy skill and can be source of great fun. As a hobby it's not too expensive either, one can get started with a pencil and notepad. And if budget permits one can use computers and drawing software. And this simplicity of the art form precisely makes drawing so highly popular.

Too many youngsters are taking up drawing as a hobby. Drawing various comic action hero and fun cartoon characters has become a craze now.

With some basic drawing tips everybody can improve their skill level and be a better drawing maker. Here I am going to give you some drawing tips that will help you to improve your skill level.

1. If you are just starting out you should practice drawing simple shapes like circles, eggs and ovals with reasonable accuracy. These basic shapes can be used to draw more complex shapes.

2. As these basic shapes will be the construction lines on which the main drawing will be structured you should practice drawing these lines as light as possible.

3. If you face difficulty in drawing the basic shapes take help of circle templates, compass or rulers.

4. For improving your skill level in figure drawing be selective. Concentrate more on a specific area and practice a lot. For example you may want to practice drawing tricky areas like hands, draperies more than simpler areas like nose, lips etc.

5. Using a good-quality material will make your drawing look good and save you from lots of frustration. Your eraser should erase cleanly without smudging the drawing. And your pencil should be good enough to draw lines without requiring frequent sharpening.
You may also try clutch pencils because they require less maintenance than timber cased pencils.

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Caring For Your Original Art

The following are some general guidelines for caring for original artwork and hand painted crafts that will keep your work beautiful for a lifetime and more.

Direct sunlight can fade and/or darken colors. Place your hand painted collectible or hang your painting so that it is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Do not mount display lights directly over your hand painted item or original art. Spotlights should ideally be located several feet from the surface of a painting or a special collection display.

The best environment for artwork is moderate, including average temperatures of 70-75F and a humidity of 50%. Since we do not all live in ideal conditions, try to avoid exposing your hand painted items and original art to extremes of either heat or humidity.

Avoid fireplace smoke and cigarette smoke. For other types of dirt and dust, paintings may be dusted with a soft, clean brush to very gently remove accumulated dirt and dust. Decorative crafts can be wiped gently with a damp cloth. Do not use any detergents or chemicals. In-depth cleaning for fine art should be done by a professional art restorer and is usually only required after many decades or even centuries!

If your artwork or fine art crafts need to be placed in temporary storage, store paintings and handcrafted items at the same temperature and humidity levels as indicated above. Do not seal in plastic or glass as moisture build-up may cause damage. Sheets or other low lint cloths may be used to lightly cover your paintings or handicrafts.

If your artwork has been seriously damaged (tears, punctures or other significant damage), the repairs should be handled by a professional art restorer. Common tapes and glues may contain chemicals that will damage the art.

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Native American Face Painting Ideas

The Native American tribes had many different designs for face painting. Every tribe had it's own particular design, but each person would also paint their face reflecting a personal message or a design having personal spiritual significance. Colors normally used in painting their faces were red, black, green, white and yellow. Each of these colors had a certain meaning, red was the color of war, black the color of the living, green was meant to increase the wearer's night vision, white meant peace - i.e. flying a white flag, and yellow signified death or an encounter with death. A few tribes would associate different meanings to each color, but most of them had the same meaning for each color.

Men would often paint lines on their cheeks, foreheads, and chin. And the women used mainly dots on their faces. Often the males would separate their into two parts and paint each section differently. Most of their paintings were not very elaborate, and because the colors had signified a happening or feeling they used the color to illustrate meanings.

To create your own little Indian use some of the ideas below

Half Face Design.

1st Face. Take your sponge and red paint and paint the top half of the face ending in a straight line across the nose to the middle part of each ear. Take a medium brush and paint a blue line across the face from ear to ear. Paint another line in white below the blue line. The red paint needs to come down to these two lines. For added flare paint vertical stripes on the cheek and chin in red or black.

2nd Face.

With white paint and a sponge paint the lower half of the face. The white paint should end just below the eyes. Next take black paint and a large flat brush and paint a black stripe from ear to ear across the eyes. The top of the strip should cover the eyebrows ending in line with the tip of the ears. The bottom should be straight below the eyes and then slant down and end three fourths of the way down the ear. Black paint can also be applied to the lips. With a large round brush paint two vertical red lines on each cheek. Then take a small brush and paint a small white line across the forehead, above the black paint and you're done!

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Simple Face Painting Ideas For Beginners

Painting faces is fun, exciting and watching the kids admire their designs is very cute. However you may see the faces painted at Walt Disney or the work of someone else who has been doing it for years and think, I could never do that! And, "if my designs aren't so elaborate nobody will want them." Well, you're wrong, you don't have to go all out to do beautiful and kid friendly face painting.

You can start with simple designs and you'll still be the life of the party. One great way to do smaller kids that won't sit still is to use stamps to get the basic design on and then take your brush and fill in the accents. Check your local craft store or Wal*Mart for stamps. Snazarro also has stamps available for those that need something to work off of.

If you're able to do small check designs free hand, paint some on cardboard stock paper and take it along and have the kids pick one of those. Having some of this around is handy also for practicing or trying out a new idea you just came up with.

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Abstract Arts & Abstract Paintings - A Panoramic Vista Cultivated With Mystery, Thrived on Veracity


I remember a while back, when I was faced with a very pressing situation requiring my instant attention. I was being interviewed live, on a major television station at prime time, along with showing a series of my slides in connection to the opening of an art exhibit. As soon as they wired me up, and situated me on stage, and only a couple minutes before going live, the very charming gentleman, who was to interview me, whispered to me the following: "I have no idea what to ask you, what do you suggest?" I said, no problem, if you ask me only 3 simple questions, I will handle the rest. He was relieved, and quickly jotted down the questions. The green light came on, we went on live, and wrapped up a flawlessly smooth and successful interview. Off camera, the crew came on the stage with big smiles, and acknowledged both of us; but they praised the interviewer, for surprising them as an art connoisseur!


Aesthetics as a set of principles and branch of philosophy deals with questions concerning beauty and artistic experiences. As far as our general understanding of it is concerned it is a highly nebulous field, subjected to tremendous degree of misinterpretation, particularly in the field of abstract art. In any field of humanities where less accurately is known about that field and its principles have not been precisely formulated, the more authoritarian the field becomes. In the field of arts, with no exact fundamentals accurately developed, the techniques and approaches are wide open for the artists to imagine, explore and create their art.

The artist is also subjected to the "laws" of commerce, where various schools of divergent opinions begin to "teach" the artist "how" to be an artist and paint a certain way, citing the field's critics galore as she listens with an open jaw in lieu of reason. The "authorities," in the field of visual arts, most of whom have never painted any paintings themselves but are very "fluid" and "cultured" by having memorized a few standard opinions and artistic works and projects of humanitarian nature, analyze the paintings for the artist every step of the way, each time the artist presents a piece of her art for a critique, mainly to discover what's wrong with her art and how she should fix it according to these "professors's" brand of "expertise."

I admit to a tad of generalization here for making a point; but does any of this ring a true bell for you? Can you think of an artist you know who is or has been on this ship? I lived and survived through it all, trusting and believing that there had to be a logical and more nurturing way to free imaginative impulses so that the artist could paint as freely as he wanted. Something within me, was telling me, that something was inherently not quite right with the constructive criticisms that were to "teach" us how to view our own world of art, through the eyes of the "critics," excuse me, the professors. I had viewed this "school of thought" as an authoritarian method of teaching that smothered the thoughts, emotions, or efforts of the artist, but could not quite articulate the problem I was sensing at the time. I discovered later, that this mechanism of controlling thought through teaching, was only one of the elements in our society, which inherently brings about the suppression of the arts that stifles the creative impulses of the artists at the expense of the whole culture.

Artists are often "accused" of having their heads up in the clouds, and living within an unreal world of imagination. This brings about the necessity of taking a good and thorough look at just how reality bites. Plowing through several fields of study in search of a tool to measure the aesthetics and the creation processes can leave us empty handed, until we splurge into the field of philosophy to examine our thoughts and reasoning.


Thinking and reasoning is a social activity for most people. They require the engagement of external forces as the individual is as much a part of society as the society is a part of the individual. From the moment of birth, the social labyrinth of customs, beliefs, languages, values, religions, politics, and other traditional ideas are all well positioned to mold the child into the image of those who the child is surrounded with, and it is thoroughly based upon faith and belief. So masterfully the operation is instilled into the society as social heredity that even science has often mistaken it as being genetic.

English philosopher and author Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and another English philosopher and mathematician Issac Newton (1642-1727), and others have developed ways of thinking and reasoning that requires a fact in order to be proven must be measured, sensed or experienced. And when we thrust this into the realm of mind and spirit we find our willingness reduced in accepting facts based upon faith or belief.

For this reason, in appreciating life, and creating anything within it such as art, looking for answers and solutions exterior to our own sentient qualities, intellects or experiences is to lose concept of our own truth, values and individuality. And the artist, very often, bears the brunt of this philosophy of "independent thinking" and frequently subjected to criticism by those who have a firm grip on the traditions of status quo.

But the artist moves on, knowing where the roots of criticism lie, and reasons that people who resort to "criticism" operate in the absence of true understanding, and since no knowledge can exist in the absence of understanding, there we arrive at the presence of "ignorance." Thus, knowing the basis and the mechanism behind criticism, often serves as a tremendous source of empowerment and consolation for the artist to continue with his art on the grounds of certainty and knowledge of her art and transcend through the highest echelons of culture called: aesthetics!

