Miri Rozenvain Artist Review
Animals have been a favorite subject matter for artists since the very beginnings. The earliest paintings ever found date by more than 40,000 years and were of running bison and horses left on the sides of a cave in France. Typically animals in art where traditionally depicted in art due to their utility and their relations to humans. In the 18th and 19th centuries, animals began taking center stage in the art world as proud owners commissioned portraits of their livestock and pets. Artist’s are drawn to the wild nature, action, and spirit of animals and the challenges they present when painted. Today, animals in art is as popular as ever and continues to inspire artists.
Blue Horses, 1847
As a child of artists, Miri Rozenvain developed a love and passion for art at a very young age. Her deep love of wildlife met her love of art and she found her artistic voice combining the two at the age of 16. In her wildlife portraits Miri integrates unconventional mediums such as crushed granite and sand to insert the natural world directly into her paintings. Miri draws the viewer’s attention to things that may be passed by or never acknowledged and turns them into works of art. Her attention to the importance, beauty, and rarity of wildlife prompts the viewer to ponder their relation to wildlife in an ever urbanized world.
Principals of Art:
Space: Space is demonstrated to create dimension in the composition. Miri heightens the importance of her subjects by balancing them against negative surround space. In See What I See the positive space of the bears stand boldly against the negative space of the background. This helps emphasize the bears importance in the composition.
Color: Bright splashes of color breath life into Miri’s animal portraits. Balanced against the over all greyscale of the painting makes the colors pop brilliantly and stand out in the composition.
Shape: Organic shapes compose Miri’s paintings into balanced and harmonious compositions. In See What I See the shapes are largely horizontal in nature, yet built up vertically, creating visual interest and stimulating the eye to move around the composition.
Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. Deep changes in value add form and life to the shapes in Miri’s paintings. Note how in See What I See the bear’s undersides are all dark in value, and light on their faces that are in implied the light source. This change in value makes them look lifelike and gives them form.
Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a painting is to help create both dimension and a mood. Miri uses deep values to heighten contrast and add a dramatic flare to her paintings. The deep blacks and bright whites juxtapose strongly against each other as the colors blend and mix between the two.
Texture: To add texture to her paintings Miri will throw crushed granite and sand into the wet paint to become apart of the painting. This unconventional medium inserts the natural world into her paintings, as well as makes them more visually interesting for the viewer to behold.
Principals of Design:
Balance: Miri balances her paintings through changes in proportions and details as well as balancing between negative and positive space. The dominate center bear in See What I See is balanced by the bear cub on the left and the tree on the right which are small in proportion, yet balanced by both of their presence.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. Her continued style unifies Miri’s paintings. The lively brushwork, splashes of color, and soulfulness of the animals facial expressions identify her work and unify her paintings.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. The variety of mediums and textures make Miri’s paintings more visually interesting for the viewer.
Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. Most often the animal’s face will serve as the focal point in Miri’s paintings. The soulful and contemplative eyes draw you in to connect with the animal and the painting.
Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. Miri’s lively and action filled brushwork give movement to Miri’s paintings and prompts the eye to move around the canvas. Splashes and drips of paint liven up the painting with freedom and spontaneity.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. Subtle visual patterns help harmonize Miri’s paintings. In See What I See the bears all look out in the same direction, which harmonizes the piece and the subjects.
Perspective: Perspective is what’s creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. The positive space of Miri’s subjects contrasted against the negative space in the background draw the subjects forward and shows depth as the background recedes.
Miri uses acrylic and mixed media on canvas. Acrylic is a water based paint that is quick drying and very sturdy. Most artists start off with using acrylics before transitioning to oils, but they have made a huge comeback in fine art. Because it is quick drying, the artist can layer distinctly different colors over one another in a short period of time. Canvas, which is the preferred surface for many artists is most noticeable different that paper or panel because of it’s “bounce”. It takes skill for an artist to paint on an open back canvas surface, but once an artist becomes comfortable with it, it can be hard to transition back.
To add a dramatic flare to her paintings Miri utilizes unconventional mediums to add texture and interest. Crushed gravel and sand is thrown by hand into the wet paint where they gather and catch. Sometimes the stones take on the color of the paint, while other times they stand out in their natural colors. This integration of natural materials literally inserts the natural world into the natural environments she creates.