Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reflective Essay, My Final Goodbye

I have sat in this one spot for almost an hour and I cannot come up with anything to say about this past year which to me is amazement because it has truly been a year of challenges in English 12 Honors. I think for me coming up with the right words is hard because I have not yet accepted the fact that my senior year at Malden High School has come to its end. I remember walking into English class freshman year thinking these were going to the longest years of my life when they in fact have become nothing but the best. The struggles I’ve come up against in English class this year I can add to my list of accomplishments because somehow I’ve found myself at the end of this very long road. With coming to the end comes all the growth I’ve formed over the last couple of months. English has been nothing but a challenge and I'm proud to know I’ve stuck them all out to the very end.

My Jim Dine research paper is by far my biggest accomplishment for this year. I never thought in my life I would be able to come up with 13 pages of words and have it all make sense as you read along. The whole time I wrote this paper it never seemed to be a struggle as appose to other papers I’ve written within the year. I think writing about art is what made my job so much more easier because art is something I am really fond of and love like English. I’m so proud of my final product and no matter what my final grade may be to me it is nothing but an A. An A for amazement in how I managed to finish it, amazement in how I even got through it, amazement in how its now all over. Even as I write this all out I can feel in the pit of my stomach this feeling where I can’t believe it’s now the time to write this all out. I would not change a thing about this year, well that could be a slight lie, but for English class I am proud with how far I have come.

Hamlet would be another accomplishment I hold with me as I say goodbye. I remember freshman year when we studied Romeo and Juliet. I loved the story but I never really got to the core about what Shakespeare was telling me. As I read Hamlet this year I could tell I have grown into a much better English student. I never found Shakespear difficult this year, not one single bit. Somehow it all made sense to me which only made the story seem that much more enjoyable to read. I think after a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet would be my second favorite play by Shakespeare.

So perhaps I lied when I said I could not come up with any growth within this past year but I think its because that after taking this course I’ve finally found something I love and would like to peruse as my future career. The books I’ve read throughout this year and the papers I had to struggle through it has come down to the final end. Overall I am proud of the all the work I have done within the past year and could not have asked for more. I’m sad to see it all end but at the same time I know this is just the beginning. High school is just a piece of the puzzle to life and I am going to take all the knowledge and work I have competed this year and add on to it for my future. College is defiantly something I am terrified of but at the same time that is how high school started out for me freshman year. If I take what I know and expand on it I know that in four years it will be the same thing as this essay has done for me, nothing but a look back at my growth as a student, as a writer, and as a person.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Prayer For Owen Meany

In A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving uses the titles of his chapters to signify important events throughout the novel. In Irving’s chapter, “The Dream,” that signifies the dream Owen has about his death. “Owen? It’s just a dream—do you hear me? It’s just a dream (407.” Owen goes a little crazy after he sees his dream. He takes Mary Magdalene and takes her arms and heads off. When John and Dan find him with Reverend Merrill, Owen asks him to say a prayer for him during a service with everyone. “I WANT YOU TO SAY A PRAYER FOR ME,” said Owen Meany. “A p-p-p-prayer-for you?” the Rev. Mr.Merrill shuttered (406).” From this chapter we also learn the meaning of the title in the story.

Irving builds up to this moment from previous chapters, by using the ghost at John’s moms beside, the Angel of Death and also Owen being the Announcing Angel in a Christmas Carol productions Owen has claimed to have seen the Angel of Death at John’s moms bedside which foreshadowed her death by the baseball. “I realize now that he never thought he saw a guardian angel; he was convinced, especially after THAT FATED BASEBALL, that he has interrupted the Angel Of Death (103). Also Irving foreshadows Owens actions in the beginning of the chapter when Owen claims to be “GOD’S INSTUMENT (337).”

Irving uses Owens dream to foreshadow his death in “The Shot.” Irving also depends with the connections between Mary Magdalene and Owen which leads to many answered questions for John in the future.

Colors For A Dine

Jim Dine is one of the most well known and well respected pop artists of our time. Known for his bight colors and abstract pieces, Jim Dine has been pleasing viewers for over the last 40 years. Dine got his bachelors degree in the Fine Arts from Ohio University, soon after he moved to New York and met many different styled pop artists who helped turn his work from abstract expressionism to pop art. Following the pop movement, he began to take everyday objects and put them into his art, driving away from all the cold and impersonal feels pop art was known for at the time (“Jim Dine” Contemporary). In an ARTnews article Jim Dine remarks, “it always felt right to use objects, to talk about that familiarity in the paintings, even before I started painting them” (Macadam). Art In American writer, Vincent Katz illustrates how Jim Dine drives on the desire to cut into human feelings and engage them in stories that run through their minds daily (178). During Dine’s exhibitions most people commented on Dine’s ability to capture and create such excited pieces that demonstrates the world around him (American Artist).