Bacon had come to the conclusion that no field of study by itself is sufficient in the absence of another form of discipline exterior to it to align and coordinate it in the direction of its goal. We can elaborate further that it is not possible to walk a path aright in the absence of defining its destination. Therefore, to stay clear off the grounds of myths, mysticism and superficial approaches, we can take a look and see how the arts can be best served by defining its goal under the broad umbrella of philosophy that embraces all the arts, sciences and humanities.

Just as it is impossible to have a full view of a countryside by sitting on one of its boulders under a tree, every field of endeavor, to be fully understood, must be viewed and analyzed from a ground much higher than where it germinates. Thus, in the field of visual art's, we cannot look at an abstract painting's isolated data out of context without a consideration of its existence within the scope of a life that contains the art. Bacon say, that would be to use a candle to light a room that is illuminated with daylight.


We all enjoy and desire a pleasant conversation with our associates, friends and family. But when we look, and inspect our environment, we notice that the great majority of our population, have difficulty with communication. A two way communication takes place, when we can freely initiate our thoughts or ideas to one another, acknowledge each other and continue this interaction, back and forth, by continuing with the sharing of our thoughts and ideas, very much similar to a friendly game of tennis; where the return of the ball, is dependent upon the quality of the serve.

There are times when we notice a break in communication, when either one of the parties, in its turn, fails to acknowledge and originate a thought or an impulse back, to continue with the conversation, or to bring about an optimum conclusion.

The people having these difficulties with origination, are generally accustomed to prepackaged amusements, such as a weather disaster, or an incident or story relayed by a coworker. They get very low on originating communication on their own, inspired by their own imagination; and they become somewhat vexed, when faced with an "imaginative conversationalist." This is either through their upbringing and cultural environment, or their education.

Origination is very important to bring about a communication. To this degree, these people communicate mainly regarding subjects that are handed to them by external sources. They see a news story, they talk about it; they get a call about a family affair, they talk about it. They wait for an exterior circumstance to bring about an interaction, otherwise they do not engage by "creating" a communication. They either have a compulsively irresistible urge toward doing something, or inhibited and behave awkward and unnatural in communicating. If they manage to engage, they often turn sharply, towards derailment of the dialogue, and bring about a good degree of resentment, ill will and unwanted conclusions.

The people who do not originate, or do not engage imaginatively, are inherently dependent upon others to give them primal reasons to engage in a conversation; this is due to being endowed with very little imagination. As a result, we can conclude, that a pleasant and engaging conversation, requires the participation of two imaginative minds, with similar endowment of creative impulses, to mutually create the art of communication.

The field of visual arts, follows the same principles, as art is a form of visual communication. The artist originates his communication as s visual message, through the presentation of his art, to his audience. The quality, and the presence of this initiative that he forwards in his art, forms the visual message, that he delivers to his audience; the quality of which, determine the response of his audience, to whether engage or not. Hence, arts much similar to personal dialogues and conversations, follow the same basic principles of communication, in its success or failure

An artist with low imagination, who does not originate verbally, does not communicate visually either. He originates no visual messages in his art, or when he does, it is so scarcely done, that it stirs up no interaction with his audience. This absence of expression, is mainly due to the artist heavy reliance upon the origination of the audience - as an external force - to brings about a communication, in the direction of his art, which is "silent." Thus, no emotional interaction takes place between the audience and the painting.

An artist, high on imagination, is more likely to enjoy the virtuosity necessary in the technical execution of his art. Thus, he is competent, to effortlessly and vigorously, create his visual messages on his canvas; bringing about an interaction between the audience and his painting.

The visual message does not have to be the same for every viewer. The message, serves only as a visual or artistic "code," to be subjectively decoded, by each viewer; much similar to a popular piece of music, that echoes widely by communicating to the listeners - same melodic tone creating a different mood in different listeners.

Thus, the communication quality of an artistic expression, is the artist's intention as a carrier wave, by which her message is delivered to his audience. The technical expertise, by which the art is executed, is also very important, and at times, successful all by itself; although, the quality of the visual communication, always remains senior to the technical execution of the art. The carrier wave, which communicates the artist's intention, to his viewers, is a phenomenon occurring between the artist and the viewer and resides within the realms of spirit.


Imagination is the faculty or action of forming ideas in the mind and the ability to be creative and resourceful. The ability to originate communication, is in direct proportion with good imagination. The reverse is never true that imagination has to be imperiled first to result in failure of imagination to express thoughts and ideas. Imagination becomes thwarted and dulled in artists who become dependent upon others to reach out to them, to the point that they do not reach at all. These artists can then, greatly benefit, by rehabilitating the ability to originate, and initiate expressions of thoughts and emotions, and thus restoring their imaginative impulses in favor of creating communicative art.

Imagination is the driving force behind the artist's dexterity by which he executes his art and the deftness by which he communicates his impulses as visual messages. The more refined the artist's creative impulses, the clearer are his visual messages in sharing his thoughts, feelings, perceptions and other creative faculties with his audience. Imagination is the prior cause, which precedes the expression of art as its effect; a cause that unarguably and intrinsically, initiate itself in the future, as a postulate first, followed by an effect, which becomes expressed as a painting. Its conception is superior to its execution. Thus, the artist, through his imagination, continue to live in the future.

In the case of abstract expressionism, the art is the conduit for the dialogue, between the imagination and the audience, via the expression as a painting. The more the artist becomes intimately acquainted with the inherent truth, and virtues by which he was created himself, the more freer become his imaginative impulses, and the more spirited he can express his art.

Abstract expressionism, is a genuine fruit of the imagination. Imagination is the only form of wealth, that gives us art as its dividend. Imagination is where the art is conceived and germinated. Imagination does not work with reason, it does not attempt to classify the physical universe as real or imaginary, it does not assess or evaluate things into categories; it only conceives ideas and expresses them - nothing more.

The magic of art, does not exist in its execution, or presentation of feelings and mental imagery independently exterior to the mind. Execution, or presentation of the art, is the technical expertise; the externalization by which the art is expressed. The magic of art, particularly modern art, resides within the intellectual awareness of the mind, in conceiving and forming of ideas. The essence of creation, resides in its conception. When the artist, completes the formation of a conceptual idea, and it then arrives in the external world in the form of an abstract or modern painting, the artist has given birth to expression, and the creation process is complete.

Similarly, when we originate a verbal communication, the words we utter, are expressions of ideas we have already conceived and formed in our mind, what is being expressed in our speech. It is external to the boundaries of our imaginative and intellectual calculations, and subjected to the limitations of the physical or material means, by which they can be expressed; as it is not difficult to recall the times, when our thoughts or feelings, were far more beautiful, than what we have been able to express in our speech. The action of painting, the writing of words, the striking of the piano keyboard, are only the interpretations of the imagination in the field of thought and spirit. They do not exist in the realm of aesthetic creation, which is a spiritual pursuit.

An imaginative idea, is far greater in scope, than what the artist portrays on canvas. The expression, whether in the form of abstract painting, singing a song, writing a poem, or composing a piece of music, it is always limited to the boundaries and limitations by which they can be executed within the material world. Thereby, it is an alteration of truth conceived in the imagination. The extend of this alteration, as to how much the expression realizes, and fulfills the conception of the original idea released from the imagination, is not measurable, or fully known at this time.

A work of art is understood and appreciated by direct observation. Between the artist who creates the art, and the viewer who contemplates it, lies the magic: Expressive imagination. It is our own creative impulses, perceptions and recognition of the aesthetic expressions within the art, that allows us to experience what is being resonating to us from the artist; and thus, becoming engaged in a two way communication with the artist through his art; the art is an spiritual connection to the artist. Aesthetics, when fully perceived, elevates us into the serene realm of timelessness.


Knowing and understanding are two of the basic fundamentals in creating art. Knowing is a part of imagination within the mind, in which aesthetic impulses are conceived and transformed into artistic expressions; a process which is best understood by defining both: knowing and understanding; and why knowing is above understanding.

Knowing is an intrinsic quality of the mind, in variable measures. Knowing is a state of awareness and a perception in pursuit of a goal. It requires no reliance on exterior forces. Knowing is always accompanied with certainty, ability, and confidence. Knowing is a state of awareness; it is a given state of knowledge. Those with great abilities in a given field, have confidence and are fully aware of knowing that they know, independent of any external factors.

Knowing is different than understanding, which comes about with learning. Knowing is the enlightenment felt in perceiving truth. Knowing is self-contained. It is a singular activity which exists by itself and within itself. Knowing is knowing that one knows. Knowing is the faculty to perceive and the capacity for truth - it is a self-determined knowledge.

Knowing is self-assurance, it is self-belief. Something that is known without effort. The mastery in a given skill is knowing. The imaginative impulses of an artist that spontaneously conceives an abstract art is knowing. Knowing is the self-confidence by which a task is pursued. It is a certainty in thought, and knowingly perceiving that certain conclusions can be drawn. Knowing is the work of the imagination in conceiving an abstract painting, or making instantaneous conclusions, as to the completion of an art composition. Knowing is awareness of the truth within, and the certainty that it can permeate through any, real or imagined barrier.

