Artist Drawing During LSD Trip

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These nine drawings were done by an artist under the influence of LSD, as part of a test conducted by the US government during the 1950’s. The government was keen to learn of any potentially beneficial effects that these new synthetic drugs may have, and how such effects could be used. Their primary hope was to be able to use LSD as a truth serum, using the patient’s altered sense of reality to overcome any conscious guards.


The artist was to be given a dose of LSD 25, and free access to an activity box full of crayons, paints and pencils. His subject throughout is the doctor administering the drugs. The first drawing is done 20 minutes after the patient has received the first dose (50μg). The attending doctor observes that the patient starts drawing with charcoal. The artist explains “Condition normal , no effect from the drug yet.”


85 minutes after the first dose and 20 minutes after a second dose has been administered (100μg total). The doctor notes that the patient seems euphoric.

“I can see you clearly, so clearly. This…. you…. it’s all… I’m having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.”


2 hours and 30 minutes after the first dose. Patient appears very focused on the business of drawing.

“Outlines seem normal, but very vivid. Everything is changing color. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my consciousness is situated in the part of my body that’s now active… my hand… my elbow… my tongue”


2 hours and 32 minutes after first dose. Patient seems gripped by his pad of paper.

“I’m trying another drawing. The outlines of the model are normal, but now those of my drawing are not. The outline of my hand is going weird too. It’s not a very good drawing is it? I give…I’ll try again…”


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2 hours and 35 minutes after first dose. Patient follows quickly with another drawing.

“I’ll do a drawing in one flourish… without stopping… one line… no break”

Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing and then becomes alerted by something on the floor.


2 hours and 45 minutes after first dose. Patient tries to climb into activity box, and he is generally agitated and responds slowly to the suggestion that he might like to draw some more. He has become largely non-verbal.

“I am… everything is… changed… they’re calling.. your face… interwoven…who is…” Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like “Thanks for the Memory”).

He changes medium to tempera.


4 hours and 25 minutes after first dose. Patient retreated to the bunk, spending approximately 2 hours lying, waving his hands in the air. His return to the activity box is sudden and deliberate. He changes his medium to pen and water color.

“This will be the best drawing, like the first one, only better. If I’m not careful, I’ll loose control of my movements, but I won’t, because I know. I know.” (He continues to repeat “I know” over and over.)


Patient makes the last half a dozen strokes of the drawing while running back and forth across the room.

5 hours and 45 minutes after the first dose. Patient continues to move about the room, intersecting the space in complex variations. It’s an hour and a half before he settles down to draw again; he appears to be over the effects of the drug. “I can feel my knees again. I think it’s starting to wear off. This is a pretty good drawing, but the pencil is mighty hard to hold. (He is holding a crayon).


8 hours after first dose Patient sits on bunk bed.He reports the intoxication has worn off, expect for the occasional distorting of faces. We ask for a final drawing, which he performs with little enthusiasm. “I have nothing to say about this last drawing. It is bad and uninteresting. I want to go home now.”

Who was the Most crazy, Van Gogh or Munch?

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Both of these artists were known to suffer from mental illness. Munch had what is now believed to be bi-polar disorder. Van Gogh suffered from paranoia, and possibly a myriad of other mental ailments, including epilepsy and absynth addiction, that the psychiatric community still debates. It is clear that they both suffered in ways which most of us are fortunate to not understand, but how did it show up in their work.

 Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh : The Starry Night – 1889

In looking at the paintings of both Munch and Van Gogh, it may be tempting to say that Munch was the more disturbed of the two. In fact, Van Gogh was an influence for Munch. He painted emotion, raw emotion. These emotions were dark and “negative” and his work had a depth of sorrow and madness to it that may be unsurpassed. On the other hand, while Van Gogh’s paintings were often somber, hey do not seem to embody the depths of sadness and despair that are seen in Munch’s work.

 The Scream

Edvard Munch : The Scream – 1898

Munch definitely has the privilege of having painted a painting that has come to symbolize our own modern feeling of despair and hopelessness. The Scream has become an icon of the world today and many people can relate to – that feeling of just wanting to scream!

His paintings were part of his therapy with his forward thinking doctors feeling that it would be beneficial for him to paint and express his feelings whilst in the asylum.

We will probably never know who had the more severe mental illness. Certainly Munch’s most likely stemmed from the fearful upbringing of his parents. His father instilled in him and his siblings the fear of eternal Hell and living in fear, especially as a child, creates deep-seated damage to the mind and soul. Van Gogh is for many the embodiment of the tortured artist. He cut off the earlobe of his left ear, an act of self-mutilation, after an argument with fellow artist Paul Gauguin. A year later he shot himself.