However, what is pop art truly, and does Dine completely agree that he falls into this category of bright colors and photocopied images? The truth is Jim Dine does not consider himself a true pop artist, “Pop art is only one facet of my work, more popular images. I’m interested in personal images…I tie myself to Abstract Expressionism like fathers and sons (Andreae). His work does display the typical norms for everyday pop art, however, most of his images display life and meaning, something pop art is unable to really capture when it comes down to the final piece. What exactly is pop art though? Richard Hamilton, a London painter, commented on pop art as being “popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass
produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and big business (Bryant).” Jim Dine’s work posses some of these qualities but his work is more sentimental than sensual. Pop Art is scandalous and Dines work is more tied to the heart and heartstrings of life. His work is anything but “big business” which is why he does not consider himself to be a true pop artist.

Jim Dine’s work leans more towards abstract genius than general pop art. Jim Dine’s choice in color connects to human emotion and brings life to more then just what is seen on various styles of media. A lot of Dine’s paintings are filled with life and emotion and it is because of the colors Dine chooses to incorporate in his art. “I’m interested in personal images, in making paintings about my studio, my experiences as a painter, about painting itself about color charts. The palette, about elements of the realistic landscape but used differently (Macadam).” The types of media Jim uses also helps flow his entire composition together which catches the viewer’s eye and draws them in emotionally.

“Shellac on a Hand” is one of the first paintings that captures all of the emotion Dine works to create when he works on his pieces. Shellac is defined as a purified lack in form of thin yellow or orange flakes often bleaches white and widely used in varnishes, paints, ink, and sealants (dictionary) which is seen in the foreground and background of the composition. The colors Dine uses are darker then some of his more famous pieces. The outlines and wrinkles of the hand are done with a dark media that shadows in towards the deep red heart in the middle of the piece. The background is a deep dark blue mixed with darker shades of raw sienna which is used for the hand. What’s interesting is at the very bottom right, Dine chooses to leave that part plain white. “I’ve tried to depict…years of joy and pain. In painting, I would not care to illustrate these emotions; I would rather keep looking very hard and see if the paint itself can do the job. Actually I know it can (Andreae)”.
Dine’s colors give off a sense of human life in this particular piece. Where Dine leaves his piece blank it’s almost as if he is saying that as we grow we create our own piece with its own colors. The sienna hand is a symbol of the work we do as human beings with our hands. The background is the symbol of chaos, the struggles humans often face in the real world. The way Dine creates the background leans more to his abstract feel of art. The way Dine uses the colors to collide into one another shows his true nature of creating abstract type works.
The middle of the piece stands out the most. The bright red heart, the meaning of life, the reason why humans come and go daily is placed right in the middle of the composition to catch the viewer of this piece. The affection and comfort of love which keeps us alive in the moments we need it most is blazing from this piece. The way Dine has the wrinkles in his hand bend to the heart is really fascinating for the viewer. This connects to saying that with love and deep emotion we allow ourselves to bend into our desires. The way Dine makes the heart a deep red signifies that our eye is drawn more into vibrant colors, vibrant desires. If Dine wanted to say humans fight emotion he would have taken the wrinkles and allow them to bend away, although no matter where Dine creates his deep lines they will always bend for the viewer because that’s how Dine intended this piece.

This whole composition goes back to the idea of Dine bringing out emotion through his pieces. Here the obvious emotion is love which can be taken in two different ways depending on how the composition is viewed as a whole. Another idea is that with love it creates a color of its own. Love is the strongest emotion known to man and with this piece Dine is saying that with love it can take a plain human being and give them a whole new light in no time. Dine’s work is able to give off the strong emotion to the viewer.

Jim Dine’s “The Sky and Lilies,” is another great piece that uses color to signify human emotion. Dine uses a process called intaglio to create this particular piece which is also associated with the silkscreen process. The silkscreen process is a type of printmaking, which uses mesh cloth stretched over a heavy wooden frame. A design is then painted on the screen and when color is added it squeezes the color through the pores of the mesh and creates a final piece.