Understanding on the other hand, is below knowing, because it is dependent upon the engagement of external elements, in the material universe, to fulfill its aim. It is the result of education, as a group activity involving the external world. Studying about prehistoric art, or modern art for instance, creates an understanding about these two styles of art. It does not rely upon our perceptions, or awareness of what is innately ours.

An activity in pursuit of understanding is a potential knowledge, as it is acquired, such as the study of a modern painting. It does not fulfill its aim by itself. Understanding is to come to know something in a certain direction; such as learning to play the piano, or a foreign language. It becomes skills in doing things aptly, which leads to knowing.

An ability to cook and enjoy good food with ones friends is understanding of how o cook and entertain. The ability to paint a piece of modern art is an understanding of the art itself. The ability to raise beautiful flowers and share them with our neighbor is understanding of gardening and creating goodwill. The ability and competence in having a successful conversation with someone is understanding of good communication skills. Understanding is the universal solvent. Understanding brings about peace and harmony. It can wash things away.

In the field of arts, exterior sources of reference, used as mimicry or imitation, compromises the integrity of imagination, ideas, thoughts and concepts; and so becomes impure the art, when it is created through understanding, and reliance upon external forces. Knowledge, purely expressed from within, through the mind and the spirit, is how the artist gives birth to new abstract forms. Abstract art is an example of origination of communication to the viewers as a pure presentation of self-expression.


Pure creation of fine art, such as abstract paintings, is an emotional activity that surmounts any rational thoughts or reasons, as it fulfills itself through an spiritual journey into time, motion and space, with light, color and form. It is an state of awareness, that summons the most innate essence of the artist's imaginative and analytical forces. The higher the awareness and the clarity by which he perceives, the higher will be the versatility, and willingness by which he performs along the various facets of life.

Johannes Itten (1888-1967), was one of the principal teachers of modern art at The Bauhaus School in Germany, whose teaching philosophy, has produced several great artists of the 20th century. Itten's principles bring to light, a greater and more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the values in acquiring additional skills in the field, outside of the arts. He believed, studies and mastery in areas such as philosophy, gardening, landscaping, sewing, woodworking, etc., were necessary in developing personal interaction and direct experiences with nature. In Itten's view, understanding life, it's structure, forms and textures, plays a significant hand in developing one's creative impulses. He believed, broadly acquired dexterity, was essential in the competent execution of art through memory and inspiration. Itten's concise and illuminating words on the subject are expressed more eloquently in the following quote.

"If new ideas are to assume artistic form, physical, sensual, spiritual, and intellectual forces and abilities must all be equally available and act in concert." - Johannes Itten

Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), a German artist, who lived in Paris in his youth, and was a patron of the French avant-garde movement. His friends, impressively included Matisse, Miro, Picasso and Bracques. He evolved through the revolutionary period of the Western art in early 1900, and later, when he immigrated to America, he became well regarded as the father of abstract expressionism. Hofmann taught the very effective approach of encouraging his students to explore within their own experiences, to develop artistic signatures unique to themselves; and consulting nature only as a reference. He articulates this concept partly as follow:

"Nature is permeated by rhythm whose variety cannot be restricted.
Art imitates it in this respect, in order to clarify itself and thereby
attain the same degree of sublimity, raising itself to a state of multiple
harmony, a harmony of colors that are divided at one moment and
restored to wholeness by the next. This synchronic action is to be
regarded as the real and only subject of painting." - Hans Hofmann

Through his technique of push and pull, Hofmann proved that the illusion of depth, space and motion, can be created abstractly, through the use of color and form, in the absence of representational imagery. His teaching was very influential in the progress and the development of abstract expressionism, specially in terms of his philosophical wisdom, that nature is the greatest art and artist and it is there not to be imitated but to inspire.


The artist conceives his aesthetic ideas in his imagination, and transforms them into paintings. His paintings carry a visual message, and communicate it to his audience. These paintings are his artistic performance by which he tells about himself. His art, ought to be created purely for his audience, in the absence of any considerations given to any possible critiques given by the critics. People's emotional responses are the sole decision makers, as to whether the art is successful or not, based on the quality by which a the art communicates to them.

To disabuse you totally of any mysteries, involving the recognition of a successful work of art, here lies a simple acid test by way of an Asian tale: an ancient Chinese poet whose poems were laudably read throughout the land, had a simple test to insure the acceptance of his audience. Each time he wrote a poem, he surveyed its popularity in his town. He took it to an old flower lady he knew in the town's square and read it to her. If she liked it, he published it; and if she did not, he discarded it and wrote a new one. His very thoughtful and wise conclusion in doing this survey, was the following: that if his poems were understood and appreciated by a peasant lady in the town square, they will also be popular with his readers. So, here lies the simplicity by which a widely successful and pure work of art should communicate its essence.

The point here in terms of visual arts, is that a successful work of art, whether representational art or abstract art, has to impinge emotionally, upon people who view it, and bring about a sentient response that causes them to engage and understand the painting. When they understand it, they talk about it, participate in it, and put a part of themselves in it, to complete it for themselves as their own work of art.

The Chinese "flower lady" is the acid test for every good piece of art, which nullifies all the esoteric classified fallacies, put together by the "experts" who pontificate that a certain type of convoluted "knowledge" or "expertise" is a prerequisite for the public to understand and appreciate art, specially abstract art. Nothing is further from the truth. The simple truth is this: every individual viewer's instinctive, and instantaneous pulse of joy that he feels and senses strolling through his heart, as a reaction to the pleasure, brought about by viewing the art, is the ultimate judge; alerting the viewer, that he is in the presence of a successful work of art - and no more.


"Art is greater than science because the latter proceeds by laborious accumulation and cautious reasoning, while the former reaches its goal at once by intuition and presentation; science can get along with talent, but art requires genius." - German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Purity of life force, or spirit does not belong to any part of the physical or material universe. It has no mass, no form, no location in space, no energy, and no motion. It resides in the realm of spirit; and that is not religiously, but spiritually speaking.

The more intellectually, and spiritually endowed is the artist, the more powerful will be his demonstration and expression of his ideas. Clarity of his concepts are directly related to the level of his awareness and his willingness to face life. The more purity, vitality and awareness the aesthetic mind of the artist attains, the more intelligently forceful and sentient will be his artistic expressions. Abstract art, in its purest form is expressed through the soul.

The interaction of the artist with his canvas, when he paints, is an awe-inspiring time of feeling totally free, from the concerns of the material universe; as he enters the sublime world of spiritual awareness. A state where, according to Schopenhauer, the sun can be viewed the same, either from a prison or a palace. It is this level of sublimity that saturates life with an enchanting beaut; assigning aesthetic quality to our sufferings, enabling us to view our pains from a much higher elevation.

Art inject serenity and calm into our space. It humanizes our relationships. It soothes our mind and soul. Art transcends us from the agonies of the transitory, and the material world, by placing infinity into our view. The best arts appeal both, to our intellects and our emotions. The magnificent field of art elevates the culture, and gives Man a splendor of peace and joy to rise to.

As the aesthetic mind, become purged and purified of its impurities and misconceptions, it begins to approach more towards the infinite level of awareness and knowledge in its purest form; an ascend, which leads the aesthetic mind closer to eternity; an awareness level instinctively knowable by those who have achieved a higher level of awareness; a level, where the aesthetic mind can effortlessly journey through distant times and places, to bring back imaginatively divine souvenirs in the form of art.

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How to Make Your Pencil Drawings More Effective

Most children feel that they can draw wonderful pencil drawings and most adults think they don't know how to draw at all. Or an adult will say, "I used to draw great when I was a kid, but I could not make good pencil drawings when I got older."

We all used lead pencils, colored pencils, chalk, and crayon when we were small children, but somehow most of us left them behind around the time we received our first pen.

Did you ever consider that perhaps you think you can't draw simply because you haven't used a pencil in years and are out of practice? Or maybe you've lost that child's ability to draw what you actually see rather than what you expect to see?

It's true that naturally artistically talented individuals will excel in pencil art as well as in watercolor, pastels, acrylic, or oil, but it is also true that anyone can become competent enough to produce an accurate pencil portrait.

Most of us had some training as children in the art of drawing. Unless you showed exceptional artistic talent as a child and pursued an education in art, your instruction in drawing probably ended by secondary school. What if your literature training had stopped at children's rhymes, history at the Industrial Revolution, or geography lessons were suspended just when the New World was discovered?

The good news is it's never too late to restart your drawing education. All it takes is five simple assumptions:

You can draw. You can make a dot, a square, a circle, a triangle, a straight line, a curved line. Everything in nature consists of geometric forms and lines, in infinite combinations and formations. You were born with the ability to mimic these forms, so it's just a matter of practice to be able to reproduce and control them.

You are drawing for yourself alone. Drawing is an educational process, like reading, writing, or studying history. It's a tool of discovery that every thinking person should strive for competency in. You are ready to open your mind. See things like a child sees them for the first time. Admit to yourself that you've forgotten how to look and open your mind to seeing what's really there and not what your brain has conditioned you to see.

You will suspend criticism and judgment of yourself. Be ready to loosen up, make messes, experiment with drawing materials and get your hands dirty. Forget the terms "artistic", "good", "bad", "talent".

