Women of Mythology; Warriors, Mothers & Virgins: The Art of Howard David Johnson

Realistic Paintings and Pictures of legendary women and mythical goddesses of Classical, (Greek & Roman) Celtic, Norse, African and Asian Myths and Legends. A celebration of women of myth and legend by Contemporary American Illustrator Howard David Johnson, whose illustrations of Mythology have been published all over the world by distinguished learning institutions and publishers including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

 

Presents: Contemporary Mythical Art Galleries

A Gallery of New Paintings, Drawings and Pictures from World Mythology in traditional oils, Contemporary acrylics and cutting edge digital mixed media in the style of the classic illustrators. Newly Updated for 2014!

"Hera, Queen of the Olympians"

 

"Hel, Norse Queen of Nifilheim"

 

 

                                            

 

Warriors, Mothers and Virgins;

Mythic Links:     You are Here     Celtic Mythology      Norse Mythology      Asian Mythology     Greek & Roman Mythology     Fairy Art for All Ages

 

 

The myths and religions of the ancient world abound with divine and semi- divine females, often associated with themes of virginity and sexuality, promiscuity and destruction.

 "Athene, goddess of Wisdom and Justice"  (2008 oil on 20 x 16 canvas)

        Terrifying battle goddesses were invoked in times of conflict and presided over war, nature, animals, healing and fertility. Mother goddesses were venerated and entreated in prayer for the fertility of crops and livestock.

       Many goddesses were associated with animal totems, such as birds, bears, deer, snakes, wolves and many others.

     Fantastic feminine creatures such as the Gorgons and such noble goddesses as Athena, protector of the Acropolis and  legendary mortal women abounded in these stories as well. 

    A striking characteristic of these pagan religions is the belief in Animism, that all things are inhabited by spirits such as  fairies.

    Spirits were believed to surround mankind in all aspects of life and death. This all pervading spiritual presence is a feature common to many polytheistic religions;

   Another abiding belief is that these spirits are both male and female. This concept of divine partnership is a prominent aspect in many polytheistic religions from ancient times to this very day.

Although I don't myself believe in fairies or any of these gods or goddesses, I'm sure you can tell by the art that I do have an abiding love for our shared cultural heritage, am committed to its preservation and deeply respect the beliefs of others...  

~ Howard David Johnson

Howard David Johnson works in a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * and last but not least: Digital Artistry & Mixed Media *  Because of the use of photography in everything he does, even David's all-oil paintings can be termed mixed media.*

 Warriors, Mothers and Virgins; 
 
 

       

 

"Return with your shield or on it" A Spartan Mother (MMX Mixed Media) and "Queen Mab, the Bringer of Dreams" (MMVI Oil on Canvas) and "Pandora's Box" [Oil on canvas 2005] 

 

 

               

 

 

"Frigg takes oaths from all living creatures"and "Hermodr Before Hel, Norse Queen of Nifilheim" and "Skadi, the Elf Maiden" MMXIV

Note the ancient sun disk symbol, the swastika which was not in any way associated with anti-semitism or racism and was used much like the 
ancient Japanese indigenous aboriginal tribes of America and the Asian Indians.

 
 

         

 
   "Valkyrie Maiden", "The Temptation of Iðunn" and "Brunhilde, Captain of the Valkyries"  [All from Norse Mythology and in Mixed Media]
 

      

                  

" Hestia" [ aka Vesta] goddess of the Hearth and Home and "Hera, Queen of the Olympians" from Greek Mythology [both MMXII Mixed Media]

 

         

 

"Demeter, goddess of the Harvest" & "Justitia, Roman goddess of Justice" & "Isis, Ancient Egyptian Patroness of Nature & Magic"

 

        

 

 "Boudica's Prayer to the Morrigu" MMX (20X 16 oil on canvas.) and "The Protector of the Forest" MMX from Germanic Elven Folklore  and "Athena, Protector of the Acroplois"

 

     

"Medusa the GORGON" and  The Daughters of HADES "Macaria" goddess of the blessed afterlife and "Atalanta" the huntress

 

                                            

     

 The Coming of Brünhilde, (below right MMVI Mixed Media) Odin's daughter and captain of the Valkyries

 

              

 

  Right: "The Lady of the Lake" the Celtic goddess who gave Excalibur to King Arthur [MMXII Mixed Media] Left: From Celtic Mythology: Brigit (AKA Saint Brigit) was the Gaelic goddess of poetry which the Gaels deemed an immaterial, supersensual form of flame. She was also considered the most important of the Dagda's children. 