The colors Dine puts into his piece are a lot of soft blues, beige, and light pink for the flowers. The light beige at the bottom of the composition catches ones eye first. The color looks almost like sand at the beach and gives off a warm peaceful feeling. The blues in the background can either be reminded of the ocean or the sky. The way Dine creates the background allows the flower to bloom with color. In the foreground the steam and leaf are a dark green, almost a solid black color which pulls itself away from the background. It’s simple to tell that Dine uses a lot of the ink intaglio on the steam of his flower. At the top of the piece and also around the areas of the stem it’s easy to see that the intaglio ink dripped around the piece which adds to the effect of this eerie flower Dine creates. The drips from the leaves correspond with the beige colors in the background towards the bottom of the art piece. The actual flowers themselves are beautiful soft colors, which is ironic because of the dark stem. The pink flower is in the shape of a star but could also be mistaken for a starfish, which is why this piece can connect back to the ocean.

The whole piece represents human growth itself. The flower can be connected to a human because the dark stem represents all of the darkness human’s face throughout their life but the flowers represent the good that can come out of it. Also the way the flower is standing, tall like a human, but weak and beat up, at the end of its life. Dine could be connecting this to the idea of being reborn again. The steam is dark and weak but the flowers and bloomed and gorgeous. Dine could be saying that when humans die and their life is over, new life is created and grows into a healthy strong standing flower. Dine has the ability to pull this out because of his talent for creating abstract pieces. The way the flowers and stem are placed into the foreground creates a wave of colors and emotions because of Dine’s abstract ability to create such emotional pieces.

Jim Dine has more to his work then just bright colors, he is able to use simple colors and still get out the same emotion he uses when he creates more elaborate styled works. “Dine has a restless, searching intellect that leads him to challenge himself constantly (Contemporary).” This is true, especially with his “History of Gardening II” piece which includes four basic colors used to create a magnificent piece. Dine uses some soft etching to start; it’s noticeable that Dine etches out the leaves to use for the piece because if one looks close enough the lines are easily seen. Dine then chooses to use green as one of the brightest colors in the piece. He blends garden green to white and creates a lighter tone of green that really stand out in the composition. The background is the best part of the piece. Dine chooses to paint a sky blue color which is blended with some white to create an illusion of clouds. The stroke he uses flows well together and is such a calm radiance to the entire composition.

The whole piece itself gives off a calm, relaxed feeling, even though the painting represents human growth. Dine seems to follow a pattern of using plants and flowers to symbolize human emotion and human development from a young age to older. The sky is the universe that we strive to live in and the clouds are the build up from all the pressure life puts upon us. This ultimately relaxed piece is filled with busy thoughts that Dine puts into to making this work something unlike any other. “For me, drawing is everything…because it informs everything. It even informs my poetry. It’s the way I begin everything (Dine).” Dine’s explanation about poetry connecting to art goes well with this piece.

The next piece of artwork is something quite extraordinary. Jim Dine came up with his own style of printmaking that he used for all of his printmaking styled pieces. “In this case of his printmaking, Dine started with a basic image. Each time the artist viewed the image before him, he would respond to it by drawing gestural marks and adding bits of color (Tandem Press).” In Jim Dine’s “Yellow Side, Red Side,” Dine’s printmaking technique really makes this piece unlike any of his others.

What looks like the shape of a heart, Dine uses the color ruby red to bring out true shape of abstract love. However with love the shape also resembles that of a strawberry which could prove that Dine was just in the mood for something sweet lead on by the love of food.

Dark charcoal type colors fill the flowers which could mean many different things such as with love comes darkness or obstacles. Or with love, with life, comes growth, beauty, something flowers are known to symbolize. Dine uses a certain art technique which is fascinating because of his known creditability for being a “pop artist.” When he designed his flowers for this particular piece he used the technique known as aquatint and dry point, associated with his own printmaking technique. Its easily noticeable the way he designs the flowers, they are an ink base type medium which is darkly printed over the red background but then fades slightly when printed in the soft yellow background. It’s then interesting how Dine uses Jackson Polacks famous, drip painting technique over his own piece. He uses a dark red, like the heart in the center of the page and drips it all over his piece. He then brushes it out and forms these deep swirls all along his piece, leaving some of it in the style of drip and then the other in his own unique style.