You are ready to take instruction. The art of drawing is ancient and there are elementary techniques and principles which are easy to learn. Be open to training and be ready for lots of practice. Learn from books, drawing classes, or take private lessons.

Mastering the skills to produce competent pencil sketches and pencil portraits will give you a fresh appreciation of the pencil art of the masters. Visit a museum or gallery, or study the pencil drawings of famous artists in art books. Frame a few reproductions and surround yourself and your family with these inspirations.

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How Do I Clean My Oil Painting?

One may come across many advices about cleaning an oil painting, but those tips must come with a major disclaimer. More than other types of rough and ready projects on cleaning oil paintings must really be trusted to professional conservators. Anyhow, if your oil painting is not really old, not terribly valuable, or not too important, there are other potential ways to make it appear good and cleaner yourself. Furthermore altering true antiques more or less forever decreases their value, whether or not they appear better to you.

If it seems that your oil painting reproduction is little older, evaluate whether the paint is in good condition but the varnish has become older. In this case, try applying a gentle solvent known as conservation liquid. Some of the art supply stores may sell an "emulsion" intended to clean and remove varnish. There is always a chance that the solvent would as well harm or remove the oil paint. If you are ready to risk this possibility, pat the emulsion with a cotton swab quite delicately. Try spot testing one corner before moving on to the whole canvas. Work in an area where you find adequate ventilation.

For any of the recent oil paintings, your trouble is more probable a layering of dust, smoke, pet hair, dander, and other bacterial or fungal growth. In this case, ensure none of the paint is set to come off the canvas or board, sense that it doesn't display any cracks or flakes. Then you could vigilantly dust the surface with a very soft, dry bristle brush, like a baby toothbrush or shaving cream brush.

When the surface is steamy, dirty, or oily, you might desire to take the cleaning a step further and in fact uses a mild detergent solution. Again, in general speaking, oil and water must never mix, as moisture could be damage both the canvas and the impasto. Proceeding with care, use brand original cotton cloths dipped in a mixture of dish soap and only the warm water. Lightly blot the surface, but do not rub, wipe, or rub at the oil painting. At no point you should sink any part of the painting, nor permit so much moisture that it drips or pools.

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Painting Surfaces

Whether you are a professional artist, or just learning how to unleash your creative side, it is important to have a wide variety of painting surfaces. If you have run out of ideas for surfaces for your painting, you are in the right place. Our guide to the usual and unusual painting surfaces will help you get going again.

Painting surfaces vary from artist to artist. Depending on what your painting style is, you will probably have a favorite surface. But it is important to try a wide variety in order to challenge yourself. The traditional painting surfaces are a good place to start. Wood, paper and canvas of all kinds will give you a basic understanding of how different paints react to different surfaces.

If you're bored with canvas, you might choose to use other types of fabric for painting surfaces. Materials such as cotton, silk, and even wool are a nice change of pace from canvas. You can experiment with different ways to display the fabric to add to the artistic feel. Try stretching it over wooden frames, basic metal boxes or dowel sticks. This not only holds the fabric while you paint, but offers an artistic element to the overall creation.

Another great painting surface is glass. You can do a lot with different types of glass and paints. Try acrylic paint on vintage glass or oil paints on wavy glass. The combinations are practically endless. You can buy new glass to paint, or scavenge for pieces that have been thrown out. You can find mirrors at discount stores or glass cups and jars at second hand shops. Or paint your own mirrors and windows with powdered paints for an art piece that you can change time and time again.

One other exciting painting surface is various types of metal. Metal pipes are very affordable at home improvement stores and once painted make cool industrialized urban art forms. Other metal scraps can be found at thrift shops, antique stores and dumps. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that you might like to paint. Experiment with colors and rusting techniques to create something truly amazing and one-of-a-kind.

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Painting Boards

If you are interested in exploring a new form of art, you should consider painting boards. Painting boards give you a much different style of art than canvas and other traditional painting surfaces. And they are very easy to display as well. Use painting boards to let your creative side run wild and in the end you'll have a great piece of art for your home.

One great painting board option is plywood. Plywood is great because it is texturally rich, meaning you can create something very unique. It is also very affordable and it can be purchased in any size. Use smaller pieces for wall hangings or paint a large board and lean it against a bare wall in your home. Your local home improvement store can cut it to your preferred size. You can use a variety of paints on plywood, including spray paint. Many professional artists love to do graffiti-style art on plywood. You can try it too and spruce up any room in your home with an exciting piece of art.

Another painting board option is masonite boards. Masonite boards are made by compressing wood fibers and wax together to create a very durable and solid wooden board. These are fun to paint and they can be purchased in any shape or size. They are available in a wide range of textures as well. They are also sturdy enough to be used as display stands or mixing boards. You can do a lot with just a couple of masonite painting boards.

In addition to traditional painting boards, you might want to consider using natural items in your art. You can easily gather twigs, rocks and wood from outdoor areas and use them to create art that is unique and nature-based. Consider using natural paints such as ones created with vegetables or dirt to really bring this concept full circle.

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Using 3D Modelling in Graphic Design

The use of 3D modeling in graphic design is becoming more commonplace and is used in a wide variety of different fields. The process of 3D modeling is to represent a three dimensional surface object, whether it be inanimate or living, with specialized software. Also referred to as 3D computer graphics, a business can benefit in many ways from using this technology within their graphic designs. The use of 3D models in graphic design is now widespread, and many computer games actually used 3D modeling before computers could render them in real time.

Nearly all 3D models can be divided into two different categories, those that are solid and those that are shell/boundary. Solid models define the volume of the object and are more realistic, although much more difficult to build. They are used mostly for non visual simulations, including those developed in the engineering and medical industries. A shell/boundary model doesn't represent the volume but the surface area. They are easier to work with and these are the types used in film and video games.

3D models are used in many different industries. For example the movie industry has come to rely on 3D modeling as today's story lines and the need for special effects remains constant. Actors often find themselves acting opposite a blue screen and having to imagine their co-star, who is actually added in later via 3D modeling. This is true for both animated and real-life motion pictures. The medical industry is able to make significant advances through the use of 3D graphics as they can use detailed images of organs and other parts of the body. Today video and computer games look almost real with the incredible detail that has been achieved through 3D technology. Models are used in science and research to great effect, and within engineering time, money and effort can be saved by generating 3D models of designs, vehicles and structures, not to mention that structures can be tested to some degree with a higher element of safety. Buildings and landscapes can also be constructed by using this technology within the architecture industry. More recently earth science professionals are using 3D geological models, all developed through the use of 3D modeling.

A graphic design company can help your business use 3D modeling effectively and to great benefit. With so many businesses having a website as part of their advertising platform 3D modeling can help you present ideas, products or services from a completely unique perspective. Your businesses marketing potential can be enhanced as clients can take virtual tours of your facility, a 3D character can guide them through your website and clients could even experience 3D versions of your product. Not just for the Internet your business could also use models within instructional CD-ROM or DVD's, and you may find it easier when taking photographs for print advertisements to use a 3D model instead of the real product, particularly in cases where the product may be dirty, it is dangerous working industrial equipment or it is hard for the photographer to access.

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Graphic Design - Adding Visual Appeal

Graphic designers have a reputation of being pretentious Mac users, but they're far more than that. Over the years, they've evolved into a type of artist that knows how to work a computer; or in other words, a non-starving artist. Effective (GD's) graphic designs can be seen in logos that are recognized around the world. Everything from the way that a company writes their name to the emblems they put on their products all represent graphic design. Unfortunately, not all GD is created equal. Artists that provide GD's can help the company enhance their advertising on everything from direct mail to newsletters and business cards. They can also add splash of interest and color to an otherwise dull or boring website. A dull website, no matter how great the content is, will get people hitting the "back" button very quickly.

The quality of the GD can say a lot about your company to the potential customers and clients that you're trying to reach. A clean and effective design can make a good first impression, but one that's clumsy or inarticulate can leave potential customers thinking that you're not quite delivering the kind of quality that you should. A sloppy website portrays a sloppy company. A good GD can help customers develop trust in your company or the products that you offer. It can also go a long way towards increasing brand development and recognition. Your internet presence, and how that presence looks, is crucial in a fierce marketplace.

Depending on the type of image you wish to portray, a graphic design can elicit different responses. They can make your company and products seem youthful and energetic or whimsical and fun loving. GD can also give your company a no-nonsense image, if that's what you're going for. If, for instance, you are running a company that represents client's interests on Wall Street, you'll probably want a look that is a bit more serious than one that is designed for youth culture. It's with these differences in mind that graphic designers create bold and eye-catching art.

Utilizing GD effectively can also go a long way towards improving your company's website. A website that's boring and drab is not going to be very good at convincing customers to spend their money. No one ever spent money on something that was boring to look at! It is possible, however, to go a bit too far with it comes to trying to make your site "pop." Too loud is just as much of a turn off as too boring. Therefore, a good graphic designer strikes the right balance between visual appeal and usability in order to keep customers coming back time and again.

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Designing Your Graphic Design Portfolio

When you start working, your great graphic design portfolio is going to help you land that great job. Your portfolio represents your skill and artistry, so put it together carefully because your artwork is going to speak for you.

Sort through all the work you have done - paid or unpaid, including design school assignments - and select the best work. Be critical here and take help from friends or professors to get an unbiased view. Leave out your not-so-great efforts, because it's better to show 10 samples that range from excellent to good, rather than 20 to 30 samples which may include artwork that is passable or so-so.

