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From the Olive Trees of Vincent Van Gogh to Picasso's Guernica

The National Gallery of Art summarizes this series:

In the olive trees — in the expressive power of their ancient and gnarled forms — van Gogh found a manifestation of the spiritual force he believed resided in all of nature. His brushstrokes make the soil and even the sky seem alive with the same rustling motion as the leaves, stirred to a shimmer by the Mediterranean wind. These strong individual dashes do not seem painted so much as drawn onto the canvas with a heavily loaded brush. The energy in their continuous rhythm communicates to us, in an almost physical way, the living force that van Gogh found within the trees themselves, the very spiritual force that he believed had shaped them.[9]

Guernica is a large 1937 oil painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. It is one of his best-known works, regarded by many art critics as the most moving and powerful anti-war painting in history. It is exhibited in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. The grey, black, and white painting, on a canvas 3.49 meters

"Discovery" (Acrylic) on canvas 24" x 24" x 1.0" by Victoria Zyluk

I have always been mesmerized by the two artists above. I am Samantha Zyluk, who is writing this blog today. I can assure you that I am not an artist like Victoria but I do and can appreciate the world of art.

I love taking photographs such as the one below -

Now, I will try to connect my thoughts about my appreciation of art and what I am looking for in artwork.

Working with Victoria, especially when she volunteers for the Bow Valley Ranche Historical Society allows me to see the works of so many great Calgary Artists, but seeing their work has reinforced that their works are so different and yet fabulous. Anyone who puts brush to paper gets my respect and attention.

You've never really seen a painting until you've seen it in person - only when you're in front of a painting do you really feel it's surprising force.

When I look at my photograph above, I love colours, patterns, silhouettes and so on. As someone who takes photographs all that is important to me. However, that photograph was taken in the present, that particular morning, and as soon it was taken, it was in the past!

When I look at the photograph my first question is where was it taken? (Victoria, when I asked her gave a different answer) I'm not writing this as a professional artist but just someone who can sit in the Sistine Chapel, when it was empty (that's another story) for an hour and marvel at what I could see. So, anyway this is written from my point of view.

I guess that I use the 5WH method and also consider the senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste, and there are some others!

I can look at the above photograph and ask my questions, but because my picture is frozen in time, they would all be guesses. There is nothing wrong with the photograph because I enjoy seeing the picture and that is the most important thing.

When I look at my photograph, it's a picture on a flat sheet of paper. When I touch it there's very little that can be called texture. My emotions are challenged by the colours and my interpretation. Is the sky on fire, is it angry, or does it give a sense of well being. The latter is what I feel. The photograph relaxes me. To others it means something else.

I call this photograph, "Where have all the Children Gone?" This is a photograph of Victoria's old one room school house! The changes over the years, the gradual decay of the original building make me sad. It asks a lot of questions of me. Where is the community whose children used to come here gone. I love history and I love the study of the passing of time. It motivates me to do more research. Does the topic of this photograph make you feel, happy or sad? Or maybe you don't care. That's alright as well. If a photograph has the power to stir the imagination, or stir the emotions that's great. Some people will say, "Samantha, that's a pretty picture!" and that O.K. as well.

Mr. McMooch can stir other emotions or our imaginations. "Is he smiling? Is he standing posing?" Some bought this photograph were stirred by the memory of a previous sighting that stirred them. Someone else was motivated by the picture and my autobiography.

Many people will buy a painting or photograph because they fit in with the colour scheme in their house or it will act as a place holder in a blank spot on the wall. Well there's nothing wrong with that. It's always what is in the eye and brain of the beholder.

Now I challenge you to find a painting by Vincent Van Gogh - not a real one - but a print. Even the brush strokes on the painting add movement to an otherwise static scene. Follow the brush strokes the horizontal lines, the vertical lines and it's amazing the picture lives!

The three photographs of "Bathed in Gold" by Victoria Zyluk show the reflection of the gold at different times of the day. Here the painting lives. Take a look at your paintings at different times in the day or different seasons. Your painting live and have the power to change. Here, someone can buy one painting and get three in return! So exciting!

"Guernica" by Picasso, when seen in the art gallery has the power to stir the emotions of the viewer. Looking at this painting in a book or a photograph can stir the emotions but actually standing in front of the actual oil painting is so powerful, it's truly amazing. It does something that no scene of war. to this day, has done. One day view this painting in real life.

"Discovery" (Acrylic) on canvas 24" x 24" x 1.0" by Victoria Zyluk challenges the observer. To truly see this painting, it must be done for real. This painting must be seen in person and not just as a photograph. This painting is surreal in what it can do. The texture, composed from the acrylic paint is amazing. The texture of the painting adds to the craggy cliffs edging onto the angry sea, the colours challenge our imagination and if they stir thoughts tie your imagination to the cliffs, the sky, the beach and the water and the plants, the painting is doing it's job. It's teaching you and your friends to ask "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?"

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