The Meaning of Doors….

solid timber Doorway, Balmain NSW Australia, buildings, debiriley.com

Doors and Windows: they’ve fascinated all of us in one way or another for centuries.

I’ve chosen them, as the Theme, for Term 1,  2018.

Why?

They’re interesting to paint, with great shapes and designs.

However, its more than just that.

 

Balmain NSW colorful stain glass window, debiriley.com
Shapes and Design:  Colors of the Door and Window

 

Art. Its not enough, just to paint pretty. 

The aim is to be able to ‘touch’ and move others through art.

Move them through “the doorways,”  whatever those doors might be to the viewers.

 

That.

Might be enough.

 

Doors

The origins of the word “door” in English began from a Sanskrit word,  Duarah.

This has the meaning of two doors.

And from this, comes the Greek Thura, then  German Tur, and Middle English Dure (Dor) and Old Norse Dyrr.

 

This is how our modern word, “door” originated.

 

The Gaulish, Doro… means mouth.

Doesn’t that provide a thought provoking picture?

Our lips the double doors.

Our words we speak from our lips, those double doors; might be crowds bolting out those double doors or they could be solitary entities slipping past the double guards…. almost unnoticed.

 

 

door and window, inspiration ideas for abstract paintings, geometric shapes, design ideas, debiriley.com
door and window: looking for inspiration

Thinking and Making Choices

Many of us, never pause, to consider “Why?”

Why we are pulled so compellingly to certain subjects, scenes, media, papers, colors, songs, etc.

 

I do…now.

But ‘you’ are an art teacher. (I hear you.)

 

Yes. Yes, I am.

But we don’t have to be practicing artists to stop and wonder for a quick second, for a moment,  why a thing might be.

It grants us a much better understanding and awareness of ourselves and those around us, so I believe.

 

I don’t see it as wasting time. Its something I can do while shopping, waiting in line, waiting in the traffic jam, waiting…. on hold.

I’m just ‘thinking’ after all.

 

 

solid timber Doorway, Balmain NSW Australia, buildings, debiriley.com
Doorway of Balmain

Door Subject: an  Example

Bold blue surrounds. Solid and sturdy big, double doors in  raw timber. Large iron hinges bolted in so securely.

The appearance given: Stay out. Shut tight against the outside.

 

Arousing curiosity.

 

And there it is.

A hint.  That if we as artists infer, and hint at something in our work – it makes the viewer much more interested.

 

To spell it all out,  show it all,  to reveal everything…. spoils the viewer engagement.

The mystery is over. The show is over.

The audience is now rather bored.

 

I think, that is why I love soft edges when I paint as much as I do.  Its the mystery.

And why I normally won’t paint from a photographic reference that  reveals it all.

 

 

 

UWA exterior debiriley.com
UWA   ‘portal’  arches

 

Symbolism

 

Doors, Windows, Gates and Portals

They represent opening and closings. Exits and Entrances.

Different pathways. New perspectives.

 

Doors can be things of mystery, things of the future, unseen  and hidden.

And they can be barriers, things that set boundaries where we are allowed and disallowed.

 

The closed door, is in itself presents “a challenge.”

Full of possibilities; we don’t know, what lies on the other side.

We can only guess.

 

 

 

If the door is locked, we must find the key.

Acquire permission, to gain entrance.

Somehow, we must pay the entrance fee, however the ‘payment’ is defined.

 

In a way, it is a test.

A test of our wills.  The intensity of our need to see, to get to the other side of that door is tested.

Will we, give up just a fraction of a moment,  too soon?

 

 

Doors –  Decisions To Be Made

Doors. Present us with a multitude of choices.

 

Which to choose, why we choose it, when to choose it.

Doors are never simple.

Even when you think they are.

Inside, our minds realize the complexities of the doors.

Inside the brain is processing thousands of ideas, concepts, problems, solutions.  All at once.

Thankfully, we generally are unaware of all this brain traffic going on.

 

 

 

 

UWA campus grounds, doors and windows, historic buildings, old buildings Perth, debiriley.com
Historic building, beautiful doors and windows.  Perth UWA

 

Painting and Drawing Selections

Decisions are made, as we draw and paint.  Actually, even before that.

