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Eclipse
far-away places as inspiration, postcards, eclipse, exotic places, Mount Baker, volcanic mountain, crater lakes, craters, magical places, the Cascade Mountains, Mount Baker, painting composition, principles of design, acrylic paint, symmetry, formal and informal balance, painting surface textures, monochromatic colour palette, building paint layers, painting themes, collage layers, places in memory, imagination,, painting, Mount Baker, lake, reflection, moon
description

For years Thauberger has been exploring his own environment for inspiration and to capture the essence of the prairies. But, when Eclipse was painted in the 1980s, Thauberger was exploring far-away places by studying postcards and envisioning the romantic, exotic and magical places these images suggest. “I went on a holiday via postcards,” Thauberger told an interviewer in 1982.  (Tousley, 1982)

Mount Baker In Eclipse Thauberger is celebrating the Cascade Mountains – popular with tourists - and Mount Baker in particular. Mount Baker is a  volcanicOf or pertaining to a volcano or volcanoes; as, volcanic heat. Produced by a volcano, or, more generally, by igneous agencies; as, volcanic tufa. Changed or affected by the heat of a volcano. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  mountain in Washington State, famed as one of the snowiest and most  picturesqueIn general, this may refer to any scene which seems to be especially suitable for representation in a picture, especially that which is sublime. It is especially associated with an aesthetic mode formulated in the late eighteenth century which valued deliberate rusticity, irregularities of design, and even a cultivated pursuit of quaint or nostalgic forms. Such pictures became common in nineteenth century Europe and America. Examples can be found among the American painters of the Hudson River school — Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Jasper Cropsey (1823-1900), and Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) — and of the Rocky Mountain school — Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926). (artlex.com)  places in the world. It was named by explorer George Vancouver after a member of his crew, Third Lieutenant Joseph Baker, who first sighted it on April 30, 1792.
 
The lake in the  foregroundIn a painting or drawing, the foreground is usually composed of images at the bottom of the frame. They give the appearance of being closest to the viewer.  is like crater lakes found in other Washington and Oregon locations. The eclipse above the mountain could refer to an eclipse in the northwest United States in May 18, 1980, but Thauberger said the  eclipseAn interception or obscuration of the light of the sun, moon, or other luminous body, by the intervention of some other body, either between it and the eye, or between the luminous body and that illuminated by it. A lunar eclipse is caused by the moon passing through the earth's shadow; a solar eclipse, by the moon coming between the sun and the observer. A satellite is eclipsed by entering the shadow of its primary. The obscuration of a planet or star by the moon or a planet, though of the nature of an eclipse, is called an occultation. The eclipse of a small portion of the sun by Mercury or Venus is called a transit of the planet. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  was added for his own personal  aestheticPertaining to a sense of the beautiful or to the science of aesthetics.  pleasure, to “dot the eye,” of the composition.

The whole  compositionArrangements of elements in a work of art.  of Eclipse is based on the idea of doubling. If you split the mountain and eclipse down the middle there is  symmetryFormal balance where two sides of a design are identical.  like a Rorschach Test. The  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  can also be divided into two distinct areas horizontally. The top half (sky) is painted differently from the bottom half (water). The bottom half has paint poured over the surface while at the top the paint is spattered. Sand was added to the  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  of the mountain area, giving it a gritty texture, and the trees are convincingly portrayed with a paintbrush. An air brush and  monochromaticColour scheme using one hue and all its tints and shades for a unifying effect.   thalo blueGo to Wikipedia to see Thalo (Phthlocynine) blue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalocyanine_Blue_BN  paint are used on the top and the bottom to unify the composition.

start quoteEver since it's really what I refer to as the built landscape, so it's the buildings, but it's also the landscape and the references to landscape.end quote
-- David Thauberger

“To paint these places Thauberger decided to use  acrylicSynthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a synthetic vehicle made from polymerized acrylic acid esters, the most important of which is polymethyl methacrylate. First used by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of their versatility. They can be used on nearly any surface, in transparent washes or heavy impasto, with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finishes. Acrylic paints dry quickly, do not yellow, are easily removed with mineral spirits or turpentine, and can clean up with soap and water.(Artlex.com)  colours straight from the tube,” writes critic Joan Murray, “especially those considered garish -  dioxine purpleSee Dioxine (Dioxazine) Purple at: http://www.realcolorwheel.com/oilpalette18diopurple.htm    and thalo blues and greens. He combined these with glitter thrown on by hand to create large paintings with a tidied-up, usually  frontalThe head-on view of a person or object. (Artlex.com)  viewpoint, sometimes on a related theme, but always involving popular art.” (Murray, 1986)

