Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

October 15, 2008


Gustav Klimts The Kiss

Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"

Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is by far one of the best examples of early twentieth-century art. Klimt was an Austrian painter born in 1862 that contributed to the Art Nouveau movement within Vienna as well as Symbolist and antirealist ideals. Klimt was a very distinguished artist that focused primarily on the erotic figure of women. “The Kiss”, (1907-1908), is one of his most prestigious works and contributed to his success as an artist. The Art Nouveau movement is characterized by organic, botanical patterns and curving lines. Klimt is also unique in his technique because he utilized gold leaf within his work. 

“The Kiss” is an oil on canvas drawing of two lovers. The man is kissing and embracing the woman, who is in turn accepting his embrace and leaning up to him. The are perched on top of a grassy cliff, which overlooks the textured, brown background. There are several elements and principles of design within the image that make it especially captivating for the viewer. First of all, the skin of the couple, their clothing and the setting are completely different textures. The skin has a dull, flat look to it while their clothing and background stands out vibrantly against them. Their clothing is what makes the painting so magnificent. They wear long, robe-like clothing that is decorated almost like a mosaic. Their bodies have a loss of form within these robes, and they almost appear to be meshing into one. The robes, although sharing a sort of unity with each other, are very different in shapes and color. The man’s robe is golden and consists of patches of squares placed sporadically around the robe. They differ in size, and are either black, white or shades of grey. The woman’s dress is also golden, but is decorated with more colorful circular and botanical patterns. Her dress has much more color than the man’s: purple, red, blue, turquoise, and white. The circles also differ in general shape and size. A golden sheath seems to encompass the man and the woman in their embrace, comprising of golden, target-like circles. A unity is created between the man and the woman by this and the two come together as one. The painting also reflects Art Nouveau characteristics. For example, the women’s feet are covered in golden ivy, her hair is decorated with flowers and he wears a laurel upon his head. The swirling circles within the women’s dress, the golden sheath that covers them, and the botanic nature of the cliff on which they perch are all characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. 

This painting is a fantastic piece of art because it utilizes and constructs so many different principles of design. There is an asymmetrical balance between the man and the woman, and the elements of design like color, emphasis and shape create a unity. There is a notable proportionate difference between the man and the woman, and there is also an atypical pattern exhibited within their clothing, setting, and background. The contrast between the tones of their skin and the bright, fullness of their surroundings gives emphasis, and a rhythm is created within the movement of shape in their clothing. Gustav Klimt uses these elements and principles to create a thought-provoking image of love and intimacy that has become renowned for its technique. 


Principles of Design

October 15, 2008


This image by Robert K. Everest exhibits a sense of balance through its use of color and shape. The colors seem to flow in a similar fashion: the dark blue at the top which is contrasted by the yellows and greens, which therefore moves into reds and purples near the bottom of the painting. The image is asymmetrical in balance.



Melissa White’s painting shows strong contrast between the foreground and the background of this costal scene. The sunny, orange shades of the background give more emphasis to the dark shape of the coast. The reflection of the sun in the water also helps to create a contrast of the coast. 



Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun’s self portrait represents significant proportions. The artist was careful to place all facial features sensibly and reasonably sized in order to create a rational image. Her paintbrushes, ink board and canvas are also in proportion with the rest of her body. 



This Islamic rug holds an obvious pattern. The shapes, forms and movement are very similar, however, each flower within the pattern is different. They are all connected through lines and boundaries within the entirety of the rug and share consistency.



Heidi Hybl’s image displays rhythm through its use of elongated shapes that allow the eye to follow them. There is a sense of repetition within the piece and also a graduation of shapes and shades. This rhythm also gives a sense of depth to the image.



Michael E. Vermette’s watercolor is a great example of emphasis. The bright orange color of the boy’s jumpsuit against the deep blues of the ocean bring the eye to the boy and his activity. He also becomes the center of focus because he is the center of the painting. There is also emphasis on the birds because of their contrast against the blue ocean. 



Theresa Andreas-O’Leary’s painting exhibits unity through the consistency of lines and shapes. The background remains relatively similar throughout the whole picture and the the trees, which are all the same kind of tree but all look different, are placed within the foreground. These shapes and lines display a “coherence of the whole”. 



Alex Platune’s painting shows a variety between the the distinct shapes and differences amongst the images within it. There is a variation between the colors of the grapes, between the shapes and color of the  wine vessels, and in the difference in color and texture of the background. 