Let your portfolio begin with your very best design and let the final artwork be your second best design. This way, you not only kick off with a strong impression, but you also leave your potential employer with another strong impression as his last memory of your artwork.

Graphic design is found in printed materials, on the web and on CDs and DVDs, so to make a complete graphic design portfolio, include samples of your work in all three media.

Quite a few clients need printed artwork, so select your best designs including as many different projects as you can to show off all your skills.

Include, for example, letterheads and calling cards, your best logos, any CD or album covers that you may have designed, a completed campaign, brochures, designs for paint boxes or toothpaste tubes, posters and banners, newspaper or magazine advertisements, labels, postcards - a wide-ranging selection of your work, you understand? Include a few pieces that you have really excelled at, like a random artwork or photographic study showing your Photoshop skills. The best of each project should give you 10 to 15 samples, just enough to interest a client without overwhelming him. Mount your artworks well on a neutral coloured sheet to show them off to their best advantage. Use a professional looking portfolio case to carry your samples. A case that allows you to add and remove leaves is a good idea, because then you use only as many leaves as you need to display your work.

A website portfolio is practically a necessity, with the internet being almost the main vehicle of communication, information, and most buying and selling today. Having a website in your own name not only makes you look professional, it also gives you an email address

Keep the website design simple. A neutral color background will allow your artwork to stand out. Keep your image samples at 100kb -150kb, so that they load quickly and no one with a slow internet connection will have to wait. The navigation should be easy, and available on every page, so that the viewer can go back and forth easily. The design of your website itself will display your artistic skills and add another dimension to your graphic design portfolio.

Your CD or DVD portfolio will be a slightly different version of your website. You can use the same design and pages, if you like. The image files can be larger, since no download will be necessary and you can add a little animation to make it interesting - and display yet another skill! Again, be sure to make it easy for your client to find just what he is looking for.

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What Makes Good Graphic Design?

The question of what makes good graphic design is one that cannot be answered simply or succinctly as there are a myriad of factors and variables to consider when it comes to the colourful world of both art and design.

While art is more open to personal interpretation and considered to be a subjective matter, graphic design is instead used to serve a distinct purpose, whether it's selling a product or promoting a person, place, or thing, or whatever the case may be.

Good graphic design begins, of course, with a good graphic designer as well as a clear picture of the goal or message that's meant to be conveyed. A designer must know how to do a number of different things in order to create a final product that gets results including being skilled in typography, page layout and chromatics.

Graphic designers must be not only artists, but also highly professional individuals who pay great attention to detail while understanding what their client is trying to achieve. Any effective graphic design is created by first considering the target audience. Will the imagery used appeal to the specific group or groups of people you're trying to reach? And, equally as important, is the message that is being conveyed clear and easy to understand?

Good graphic design is the result of the designer having the ability to imagine themselves as an average member of the target market. Does the design motivate? Inspire? Grab one's attention? Does it follow with the client's existing branding or image? And, is the text easy to see and read?

When photography is a part of the equation, good graphic design includes images that are crystal clear and free from any pixelisation or unintentional blurred edging. Pictures should be original and unique, and ideas should be presented in a professional manner relevant to the product's main message or purpose. The colours used in photos should complement the rest of the project's image, tying into the overall design while perhaps using a contrasting hue for prominence.

Colour, of course, is absolutely imperative to any type of design, especially so in the realm of graphic design where logos and product branding are at the forefront of competitive industries. Perhaps one of the very best aspects regarding the use of colour in design is that it can be used to suggest and inspire a great number of feelings and emotions. Colours have an intensely powerful effect on the human mind, either alone or in any one of the endless combinations possible.

In the entertainment industry, graphic design is an integral part of not only the scenery and visual effects, but also in contributing to the storytelling aspect of the piece. It can become invaluable when it comes to promoting a new product, film or television programme using posters, flyers, direct mail, TV and radio spots, t-shirts, toys, or other promotional means.

And finally, good graphic design can speak volumes, visually telling an entire story without ever actually "saying" a single word. Whether it's for optimising sales, increasing brand or company awareness or introducing a new product, effective graphic design is something that is continually in great demand.

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Design a New Career in Graphic Arts

When you read a magazine, buy a product at the supermarket, look at a billboard, watch television, or cruise a website, chances are you're looking at the work of a graphic designer. Today's graphic designers use traditional tools including pencils and paper, but they also use the newest and most sophisticated computer design software. Computer design applications include Adobe Illustrator, PRIMO pdf, AutoCAD 3-D Modeling software, and Adobe Flash software for web-based flash designs. To learn how to effectively use these tools, you'll need the right training.

An Example: You Design an Ad for Sneakers

It's the job of a graphic designer to create a message using color, shape, line, and texture. The message can be structured to enhance the sale of a product, or it can be reflected in the product itself to create visual appeal and branding.

For example, consider a sporting goods manufacturer that is introducing a new line of classic basketball sneakers. If they are marketed effectively they will sell well to young adult men, whether or not the buyers actually play basketball.

The marketing director of the advertising agency responsible for introducing the new sneaker comes to you, the graphic designer. The marketing director asks you to create an Internet advertisement for the sneaker. It's got to look exciting, dynamic, and fresh. The ad may feature an endorsement by a pro basketball player.

Are you going to design your ad using a theme of pretty yellow daisies in a summer garden? Probably not. Daisies are lovely, but they won't sell basketball sneakers. Would you use a cute puppy? Again, no. Everyone likes puppies, but you wouldn't use one in your ad campaign for sneakers.

Using a program like CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, you might create a design showing a group of urban kids playing basketball on an asphalt parking lot. Maybe it's at night, and the only light is from an overhead street light. Perhaps your layout uses colors like black and purple and silver. The lettering in the text is slanted and dynamic. You can tell from the ad that the kids who wear the shoes are passionate about basketball.

Even before you begin, you've already made some choices that a graphic designer makes. Whether you are designing an ad for sneakers, the box the sneakers come in, or even the logo on the side of each sneaker, the choices you make help tell the consumer about the product.

How's the Job Outlook?

Like many specialized careers, your job prospects may depend upon your level of training. Most entry-level graphic design positions require an associate or bachelor's degree. You'll need to get training from an accredited college or career school. But finding a good school should not be difficult; the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 250 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design.

Once you've got the degree you need, what's the outlook? According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40,000 new jobs will be added in this field in the current decade from 2008 through 2018. Median salaries were $42,400 in May, 2008, but annual earnings can go over $100,000 for those who have ownership interest in a successful firm.

Prospects will be better for graphic designers with website design and animation experience. Demand should increase for interactive media products including cellphones, video games, personal digital assistants, and other technology. Proficiency with computers and computer design programs will be an asset.

Is it a competitive field? Yes! But the rewards are great. Imagine creating graphic art that could be seen by millions of people, and may even influence popular culture. With the right training, imagination, and hard work, a rewarding career in graphic design could be yours.

Getting Started

If you enjoy visual design and want to get professional training, you'll need to find an accredited college or career school, either near you or online, that offers graphic design programs. But how do you find a school? The best way to start is to go online to a reputable college directory. You can enter the search terms that fit your situation, such as "graphic design," "associate degree," and your home town or ZIP code. You'll see a variety of choices. Check them out and compare programs, financial aid opportunities, career services, and schedules. Then with one click you can get free information from the schools you've chosen. Make your choice and apply. In less time than you think you could be on your way to a rewarding new career in graphic design.

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Butterfly Face Painting Designs - Body Painting Tips

If you are planning to put some paintings on your body then butterfly face painting designs offer one of the excellent choices for you. Butterflies are one of the most attractive figures to choose because of the unlimited choices for its pattern; aside from the beauty it creates with its attractive mixtures of colors.

Moreover, butterfly face painting designs are also very simple to create that even beginners in body painting can do it with ease; using basic color combination to produce unique patterns. Aside from butterflies you can also choose other figures like various animals that include tigers and lions, birds and dragons, cats and dogs, bugs and insects, sharks and fishes, and so much more.

One of the most important things that you must bear in mind when doing body paintings is to blend the figures with the type of person wearing them. To give you some examples, when creating the art for children, it is best to choose designs that appeal to them like their favourite animated cartoon characters. For boys, they would love to wear various designs of cars, robots, pirates, and other stuffs for boys. On the other hand, girls would prefer to wear something that exude beauty like flowers and fairies, rainbows and butterfly face painting designs.

Additionally, the pattern should also be based on what the person intents to convey. If the individual is wearing body paintings to scare people then you can choose monsters and other Halloween figures; if they are wearing the paintings on their faces to add beauty then you may choose flower, birds and animal designs.

Regardless of what pattern to choose, it is essential to create designs that are well suited to the type of personality of the person wearing them; as well as choose designs that make them very comfortable in placing them on their face. Some people may feel uncomfortable in certain patterns that they will use it for only few minutes and eventually erase them; while people who are very proud and comfortable with the patterns on their faces wear them for much longer time.

Hence, before you start creating paints on faces, it is imperative to ask first the person on what design to use that will make them very comfortable. In most cases, men and women vary on their choices because men want something masculine; while women tends to choose something that radiates beauty like butterfly face painting designs.

