Tag Archives: khan academy

Art Appreciation

I just finished watching a video at Khan University that discussed art and context. As an artist myself I generally am trying to accomplish one or more of a few things.

copyright 2011 Kendall Stewart

First is to accurately portray some object while at the same time catching the mood of the object in a way a photograph might not.

Copyright 2012 Kendall Stewart

In some instances I am simply trying to create something that brings beauty to the fore.

Copyright 1996 Kendall Stewart

Sometimes my paintings are absolute accidents, but once an accident starts to please me I try to build onto it and again draw out the beauty that is visible, at least to me.

When it comes to appreciating art I am always happy to share with people how my art came to be, what I think of a piece, what I was trying to do, etc. However the thing that I want from those who look at my art is to first and foremost determine how the piece makes them feel. The examples that were discussed in the video were Monet’s Cliff Walk at Pourville and Malevich’s White on White. In Monet’s piece it is easy to look at the piece and come to personal conclusions about what the painting represents, how it makes you feel personally, what you like or dislike about the painting. In the instance of Malevich’s painting it is much more difficult to come to those conclusions by just looking at it. Though you may easily decide if you like the piece, getting a feeling from it may be more difficult. So this is an instance where after looking at it, making some initial personal judgments, it is nice to get the history of the painting and the artist’s view on what it was they wanted to accomplish. Something that I would originally of viewed as, “Well I could do that!”, now offers more to think about. So here’s what I think:  while I still stand by the belief that foremost in appreciating art is how the work makes the viewer feel, it is obvious that we can grow in our estimation of a piece by learning what the artist felt and thought and experienced at the time of their work.

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Khan Academy on the Diane Rehm Show

I was on the way home from the doctor’s office today and caught most of the second half of The Diane Rehm Show on NPR and I am so glad I did! As her guest she had Salman Khan who is the man behind The Khan Academy. I had never heard of it until today but by the time I got home I couldn’t wait to get home and visit it. Basically the Academy, found at khanacademy.org, is a free educational site crammed pack full of short lectures in a variety of subjects. There seems to be no limit to the people who may find this site of use. Subjects of learning include math, computer science, history, art history, finance and economics and they hope to continue to expand. So I visited the site and decided I would watch one video just to get an idea and share it here. I watched a short video, in this case more of a slide show with voice overs discussing why look at art. After watching the video I found questions submitted by people who had viewed the “lecture” followed by room to comment yourself. Also you can ask a question for discussion if you chose. In just a few minutes, probably less than 15, I had an opportunity to think about and join in on a discussion of the value of art.  I loved it! Next I want to work on my math skills…and science…ooh and more art…and history! If you’d like to listen to the interview of the founder, which I found fascinating, you can find it here: http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-10-03/salman-khan-one-world-schoolhouse-education-reimagined . Anyhow, that’s what I think for today!