Lumiére Critique

October 8, 2008

Matt H.’s Lumiére film entitled, “Dinner Plate Robbery” was one of the better films I watched on Wednesday. It followed all the requirements in order to be donned as a “Lumiére” film including: a single framed shot, realistic content, and the exclusive of use of special effects. All the action was filmed within 1:07 minutes, included a title, and  was filmed in a classic, crank-camera style. This style was particularly interesting to me. It gave the film an authentic, Lumiére feel, and was visually interesting. The content of the film was also interesting, however I think Matt should have showed more of the “Dinner Plate Robber” in order to keep it more interesting. The angle of the shot was also creative and definitely brought more attention to the content of the scene. 

I really enjoyed creating the Lumiére film primarily because it was so easy. It was the perfect opportunity for someone without filming experience, like myself,  to introduce themselves to a camera, filming, and editing. It was my first time using the newest version of iMovie, so it was a bit of a crash-course in filmmaking. I know it’s no masterpiece, but I’m really proud of my first film. I wish I had used a better camera for filming so that the quality was a little better, but other than that I was quite happy with it. I was very comfortable with people watching it and think that there was a generally good response to it. 

Comedy Films

October 8, 2008



Setting up your Shots


Medium close-ups of all Three Stooges

Rule of Thirds

Not a single cut solely depicting one or two of the characters: all three are always in frame

Cut-aways between medium close-ups and close-ups




props: sweater, metal bars, hammer, scissors

set: In front of work truck, where all tools/props would be handy

sounds: thunks, smacks, clunks of hammer on head, stretching of sweater, Curly noises, etc.

lighting: filmed outside during day

blocking: director has placed actors in such a way that does not block any of them.



Film Theory- Slapstick Comedy

characterized by verbal outbursts

extreme body comedy

performing lack of control

exceeds boundaries of common sense

descendent of the comic routines of Italian commedia dell’arte (mid-fifteenth to mid-seventeenth century) touring players, who developed basic plot scenarios and broad, swiftly drawn characters


Part 1

The clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail uses a few different shots from the Setting Up Your Shots book.  One is the crane up entrance, which is used when the knights crouch up behind rocks at the entrance of the rabbit’s cave.  This same part can be viewed as POV or over the shoulder because some the actors are crouching and some are standing, as well as the actors behind the camera.

Also, jump cut sequences are used to show the rabbit attacking the different knights.  They put in zoom cuts to show the rabbit jumping first from far away, then the close up of the rabbit biting the knights’ necks.

Part 2

The Mise-en-scène from this scene does a very good job of telling the viewer of what they should expect in the future.  If the viewer had only seen this particular cut, they would be able to understand how ridiculous the humor is in the film.  It starts off by showing all the men ride up on their pretend horses.  They gallop along as if they were on top of a horse and everyone in the scene is completely serious.  They are also all wearing medieval outfits and armor.

There is not much makeup visible, but the vibrant red they use to show the blood from the rabbit attacks definitely gives the scene more absurdity.  The thought alone of blood dripping from a rabbit’s mouth could make me laugh.  In addition, the skeleton head at the beginning of the scene sets up for a dark or somewhat serious event, which later proves to be quite the opposite to the audience.

Part 3

The entire Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie is a rediculous type of comedy that stretches from slapstick to sattire.  The film is the upmost crazy in which it is slapstick.  The actors used absurd scenarios and commentary to create laughter in comedies that had not been seen before the Monty Python sketches started.

The Holy Grail movie was definitely a satirical comedy.  The main story is based on King Arthur, who is a well known figure in medieval stories.  Although Arthur may not be proven to have ever actually lived, the fact is that the Monty Python crew was making fun of the stories behind all the knighthood, chivalry, and medieval outfits.

In this scene, they seem to combine their outrageous slapstick humor with their parody, by creating a killer bunny rabbit.  This can be seen as ridiculous and poking fun at all the legends of fake monsters such as dragons (Dirks, Tim).

Dirks, Tim. “Comedy Films.” FilmSite 1998-2008 30 Sep 2008




The Big Lebowski is an extremely dark satirical comedy. By definition satire has a defined target, however, through the course of the film several different targets are satirized. The nature of the targets of this satire along with the grim yet passive nature of the film is what makes the movie a Dark Comedy.

In this scene they are not so much mocking death as pointing out the ridiculous and essentially pointless ways we approach it. The two contrasting characters, Walter and The Dude, create an interesting dynamic that essentially play off each other to deliver this grim satire.