 Self Portrait

Vincent Van Gogh : Self Portrait with a Bandage – 1889

It is difficult to compare mental illness, each person and their experiences are so radically different. However, it is obvious that mental illness and insanity are not enough to stop geniuses from creating masterpieces that will be with us for eternity. In a way, both Munch’s and Van Gogh’s sadness and the torture they endured will be with us for eternity as well.

The Art of Conservation

Many paintings have been around for hundreds of years and there are many paintings we would like to have around for hundreds of years. However, paintings are very delicate objects and they need to have the proper care or they will not stand the test of time. The conservation of paintings is a very important and precise ‘science’, so much so that there are people who dedicate their life to conserving works of art.

What can happen to a painting you ask? How many things can possibly go wrong with it? Many.

First of all, the canvas itself can become damaged. It can split at the edges or have a hole or rip in it. If it is painted on wood the wood can become warped and split. It is also susceptible to bugs such as word worms. Canvas may begin to sag or bulge in places. Now we come to the actual painting. Even if the foundation of the painting is solid, the paint may be fading or it may be chipping or fallen off already. The varnish on it may be discolored and it can also suffer from mold or mildew or be whitening.

Now, paintings are generally going to be in one of two places – in transport or hanging on a wall (they could also be in storage, but we are assuming that they are stored properly). The physical damage described above is generally caused during transport, unless it happens to get knocked off the wall somehow. Other than using the most extreme care possible when transporting a painting it is also wise to have the final location picked out and ready before you remove it from its existing location so that you do not have to put it down during transport and risk damaging it. When you do need to put it down, place it on a padded surface and lean it against a wall face out and away from furniture or other objects that it might bump against.

The painting itself is generally damaged by improper temperature and humidity levels. These two things have to be ideal for a painting or it can begin to show the signs of deterioration listed above. Have you ever wondered why the local art gallery is so cool? Well, they have to control the temperature and humidity in order to ensure the paintings do not get damaged. If you have paintings in your home you need to do the same. Ideally the temperature should be at most room temperature and the relative humidity should be at about 55%. Lighting should be low as high light tends to fade and discolor the paint faster. Also, dust can contain acid, which can damage the paint. Keep you hands off the painting and dust it with a soft brush (not feather or sheepskin).

Keep all these things in mind when hanging your painting. This means don’t hang it over the heater or right next to a window and keep your air conditioning on in the summer. In other words, think very carefully before you hang your painting and if the frame is damaged get it fixed or replaced as it can cause physical damage to the painting. So take care of your paintings and not only will you enjoy them for a lifetime, your children and their children will enjoy them as well.

Choosing a Frame

Can you choose just any old frame for a painting? Well, you could, but don’t tell the artist. This means that the frame has, among its many other functions, the job of complimenting the work of art. In other words, the frame is not merely a means of hanging a painting on a wall.
But choosing the right frame is almost as difficult as choosing the painting you wanted in the first place.

So what does a frame do? Frames have a number of functions. One of these is to add to the physical stability of the painting and help keep it from being damaged. Another is to separate the painting from the wall. Aside from this, the frame can be very aesthetically pleasing.

Frames can be made out of anything; wood, plastic, metal, paper, stone or even glass.  Most common are the wooden frames, although environmentally friendly plastic frames are becoming more popular. As techniques improve frames can be manufactured from compressed polystyrene with real wood effect. Not only do they look like the real thing, but they are lighter, cheaper, stronger and more durable – all this without needing to chop a tree down.

When choosing your frame it is important to consider the architectural style of the room in which the painting is to hang, as you will want to compliment this style. You also want to decide of you want to use the frame to draw attention to the painting as the focal point of the room or whether you want to have it blend into the décor.

Another important thing to consider is the width of the frame. With smaller pictures it may be of value to use a wider frame as long as this can help draw the eyes towards the centre. This larger frame will also help the painting take up more wall space. With medium and large painting a narrower frame is best, so that it does not over power the piece. When in doubt, go narrower rather than risk too wide.

The colour of the frame is a difficult choice, and it really depends upon what painting you’re framing and what your own taste is. Black and silver generally go with everything and so are quite safe bets. Black will make the painting look neater, whilst silver will brighten it up. Wood finishes are great, but they must match up with the decoration of the room where the painting will hang. The most popular colour for larger paintings is gold, as this will make the painting appear to glow. Be careful with gold however, as it can easily become overpowering. Wood with a gold highlight is a good compromise for those wishing to remain a little more discrete.

