Blog Entry: Week One (Stephen)

I think that all of the values are important, as the summation of them is what makes real art. However, the psychological value of art is what resonated with me the most. I am not much of an artist, but I find artistic qualities in a number of things that aren’t particular artistic. For example, I worked in construction for several years, mainly doing dry wall work. When I see an exceptionally beautiful wall, taped and textured by someone who really knows what they are doing, I see art, while others simply see a wall. Its not necessarily art because of the intention behind it, it is art because in that wall is the entirety of the hard work and life experience of the person who built it. Similarly, as an aspiring accountant, you can see a lot about a person from the spreadsheets that they make, because accounting is that person’s passion, and it is a part of what makes them who they are (I know this is all really odd, but whatever). All I am trying to say, is that art makes people see and feel things that are not necessarily evident on the surface, and paintings and sculptures aren’t the only things that can do that.

The methodologies for approaching art and art history were very interesting, and served to illuminate some of the works previously presented in the text. However, it seemed to me that each of the methodologies were based on what a critic hopes to get out of a piece of art, not its intrinsic meaning or purpose. To compound this, some of the various methodologies conflicted with each other, further clouding the actual meaning behind a certain piece. To me, many of the methodologies should be used in conjunction, and some must be thrown out completely if one is to truly understand the intention behind a piece of art.


The piece I chose to analyze is Albert Bierstadt, Sunrise, Yosemite Valley. I chose this painting because of its psychological value. Bierstadt uses bright and warm (not hot) colors to convey a sense of serenity and happiness, and contrasts them with the blue of the sky to make the painting feel like a cool evening. The texture of the painting is fine and soft, which contrasts the actual texture of the jagged landscape. To my untrained eye, the image is painted in a naturalistic style, meant to convey the landscape as a human would see it, but not in a photo-real manner. The leading lines of the image carry the eye of into the fading distance of the landscape, but the contrasting colors of the much closer riverside draw the eye back to what is near.

7 thoughts on “Blog Entry: Week One (Stephen)”

  1. I’m curious as to what your definitions of “art” verses “beauty” are in this psychological context. I think it’s really interesting that you kind find art in a taped off dry wall, or in a spreadsheet, these are things I am more quick to say “beautiful” as in “well done.” I would love ot hear more about how you identify these! Great response, very thorough and made me think in a new way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is definitely a good point, and good insight into how different people’s minds view these kinds of things. I guess for me art is approached by different people differently. I choose to approach art by trying to tease out my own meaning, rather than seeking to discover the actual intention behind it. Its more of a “what does this thing that you’ve made say about you,” than a, “what were you trying to say with this thing that you made,” if that makes any sense. That is why to me, these seemingly mundane things that people have created are art, rather than simply a job well done. But great perspective! Thanks!


  2. I can relate to you when I can look at something as mundane as a spreadsheet and see that it is art. I think that sometimes the art isn’t in the piece itself, but the hard work and effort placed into it. I can definitely say that there have been times when I finished doing some data analysis on a spreadsheet and feel accomplished in myself as if the spreadsheet is a piece of art. You bring up a great point in that art is not limited to sculptures and paintings/drawings – it can be virtually anything.

    I also agree with you that the methodologies should be used in conjunction and not all of them can be applied to a piece of work – it really depends on the context in which the piece was created.

    I really liked the painting you chose. I especially like the gradient from the cool, blue sky to the warm orange sunrise, and the contrast between the sky and the not yet lit foreground.


  3. Good thoughts here and great responses, would love to hear back your thoughts on these Stephen!

    An added note on Bierstadt: The Portland Art Museum has one of his works (perhaps more but at least one they have out on display). He painted his works by compiling together various aspects of the scenes/landscapes he observed into a more idealized view. Essentially, he took artistic liberty! When people began to move west and see the places they realized he had pieced together some aspects of his imagery. :).


  4. I enjoyed reading your post! I totally relate to you on not being much of an artist. I can see how you view the construction of dry wall is art. When you can see the amount of hard work and precision that went into the making of anything, I believe it is a piece of artwork too. Almost anything can be art just like you said. I was nice to hear your perspective on the methodologies of art. I understand what you are saying about the methodologies being very similar. I am curious which ones you would like to add to one another or take out. Your analysis of the piece of art you chose was very well done. I like you mentioned the blue of sky is made to feel like it is set in a cool evening.


    1. Thanks!

      As to which methodologies to add or take out.. I’m not really one to say. I feel like a lot of the methodologies are used subconsciously when examining art, and it just comes down to how you naturally view these kinds of things. Certain ones are definitely better for some people than others. Its all about your perspective I guess!


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