After the death of their friend, Walter and The Dude attempt to spread his ashes out across the ocean. When they cannot accomplish even this one simple task The Dude has a “breakdown” and a temporary roll reversal occurs in which The Dude becomes angry and aggressive and Walter attempts to comfort him. This scene is coherent with a larger theme of successful incompetence throughout the film.

Shot breakdown.

1. Medium close up to three shot.

2. Cut out to zoom (still three shot)

3. Zoom to medium close up

4. Cut to medium close up (repeat)

5. Scene break

6. Establishing shot (two shot)

7. Medium two shot close up to long shot

8. Back to medium two shot

9. Cut out to over the shoulder back to medium close up.

10. Cut to medium close up 2 shot to three shot (coffee can)

11. Over the shoulder. Cut to medium close up repeat.

12. Cut to medium shot

13. Scene


The Mis-En-Scene that is seen in this clip from The Big Lebowski is very consistent with the rest of the film. Though makeup is not readily noticeable on the characters, their costumes are direct representations of their personalities. Walters’s eccentrically conservative attire reflect him perfectly, while The Dudes laid back bowling garb is a perfect representations of him.

The shots themselves are usually very “big and empty”. What this means even though the shots are wide (in this case including a vast ocean and huge cliffs) the only thing relevant are the two characters having a dialogue. The film also makes ample use of the rules of thirds, leading lines, vanishing points, and natural frames. This makes it very easy and fun, easy, and interesting to watch.

Though in other scenes the lighting is used to create a specific desired effect. This scene makes good use ambient natural light. This technique is a reflection of the nature of the scene itself.



Le pettite chasse” directed by Pamela Basilish

I cannot say I knew anything about the Innu culture before watching the online All Roads Film Festival short entitled, “La pettite chasse”. For some reason I thought the Innu were Alaskan based but they are, in fact, indigenous to Quebec and Labrador in Canada. I really appreciated this film because it focuses on the preservation of mother-daughter relationships — which is not established enough in typically male dominated media. The mother obviously feels proud of her heritage and wishes to pass that pride onto her daughter. Also, the women are spending time with each other by hunting, which is generally a male dominated activity. I think the filmmaker’s method was also appropriate. The director, Pamela Basilish, chooses not to accompany the film with any music but utilizes only the dialogue between the women. She focuses on their discussions about hunting game, shooting, and the differences between the Innu culture and city life. Apparently the family lives mostly in the city but travels to the woods to hunt game often. Symbolism, including the girl’s hesitation to shoot the gun and the mother’s teachings on Innu language, is a dynamic part of the film. Shooting the gun and accepting her mother’s teachings go hand-in-hand with the idea that the daughter has to inevitably accept her traditional culture, or “shoot the gun”, in the unrealistic, globalized world in which she lives normally. The girl sees these “Hollywood images” within magazines she reads near the end of the film, but she retains and appreciates her own distinct cultural heritage.


The Aboriginal people of Australian are the oldest civilization still in existence and have rich designs and art that reflects them culturally. The technique known as “Dot Art” is particularly distinct within the Aboriginal people of Western Australia and became more well known within the 1970’s with the establishment of the Papunya Tula Artists Pty. Ltd. Originally, dot art was used for ceremonial and spiritual purposes, mainly to depict scenes from “The Dreaming”. “The Dreaming” is a spiritual realm that establishes the patterns of life, the Creation, and general mythology within Aboriginal ideology. “The Dreaming” is where totems, or  animal-resembling entities that watch over families and tribes, spiritual beings, and the deceased reside. Dot art is also popular on tools and other distinctive Aboriginal products like didgeridoos, bull-roarers, and boomerangs. 


There is a strong emphasis on a “packing and cracking” pattern within dot art. Several paint dots are purposefully placed on a medium in order to create a  larger, more harmonious pattern or image. These dots can constitute the entirety of the painting, or can simply embellish on a more central figure. The dots normally follow a linear pattern, and the lines of dots sometimes vary in color in order to symbolize the importance of each line and to create movement within dot art. For example, dots that connect larger, more distinct circles often represent the paths that lead tribes together (the larger circles being the tribes). There is consistently the principle of balance within dot art as well. Generally there is approximate symmetry in which equivalent but not identical forms are depicted. There may be a central figure of a kangaroo, but the shapes created around the form will be identical in shape and size. 

I became familiar with Aboriginal dot art during a visit to Australia in 2005. The unique creation and visual production of the technique has been very interesting to me since then. Also, it would just be foolish to pass up an opportunity to show-off my boomerang. 