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Body Painting: Henna Tattoo

Henna tattoos are an ancient custom in India: girls and women are body painted before ceremonies, like marriage. They painted complicated patterns on their hands and feet to symbolize their fertility.

Henna (or 'Mehndi', the Indian name) is made from the henna plant (Lawsonia Inermis). The leaves of the plant are dried and ground. The powder gets mixed with water and you get a sort of green-brownish mud. If you put that mud on your skin, let it harden, and then peel it off, you will notice it has left an orange color.

You can get your henna at an eastern shop or a 'souk' in many different colors. There's orange, mahogany, brown and black. The orange one is the traditional henna. The black henna is synthetic. It contains PDD (P-phenylenediamene) and can cause allergic reactions. Even if it doesn't cause irritations, it's still unhealthy. Moreover, in the past, black henna at your wedding was considered a disgrace.

Henna Recipe

With one pack of henna, you'll have enough to body paint the entire football team. Put the henna in a bowl and gently pour some lemon juice and boiling water in the bowl. Don't use too much water, the mud has to resemble the thickness of sate sauce. The purpose of the lemon juice is to help the color hold better on your skin.

Your skin should be clean, dry and not fat. If you want to color your nails too, they shouldn't have nail polish on them. Make sure you really want this, because your nails will be orange for about 2 months. It doesn't come off! When the henna is cold, you can get to painting.

If you want to paint your foot soles, which is a traditional custom in Marokko, make sure you have a pillow of some kind to keep your feet off the floor, before you know it, the henna mud is everywhere! You can apply the henna with all sorts of instruments, what works best is a syringe (without the needle of course).

Symmetric and geometric shapes work best. Don't make the lines too thin, the color won't come on to your skin very well. The bigger the surface, the brighter the color will be.
Now: the annoying part: Waiting...

Let the henna dry in the sun, the warmth of the sun will get your color deeper into your skin. You can also use a hairdryer.

If you make a mistake in the picture your painting: ACT QUICKLY! If you wipe it off too late, the henna will leave a red spot.

After a while, the henna will start to burst. Don't peel it off yet! The henna has to stay on for at least two hours. Then you can start removing the crusts of mud.

DON'T remove the henna with water! Just scrape the crusts of your skin, you can do this with a bold knife. Don't let your body painting get in touch with water for the first couple of hours. Right after you scraped off all the crusts, rub your skin in with olive oil. It will make the color brighter and help keep the color on as long as possible. Your henna painting will survive for about a month or so.

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Body Painting: Henna Tattoo

Henna tattoos are an ancient custom in India: girls and women are body painted before ceremonies, like marriage. They painted complicated patterns on their hands and feet to symbolize their fertility.

Henna (or 'Mehndi', the Indian name) is made from the henna plant (Lawsonia Inermis). The leaves of the plant are dried and ground. The powder gets mixed with water and you get a sort of green-brownish mud. If you put that mud on your skin, let it harden, and then peel it off, you will notice it has left an orange color.

You can get your henna at an eastern shop or a 'souk' in many different colors. There's orange, mahogany, brown and black. The orange one is the traditional henna. The black henna is synthetic. It contains PDD (P-phenylenediamene) and can cause allergic reactions. Even if it doesn't cause irritations, it's still unhealthy. Moreover, in the past, black henna at your wedding was considered a disgrace.

Henna Recipe

With one pack of henna, you'll have enough to body paint the entire football team. Put the henna in a bowl and gently pour some lemon juice and boiling water in the bowl. Don't use too much water, the mud has to resemble the thickness of sate sauce. The purpose of the lemon juice is to help the color hold better on your skin.

Your skin should be clean, dry and not fat. If you want to color your nails too, they shouldn't have nail polish on them. Make sure you really want this, because your nails will be orange for about 2 months. It doesn't come off! When the henna is cold, you can get to painting.

If you want to paint your foot soles, which is a traditional custom in Marokko, make sure you have a pillow of some kind to keep your feet off the floor, before you know it, the henna mud is everywhere! You can apply the henna with all sorts of instruments, what works best is a syringe (without the needle of course).

Symmetric and geometric shapes work best. Don't make the lines too thin, the color won't come on to your skin very well. The bigger the surface, the brighter the color will be.
Now: the annoying part: Waiting...

Let the henna dry in the sun, the warmth of the sun will get your color deeper into your skin. You can also use a hairdryer.

If you make a mistake in the picture your painting: ACT QUICKLY! If you wipe it off too late, the henna will leave a red spot.

After a while, the henna will start to burst. Don't peel it off yet! The henna has to stay on for at least two hours. Then you can start removing the crusts of mud.

DON'T remove the henna with water! Just scrape the crusts of your skin, you can do this with a bold knife. Don't let your body painting get in touch with water for the first couple of hours. Right after you scraped off all the crusts, rub your skin in with olive oil. It will make the color brighter and help keep the color on as long as possible. Your henna painting will survive for about a month or so.

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Body Painting With Henna

Painting body with henna is an increasing trend in many countries. Mostly women living in Middle East and Far East paint their bodies with henna. Some do it as a ritual and other do it for fun. The exquisite and delicate designs are what make painting the body with henna so much interesting. The custom of painting the body with henna dates back 5000 years. The interesting thing about this kind of painting is that it is temporary and one can create new designs every four weeks. So people looking for temporary tattoo and painting can opt for henna body painting as it is safe, reliable, cheap and easy to use. Also it provides the exquisite and imaginative look which people really love.

Painting your body with henna can be time consuming if you opt for difficult and delicate designs. There are certain things that one must be aware off before painting their body with henna. One can buy henna online from many websites but the important thing to be considered is that the quality should be exemplary in order to get the best reddish-brown color. If henna paste is applied for a small period of time and then washed it will leave a pale color. Similarly if it is applied for a longer period of time like several hours then it will leave a dark reddish-brown color which will take about 4 to 6 weeks to wear off. Also the process of painting body with henna is painless. It is only applied on the surface of the skin and not injected into the skin like other body art.

An important thing to remember here is that one must be aware of their allergies. Sometimes the oils in henna paste cause rashes and other allergic reactions, to avoid such situations these people can use purified henna. Traditionally henna was applied to the hair, foot and hands and mostly during special events like weeding and other ritualistic events. These days the trend is increasing solely because of the quality and advantages of painting the body with henna over other forms of body art. Painting the body with henna portrays creativity and delicacy.

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The History Of Body Painting

Body art is the decoration of the human body. The most common forms of body art are tattoos, professional makeup, body painting, fashion makeup, face painting and temporary airbrush tattoos. Body painting is a form of temporary body art. Unlike permanent tattoos, body painting can lasts for several hours. Body painting has been a significant part of rituals dating back thousands of years. Body painting and face painting, along with dancing and drumming, were the means for some cultures to reach specific altered state of consciousness. In this state, group members would lose the sensation of fear and pain and become fully dedicated to the group interests. This state was crucial for physical survival and as a defense from predators, enemies or other forces of the nature.

In today's world body painting is largely used in the fashion and film industry. It is also commonly used as a method of gaining attention in political protests or expressing rage, beliefs or feelings. Painting that is restricted to the face is known as face painting, professional makeup or fashion makeup. Traditional face painting is applied with face makeup, brush and sponge. The more contemporary form of face painting utilizes Vibe airbrush face makeup and an airbrush. Fashion makeup, also known as extreme beauty makeup, consist primarily of designs applied around the eye area using highly pigmented colors and shimmers.

While permanent tattoos have been around for thousands of years, the desire to remove or cover permanent tattoos has likely existed almost as long. The same desire that exists to remove or cover permanent tattoos also applies to scars or skin imperfections that may exist on an individual's skin. Typical processes for removing permanent tattoos or correcting or hiding scars or skin imperfections include painful and expensive surgical procedures, such as laser removal, that can result in scarring. Less permanent methods involve the application of professional makeup. There are many different types of professional makeup including foundation, powders, lip sticks, mascaras and bronzers. Most of the professional makeup media can be applied with a brush and sponge. Yet, the fastest and smoothest application can be achieved with an airbrush.

The most common form of body painting is temporary airbrush tattoos. Temporary airbrush tattoos are quickly applied using an airbrush and stencils. Airbrush tattoos can last for days and are removable with rubbing alcohol. Temporary airbrush tattoos have been applied for a variety of different purposes, including decoration, social status, and as a sign of endearment.

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The Art of Body Painting and Tattoos

Henna tattoos or paintings can be a lot of fun. Whether you're painting yourself or some else, you will get a lot of satisfaction from actually being involved in the process itself, and in watching your design as it evolves and alters in the weeks to come.

Henna is a completely natural product that has been used for thousands of years. However, if you have particular sensitive skin and are concerned about an allergic reaction, do a skin test before you start. To do this, apply a small amount of paste to a part of the body, scrape it off and wait for 24 hours. If there is no allergic reaction you should be safe to carry on.

Caution should also be taken when using essential oils. Always remember to use them to their correct dilution. If unsure, find out what you need to know before proceeding - never take a chance.

Finally, make sure you know what you are doing before you begin - remember, henna stains as soon as it is applied! Getting ready to start is as important as the painting itself.