Don’t forget that you don’t actually need a frame for a painting. Some people choose to make wall hangings from just the canvas. Also, you can stretch the painting over a wooden frame as normal, but then not add the outer decorative frame. This creates a very minimalist look, which works well for more modern paintings such as pop art, but can ruin some of the older masters. If you choose this route, be sure to allow for the extra canvas which will be needed to cover the sides of the stretching frame, as without an outer frame this part will become visible.

Whether you have a professional do the framing or you pick it out and do it yourself, choosing the right frame will add value and beauty to your painting. This is not an area in which you want to skimp on price. After all, you paid for the painting. Now frame it well and show it off.

Stretching a Canvas

You have chosen the perfect frame for your painting, but before you frame it you have to stretch the painting. The act of stretching the painting is important for the stability and appearance of your painting. The first thing you need to do is purchase stretcher bars that correspond to the size of your painting as well as a staple gun or small tacks and a hammer. When stretching, it is crucial that the stretcher bars form a perfect square/rectangle.

Lay your canvas, paint side down on a very clean surface so the painting does not get damaged. Center the stretcher frame on top of the painting and then begin by folding the canvas over one of the short sides of the stretcher frame. Staple it to the center of the strip of wood. Then go to the opposite side and using canvas pliers, grab the canvas and pull it gently to create a crease in the center of it. Keeping that crease and tension in tact, staple the canvas to the strip of wood. Repeat this process for the other two sides.

Once all four sides are stapled, use the canvas pliers to grab the canvas on either side of the center staple and staple there. Repeat for all sides. This way you will have three staples on each side of the frame. The final step is to fold the material at the corners neatly and tuck them in and staple them.

It is important that the painting be stretched fully and properly. Otherwise, the painting will sag in the middle. Once stretched you can move on to framing and enjoying the beautiful work of art you have brought home.

Are Reproduced Paintings Still Art?

Compared to the few million dollars it costs for a genuine Picasso or van Gogh, then you might be apt to call reproduction paintings the “poor man’s art”. It all depends on your definition of poor. The truth of the matter is reproduction art is a very affordable and reputable way to build an extensive and sometimes valuable art collection.

So how can reproduction art be so wonderful and even valuable? First, it is important not to confuse reproductions with prints, which are merely copies of the original. Prints come in the form of posters so they are not actual paintings. Reproductions are created by a highly talented artist. The artist who paints reproductions must know every technique used by the masters who created the original.

In fact, it is not even as simple as the technique merely being copied. The reproduction artist works hard to use the same quality canvas and oils as the original artist and also becomes familiar enough with the painting to duplicate lighting, brushes, and brush strokes. It is clear that reproductions are not mere knock-offs of a great work of art. They take a lot of talent, time, and effort to get it just right.

Reproduction artists are expert painters. They simply are not creating their own unique paintings, or at least not exclusively. Perhaps in reproducing the work of the masters they are practicing and enhancing their technical ability or perhaps they just enjoy recreating the masterpieces and consider it a challenge and an honor to do so. A good way to look at it is that reproduction artists are doing us a very valuable favor. They are making it possible to bring the work of the masters into our homes. Otherwise we would have to wait until we went to a famous museum or made some very rich friends before we could ever experience the pleasure of inspiration and awe that the masters inspire in us all.

As a company which produces reproduction paintings, we are of course slightly biased, but certainly as we have experience of producing paintings of a high standard then we are fully aware of the talent it takes to reproduce a master.

Interestingly it is sometimes very much more difficult to reproduce a painting which would be considered “simpler” such as a Kandinsky, rather than something more realistic like a Bouguereau. The reason being that the details in a painting which is more abstract are much more important to the piece, as there are fewer of them. As an example, if you were painting three shapes on a canvas and one was out of place, or enlarged or in some other way distorted; it would be quite plain to see. If a leaf on a tree amongst thousands was a little bit too much to the right however, it would be nearly impossible to notice.

Abstract paintings also often requrie the feeling of the artist to be projected onto the canvas, whereas realistic painting use their subjects to invoke emotion and passion in the viewer. Reproduction of both styles are of course incredibly difficult things to acheive, and the reason why we are so very picky with the artists we choose to work with us.