The Hunt

October 1, 2008




Yup. That’s me. This was the Scavenger Hunt project that we completed a couple weeks ago

So here it is! The final Lumiére project. It’s not exactly how I scripted it, but I really like the way it turned out.



Here is also a link to the outtakes of the Lumiére film. I’ve been having a lot of fun with iMovie 🙂

Film & Realism

September 24, 2008



Are Parents People? (1925)

Are Parents People? (1925) Courtesy of




The characters within the film still of Are Parents People? (1925) look as if they are having a serious discussion between parents and child. However, it appears that the child is actually scolding the parents. The older man and woman are dressed up as if they are in the process of leaving the house, and a younger girl looks at both of them with a finger pointed, as if to deter the parents from something that they may or may not do. There are three points of view (POV) within the film still including: the POV of the younger girl, the POV of the older woman, and the POV of older man. Considering the stern look on the younger girls face and the absorbed expressions on the parents, it is possible that there was some sort of conflict involving the younger girl and the actions of her parents. There is an apparent role reversal, where the child is acting like an adult and talking to her parents as if they were the children. It is possible that the parents are acting like children, which therefore affects the well-being of the young girl who in turn makes it known to the parents how she feels about their actions. The parents might be feeling angry at their child’s insubordination, but it seems as if the child has assumed more control of the situation than her parents. 


Are Parents People?  A short take by Me.

Scene starts off in a parlor, as seen in the film still, with Mother and Father dressed up and preparing to go out on the town. Main POV is the daughter, who walks in as her parents are preparing to leave. She is visibly upset that her parents are leaving and stomps to them as they are almost out the door.  

Daughter: Where do you two think you’re going?

Father: (Fumbles a bit with his daughter’s comment) I’m sorry?

Daughter: (More agitated) Where do you two think you’re going??

Mother: We’re going out for some drinks with the Smith’s honey–

Daughter: Some drinks with the Smiths?? I can’t believe you two! You’ve been out getting plastered every night this week!

Father: Now listen here young lady —

Daughter: No, YOU listen! (Points finger at parents) If I have to sit up all night worrying about the two of you until some ungodly hour of the night again there are going to be some SERIOUS consequences.

Mother: Listen dear, I think you’re being far too serious about this. We’re just going out for a couple of drinks!

Daughter: It’s always a “couple of drinks”! You said the same thing last weekend and you came in here stumbling and belligerent at four o’clock in the morning. Mom passed out cradling the toilet!

Father: So you’re mother had a few too many that doesn’t mean —

Daughter: You’re no better mister! How about last Tuesday when you came in here with all your buddies from the lodge and broke all the fine china playing Ultimate Frisbee in the front yard?? 

(Father looks as if he is about to object, Mother starts to giggle under breath)

Daughter: That’s IT! I can’t take this anymore! You two go upstairs RIGHT NOW! You’re not going anywhere!

Father: Awww, come on! We’re only going out for a little while!

Mother: We already told Dean and Sheila that we’d meet them at the Loonies Pub in half an hour!

Daughter: (Crosses arms) Well you should have thought about that before you started giving me all that lip.

Mother and Father are flabbergasted, beginning huffing and puffing at their daughter, move to go back upstairs, move back towards daughter, get increasingly frustrated.

Father: But — 

Mother: Can we please? Pleeeaaase?

Daughter: Nope. Upstairs. (Pointing Upstairs)

Parents huff and puff some more, finally give up the fight and begin moving towards backstage. They drag their feet and continue to look back at the daughter. Father turns around again.

Father: We would only be gone for a little — 


Father turns back around defeated. Both Mother and Father continue to huff and puff upstairs. Daughter continues to stand sternly and watches parents walk upstairs. Mother stops and looks at daughter, fists clench.

Mother: You’re ruining my LIFE! (Runs upstairs)

Father sticks out tongue, runs upstairs after Mother. Medium close-up of Daughter, still with arms crossed.

Daughter: Goodness gracious… (Sighs and walks off screen)

End Scene. 


The sequence of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” in Across the Universe lacks any sort of realist concepts. The scene is set to this particular Beatle’s song and is sung by a character assumed to be the ring leader in a circus. The scene is supposed to emulate a trip on LSD for the group of young people. From the eyes of someone who has taken LSD, this representation could very well be realistic. Colors, shapes, and movements are seriously exaggerated within the scene. However, from the camera’s point of view, hardly any of this scene represents an actual event and it is definitely not filmed in a realist fashion. In real life, this group of people might be followed into a circus. Their excitement for the circus could be interpreted as perverted from someone who is not hallucinating, but generally everything would appear as a normal circus. In a realist film, the entire circus performance would be watched so as not to manipulate the timing. Within the scene, the director uses the recognition of certain characters to reacquaint the audience with a particular character. The audience therefore has to answer for themselves where the character was and what kind of experiences the character had. This sequence also uses a number of different kinds of visual effects, including the manipulation of tone, color, lighting, shape, movement, and digital compositing. 




