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Fine art is a visual expression or application of human creativity involving both technical know-how (skill) and the ability to think of new things (imagination). Artists who create fine works of art do so primarily for aesthetic reasons and they usually specialize in a specific type of art, such as painting or sculpture.
It is helpful to note the word “fine” does not indicate the quality of the artwork, but rather, the purity of the discipline. In other words, creations considered as fine art include calligraphy, drawings, paintings, printmaking and sculpture. It excludes applied art, decorative arts, and crafts. (See What are the Classifications of Art? for more information.)
Types of Fine Art
Drawings—chalk, charcoal, color wax pencil, crayon, graphite pencil, inked brush, marker, pen and ink, pastel, stylus, or various metals like silverpoint
The creation of fine artworks requires knowledge in art theory, design techniques and adequate usage of the tools of the trade that is necessary for composition, design and the creation of fine works of art. The skills necessary can be developed in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to:
Apprenticeships under other accomplished fine artists
Attending college courses at all levels
Attending workshops and classes conducted by other artists
Joining artists’ collectives
Studying the Old Masters and other works of art by modern day artists
Creative thinking is the ability to form a mental image of new ideas or something that has not yet been thought of or beforehand experienced. It involves:
1) picturing within one’s mind familiar objects or concepts in a new light,
2) digging down beneath the surface to find previously unnoticed patterns, and
3) finding connections between seemingly unrelated attributes.
What does the Holy Bible reveal about the visual arts?
Let’s see what the Bible tells us about this topic. It is always best to study scripture in context. If possible, you might want to read the verses that come before and after the verses listed to establish its context. From Scripture we learn:
“Sea of Galilee at Capernaum”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 16″
Oils on stretched canvas
Exodus 28:3 – English Standard Version (ESV)
You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.
Exodus 31:1-11 – The Message (MSG) 1-5God spoke to Moses: “See what I’ve done; I’ve personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—he’s an all-around craftsman.6-11“Not only that, but I’ve given him Oholiab, son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, to work with him. And to all who have an aptitude for crafts I’ve given the skills to make all the things I’ve commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony and its Atonement-Cover, all the implements for the Tent, the Table and its implements, the pure Lampstand and all its implements, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its implements, the Washbasin and its base, the official vestments, the holy vestments for Aaron the priest and his sons in their priestly duties, the anointing oil, and the aromatic incense for the Holy Place—they’ll make everything just the way I’ve commanded you.”
Exodus 35:30-35 – The Message (MSG) 30-35Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft. And he’s also made him a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.”
Art is a skill
2 Samuel 5:11 – New International Version (NIV)
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David.
1 Chronicles 22:15 – English Standard Version (ESV)
You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working
2 Chronicles 2:14 – English Standard Version (ESV)
the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your craftsmen, the craftsmen of my lord, David your father.
2 Chronicles 24:12 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord.
Proverbs 31:24 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Jeremiah 18:1-6 – English Standard Version (ESV) 1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. 5Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Art is beautiful
1 Kings 6 – As you read through this particular passage, you should note that God goes into great bit of detail on how He wants his temple to be constructed. Some of the instructions even require craftsmen and artisans to complete. From reading these verses, it is clear that God wants a beautiful place of worship for his people.
1 Kings 7:13-51 – In addition to specific instructions regarding the temple construction, God also goes into detail about how he wants the furnishings for the temple constructed.
Song of Solomon 7:1 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.
Philippians 4:8 – English Standard Version (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Art glorifies God
Psalm 50:2 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – English Standard Version (ESV)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:23 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
God is the original Artist, the prime Master Craftsman
“The Garden Tomb at Sunset”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
12″ x 9″
Oils on stretched canvas
Genesis 1:1, 27 – English Standard Version (ESV) 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 2:7 – English Standard Version (ESV)
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Job 10:8-9 – New International Version (NIV) 8Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?
Job 38:4 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”
Psalm 139:13-16 – English Standard Version (ESV) 13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them
Isaiah 29:16 – English Standard Version (ESV)
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
Isaiah 45:9, 18 – New International Version (NIV) 9“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 18For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.
Isaiah 64:8 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.
Zachariah 12:1 – New International Version (NIV)
A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:
Romans 9:20-21 – New International Version (NIV) 20But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
Ephesians 2:10 – English Standard Version (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Colossians 1:16 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Hebrews 1:10 – New International Version (NIV)
He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
Revelation 4:11 – English Standard Version (ESV)
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
A stretcher bar is a support frame used by artists to mount canvas material on for their canvases. They are so named because canvas is usually stretched across the frame and then fastened on the bars with staples, tacks, metal spline or some other fastener. Stretcher frames are typically rectangle shapes, however, many artists enjoy painting on square, oval and even round stretched canvases.
What is their construction?
Most stretcher frames are constructed of soft, light colored wood, metal or a combination of the two. They can be purchased pre-manufactured from art supply retailers or many artists prefer to construct the canvas supports themselves. Stretcher bars come in a variety of weights and sizes to suit the specifications of different types of canvases. These include:
Lightweight — (5/8″) — ideal for smaller paintings
Standard (3/4″–7/8″) — most widely used stretcher bar and best if the artwork is going to be framed
Gallery (1-1/2″) — thicker stretcher that makes it more difficult for framing
Museum (2″ and thicker) — usually hung on the wall unframed
“Still Life with Coral and Lantern”
Still life by Teresa Bernard
14″ x 11″
Oils on stretched canvas
Most stretcher bar frames are attached together at the corner on an angle. This is called a miter. A mitered corner is the most common type for modern day paintings of the 1900s or later. Small wooden shims, called keys, are then used in the corners to help keep the canvas stretched tight on the bars and to prevent the bars from warping.
When an artist paints on canvas there are several different types of canvas available for painting. The term canvas is actually a generic term used by many artists for the various types of surfaces that can be used as a support for paint. These range from fabric to hardboard to paper to wood. However for the purpose of this article, we will only discuss the fabric which is the type that is most often used.
Fabric for painting surfaces can be cotton duck, linen, or a synthetic fiber. When dealing with canvas for painting, there are three things to consider:
Type of fabric — cotton duck, linen or synthetic
Weight — the thickness of the fabric
Weave — how tight the individual threads are woven
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas
Cotton Duck Canvas
Canvases made with cotton duck fabric is the most common type of painting surface and the most economical. It comes in various weights and weaves.
Linen canvas is a more expensive type and is often regarded as superior to cotton canvas because the threads are finer and the weave tighter. In other words, it has a smoother finish than cotton and is more suitable for portraits. Belgian linen is considered the best of all linens.
Synthetic Fiber Canvas
Synthetic fiber canvas is not a traditional type of surface for painting and therefore is less commonly used. Some artists oppose the use of synthetic fiber canvas as they have not been around long enough for artists to really gauge their durability.