Much in the same way as an Olympic figure skater, we do not simply want to envoke feelings of “nice”, or “I could do that”; our objective is to make people look at the art and wonder how on Earth it is possible to produce something so naturally beautiful, whilst at the same time not giving the slightest hint of the hundreds of hours practice it took to reach such a high level of excellence.

How Much of a Role has Religion Played in the Development of Art?

Has religion played a role in the development of art over the centuries? To answer this question, you need only ask yourself another question. Is there any aspect of culture that religion has not affected over the centuries? No matter how far back you go, even to the cave paintings in Spain and France, you will see religious overtones to the work. However, here we are going to look at Pre-Renaissance through to Contemporary art.

In Pre-Renaissance art, Christianity was at its pinnacle. Religion was unified and was woven into every aspect of life. Art was not about the artist, for it was believed that the true creator of the art was god, but about the artwork itself. Thus the paintings had hugely Christian overtones. They were created in order to direct the imaginings of humans to the divine.

As the Renaissance came along, paintings began to lose their Christian identity. Renaissance comes from the French word for rebirth and this rebirth was taking place in every aspect of society. With it’s beginnings in Italy, Renaissance art went back to the mythology and nature of classical Greece and Rome. It was during this time that oil on canvass made its debut and the time when there was a new class introduced into society – the merchant class. These rich merchants now had much influence over art and funded it extensively. Thus, the art world no longer belonged to the church.

With Pre-Raphaelite art, there seemed to be a desire to bring back the structure and religious nature of art. During the mid 19th century, when Europe was in a societal upheaval, seven British artists created a group that aimed to bring back moral and noble ideals through their work. They went back to the time of late medieval and early Renaissance until the time of Raphael and renewed interest in detail and color. Thus, it was the aim of these artists to bring some normalcy and contentment back to European society.

Pre-Raphaelite art paved the way for contemporary art. This is, of course, the art of the 20th century and it is an art that has a large political and social influence. Ushered in with oil on canvass, a hint of its past, contemporary art moved into the abstract by the middle of the century. Thus, in the modern art movement, religion in the sense of Christianity no loner plays a significant role. However, spiritual ideas may play a role in the sense of artists expressing their spiritual selves through their work.

As with anything else in society, it seems that the art world sways back and forth from religious and older ideas to fresh new outlooks and back again. It is the way of the world. It seems to be the way to slow change and hold on to the past before realizing we have to let go and allow the current to take us. Of course, this begs the question, what is to come next?

Painting Technique

When presented with the image the artist is to reproduce, they first select the right size canvas, and then begin pencil sketching the outline of the design. Detail is not important at this stage, the artist simply wants to make sure that everything is in the right place and proportion.




Then broad areas of colour are filled in with thin paint.

They are successively refined and corrected in thicker paint to which oil and varnish are added. The paint can be applied using a brush made from animal hair, or a flexible, wide-bladed painting or palette knife, or even the fingers.




After each painting session, the paint must first be allowed to dry before any further work can be
carried out.

When the piece is finally finished, it is hung up for a few days to allow it to dry more completely.


Is Imitation Flatery or Forgery?

The answer to this question is not cut and dried. Looking back through history, it was common for artists to copy not only the work of others, but their own work as well. Think about it. How else would someone obtain a copy of a painting he liked other than asking he artist himself to paint a duplicate. Many of the masters also allowed others to copy their work.
Why would someone want to outright copy a painting. One of the most legitimate and acceptable reasons would be for the purpose of education. After all, in music a music student plays the works of the masters over and over again. They study the compositions and then they create their own based on what they have learned. One must first copy the masters before one can truly branch out and develop his own style. It is through copying the work of others that technique is learned. Having said this, copying is not about inspiration. Although one can be inspired by another’s work, true inspiration is a more divine concept. Copying is more about technique.
However, there have been instances throughout history in which someone has attempted to forge a painting under a master’s name. This is obviously unacceptable, but the trend of creating works of art similar to that of another painter is only natural. Consider Cubism. Would it have made any sense if Picasso had burst onto the art scene and blown it away with his new style of art only to have no one try to create it on their own? Of course not. Imitation is natural for human beings and yes, it is a form of flattery. The subconscious in particular loves to be mirrored and so does the conscious self.
It comes down to this. Copying someone’s work and presenting it as yours or not acknowledging the true author of the work is forgery. Copying the work in order to learn the techniques or imitating the techniques and creating the same style of art for the purpose of education, self-exploration, and creation are imitation and flattery in their highest form. Of course, there are always those who do not copy, but who create new ways of doing things.
The true geniuses are the ones who are imitated.