Painting Serpant Mythology Essay, Research Paper
The painting, Serpent Mythology, by Aaron Brooks is an impressionistic, oil on canvas painting. The approximate size of the painting is four feet by three feet. The painting consists of, a large coiled, yet up-right snake that occupies the left half of the painting. A vibrantly red sphere appears to hover over a dimly colored, yet detailed skull. All of these images are positioned in the foreground. The foreground is a rocky terrain. The background is a mountain, which appears to shift because of a lens. The lens, which is shown lighter and outlined in sky blue, appears in the mid-ground and diffracts the view of the background. The rest of the mountain is dark, yet colorful with hues of brown, green, and yellow. The sky is light blue, but has different, darker colors added to the right half to show an atmospheric variation. There are nine spheres in the sky. The spheres reside in a semi-circle that borders the top of the lens. The four spheres that are left of the center are black and contrast the light blue sky. The center sphere and the four to its right are white and contrast the darker atmospheric sky. These contrasting spheres create a balance for the top of the painting. Likewise, the bulk of the snake is located on the left and is counter-weighted by the red sphere and the detailed skull on the right.
The thick, almost painterly, brush strokes and the thick application of the oils, creates both line and texture, which brings a certain depth to the piece. The numerous colors and hues of these colors, create a more naturalistic look to the piece, while at the same time, keeping the impressionistic qualities of the painting. The three primary colors are used in a very unique way. The primary colors appear in a triangle. The yellow is on the left, represented by the snake. The red is on the right, represented by the sphere. At the top of the painting, the blue is represented by the sky. This triangulation shows a great respect toward the three primary colors. His control of the paint and the brush strokes brings the snake into the foreground. Even though the snake appears yellow, or golden, there are numerous other colors that are added to show chiaroscuro. This same idea of chiaroscuro is used on the red sphere and the skull. Line is used to move the eye around the painting. There are bold, strong lines that create the contour of the snake. The skull is outlined and defined by the use of dark lines. The oblong, oval lens has a distinct outline. There is also the line that separates the mountain from the sky. All of these lines are use to move the eye and provide contrast.
The use of warm colors (red, yellow, and orange) provides a unity to the painting. In the foreground all of the main subjects are painted in warm colors. This fact actually draws the subjects even closer to the foreground, because these colors catch the eye easier. The background is mainly cool colors, such as blues and violets. These cooler colors create depth in the painting, by contrasting the warm colors. The unity of colors comes from the warm colors that are used in the sky to create the atmospheric variation. Because the warm colors are in both the foreground and background the painting has a unity. There is also another unity that comes from the repetition of the sphere shape, which is also used in both the foreground and the background.
Warm colors draw the eye and are often focal points such is the case with the painting Serpent Mythology. The vibrant red sphere on the left is the focal point of the painting. There is a central axis that is used to keep both sides balanced. The sphere may be smaller in size compared to the snake. This fact would seem to make the painting unbalanced, but because the sphere is so brightly colored each side of the axis is equal.
I believe that the artist painted this piece for the sake of creating beauty. There doesn t appear to be much hidden content, symbolism, or meaning to the painting. It appears as though he created this work to elevate the ordinary. He took thing commonly thought of as bad or evil and used them in such a way to show pride and respect. The snake, which has been perceived as evil since the story of Adam and Eve, is standing up right showing the viewer a state of pride. It is no longer sliding on its belly in the dirt; it appears to have a powerful attitude that demands respect. The skull is quite often thought of as symbolizing evil. In this painting the skull is painted in warmer colors and draws a feeling of sorrow instead of a feeling of terror from the viewer. These two normally evil symbols express different qualities that in turn give the painting a mellower mood.
Having been able to listen to the artist talk about his works allowed me to understand more about where his ideas for his paintings came from. Being able to witness a whole gallery of his works allowed me to compare and contrast similarities of his art forms. I could then choose the piece that best followed his speech, therefore allowing me to better understand and explain the artwork that I had chosen. Having a whole gallery of an artists works at your finger tips is much better then only being able to view one or two of an artist works, because then you have a better idea of the styles and versatility of the artist. This fact allows the viewer to have a greater appreciation and understanding for the art form that they have chosen.