Critic Nancy Tousley offers another perspective on Thauberger’s process and style: “Thauberger eliminates extraneous photographic detail in the post cards and builds his compositions with a kind of  stencilStiff paper (or other sheet material) with a design cut into it as a template for shapes meant to be copied. Ink or paint forced through the design's openings will produce a print on a flat surface placed beneath. The relationship between the positive and negative spaces is best when no part of the sheet is damaged or lost in its use. In lettering stencils, for instance, the centers of such letters as A, B, D, O, and P are some of the shapes most likely to have this problem. The "bridges" holding these "islands" in position are the chief characteristics of stencils. Art in which stencil letters are used often make reference to flatness, cheaply hand-produced signage and package labeling, among other common applications. Patterns and other designs are also painted as stenciled architectural decorations. Pochoir and silkscreening (or serigraphy) are types of stencil processes. Also, the image produced, and the process of making it. (Artlex.com)  technique, by  maskingCreating a mask, that is, creating an opaque edge or area placed between an image and a photosensitive surface to prevent its exposure to certain portions of the image.  the areas adjacent to each  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  and laying them individually. This gives his surfaces the  reliefA type of sculpture in which forms projects from a background. There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the forms stand far out from the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved. (Artlex.com)  look of  collagePainting and/or gluing a variety of materials on a prepared surface to create a work of art.  and, with their varied textures, reinforces the  stylizedTo stylize is to alter natural shapes, forms, colours, or textures in order to make a representation in a preset style or manner. The design of any work tends to result in its having a style, and its having been freely chosen is one aspect of its appeal. "Stylization" suggests a more controlled application of a style, the artist having less freedom of choice. (Artlex.com)  and artificial qualities of the painted image,” Tousley continues. “Not concerned with naturalism, Thauberger transforms his paintings of nature into the kind of enhanced image of place that lives in the memory.” (Tousley, 1982)

additional resources Adding Physical Elements to His Painting
Duration: 2:41 min
Size: 11770kb
How He Got His Start
Duration: 2:51 min
Size: 13125kb
How Saskatchewan Folk Artists Influenced His Work
Duration: 2:48 min
Size: 12590kb
Interview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Duration: 3:35 min
Size: 15193kb
The Driving Rain
Duration: 2:04 min
Size: 9272kb
Using a Camera as a Sketching Tool and Using Tape to Mask an Image
Duration: 2:18 min
Size: 9972kb
Things to Think About
  • Do you have to visit a far-off place for it to seem to be familiar? What is the relationship between your familiarity with your own surroundings and the awareness you have of other places? Is the grass always greener on the other side?
  • Nancy Tousley observes that by 1980-81, just before Eclipse was undertaken, Thauberger, “had established the coordinates of place at the centre of an axis aligned between the local and the cosmopolitan, the everyday and the exotic, the material and the existential worlds, the reproduction’s idealized reality and the reality of painting.” (Tousley, 1988) What do you think she is saying in this comment?
  • Thauberger once traveled to one of the locations in his postcard series. He did not find it inspiring and instead was disappointed. Has that ever happened to you - where you look forward to seeing or doing something and are let down by reality of the the actual physical place or event? How can a postcard influence our perceptions of a place?
  • “The people themselves never appear in these paintings, critic Nancy Tousley once wrote. “Thauberger represents the objects of their making, the objects of their desires and the objects of their affections - the things that bind them together as a social unit within the larger society.” (Tousley, 1988) Can you think of other artists who use this representation device in their work? (See Lynne Cohen - ARTSask Interiors)
  • Do you think Thauberger’s paintings appeal to the child in all of us? Could they be described as “anti-elitist, non-academic, pop art”? (Balfour Bowen, 1989)
Online Activity
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Go to the Paint Studio Activities at Artisancam: http://www.artisancam.org.uk/flashapps/paintstudio/paintstudio.php.