The film, Becoming Jane directed by Julian Jerrold is a film that deals with a historical period as well as the portrayal of the life of an actual person. The film focuses on class conflict between Jane Austen, a famous nineteenth century writer, and her love interest Thomas Lefroy. This affair, which inevitably ends because of family ties and money, inspires Jane to write, “First Impressions”, which later was renamed “Pride and Prejudice”. The period of time is seemingly accurately represented through the types of dress, class distinctions, gender roles, and ideas on marriage and work. Obviously the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries provided a distinct way of life for men and women that is very different from today. The main character, Jane, was represented in a way that helps the audience understand how she developed into a distinguished writer and her major inspirations. However, it is difficult to say whether Thomas Lefroy or any other love interests of Jane’s were actual people and influences to her work or just a creation of the writer of the script. There is evidence of Lefroy’s actual involvement with Jane, but there is certainly no historical record depicting their rendezvous. Even Jane’s outspokenness and obvious disobedience could be misrepresented considering the nature and roles of men and women at the time. The director could have made Jane out to be ahead of her time, which to a point is accurate, however some of her blunt behavior within the film could have been very embarrassing to her family. This aspect of her behavior could have been manipulated slightly by the director in order to have the audience understand the significance of Austen’s work and how important her work was in understanding women’s dependence on marriage and their socio-economics. The purpose of these types of Hollywood films is to entertain an audience and to make money doing so. Jane’s disobedience and the development of her character could therefore have been misrepresented in order to keep the attention of the audience. 

Films which depict historical people and events like Becoming Jane are not often useful to historians. The films can follow a certain timeline of major events, like the progression of World War II or the growth of an individual, but they are generally manipulated in some way to become more entertaining for an audience. Historians would be able to get a general understanding of the way of life during this particular time period, i.e. how the dressed, what they ate, class systems; however, the roles of certain characters might have been exaggerated or completely neglected to make the story more coherent. The structure and order of events could also have been adjusted in order to make the story more interesting and the movie timely. Historians would have a difficult time distinguishing history from the motives of a script writer or director, and should therefore avoid Hollywood films. 

Blue at The Textile Museum

September 23, 2008



Hiroyuki Shindos Shindigo Space

Hiroyuki Shindo's "Shindigo Space" Courtesy of



The Blue exhibit featured at The Textile Museum was unlike any other kind of exhibit I’ve been to. I previously considered textiles to be an industry more than an art-form, however the way pieces were showcased at the museum gave me a new appreciation for the creation of color and design. The entire museum was interesting, but I found Hiroyuki Shindo’s work entitled Shindigo Space to be particularly thought provoking. Not only were the shades of indigo vibrant and arresting, but an assortment of textures were apparent within the work. Almost all elements of design were incorporated into the work to make the final presentation dramatic and effective.

Shindigo Space is displayed within a large, open room with high ceilings and white walls. Six long, complimentary sheets hang from the ceiling on wires and drape close to the floor, where there are dozens of hemp balls of differing sizes. Both the sheets and the hemp balls have one thing in common: they are died in bold shades of indigo, and emphasize the texture of the materials in which they are made. Parallel lines are used consistently within the sheets that hang from the ceiling and emphasize the separation of color and the harmony between the whiteness and tones/values of blue. All these lines follow the same vertical direction towards the floor and also give interest to the contrast in shape of the sheets with the hemp balls below them. The size was vast enough to span nearly from the ceiling to the ground and across the room. The element of size is also apparent in the variation of size in the hemp balls and there is a strong emphasizes on the texture of the dyed hemp. 

I not only appreciated Shindigo Space, but also the entire exhibit, mostly for it’s cultural aspect. I had never even thought about textiles being considered an art-form until I experienced this exhibit. The use and manipulation of textiles is such a pivotal part in any culture’s everyday life that it is understandable how it can sometimes be overlooked  and neglected as an individual’s artistic expression. The clothes that we wear or fabrics that we use tell a significant amount about certain values and trends in any given society. This museum brought that individual’s artistic expression to light.