1 Make sure your work surfaces are clean and if necessary protected - remember henna stains just about anything.

2 Protect your own clothing and if necessary tie your hair back

3 Get all your materials ready. Get some water ready. Get your design ready.

Henna Paste

Pre-mixed paste is probably the easiest sort to use. It comes readymade, in a tube with a nozzle. All you have to do is use it. Paste form can be bought from ethnic shops and in some Indian supermarkets. You can also order it direct from retailers worldwide via the internet. Colors include natural, black, blue, green, orange, red and purple, turquoise and brown. It is important to follow the instructions which come with the premixed pastes as some do not require the use of Mehndi oil when applying your designs usually these are the colored pastes.

Henna powder is what the professionals use. Its best bought from a recognized supplier rather than at your local store, as it is important that it is fresh. There are many different recipes for making henna paste. Remember, once mixed the paste only lasts for three days, so don't make up too much. If you have some left over, you can refrigerate it for a couple of days. The recipe below is one that is commonly used. It will make enough paste for 8 to 10 simple designs.

This is what you do:

1 Boil the water

2 Add the tea bag. For the blackest pigment, leave a tea bag standing in it overnight.

3 Put the sifted henna into a bowl. Add the oil, but do not mix.

4 Using a metal spoon add two tablespoons of the tea to the powder, stirring as you go.

5 If the mixture is stiff, add slightly more liquid. Mix well, pressing out any lumps with the back of the spoon.

6 Seal the container with cling-film and cover. Then leave the paste to stand for at least four hours, away from direct sunlight. What you have in the end is a smooth, set paste.


Most professionals use a plastic cone to apply henna to the skin. This looks a lot like an icing bag. If you buy a paste kit, then you get one free. You can improvise, of course. Good alternatives are a child's medicine syringe: ask your local chemist for this or an icing bag with a fine nozzle.

There are other applicators.

Professionals use fine wooden sticks for detail work. Here again, you can improvise. Toothpicks are good, also nail-care sticks. You can also buy applicator bottles which are sold with a variety of nozzle sizes. These are very easy to use and less messy than the bags, good for beginners.


To prepare the skin, clean it and set your design afterwards you will need:

Cleaners - soap and water or rosewater

Oils - eucalyptus oil, baby oil, olive oil

Lemon and sugar

While working on your design, make sure you have the following close to hand:

Cotton wool balls and swabs

Flat toothpick or rounded flat knife

Paper towels

Toilet paper and Scotch tape


When applying any henna design if you follow the steps below you won't go far wrong. Obviously you need to change your methods depending on what kind of template and design you are working to, for instance if using a stencil as opposed to freehand design the application is less precise.

1 First cleanse the area of the skin you are going to work on with soap and water and a cotton wool swab. You may like to use rose water instead.

2 Once dry, if you are using an adhesive stencil carefully place it in the correct position and make sure it sticks well to your skin without lifting at the edges. Do this before applying any oil to your skin or the stencil will not stick successfully.

3 If you are going to use natural henna for your tattoo design, you need to gently swab the area with diluted eucalyptus oil or clove oil (also called Mehndi oil) to help prepare the skin for the dye. (Note: any essential oil needs to be diluted before use - follow instructions for correct dilution ration.) If you are using colored henna, in the main, oil is not required.

4 You are now ready to draw your motif. Slowly flow the henna on to the skin, as if you were icing a cake. Don't apply too much at once. If you are using stencil, cover the area with an even layer of henna, making sure that the clear areas of the stencil are all covered.

Use cotton wool swabs and toothpicks to adjust lines or remove any mistakes.

Clean your applicators frequently, using paper towels. Use a needle or pin to clean the applicator nozzle if it gets blocked.

5 When you have finished applying wait for the design to dry. This takes around 10 to 15 minutes. The henna paint is dry when it looks flat rather than shiny and wet. Do not wait for it to start cracking, however.

6 You now need to moisturize the paint, to encourage it to seep into the skin. Do this by either applying a solution of sugar and lemon - half a lemon to one teaspoon of sugar is enough to fix one average-sized motif - or pre-mixed Mehndi oil. Gently dab the moisturizing solution onto the henna paint using cotton wool swabs. Don't use too much solution - you don't want to wash off the paint.

Keep moisturizing whenever you notice the paint beginning to dry out. After a while the paint will retain the solution, and will stay moist.

7 For the stain to really take effect, the paint needs to stay on the skin for a minimum of five hours. Ideally it should stay there for eight hours, and overnight, if possible. Basically, the longer you leave the paint on the skin, the darker the design will be.

If you can bear to leave the henna paint overnight, the best way of keeping it on is to cover the whole area in paper tape to protect it - you may also use a sealing product such as New-Skin, a spray-on fixative that seals the henna tattoo design while the stain develops.

8 When the motif has fully developed, take a clean cotton wool swab and rub the design to remove the paste. Any stubborn paint can be removed using a blunt knife blade. If you have used a stencil peel it off very carefully and clean off any adhesive that has been left by the stencil using a little diluted Mehndi oil.


The color you see when you first remove the paste is not the full color, this appears around 24 hours later and will be much stronger.

Try not to wash new henna motifs, at least for a day or so. This will improve their life - span.

Using a moisturizer on the motif will help extend its life. Do not apply more than twice a day, however.

What, when, why? Some questions and answers.

How long does your henna tattoo last?

The stain can last up to a month, although most products tell you they last up to three weeks. In fact, it all depends on what part of the body you are applying it to, what type of skin you have, and how much that area gets washed and scrubbed. It also depends on how long you leave the past on before scraping it off.

What parts of the body are good to paint?

Palms and soles of the feet are the warmest parts of the body and have the thickest skin. This means that the henna will penetrate further, and so the painting lasts longer. Other areas that are good for tattoos are wrists, finger tips, forearms and the waist. Face and chest areas do not work very well, as the skin here is quite thin and exfoliates quickly.

Does henna only come in one color?

It can vary in color from light orange to reddish brown, depending on the type used. You may have heard of 'black henna', which is also used. This is not recommended as it can be dangerous to the skin. Other colors, likewise, are not true henna and are therefore best avoided.

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Theater Schools Teach Performing Arts

The best way to prepare for a career on the stage is to study acting at one of the best theater schools in the US or Canada. It takes a lot of drive to learn to be an actor or actress, and you will want to look into performing arts schools with renowned theater programs to be sure you get excellent theater training.

Primarily, when we think of schools for theater, we think of drama students taking theater classes and auditioning for college plays. And, that is certainly a large part of theater training. But, we must also realize a performing arts education can encompass many other occupations, including those onstage and offstage, as well as administrative positions. The finest theater schools (also spelled as "theatre schools") will offer training in all the many various aspects of performance art.

Just think about what goes into a stage performance. Most of us know there are actors, stage managers and directors involved in a theater production; and, there is no doubt you can learn about all of these professions at a school for theater. But, did you ever think about what goes on behind the scenes? Theater schools are also in the business of training lighting designers and technicians, costume designers, audio technicians, set designers (also known as scenographers), dancers, singers, set builders, house managers, prop managers, box office workers, and many other important titles.

It is important to remember that theater classes are not all just fun and games. Learning theater requires hard work and dedication. Comprehensive training will include instruction in all the basics, including Theater History, Acting and Directing, Stage Production, Costume Construction, Acting for the Camera, Theater Administration, and much more. Schools for Theater will often offer several different types of degrees, with specialties such as Dance, Musical Theater, Technical Theater, and other related concentrations.

There are also many levels education offered, from the Associate of Arts (AA) to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), to the Master of Arts (MA) with a specialty in one or more areas of performing arts. Those who aspire to be a theater administrator or educator will be required to obtain a Master's Degree, or even a Doctor of Fine Arts (PhD), considered to be the highest degree of theater education.

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Theater Schools Teach Performing Arts

The best way to prepare for a career on the stage is to study acting at one of the best theater schools in the US or Canada. It takes a lot of drive to learn to be an actor or actress, and you will want to look into performing arts schools with renowned theater programs to be sure you get excellent theater training.

Primarily, when we think of schools for theater, we think of drama students taking theater classes and auditioning for college plays. And, that is certainly a large part of theater training. But, we must also realize a performing arts education can encompass many other occupations, including those onstage and offstage, as well as administrative positions. The finest theater schools (also spelled as "theatre schools") will offer training in all the many various aspects of performance art.

Just think about what goes into a stage performance. Most of us know there are actors, stage managers and directors involved in a theater production; and, there is no doubt you can learn about all of these professions at a school for theater. But, did you ever think about what goes on behind the scenes? Theater schools are also in the business of training lighting designers and technicians, costume designers, audio technicians, set designers (also known as scenographers), dancers, singers, set builders, house managers, prop managers, box office workers, and many other important titles.

It is important to remember that theater classes are not all just fun and games. Learning theater requires hard work and dedication. Comprehensive training will include instruction in all the basics, including Theater History, Acting and Directing, Stage Production, Costume Construction, Acting for the Camera, Theater Administration, and much more. Schools for Theater will often offer several different types of degrees, with specialties such as Dance, Musical Theater, Technical Theater, and other related concentrations.

There are also many levels education offered, from the Associate of Arts (AA) to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), to the Master of Arts (MA) with a specialty in one or more areas of performing arts. Those who aspire to be a theater administrator or educator will be required to obtain a Master's Degree, or even a Doctor of Fine Arts (PhD), considered to be the highest degree of theater education.

