Leonid Afremov Modern Painter...

Leonid Afremov was born in 1955 in Vitebsk, Belarus and has lived an international life as a modern impressionist painter with a politically neutral agenda. His purpose is to remind the busy people of the world that certain places are simply beautiful and worth a moment of study. Afremov has created his own unique painting style as well. He uses a palette knife and oils and the technique makes his work recognizable. The artist also uses the internet to promote and sell his work, rather than attending galleries or using exhibits and dealers. It was the internet which changed the game for Afremov and now he is a well-known and respected artist who works with landscape, still life and portraits. His work seems to glow like a stained glass window. Afremov has lived in Belarus, Israel, the United States and Mexico. One of his role models is Marc Chagall and he studied at the Vitebsk Education Institute. In 1978 Afremov graduated from the Vitebsk Art School as one of their elites before studying privately with a famous local artist, Barowski. Years later in 1990, he and his family immigrated to Israel under the political auspices of Gorbachev. At the end of the 90s, Afremov befriended the jazz musician Leonid Ptashka and began to paint a collection of portraits of popular jazz musicians. This brought about an upswing in his artistic career with respect to being able to exhibit his work. But after setbacks, his family immigrated to the United States and began to use the online auction system Ebay to sell his work. This proved to be extremely profitable and Afremov was able to paint whatever he wished. Psychologists found his paintings to be relaxing and calm and offered to buy them in order...

Art is a Measure of Society’s Success Nov16

Art is a Measure of Society’s Success...

As an advocate of the arts I often look in to academic studies that champion their cause. Recently I came across a compelling case in Harvard’s Project Zero for valuing art for art’s sake in educational systems, particularly because linking art in the classroom to the success of other subjects is not keeping art in the classrooms during hard times. Rather than tying the value of the arts to other subjects, such as suggesting that an education in music will benefit math skills, the authors of Harvard’s Project Zero claim that we should focus on art’s unique and intrinsic value. Art is necessary for its own contributions as stated by Project Zero’s authors: The arts have been around longer than the sciences; cultures are judged on the basis of their arts; and most cultures and most historical eras have not doubted the importance of studying the arts. … The reason is simple. The arts are a fundamentally important part of culture, and an education without them is an impoverished education leading to an impoverished society. Studying the arts should not have to be justified in terms of anything else. The arts are as important as the sciences: they are time-honored ways of learning, knowing, and expressing. (p. 3) A lack of culture and an impoverished society; a big claim to make for the arts but a claim that is not without merit. In order to see what Project Zero might be referring to, let’s turn back the clock to 1943 when the motivational theory of aspirational psychologist Abraham Maslow first went to print. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a pretty familiar term in the circles of human developmental psychology, but for those of us not well versed in psychology it boils down to this:...

Writer’s Journey: True Characterization...

Compared to any other form of writing, the novel is the most psychological, followed closely by the short story.  A short story may not have as much time for psychological delving, and by its shorter word count, becomes limited in introspection, but the greatest function of both narratives is to delve the inner soul or consciousness of its characters as much as possible. E.M. Forster said that a “novel’s success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject-matter.”  By sensitivity, it’s the empathy of the author in question.  A writer must be keen enough to pick up the reflection of the world around them, even if they are writing about a story that took place in another time or on another world.  Character is that reflection; character brings any subject matter to life.  To find character, one must treat the novel as a psychological journey. The word psychological may be off-putting to several people but it’s the best modern word for the subjective narrative experience.  There are novels that are less psychological and focus almost entirely upon pure story-telling, but they are usually classified as adventure novels, or exist in a category of some field like science-fiction where the play of words is focused upon technology and world-building for a good reason.  Isaac Asimov is a good example of this.  And we only need to look at Robinson Crusoe for a classic example of an adventure tale. But the psychology found in novels is not to be equated with modern concepts of weekly therapy sessions, so-called happy pills, or even how the writer feels about his or her mother.  It’s more subjective in its analysis and was traditionally known as building character.  It becomes social psychology when readers pick up...