Monday, July 5, 2010

Dark Matter (a la Nicholas Roerich)

Nicholas Roerich or Николай Рерих is a Russian painter and an activist who lived and worked at the beginning of the XX century. According to Wikipedia he created about 7000 paintings. He died at the age of 73 and started to work professionally at the end of the "high school" at the age of 18, so he had about 20000 work days including weekends, meaning he had to draw 1 picture every 3 days for 55 years. I think it is even more than Picasso did - one of the most productive artists the world saw.

This picture was the biggest "rabbit" challenge so far, as there is really no place for a white rabbit in the mountains, it is just so tiny, I thought. But a rabbit, even a white one, is more than a fluffy body with a pair of ears - and the white is just how we perceive it! That is why we agreed that this time a rabbit will be consumed by the dark matter:

Alexandra, Dark Matter

The artist
Apart from being a crazy painter he was an activist, he traveled the world spreading the idea of peace and harmony, doing it in 1920-1940s - not the most peaceful years in modern history. He also was a big fan of buddism and not a big fan of communism, although rumors has it he worked for KGB at some point and sold a big share of his paintings to help USSR to buy weapons and fight ze Germans (who's football team ruleeez right now - just could not resists). He managed to convince president Roosevelt to sign Roerich’s Pact laying a foundation to the UNESCO. I wish you find time to read an article about him - he had a really fascinating life.

Now let's talk about his art, first of all as he drew so many pictures he did not follow or created one particular style like cubism, romanticism etc; the most common practice in art science is to put Roerich in his own style, defined by the combination of colors, subjects and drawing style:

He started the style while still living in Russia: bright colors, hills or mountains almost on every picture, drawing style which cannot be directly identified, the picture looks almost real but still has certain elements of abstraction:
Guests from Overseas, 1901, Roerich

Or like this, less realism:
Alexander Nevsky, Roerich

But of course Roerich is most famous for his depicting of the Himalaya mountains where he lived for almost 30 years:
Snow, Roerich

A star, Roerich

Tibet, Roerich


Capturing the style
As we looked at several hunderds of his paintings thanks to the web sites of his foundation (you can find links to them at bottom of the wiki article) we defined his styles a follows - bright, light colours, mountains, large almost flat shapes, semi-realistic subjects and the crazy skies.

Or McKinsey style:
  • Bright, light colors
  • Containing an image of mountains or hills
  • Semi-realistic
  • Low detalization
  • Skies having an unusual insane quality


Dark Matter
This picture was the biggest "rabbit" challenge so far, as there is really no place for a white rabbit in the mountains, it is just so tiny, I thought. But a rabbit, even a white one, is more than a fluffy body with a pair of ears - and the white is just how we perceive it! That is why we agreed that this time a rabbit will be consumed by the dark matter.

So it began with a sketch, surprisingly:
Dark Matter, sketch zero, Alexandra


Then the sketch jumped to the canvas:
Dark Matter, sketch on the canvas, Alexandra




Dark Matter, half way done, Alexandra



Alexandra, Dark Matter

Ok, we had some fun this time, dark matter has managed to consume two white rabbits but one still hiding, can you find him and his fallen brothers?

1 comments:

Katerina said...

I can see the fallen rabbits (the shadows on the mountains) but I cannot find the hiding one. Help!

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