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Choosing The Best Performing Arts Programs: Yale School of Drama

While you've probably heard of Yale University, how about the Yale School of Drama? In fact, it's become one of the top Drama Schools in the entire world. The more you know about the program, the more likely you'll be to become a part of it.

It all began in 1924. That's when Yale University founded its Department of Drama within its School of Fine Arts. It was the result of a donation from Edward S. Harkness, who had earned a B.A. from Yale in 1897. The Department of Drama's first class began taking classes in 1925. Later, Yale began offering a Masters of Fine Arts, in 1931. And in 1955, the Yale School f Drama became an individual professional school of Yale University. By this time, the school was offering both a Masters and Doctorate in Fine Arts.

Here are some of the biggest features of the Yale School of Drama

1. Repertory Theatre
This is certainly one of the drama school's most prominent features. For decades, the theatre has featured the productions of both classic and original plays. Interestingly, it was one of the first resident theaters whose works were later transferred to the world of commercial theatre-including Broadway. This practice has made the Repertory Theatre one of the most innovative ones in the USA.

2. Faculty
Another forte of the Yale School of Drama is its outstanding faculty. Its most notable faculty members have trained their students in areas such as Design, Playwriting, Directing, and Acting. The School of Drama's faculty members are the essence of the school, as they're responsible for shaping future professionals in the industry.

3. Alumni
Several renowned professionals in the theater, TV, and movie industries have graduated from Yale University's School of Drama. Some of the most notable alumni include:

Angela Bassett: Boyz n the Hood (1991), Malcolm X (1992)

Paul Newman: Hud (1963), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1973), Slap Shot (1977), The Color of Money(1986), Road to Perdition (2002)

Ed Norton: Primal Fear (1996), American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999)

Sigourney Weaver: Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Wall-E (2008), Avatar (2009)

Meryl Streep: Too many to list!!!!!

4. Tradition
Not only is the Yale School of Drama one of the top drama schools in the USA, but it also has the nation's second-oldest theater association in colleges. In fact, the Yale Dramatic Association was founded over a century ago, in 1900. Afterwards, the association put on several productions, including both classic and original plays.

5. Structure
This is yet another of the main features of the Yale School of Drama. Students of the school spend their mornings taking classes. Then in the afternoons, the students prepare for productions of the School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. The students also spend time watching productions of their colleagues. While the schedule is hectic, it helps to produce outstanding professionals in the industry.

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The Fine and Performing Arts & Education

I see too many public service commercials-today-exhorting us to support the Performing and Fine Arts in public education. We, as a nation, have evidently become so low-brow, or unsophisticated, that we can no longer see the need for Art education in our schools. So now, we have our children pleading with us, on television commercials, to keep Art education alive. This is a sad state of affairs for us and our children, because art is what truly separates us from the beasts and allows us to rise above the mundane drudgery of life. As many others, I believe art should be at the center of education and not just because it's good for us. Art stimulates a child's cognitive and affective domains, as well as their motor skills, which leads to learning, discovery, creativity and motivation.

Academics are very important, of course, but too often they only stimulate a very small portion of the student's mind and heart. There are three, basic domains of learning: the Cognitive (mind), Affective (emotions or feelings) and Motor-Skills (hands-on). These three domains are key to our thinking/reasoning, learning, problem solving and creating. A healthy mind (Cognitive) is capable of taking in, retaining and processing information, which can then be applied, if retained and used, to the individual's life. Emotions and feelings (Affective) are closely connected to an individual's learning, because they aid in retaining and applying information, as well as stimulating the desire to learn more. Seeing, hearing, speaking, the ability to write, walk and run are all part of the individual's Motor-skills. Without these three domains, learning, needless to say, would be impossible. Reading, writing, math and the sciences stimulate the cognitive and motor skills domains quite effectively, but the affective is too often short changed.

If we think back to our school days, then we should be able to remember that the memorization of facts and successfully spitting them back out on tests was our main concern as students. This is very much a part of the learning process, and I'm not denying that, but where does the Affective domain play a significant part in this teaching process? In much of this way of learning the affective is absent, and-therefore-much of the educational material, which has just been learned, has no real application in the individual's life and is forgotten. I remember very little about higher level math, the periodic table and scientific jargon. Why is that? It didn't relate to my life nor touch me in a deep way. This is not to say that I, or anyone else, shouldn't have taken math and science classes, but what I am saying is academics are less effective than they can be, because they tend to ignore the Affective domain.

I contend that the Arts use all three domains effectively, and they can-therefore-stimulate the student to apply, as well as retain, what they've learned. Creativity is key in this process. The Performing and Fine Arts have a distinct advantage-educationally-in their ability to allow students to create as they learn. In painting, students are in the process of creating at the same time they're mixing colors and learning brush techniques. The same applies to sculpting and photography students. Many middle and high school music directors are-now-using computer programs to stimulate their students to compose as they learn to play and sing. Dance and theatre programs are examples, as well, of applying skills as their students learn. This artistic, educational process employs the cognitive and motor skills domains, but it also stimulates the affective. The art student experiences the sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully learning, and then being able to immediately apply this knowledge in a very personal way. The Arts can enhance a student's ability to express their emotions in a very positive way. These students have ownership of what they have learned and are able to express this ownership through creativity. The Performing or Fine Arts student is motivated-educationally-beyond just memorizing facts and passing tests, because they're using their newly-acquired knowledge to express what lies deep in their heart and mind.

Surprisingly, the arts and sports have much in common, educationally. The basketball or football player, as well as the long-distant runner, learn their skills while applying them. The learning of physical techniques and immediate application reinforces the athlete's desire to learn and perform even more. In team sports, such as football, baseball and basketball, the student athlete learns to work with others to produce a product, or team. The young athlete learns that the whole, or team, is greater than the sum of its parts, or players, as do dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists. As in performing ensembles, these young athletes experience the joy that comes from accomplishing something special with others. They learn, in a very intimate way, responsibility towards others and that the team is dependent on the very weakest athlete, as well as the strongest and most gifted. There's really very little difference between a football player and a band member, when it comes to being responsible and understanding that it takes everyone-involved-to be successful. This is such a valuable and wonderful lesson, and it is learned primarily, through the affective domain.

Educational collaboration between artistic disciplines is a great way for young artists to learn while they create. The pairing of young instrumentalists with dancers and visual artists, or actors with singers, can open up a whole new world of artistic exploration, discovery and creativity. These collaborations can become a great vehicle for learning and motivation, as any arts teacher who has experienced this process will testify. The educational process becomes more important than the outcome, or testing results, because it is in the process of exploration, discovery and creativity where learning really occurs. The educational outcome is secondary, because it is only used, in this case, to measure curricular goals. The motivation for and enjoying of learning comes through the process of collaboration, exploration, discovery and creating.

In academia, the emphasis-today-is placed more on the outcome, or testing and grades, which, in my estimation, is a huge mistake. Academic instructors could learn much from their counterparts in the arts. The government and its politically motivated, educational policies, of course, stands in the way of any successful, corrective change to academic teaching methods. Political agendas, such as, "No child left behind" are meaningless and worthless to students and teachers, because they're not concerned, as they so hypocritically claim, with the success of the individual learner. Instead, these agendas are merely an attempt to soothe the fevered brows of unsatisfied constituents.

I will agree with academic teachers that their process seems to be more set in stone than with the arts, and the only real way they can measure educational outcomes is through testing. There has to be a way-however-to allow a math, science, English or history student to become more involved in the process of learning. English teachers have a distinct advantage, since they could use writing essays and poems to instill a sense of ownership in their students. Their students-then-could use their essays and poems to collaborate with young composers, actors and dancers, as an example. Even though it would be difficult, science, language and math teachers could also seek these same avenues for educational exploration, discovery and creativity, which would-then-hopefully-lead to a student's retention/application, ownership and motivation. This, of course, will be impossible, as long as we allow our government to force academic teachers to teach-solely-towards the outcome, or "standardized" testing.

American students, every year, fall farther behind their counterparts around the world, academically and intellectually, while their parents and teachers continue to buy into the educational propaganda, which is spewed out by the American-political machine in Washington. Every year, Art education becomes less and less important in our schools, because of it's effectiveness in producing students who can think, reason, question, learn and create. Realistically speaking, Art education may be perceived as a threat to those who run this country and desire a race of middle-class, mindless, unquestioning and unsophisticated robots.

Education is the responsibility of the parents first and foremost, and if parents aren't capable or willing to fight for their children's education, then I guess America is doomed. If I were a parent-today-there would be no way I could allow my child to be intellectually molested by our current, public-education system. My child would either be home-schooled, at best, or in a private education system.

The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and long lasting nations in the history of the world, and yet, as the Roman government declined, then so did its human values and arts. There is only one piece of music remaining, one mere fragment, after one thousand years of Roman culture. Rome literally disintegrated from within, because of a corrupt government and decaying society. The United States is less than two-hundred and fifty years old, and we're already starting the lingering slide into governmental corruption, cultural ignorance and decay. Perhaps, it's too late to save our society, but if it isn't, then it's time to start rebuilding what we have allowed to be torn down for the last one-hundred and fifty years. If it isn't too late, then we must begin to rebuild our values and education system. Our values and education system may not have been perfect, in the past, but they were worthy of being fixed, properly.

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