 

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Kriemhilde's Revenge MMVIII "The Oracle" MMVIII and "Daybreak" MMX

 

           

"The Ascension" MMXII mixed media and "Centauride" MMXIV Visit the Greek Mythology Gallery for LOTS more mythic art...Above Right:  "Merbabies" MMVIII  

 

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"The Epic Cycle" from Oxford University Press...

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Pandora, according to Hesiod, "The father of History" was the first woman. 

Pandora's Box; After Prometheus had stolen fire from heaven and bestowed it upon mortals, Zeus determined to counteract this blessing. 

He commissioned Hephaestus to fashion a woman out of the Earth and the gods all bestowed upon her their choicest gifts, such as Aphrodite's beauty and powers of seduction. Zeus gave her a jar, the so called "Pandora's Box" secretly containing all the misery and evils of this world. She was forbidden nothing in this world save to open this box.

 Her curiosity proved too much for her and she opened it, freeing all manner of evil spirits and negative energy. Hope alone remained at the bottom, the lid having been shut down before she escaped. This story- like so many others is paralleled in the myths and legends of cultures all over the ancient world.

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Apollo and Daphne; One would think a god such as Apollo, endowed with all the charms of youth, strength, grace, and beauty would find few to resist him. The amorous adventures of Apollo were numerous and legendary, but several of these olympian goddesses, oceanids, and nymphs such as Daphne were unwilling. Nor did all mortal women submit to Apollo's desires, some sources hint his arrogance, unfaithfulness, and cruelty made him impossible to love in spite of his obvious attributes. He tried in vain to seduce Daphne, the nymph and daughter of the river Peneius, who was as chaste as she was beautiful. When she refused to submit to Apollo, he attempted to ravish her; but she fled. He over-took her and she already felt the eager arms of the Sun god around her when she called upon the venerable Gaea to aid her. Immediately the Earth gaped open. Daphne disappeared, and in her place a Laurel Tree sprang from the ground. Apollo made it a plant sacred to him, and the Laurel wreath worn about the head was a symbol of great honor in Ancient Greece and Rome and is associated with great personal achievement to this day.

"Moon goddess Diana" 2008 16" x 12" (Mixed media including colored pencils and acrylic)

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LIMITED EDITION

[of a maximum 1,000 prints per image]

PRINT-ON-DEMAND

Each inspected, hand signed and numbered by the artist!

Gorgeous Quality Printing!

For a LIMITED time and a LIMITED print run many of the illustrations in Johnson's vast portfolio are now available!

Free Shipping and Handling on all orders!

A numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

CHECK OUT WITH

thejohnsongalleries@gmail.com

Sized to fit standard frames!

20x16 inches [508x406mm] & 14x11 inches [356x280 mm]

 Poster Size Art Reprints!

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The Johnson Galleries now prints these "in-house" with our new state of the art Epson 7890 oversize printer on Epson 200 year premium photo paper and canvas with Epson inks!

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Thank You for Visiting the Women of Mythology Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson.

If you enjoyed this gallery you might enjoy some of David's other themed Galleries, links are below.

Enter a world of Beauty and Imagination...

The Realistic Art Galleries of Contemporary American Illustrator Howard David Johnson

Francais    English     Deutsch   Italiano    De Portugese    Espanol     Dutch    Japanese    Chinese

Click on the Icons to visit the Educational Galleries of Realistic Art: Including Mythology of Greece, Rome, Asia, The Celts, The Norsemen, and more...Fairy and Dragon legends, The King Arthur Legends, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Paintings of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, Ancient Mystic Religious texts, War and Civilization from the Ancient Spartans to World War Two, The World's Great Religions, and Free Art Lessons.

 
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Home Page

Greek Mythology

Norse Mythology World's Religions Angel Art Gallery Legendary Women

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Asian Mythology

Symbolist Art

Pre-Raphaelite Art Fairy Paintings Celtic Mythology Arthurian legends
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Realistic Paintings Surreal Fantasy Art

The Art of War 

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Legends of History

Spartan Warriors

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About the Artist

Basic Art Technique Studio Photography Art Instruction Frauen Mit Blumen The Seven Wonders
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 Art of the Bible Mermaid Art  Commercial Art Business Center Book Cover Art Paintings in Oils

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Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

*****

Who is American Illustrator Howard David Johnson?

A Traditional style portrait of the artist. [Photo by his son Erich.]

       Howard David Johnson is a contemporary visual artist and photographer with a background in the natural sciences and history. H D Johnson, or David as he is called, works in a wide variety of media ranging from traditional oils,  pastels and others to today's cutting edge digital media. 

    After a lifetime of drawing and painting, Johnson's Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London in 1996, ( 3 years before he got his first computer ) as well as numerous American ones since, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His illustrations have appeared in every major bookstore and gameshop chain in America as well as magazines and educational texts around the world.  

      Some of David's more prestigious clients have included the National Geographic Society, the University of Texas, the University of Cambridge in England, Paramount Studios, PBS TV, Adobe Photoshop Auto FX, Doubleday, and the History Book of the Month Club, 

      Licenses to print his existing work are available at surprisingly affordable prices. Realistic Oil Paintings, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, and Digital art can also be commissioned for select projects - Working in a variety of traditional and cutting edge digital media he offers his customers a variety of options and more than thirty years of experience.  

      As an illustrator David has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development and marketing of filter imaging software for Adobe Photoshop [TM]. On his existing works license offers start at only $149.00. Oil Paintings, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, and Digital art can also be commissioned for select projects.

Since 1996 This Art Gallery has been honored by more than 25 million Unique Visitors

from the Four Corners of the Earth:

My Friends from around the world thus far :

England,   Canada,   Scotland,   Wales,   Ireland,   Germany,   France,   Monaco,   Andorra,   Italy,   The Vatican City State,  Greece,  Macedonia,  Cyprus,  Turkey,  Belgium,  Denmark,  The Faroe Islands,   Greenland,  Yugoslavia, Macedonia,  Croatia,  The Czech Republic,  Bosnia,  Herzegovina,  Slovakia,  Slovenia,  Luxembourg,  Latvia,  Estonia, Hungary,  Bulgaria,  Lithuania,  Poland,  Austria,  Romania,  Spain,  The Russian Federation,   Ukraine,   Kazakhstan, Moldova,  Malta,  Iceland,  Finland,  Norway,  Netherlands,  Switzerland,  Liechtenstein,  Sweden,  Portugal,  Albania, Armenia, Georgia,  Azerbaijan,  Belarus,  Kazakhstan,  Gibraltar,  Israel,  Palestinian Territories,   Egypt,   Libya,  Mali, Algeria,  Niger,  Saudi Arabia,  Oman,  The United Arab Emirates,  Kuwait,  Bahrain,  Qatar,  Yemen,  Iraq,  Iran,  Jordan, Syria,   Lebanon,   Morocco,   Ethiopia,   Eritrea,   Liberia,   The Republic of Congo,   Rwanda,   Kenya,  Angola,  Ghana, The Ivory Coast,   Zambia,   Zimbabwe,   Sudan,  Nigeria,  Namibia,  Uganda,   Kenya,  Eritrea,  Tanzania,  Botswana, Malawi,  Senegal,  Djibouti,  Cameroon,  Chad,  Gambia,  Mozambique,  Swaziland,  Lesotho,  South Africa,  Viet Nam, Japan,  South Korea,  China,  Hong Kong,  Mongolia,  Mauritius,  Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia,  Laos,   Myanmar,  Macau,  Malaysia,  Taiwan,  Nuie,  New Zealand,  Fiji,  Cook Islands,

"ISIS, Ancient Egyptian Patroness of Nature and Magic"

New Caledonia,  Vanuatu,  American Samoa,  Australia,  Micronesia,  Polynesia,  Papua New Guinea,  The Heard and McDonald Islands,  The Philippines, Guam, Palau,  Cocos Island,  The Kingdom of Tonga,  Malaysia,   Brunei Darussalem,  India,   Pakistan,   Afghanistan, Bhutan,  Bangladesh,  Sri Lanka,  Chagos Islands,  The Republic of Maldives,  Turkmenistan,  Kyrgyzstan,  Uzbekistan, Nepal,  Indonesia,  Chile,  Argentina,  Uruguay,  Paraguay,  Brazil,  Peru,   Aruba,  Venezuela,  Bolivia, Suriname,  Guyana,  Aruba,  The Dominican Republic,  Guatemala,  Costa Rica,  Colombia,  Trinidad and Tobago,   Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,  The Virgin Islands,  The Netherlands Antilles,  Panama,  Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Grenada, Ecuador,  Belize,   Nicaragua,   El Salvador,   Bermuda,  Cuba,  Jamaica,  Dominica,  Haiti,  Puerto Rico,  Cayman Islands,   Anguilla,    The Bahamas,   Honduras,   Mexico, 

and my home, The Great Free State of Texas...  [USA] 

If your home is not listed here please e-mail us and tell us where you're from..

info@howarddavidjohnson.com

Thank you for Visiting the Women of Mythology art page... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

All images copyright 1993-2014 Howard David Johnson all rights reserved.

*****

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MANY PIECES OF ORIGINAL ART ON PAPER LIKE THESE ARE AVAILABLE:

Many pieces are currently available, mostly 11x14-13x16 inch Prismacolor Paintings (like Helen of Troy) and pencil portraits (like Arriba #2) followed in number by Acrylic, Prismacolor and pastel mixed media all on #400 Strathmore Bristol Board ranging from $700.00-$1400. 00 USD and Oil Paintings on canvas ranging from $1999.00 - 10,000.00 USD.  Pieces that have never been rendered in oil can be commissioned in 16x20 inch size on canvas for 50% down and delivered in under 90 days with signed certificates of authenticity aka legal documents pledging never to render it in that size and media again to ensure premium collectability and investment potential.

David can also do a completely new picture designed in digital media (for more on this visit his digital media page) and when we approve the photo-montage, he uses it as reference to render it in oil on canvas. No surprises.  Existing Artwork is shipped very well protected and go out to you immediately via Fed Ex or USPS Express mail upon receipt of payment at our expense. All new creations cost a bit more depending on what is involved. All new creations and rendering photo montages into art on paper are a LOT of fun with e-mail attachments and digital cameras. 

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ORIGINAL OIL PAINTINGS ON CANVAS LIKE THIS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE:

Almost all of Johnson's Mixed Media creations (above left) displayed in this site are available to be rendered in oil on canvas like the 20x16 oil on canvas Faerie Guardians 2006 (above right). Each design will only be rendered in oil once at this size and can be delivered in as little as 90 days. Sadly, much of the subtlety, vibrance, lustre and impact of an original oil painting is lost when it is scanned and imported to digital media or even printed by a master printer. Nothing can compare to an original oil painting viewed in person in my opinion but the other painting media definitely look good in print and have their charms and distinct advantages as well.

e-mail for more details at

info@howarddavidjohnson.com

Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

*****

                                            

Thank You for Visiting the Women of Mythology Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson...

Howard David Johnson works in a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * and last but not least: Digital Artistry & Mixed Media *  Because of the use of photography in everything he does, even Johnson's all-oil paintings can be termed mixed media.*

Primary sources (Greek and Roman)

(...and recommended  reading)
 Aeschylus, "The Persians", Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound", Apollodorus, "Library and Epitome", Apollonius of Rhodes, "Argonautica, Book I",  Cicero, "De Divinatione" (On the Divination), Herodotus, "The Histories, I", Hesiod, "Works and Days" Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Homer, Iliad. Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, "Hymn to Demeter" and "Hymn to Hermes" also by Homer, Ovid, "Metamorphoses" and "Pausanias" Plato, "Apology" and "Theaetetus". See free English translations on the web at sites like The Online Medieval and Classical Library, (http://omacl.org) The Perseus Project (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper), Sacred Texts (www.sacred-texts.com) and Encyclopedia Mythica (http://www.pantheon.org)

Artistic Acknowledgements:

         These Mythic Art creations take their inspiration from the realistic paintings of the old masters just as the film West Side Story came from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, who in turn copied it from Pyramus and Thisbe, from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Our shared cultural heritage, great works of art, literature, music and drama, cinema, folk tales and fairy tales are all drawn upon again and again by the creators of new works. These works in the public domain are both a catalyst and a wellspring for creativity and innovation. Where would Walt Disney be without the Brothers Grimm  Hans Christian Anderson, or Victor Hugo? Where would Aaron Copeland have been without American folk music?  Or Thomas Nast's Santa Claus without traditional images of Father Christmas? Pablo Picasso without aboriginal African art? Public domain appropriators, one and all. When America was formed, copyright law was created to promote the public creativity and had 14 year terms to reward the creators, but now with 100 plus year terms very little is currently allowed to enter into the public domain and its preservation is of the utmost urgency to our future cultural well-being.  In keeping with art tradition and etiquette following the exhibit , I mention some of the artists and writers that have influenced me the most; William Bouguereau, John William Waterhouse, Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin, Edmund Blair Leighton,  Howard Pyle, Arthur Rackham,  Arthur Hughes, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Viktor Vasnetsov, Jean Auguste Ingres, Anthony Van Dyke,  Lawrence Alma-Tadema,  Wallace Wood, Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta, Ray Harryhausen, H.G. Wells, Gustave Moreau, William Morris, Henry David Thoreau, Will Durant, The Pre- Raphaelites, The Symbolists, et al. 

 

All  paintings, pictures, & text  (c) 2014 Howard David Johnson All Rights Reserved

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ON SALE NOW from BRANDYWINE PRESS!

         

    These beautifully printed 11" x 8.5" 64-74 page hardcover and trade paperback versions feature 48-54 full page interior plates in full color starting at only $14.99 USD. Less than the price of a single poster! Featuring Realistic Mythological and Fairy Art created in a style inspired by Classic Illustrators by American Artist & Photographer Howard David Johnson. 

Click on the covers to order the books from Lulu.com

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STYLE and TECHNIQUE

"Those who are enamored of practice without science are like a pilot who goes into a ship without rudder or compass and never has any certainty where he is going. Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory, of which perspective is the guide and gateway, and without it nothing can be done well in any kind of painting."

Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thou shalt remain here, whe’r thou wilt or no.”

From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 

    The various galleries linked to by the icons above show many examples of His Realistic Art, and are grouped by theme rather than media. Since boyhood he has passionately copied the old masters. Using a strategy employed by J.W. Waterhouse (The old master David has imitated most) - his wistful and graceful models cannot be underestimated in their contribution to the stunning beauty and the potential for lasting appeal of his work. To create his work, he usually starts with a thematic concept, then working in his Photography studio with live models. He then assembles a variety of elements which are realistic and original. As a boy he dedicated his life to art in 1960. From 1965- 1999 he used xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo montages. This is patterned after  the manner used by Maxfield Parrish and other 19th century notables. For this he offers no apology as many of the greatest artists in history employed any and all means of technology at their disposal such as Camera Obscura or even the evil manufactured tube paints. See his article below: "On Art and Technology: When Seeing is Not Believing" An essay dealing with mechanical aids to visual art from Camera Obscura to Computers for more on this. The digital montage is a natural evolution of the preliminary photo collage David learned from great Realistic illustrators like Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. You'd think by now everything would have been tried but it hasn't. Exploring new art mediums is just as exciting today, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever been.

His favourite medium for professional work for many years was colored pencil because of the high speed and low expense, and people began expressing difficulty in telling his colored pencil drawing from photographs in the early 1980's. Lately he mostly draws in colored pencil to relax and for personal works. Recently he has come to prefer Oil on canvas and digital media because of the respectability of oils and the flexibility and profitability of digital media. As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create art but has been involved in the development of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. Working in a realistic style inspired by classic illustrators David is deeply rooted and grounded in the Greco-Roman artistic tradition, Feeling that with realistic art, the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. His lifelong dream came true when his Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. Having achieved international acclaim as a traditional visual artist he discovered digital media (Art Numérica) in 1999. Because of his passion for realistic art he elected to embrace it and joyfully be a part of this historic era in the visual arts as a 21st century realistic visual artist. Since 1972 when he began his career as a scientific illustrator for the University of Texas he has earned his living illustrating all kinds of books, magazines, CD covers, and all sorts of games, greeting cards, calendars, portraits, tapestries, murals and the like with his contemporary realistic art... David's Realistic Art has appeared in every major bookstore chain in The United States and has been used in educational texts and magazines all over the world.

*****

All  paintings, pictures, & text  (c) 1993- 2014 Howard David Johnson All rights reserved

Thank You for Visiting the Women of Mythology art page...

*****

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Bonus Section:

Personal Opinion Essays on Realistic Art yesterday and today by the artist.

    In addition to his mastery of traditional media, Howard David Johnson now combines drawing, painting, photography, and digital media with more than thirty years of experience in these fields to create his Realistic Art Numérica in 21st century paintings and pictures. Did you know the Greek word "Photography" means "Painting with Light"? Today with the advent of computers it truly lives up to it's name. Due to developments in Art and Technology, a broader definition of painting is needed than that which is found in common usage. Announcing Art Numérica -an exciting merger of traditional visual art and cutting edge technology... a new art form for the twenty- first century... Art Numérica is not limited to realistic art but also offers limitless horizons for everything from cartoons to abstractions. It is the most dramatic development in the visual arts since the Renaissance. In the words of Al Jolson in the movie world's first talking picture" You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

"THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME..."

(A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and Art Numérica )

"Painting, in art, the action of laying colour on a surface, or the representation of objects by this means. Considered one of the fine arts"

~Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

"Painting. noun. 1.) The act or employment of laying on colors or paints. 2.) The art of forming figures or objects in colors on canvas or any other surface, or the art of representing to the eye by means of figures and colors any object; the work of an illustrator or painter. 3.) A picture; a likeness or resemblance in shape or colors. 4.) Colors laid on. 5.) Delineation that raises a vivid image in the mind; as in word painting.

~ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

     Snobbism in the arts is nothing new. Some people will tell you that oils are the only valid medium for realistic paintings. That Colored Pencil, Digital, and other Realistic Painting and Drawing Media are not valid  for "real" art. Young artists, Don't let them bother you. Their forerunners used to condemn Pastels before they gained acceptance and called them "crayons" when Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) invented them.  Mercilessly disrespectful  art critics of the time could not stop the Experimentalists no matter how viciously they attacked and derided them. "Crayon-painting" as it was called in England was practiced early on by persecuted pioneers in Switzerland and many other nations. What a debt we owe to these master artists who refused to knuckle under to the pressure of those short-sighted critics during those historic and experimental times. It took until 1870 with the founding of the "Societe` Des Pastellistes" in France that respect came  at last to these heroic & immortal visual artists.

        In England the liberation of the Pastellists from slight regard and undeserved disrespect came with the first exhibition of "The Pastel Society" at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1880. Pastel Painters like Mary Cassat and others from America and other nations forever silenced  the snobs with their masterworks and gained recognition at long last for Thiele's invention as a valid art medium. I am persuaded that history will repeat itself.  Like Pastels, I believe these wonderful new colored pencils and even Digital Realistic Art Media will one day receive the recognition they deserve as powerful mediums of artistic expression just as pastel paintings did. What is your definition of art? Have you thought about it?

Mine is: "anything that makes you feel or think."

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Pastel, Acrylics, and Colored Pencils combined

~Dierdre of the Sorrows detail.jpg (59016 bytes)

The detail reveals Realistic art and abstract art combined

     Consider dancing... it can be a little skip in the step or rise to the level of the incomparable Russian Ballet. Did you know that just the materials alone for a single oil painting cost up to a thousand dollars these days? Even paying the artist less than minimum wage no one but the super rich can afford them anymore. Something's got to give. Realistic paintings in oil have been highly prized for centuries and the appeal and following of realistic art is undiminished to this day. Oil paintings featuring Abstract Art and Realistic Art are generally the most treasured form of all the visual art media and with good reason. But snobbish art critics  favoring abstract art have declared  that realistic paintings, or illustrations are not art for a century. With so many representationalist  paintings by so many immortal master artists hanging in the Louvre, the Hermitage, and the British Museum and others I think the disrespect for realistic illustrators that dominated the 20th century is academically ridiculous as well as vain and intolerant, insisting theirs is the only valid opinion. What is your definition of Art? I believe almost any form of human expression can be raised to the level of "high art" especially  visual art and Realistic illustration...

       By my own definition of art, which is: "anything that makes you feel or think" most abstract paintings are not "real art" to me personally, because abstract paintings usually neither make me feel or think,  usually focusing obsessively on technique and avoiding any coherent content. I usually draw a complete blank mentally and emotionally when I look at them. In 1979 the Houston Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a triptych of 3 giant   paintings they paid fifty thousand dollars for-  three blank white canvasses entitled "untitled". Then there was "The incredible new artistic Genius" with an I.Q. of 62 ...Congo the chimpanzee with his gala New York art exhibition...an elaborate prank played on the Snobbish American Art critics about a generation ago by research scientists in the field of primatology. Imagine how upset they were when he created one of his "ingenious masterpieces" right before their eyes.

( My Source for this is the Time Life Science Library volume entitled "The Primates". )

      Art education has been almost completely removed from American Schools as a result of generations of this kind of  fabulous nonsense contributing to America's cultural illiteracy crisis. Now, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other notables are being removed from school libraries.  After generations of this, most American college graduates today cannot name even one living visual artist, abstract or realistic.

There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.    

What is your definition of Art?

~HDJ

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Note: Abstract Paintings by Congo the Chimpanzee outsold Warhol and Renoir by over 25,000 dollars in June 2005 at a London art auction. Born in 1954, Congo created more than 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. There is no precedent for this kind of sale.

The Rebirth of Realism

More thoughts on realistic art yesterday and today by the artist

Art History has entered a new era with the birth of Art Numérica, or digital art media in the 21st century. Artists never stop exploring with mediums. Artists have been developing techniques, experimenting with different tools since at least twenty- five thousand years ago, when the first artist picked up a charred stick and scratched a picture out on the wall of his cave. You'd think everything would have been tried by now, but it hasn't. Exploring new mediums this very day is just as exciting, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever was.

The creation of Realistic art has been the goal of most artists since the dawn of  civilization. Realistic art was the pride of ancient Greece. The world's greatest museums are full of realistic art. Realistic art WAS art until the advent of the abstract expressionist movement in the twentieth century. The coming of the camera in the nineteenth century changed realistic art forever. Suddenly, realistic art was not the only way to create realism in portraits and historical records. The work of the realistic artist was suddenly made into an expensive luxury. The political power of the realistic artist was broken and they were no longer an indispensable member of society. Hostility to the creators of realistic art goes back to ancient times and the jealousy of advisers to the Pharaohs and others who were not able to spend as much time with their rulers as their portraitists.    Although with the aid of photographs, realistic art achieved levels of excellence undreamed of, the realistic art movement of the late nineteenth century was short.

