Artists have historically been inspired by the mortal feelings and sensations that arise when contemplating the sheer majesty and mystery of our universe and our existence in it. Albert Bierstadt epitomizes this production motive. His breathtaking landscapes of the American West, reviewed in this issue, express a sense of the sublime—a genuine reaction to nature’s humbling forces. Odd Nerdrum paints very different but equally sublime vistas. Symbolic and dreamlike, his landscapes and the mythic characters that inhabit them are allegorical explorations of the human psyche.
Communicating human stories and emotions are further explored in the second part of Margaret Krug’s series on the history and techniques of egg tempera. Cultures in every epoch all over the world have developed unique visual imagery to express their vision of the universe, and we review the Indian Space Painters, who experimented with Native American art forms in the creation of abstract works.
Learning to express an emotive sensation with art begins with a solid grasp of art-making principles. Sam Adoquei offers a step-by-step demonstration of his landscape-painting techniques, which provides that necessary foundation. Paradoxically, knowing when to break the rules is often the best route to genuine artistic expression. Daniel Ludwig’s jarring figural compositions and dissonant color harmonies offer an expressive force that trumps classical principles.
We hope the artists featured in this issue inspire you to open yourself up to the wonders of the universe. We hope, too, that the techniques they have shared will aid your ability to harvest the feelings and sensations you experience and translate those open moments into great works of art.