When we are choosing… the doors.

 

We’re choosing if,  the door is to be wide open.

Or shut.

Locked up, with bars and padlock chains.

chains across doors, debiriley.com
Chains across the Doors

 

Choices….

Should the door be left slightly ajar, just hinting at openings and possibilities?

Should we choose the door that’s wood, single door or double door?  Maybe the door has a window in it with a beautiful winged, design?

Or do we choose to paint a door that is carved with lions and protective icons as symbolic guardians?

 

A steel door, that would be significant as well.

What about a lovely colored door in soft gentle welcoming pale butter yellow?

You see, all the choices we make will influence the rapid fire pathways the viewers’ minds take. Their feelings and perspectives.

 

UWA archways debiriley.com
arched doorways

 

 

If the door is closed, is there a handle or a key? What type of door knob is this?  Does the door, have a doorman, A gate keeper?

 

We face a closed door.

There is a decision to be made.

Do we turn away, or make the attempt to enter into this new place?

 

Doors opening.  Invitations. Opportunities.  New adventures.

The door of opportunity might be represented, if open or slightly ajar.

The doors of transition may be left ajar for us, or left unlocked.

Doors often symbolise a transitional change of some type.

We may have to delve, to discover the exact nature.

 

Doors closed.   “No, go away.”  Stay out.  Impasse. Protection and safety of the residents.

Doors locked.  Security is prioritised.  A Test of will and motivation,  decides what comes next.

 

 

 

 

Many artists of the past have painted great masterpieces, with doors, taking a major role in the work.

(art books Delacroix..and more)

 

John Frederick Lewis… (one of my favorite artists)

The Coffee Bearer

An Arabian Chief, seated in Cairo bazaar 

 

Ingres

Antiochus and Stratonice 

 

Jean Leon Gerome

The Green Portal 

 

Matisse

The Kasbah Gate 

 

John Singer Sargent

Venetian Doorway

 

 

 

 

I have constructed an art board, on my Pinterest site “Doors and Window.”

You can find dozens of brilliant paintings there.

Its dedicated to all things regarding doors and windows: paintings of the Masters, modern paintings, watercolors, oils, pastels. + Photography.

 

I hope my Atwell classes have found this article explanatory as to  “Why”  I chose this theme for the term.

And indeed, why it was, that a “theme” was appropriate for us now.

I’d like to think that while we paint with the aim to touch and move others, we also become more in touch with ourselves in the doing.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. WOW I loved that, doors, arches windows,. there are some beautiful old glass door windows I have seen here in the uk, such edible colours…. thank you Debi

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debi, I have taken many photos of doors during my travels. I find them intriguing. I like to imagine the type of person living inside depending on the the colours, the decorations, and the cleanliness around the door. Your article was very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Louise! doors are fabulous for so many reasons…. they draw all of us, it seems. the older the door, the more I’m intrigued at the lives that used to reside inside. I do like looking at what is around that door too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. good morning Sharon! thank you…. and your door/inspiration metaphor is perfect 🙂 over the Term, we will see if this concept is one they like – or not. But even if not, I did enjoy my walks getting the photos 🙂 cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was in college, I was taking a photography class and I used doors and windows as my subject. I walked around Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles early one Sunday morning. You’ve inspired me to think about doing something with windows and doors again.

        Like

  3. ‘The aim is to be able to ‘touch’ and move others through art.’ What a wonderful way to describe art and what many artists want to achieve. It really is not just about creating something for show, but to show, share and touch others around us. Doors are fascinating. Each one so different, and a different story behind each set. So agree when you say doors can be symbolic of staying out and in, and also arousing curiosity – which would depend on which side on the door we are. I always like a bit of mystery. It always keeps others guessing and it’s a chance to see and feel different perceptions. Another lovely piece about deconstructing art, Debi 🙂

    Like

    1. hi Sandra, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the topic that intrigues so many of us. on a side note… in the past, I’ve done some ancestry research and ‘Sweet,’ was a gr.gr.gr.parent 6x back. I had to smile, when I saw your name. Cheers, Debi

      Like

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