|The Lovers, 1944|
"If I create from the heart, almost everything works; if from the head, almost nothing."
Marc Chagall knew nothing about art as a child, living in drab surroundings of the Jewish quarter of Vitebsk in Belarus. He learned from a friend how to draw by copying images out of books and decided he wanted to be an artist.
Chagall developed a surrealistic style of painting that was full of scenes and imagery from his childhood. His highly personal style of modern art combined real and dream worlds into richly colored fantasies where people fly and animals cavort.
Our Chagall-style paintings were based on these dream-paintings. We called them Life is a Dream.
We drew our dreams on large, heavy 18" x 24" drawing paper. To emulate Chagall's dreamy themes, each artist drew him or herself flying, floating, or soaring through the air while carrying or holding something important to them.
Below them are buildings of some kind, including their own house (real or imaginary). Above is a sun or a moon with a face, and the scene must include at least one or more additional things that are odd, weird, or very strange!
Once the basic pencil drawing was completed, the objects were outlined and colored in with oil pastels and tempera paints.
The artists found that when they painted thinned tempera over the oil pastels, the resulting oil 'resist' contributed to the dreamy look of their compositions.
The last step was to fill in the sky with thinned tempera paint and a few chose to add course salt to the wet paint, which produces a strange texture in the paint and a very dreamlike sky for their dream-selves to fly through.