The background is also intriguing just like the rest of the composition. On the left of the page the background is filled with a soft lemon type yellow which brings calmness to the whole thing. Dine has so much going on in the foreground that when the viewer does take notice of the background it brings out calm from the whole storm he has imagined. On the right side is a soft red, more towards baby pink. It’s easily noticeable that Dine mixed his primary colors yellow and red with white to form these soft less distracting colors. Dine could be saying that his main focus on the piece is not these colors but on the busy foreground which he has imagined so well.

Also in the middle of the art work is a dark steam which connects with the flowers to create a dark flow through this piece. Going back to the flowers its interesting how Dine does this with his work. The soft backgrounds and deep foreground would have been enough to follow his typical flow of pop art, but instead he decides to include these dark images to set off the colors. The way his aquatint medium works is it’s a process using flat inks or a wash drawing by etching on a copper plate. It connects with dry point because it’s a technique used to produce a print which connects to a form of printmaking. When closely looked at, Dine printed his image first on the red side, then to the yellow but then there are soft almost none noticeable dark marks not inline with the flowers on the yellow side. It’s also noticeable that the dipping was not apart of printmaking because there is more red on the pink side then on the yellow. It also looks as if Dine dripped his ink onto the yellow side because there are traces of black dots throughout that particular side.

Dine uses these two pictures and puts a soft white background to these colorful pieces. It looks as if they are photographs which could show that this work is something that occurs in everyday life. It’s as if someone photographs a picture of themselves, this piece has a life and heart of its own. It endures the darkness of everyday society but at the same time it also grows and matures, like a tree. The heart is the source of all life, the desire to capture love is something humans live for. Without a heart there is no life, no soul, and no art. Dine steps out of his normal pop art boundaries to form this unique abstract piece.
Dine tends to use his hearts theme in his work constantly. “Four Heart In Silver” is no different from that. This work was done using a lithograph technique which is a slab of stone, marked with a greasy crayon. Water is then rolled onto the stone and loaded with oil-based paint. Since the paint is repelled by the wet stone it adheres to the marks left from the crayon. This can then be printed onto a piece of paper (Ball).

First looking at this work you can tell that the background was done using the lithograph method. Dine then creates the foreground with four complimentary colors. The two hearts at the top of the piece are purple and yellow, complimentary. The purple color is dark but light in this piece. It represents humbleness in love that humans often show towards one another. The yellow on the top right hand corner is a soft, welcoming color that can be used to neutralize peace between all opposing colors. The dark silver colors meshed into the hearts are from Dine using the lithograph. This means that when Dine started his piece he worked from the foreground to background which is different from the usual artist method, background to foreground.

The final two complimentary colors are red and green which sit opposite on another on the color wheel. The color green can represent growth and life whereas the color red can represent love and strength in human life. However these two colors also share a negative side towards life. Green is the color of jealousy and greed where red is more towards anger. It’s interesting how Dine uses colors in his pieces to represent to opposing sides of an issue. With that it just shows that Dine has the ability to bring out all sides to an argument and can influence a person’s thoughts by what they see in color.

How Dine came about in picking the four colors to stand out in the piece is a good choice in his artistic eyes. The color green and yellow sit next to each other on the color wheel, just like how purple and red do the same. Dine is challenging not only how he creates the piece as a whole but the way he chooses to incorporate only these colors. “Color speaks for itself and represents nothing but itself (Ball).” Dine uses this throughout this whole piece. He chooses to use complimentary colors because they are going to do just that to his work, compliment itself. Dine has this way with color and somehow makes it all flow together and it creates a real effect on the entire piece.

Going back to the background, what really draws the viewer’s eye is the way the ink and the white flow together as one. At the top half of the piece the ink is flowing pretty much all over, wrapping all around the hearts until it stops in the middle of the composition. Then the lower half fades into a drip style media. Also some of the ink is meshed with silver that is seen in the hearts. It’s almost as if Dine took a pint brush and smoothed out the bottom half of the piece but left the top busier and eye catching. However Dine put together his piece it really captures all essentials to the human heart. Jim Dine’s colors lead to many assumptions but they all fill into the biggest heart yet, he does a really well job with this piece.
When Dine creates his pieces he uses his life experiences as inspiration for his work. The hearts for instance have been a signature Dine move for over the last thirty years. The image of a bathrobe has also been used a lot because when Dine takes time to make his work it’s usually done in the comfort of his own personal bathrobe. “Jim Dine has kept on returning to these metaphorical images and investing them with his individual vision (Andrea).” However there has been on image Dine has gone back to and recreated into new pieces for quite sometime. The story of Pinocchio has been a favorite of Dine’s since he heard the tale in his early childhood and he has used that story to create a version of his own used through his art. “Dine perceives that this idea of a talking stick becoming a boy, its like a metaphor for art (Contemporary).”

