Symbols in Art > The symbols in this contemporary still life depict man’s yearning for knowledge. See how, with these insights from the artist. “Traveler’s Desk” was a winner in the “Best Artist Under 30” category of the December/January 2020 PleinAir Salon.
BY LYUBENA FOX
Symbols in Art: About “Traveler’s Desk”
Through the symbols in “Traveler’s Desk” (above) the painting depicts man’s yearning for knowledge. The knowledge yet to be discovered (symbolized by the closed books) is obtained by travelling (indicated by the globe). This desk tells the story of a dreamer curious to learn through his travels (curiosity depicted by the squirrel that he has brought from overseas, as this type of rodent is not found in Europe). You can also find that this person is interested in foreign cultures, hence he has received a letter with a haiku, a type of traditional Japanese poetry. In this context, the scales stand for a reminder that knowledge is more valuable than material riches.
The Painting Techniques and Process
My paintings are painted in several layers, using both the transparent and opaque qualities of oil paint. Each layer is applied after the previous has dried, which makes the painting withstand time. It also creates a glowing, three-dimensional effect, which is due to the different layers showing through each other. These works are painted following the logic of how the eye perceives: seeing the details in the context of the form. To create a fulfilling experience, the images are composed of places, full of detail for the eye to explore and places where the eye can rest.
I arrange my still life objects into a composition, which I paint from life. My linen canvas is prepared with a layer of gesso, onto which I do a rough sketch of the main elements of the composition in oil paint. Then I roughly fill in the colors into the sketch. Once that has dried, I model the forms in a very general fashion, leaving out all details. I let the second layer dry. On the third layer I get more precise with the forms of the objects, aiming for a finished look. It is important to always keep the smaller details in context of the larger forms.
What Inspired me to enter PleinAir Salon
After all the work I have put into my paintings, my aim is for them to reach people who would be interested and could extract something from my art for themselves. I entered the Salon in hopes of my art reaching more people.
My goal as an artist is to build up on what we’ve learned from the past, so we can create within our fullest potential, during the present. This applies to several aspects in life.
As an oil painter I stand for mastering one’s crafts, meaning to know your materials, the different ways to use them and the chemical reactions towards their surroundings. This results in producing high quality works, which will last in time.
I value the importance of good design. So as to create visually pleasing paintings, they are created following the logic of how the eye perceives: seeing the details in the context of the form. The images are composed of places, full of details for the eye to explore and places where the eye can rest.
A lot of symbolism is used, whether old (accumulated throughout history) or new (emerged more recently), to illustrate topics concerning one’s emotions towards life. By presenting my statement I strive to make the viewer better understand themselves; urging them to think about how they feel and what they stand for; discovering who they truly are.
Art is a tool to scratch beneath the surface and reach a deeper understanding of our existence.
With my art I strive to capture the transitory beauty and emotions of life.
Learn about the PleinAir Salon, view winning paintings, and enter your best work at pleinairsalon.com.