Here you will find a  varietyPrinciple of design concerned with difference or contrasts.  of  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  and  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  tools. Use  spray paintFor information on spraypaint, go to: Spray painting at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spray_painting Spray paint art at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spray_paint_art Spray Paint Space Art: http://www.spraypaintart.co.uk/ Amazing Live Spray Paint Art Performance (by Brandon McConnell): http://www.metacafe.com/watch/288813/amazing_live_spray_paint_art_performance/    and  collagePainting and/or gluing a variety of materials on a prepared surface to create a work of art.  to create an artwork similar to Thauburger’s Eclipse. Or just have fun with the various components you can use.

 

Studio Activity

Texture in painting

Or

  • Draw into the plaster before it dries and carve into it after it has set up.
  • Experiment with the materials.

Stencil prints

To make a stencil:

  • Carefully cut out your shapes using an exacto-knife or any sharp utility knife.  SAFETY NOTE:  Use care whenever you handle sharp objects and make sure you have a protective covering on the surface you are working on so it will not be damaged.
  • Change colours and overlap colours to achieve interesting results.
  • If you choose to add more information or detail, make another stencil and continue the process.

For more information on creating stencil prints, go to:

 

Folk art references for inspiration

Thauberger appreciates and collects folk art, and he uses many  folk artThe production of art by untrained amateurs for their own enjoyment. Style in folk art is influenced by a combination of the artist’s culture and art history.  traditions in his work. Nancy Tousley states, “The visual culture which the folk artists lived and worked was one of local architecture and crafts, television, calendars, art reproductions, postcards, magazine reproductions, illustrations, advertising of all kinds, greeting cards and trading cards, paintings on black velvet, all matter of Kitsch, hobby kits, how-to books, etc.” (Tousley, 1982)

Use a  folk artThe production of art by untrained amateurs for their own enjoyment. Style in folk art is influenced by a combination of the artist’s culture and art history.   pictorialOf or pertaining to pictures; illustrated by pictures; forming pictures; representing with the clearness of a picture; as, a pictorial dictionary; a pictorial imagination. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  device or technique, like those described above, as a starting point for your own popular culture-based artwork. You could:

  • Look for interesting buildings in your community and use one as the inspiration for an artwork.
  • Go to a garage sale or a yard sale, or check out your basement storage area and find objects that can be used as ideas for artworks or can be incorporated into artworks.
  • Look for catchy advertising and use ideas from that in your image production.
  • Think of a place you would like to go and find travel pamphlets you can use as the starting point for creating an image of that place. 

 

Bright  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  and advertising

Look for bright colours used in advertising and the media. Some are so brilliant that they can, at times, be somewhat unpleasing to look at for any length of time.

  • Experiment with these eye-catching colours in paint on paper or canvas.
  • For information on the use and impact of colour in advertising see:
Science Behind the Art

By: Jason Cosford, J.D. Mollard and Associates Limited

Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, such as Mount Baker depicted in this painting, are a product of plate tectonics.  Off the Pacific Coast, the ocean floor is spreading apart at the Juan de Fuca Ridge and driving the oceanic crust of the Juan de Fuca Plate eastward where it encounters the westward drifting continental crust of the North American Plate.  When the two plates converge, the denser oceanic crust subducts beneath the less dense continental crust where high temperatures and pressures partially melt the rock to form magma that rises and erupts at the surface to produce a chain of volcanoes above the subduction zone.  This process occurs around the Pacific Basin forming what is called the “Ring of Fire.”  The  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  also portrays an occultation of the sun by the moon, more commonly known as a solar eclipse.  During a solar eclipse, the moon is aligned between the sun and earth and the shadow cast by the moon crosses earth’s surface.  Because the apparent size of the moon is nearly the same as the sun when viewed from earth, the moon can appear to completely block the sun, known as totality.  When viewed in totality, as captured in the painting, it is possible to see the sun’s corona, which is fiercely hot plasma surrounding the sun.

References

Balfour Bowen, Lisa.  All that Glitters.’  The Sunday Sun, March 5, 1989.

Murray, Joan.  ‘David Thauberger: Popular Image King.’  Vie Des Arts, Vol. XXI, #124, Sept. 1986.

Tousley, Nancy.  ‘Thauberger Takes Postcard Holiday.’  The Calgary Herald, Aug. 19, 1982.

Tousley, Nancy. ‘Putting Things In Place: David Thauberger’s Vernacular Style.’ in David Thauberger Paintings 1978 – 1988, Exhibition catalogue.  Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1988.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning