Chinese Lanterns

Chinese Lanters Oil Painting by Enzie Shahmiri

Chinese Lanterns

Oil on Canvas ~ 22 x 24 inches

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I was in such a rush that I did not take the best photo of this painting. It is now on exhibit and for sale at the  Artist Eye Gallery for the month of September through October 2011.

About the Theme - Immortality

The theme of this painting is immortality and with a vase that dominates the picture plane there are two things going on that might need some clarification. The branches of Chinese lanterns represent the living that go through their natural life cycle. Some are in their prime with glowing colors, others have turned brown and there is one in particular at the foot of the vase that has shed it's covering. To me it is like any life form that ones it is dead is left with only a skeleton form. Yet, note the red seed!

This is the smallest item in the entire painting but it has the biggest significance. Pure red is a color that asks you to stop and take note. I want you to think about your own immortality. For me this red seed represents the soul or essence that is left after all living organisms have parted from this universe. The soul defines who we are and once we are gone, we are only remembered by the deeds we have accomplished in life.

We artist always say we put our souls into creating art. Here a 12th century artist is being remembered through something he has created hundreds of years ago. This antique vase - the main object in this picture plane represents one of the artists many accomplishments and therefore has immortalized him in a way, not through his name but by what he has accomplished dring his life time. I believe he has achieved immortality. We do not know him by name, but we do know in what region he must have lived, what his trade was at one point and what one of his contributions to society was while he lived. We do many mundane things, but when we do something with great care and put our soul into it - we also leave behind something that carries on our memory and in a way gives each and every one of us a piece of immortality.

Pretty cool - don't you think?

Screen+Shot+2011-08-26+at+1.44.56+PM.png

I have been working like crazy to get the texture going and the painting is almost finished. Here is a sneak peek at the texture. The lanterns are done, leaves and stems have been added and all the lighting worked out. Hopefully if there is not too much glare from the wet paint I can take a photo of the entire painting and post a new image .

Chinese+Lanterns+WIP2+copy.jpg

About the composition ~

A painting should have a strong focal point and every other element should be placed in such a way as to support the most important element . This means that only selected areas in the painting should be in strong focus to grab the viewers attention. Through the compositional layout the eye should be led to the main focal area and this intentional leading of the eye should be further emphasized through the lighting that is employed through the picture plane. This can be accomplished by leaving some things in shadow and painting some things with less detail. This brings me back why my initial layout was not strong enough and just had to be reworked.

chinese_lanterns

I have started a new floral painting of Chinese Lanterns which will be about mortality. First something about my choice of props.

In Iran potters used to create Fritware with opaque turquoise glazes. "

Fritware, also known as Islamic stone-paste, is a type of pottery in which frit is added to clay to reduce its fusion temperature." ( As a result, the mixture can be fired at a lower temperature than clay alone. Source: 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritware

)

Turquoise was the most popular color, because the coloring agent - copper oxide was fairly cheap and easy to obtain. Turquoise is also considered a color that brings good fortune and it's association to thew semi-precious stone to which it was compared to.

Kashan in central Iran was the major center for Fritware production. On my vase I started the initial layout with Cobalt blue and Naples Yellow light and I am just starting to built up the layers of colors towards a more turquoise hue. Because this vase is meant to be from the late 12th century and crafted by hand it will show imperfections and be not so well formed as mass produced objects are today. I think this will add greatly to it's visual appeal.

I am not so sold on my initial thoughts of the addition of the window shadow. Originally I wanted to have two light sources, but it think it is weakening the composition. The branches are also missing, because I am still figuring out how to get the aging wall in place.  As you can see this is entirely created out of my imagination and for now still a very rough start.

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