The reason why this wooden boy is important to Dine’s use of color is because Carlo Collodi’s story has been transformed into a colorful tale from Dine’s personal view. In Dine’s “The Red Feather,” his use of color gives this tale a spruce that Collodi was unable to do in his story of the young boy. The story of Pinocchio is about a wooden puppet who goes on a magical journey to become a real boy. Through all his struggles he is rewarded the gift of life and story of torment and despair become that of a real fairy tale. Dine has taken his story and applied it to all types of medias and has had exhibitions with his Pinocchio’s across the world. His Pinocchio’s have really given Dine a name in the art world.

The colors Dine uses for Pinocchio’s clothes are very life like to what young boys would wear today. His pink shirt brings out the faint white in the skin tone Dine chooses to use. The red overalls connect back to young boys and how they wear the colored overalls until they are old enough to understand they don’t need to wear them anymore. The red used for the overalls is also the same color used for the feather on Pinocchio’s hat. The red is a soft red which feels more towards love. If the red were much deeper the interpretation of the portrait would be different, putting Pinocchio back into that sad wooden boy with no color to add to his life.
The way Dine creates Pinocchio’s gloves is extremely important to the entire piece. The hand closes to the viewer is obviously the wooden hand, the way the arm extends out slightly and the way glove folds into five perfect fingers. However the hand on the other side if the boy is more realistic, the way the arm bends more and how Dine incorporates the sienna skin tone into the texture of the glove. The fingers on this glove are more bent to fit a human hand oppose to a wooden one. Its fascinating how Dine puts these little things into his work, they really make the piece all together more real and life like.

The yellow hat perched upon Pinocchio’s head stands out the most in this piece because most of the colors Dine uses which are that of a dark nature. Perhaps he uses these colors because the tale of Pinocchio is a dark one which features a lot of the turmoil’s in life. However what’s the most interesting about the entire piece is that Dine creates Pinocchio with a smile upon his face. Dine takes this story and gives this boy what all little kids are made of when they are young, smiles. He takes Pinocchio out of his element and creates this piece that makes Pinocchio into a real boy. The background blue also makes Pinocchio stand out and it really brings the whole composition together because of the Dine’s choice.

The reason why Pinocchio is so important to Dine’s colors but also Dine’s career is because it is what Dine is truly known for in the world of art. Dine has creates Pinocchio pieces in all shapes, forms, and media’s and he only gains more momentum from doing so. By his creating this piece it shows how creative his mind is and how again he has the ability to bring out such emotions. The colors in this piece truly bring out the love Dine feels for his pieces and for this wooden boy alone. His colors connect from his heart to the viewers and it’s a gift not many artists are able to share with their fans. His work is loud with color and it cannot be shut off because it’s just so in tune. It’s a powerful gift to posse and his colors reek of his genius abilities.

Overall the theory to Dine expressing emotions through his colors is proven true within these works of art. Dine’s most famous emotion is love of course but he connects a lot of struggles and dark emotion to his work also. His work is amazing because of it’s ability to communicate both the good and the bad in just one piece. His colors are what make Jim Dine a name throughout the art community. With his abilities to use all kinds of extraordinary medias and still be able to clearly communicate with his intended audience is that of a pure artist. Dine has come a long way since his early childhood when he began to paint to now when he creates whatever seems perfect in that particular moment. Jim Dine has become an art version of Pinocchio himself, he started out as a stick of wood and has transformed himself into the master of colors and emotion. His work has proven him as an a abstract artist with some flavors of pop art intermixed but Dine just labels himself as a regular artist.

Dine’s colors are the real reason why he is popular in the pop art world, even though his art has proven him a more abstract artist. Dine’s colors bring out so much life and expression from his pieces that it connects with everyone who takes notice. He is able to make people feel a million things just by them looking at his piece. A true genius can only be capable of this and being able to pull it off so well. Dine has become a huge influence and does not plan on stopping anytime soon. Art has become his life and with the help and guidance from his family and friends he will only succeed in the future more then ever. He is an abstract kind of guy; one can only look forward to see what he creates into the future.