     None of these people earning their living creating realistic art could compete with the speed and low cost of photographic portraiture.  Determined to survive, great realistic artists like Pablo Picasso ingeniously turned inward and began to explore things that could not be photographed in a new school of art, abstract expressionism. The day of the fine art superstars had arrived. It was now largely just a hobby to abstract and realistic artists alike. Illustration, because of advances in printing technology enabled an elite few to earn a living with their realistic art. These illustrators working in realistic art media  were condemned and ridiculed in much the same way Europe's great symphonic composers were condemned for working in motion pictures after fleeing the nazis during World War Two. The rift between realistic and abstract art grew wider and wider. The universities and key media usually sided with the abstract camp and derided anyone working in any realistic art media declaring boldly that realistic art was not "real" art.

     

          Immortal giants of realistic art such as Maxfield Parrish were mistreated their entire lives. They were accused of selling out for creating beautiful pieces of realistic fine art to earn a living. The attitude that the true artist must suffer and starve and die in poverty became a rule. There were the Abstract art superstars, the professional realistic illustrators, and the hobbyists who, although cut off from gainful employment and social influence still recognized their artistic gifts as a calling rather than a profession. Early abstract art  masters proved themselves as realistic artists before delving into realms of the intangible. They had to do this at that time to prove themselves because of the challenges they faced from the establishment for going against the status quo. In the latter part of the 20th century, realistic artists like HDJ were challenged to do abstract art to prove themselves as shown in the example above (Deirdre of the sorrows). Later realistic art training was abandoned in most schools and things like splattering paint in fits of rage  were deemed more than enough. By the end of the 20th century something as destructive and ridiculous as nailing a pack of cigarettes to a shoe was considered fine art but not realistic paintings. Fashions in art have often been as silly as fashions in ladies hats.  As the century drew to a close, many people had had enough. The realistic revolt was at hand. The rebirth of realism was fueled by the advent of the digital era. Now, for the first time in almost two centuries, an artist or illustrator could earn a decent living again with his realistic art. This is historic. Realistic art is not going to go away, especially now that photography has truly merged with traditional realistic visual art. Photography comes from the Greek words meaning "painting with light". Now with the advent of digital media the capability of realistic art has become almost limitless, truly, "painting with light". The merger of all the world's art forms to realize the potential of motion pictures has come now to still realistic art media. This website for example, combines music, prose, poetry, photography and traditional realistic art media to create an experience beyond merely looking at realistic paintings.

         The twenty- first century is already seeing a new renaissance in the arts because of the world wide web. There has never been anything like it. Abstract art, computer art, photographic art, and realistic art are continuing to be separate schools of art but are also blending to create exciting new horizons. Although Digital art does offer completely new horizons to the artist in the 21st century it does not mean the end of our time honored art traditions. Instead, it offers additional ways to keep these traditions and schools of thought  fresh and alive.

~ HDJ

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Art tradition and etiquette suggest the artists who have been most influential should be mentioned at exhibits; these original new pieces shown in this exhibit take their inspiration in part from the paintings of Waterhouse, Alma-Tadema, Church, Godward, Moreau, Bouguereau, Leighton, Ingres, Moore, Parrish, Rackham and others. Most of my sources are changed so much they are impossible to detect, but sometimes I make it obvious to pay homage.  Where would Walt Disney be without the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Victor Hugo and so many others? Where would Aaron Copeland have been without American folk music? Thomas Nast's Santa Claus without traditional images of Father Christmas? Picasso without African art?   These are artists who made names and fortunes through Public Domain appropriation, one and all. Beethoven did "variations on a theme" with the works of Mozart for the same reasons I have done mine with Waterhouse and others- to learn and give homage to the artists who most inspired me. 

   All  these images & text are legally copyrighted & were registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright in 2004-14 by the author, Howard David Johnson All rights reserved worldwide. Permission for many legal non-commercial uses is freely available by simply contacting the author or visiting

www.howarddavidjohnson.com/permission.htm

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Thank You for Visiting the Women of Mythology Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson...

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( 1840- 1893) - "Swan Lake"

All  paintings, pictures, & text  (c) 1993- 2014 Howard David Johnson All Rights Reserved

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