Category Archives: art galleries

All About Yellow Pigments www.segmation.com

Yellow is one of the three primary colors, which means it is often used in painting – from capturing the warm rays of a golden sun, to a field full of sunflowers, to the flickering flames of fire. Here is an overview of some of the most common yellow pigments you’ll use when painting:

Yellow Ochre (sometimes called Mars Yellow) is a non-toxic natural clay pigment. In fact, it is one of the oldest pigments in the world, used by our prehistoric ancestors. Yellow Ochre has a tan, sandy appearance.

Naples Yellow was once made from toxic synthetic pigments that were used abundantly by the Old Masters, but today’s version is made from modern, non-toxic substances. Naples Yellow usually has a light, pale appearance.

Cadmium Yellow is another historically toxic pigment (Cadmium Sulfide) that was used by artists in the late 19th century. It now contains a non-toxic replacement (usually Azo pigments), but is still called Cadmium Yellow. Cadmium Yellow has a very bright yellow appearance.

Azo Yellow (also called Hansa Yellow) is a dye-based synthetic pigment invented in the early 20th century. Azo Yellow is usually bright but it is also pale and translucent compared to Cadmium Yellow.

Each of these yellow pigments adds something different to your palette. If you are painting a still life, landscape or portrait that requires the use of yellow, consider the different properties of these yellows to decide which one (or more) would work best for what you need.

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Figure Drawing Tips

The human figure is one of the hardest things to draw accurately. When drawing a human figure, you need to be aware of technical issues such as proportions, shading and foreshortening, but you must also be able to portray the figure with emotion and sensitivity. Even if your figure drawing isn’t 100% accurate in terms of resembling real life, a drawing imbued with creative energy can create a powerful effect upon the viewer.

To better study and render the human figure, Renaissance artists dissected and studied corpses, taking detailed notes and making realistic drawings from their anatomical observations. Learning about the structure of muscles and other internal organs helped Renaissance artists create more precise artwork. These days, you don’t need to visit a morgue to brush up on your figure drawing skills. Ample books and websites focus on drawing the human form, providing countless illustrations of body parts, both externally and internally.

Figure drawing classes are invaluable for enhancing your ability to draw the human form. Most community art centers offer figure drawing classes with instructors who can critique your artwork and give you pointers. Most figure drawing classes are conducted with live nude models, which may come as a shock for people who have never been to one before, but this is standard. Drawing the nude figure helps artists gain a better grasp of the human body and how it looks in various positions.

If you are unable to attend a drawing class, you can search for free reference photos online. Many “artist community” websites offer a bank of free reference images that you can use without worrying about copyright or obtaining a model release. For specific poses, expressions or costumes, you’ll need to take your own reference photos. Hire a model or bribe a friend to do the posing for you.

If you want to draw a person is a specific pose but you do not have a model and can’t find the right reference photo, use a poseable mannequin, such as the one shown above. The poseable mannequin will give you a general idea of where to place the various body parts, but you’ll have to “invent the details”, such as facial features, clothing, etc. For this reason, a wooden mannequin is usually more ideal for gesture drawing, rather than a figure drawing that needs to be true to life.

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Putting Together an Artist’s Packet

If your dream is to show your artwork in a gallery, one of the most common ways to get your foot in the door is to “wow” them with your artist’s packet.

What is an artist’s packet?

An artist’s packet is the first thing that most galleries will see when you approach them with your work. Most gallery owners are far too busy to let artists drop by and show off their portfolios, so instead they require hopeful artists to send an informative artist’s packet through the mail. This allows them the chance to look through your artwork and relevant information at their own pace.

Before you mail off your artist packet to every gallery in your city, first you should conduct due diligence by either researching the art galleries in person or online. Look at the type of art they show; would your work fit in with the styles and subjects they show? If so, call the gallery or check their website to see if they accept submissions. If they do, you’re good to go.

An artist’s packet is basically your way of “introducing” yourself to a gallery owner and/or curator. Be sure to include:

  • Reproductions of your art – In the old days, it was the norm for artists to send slides to galleries. These days, while some galleries may still prefer slides, many galleries now prefer CDs or inexpensive, but true-to-life, print-outs. You can call the gallery or check their website to see which format they prefer. In any case, make sure you take high-quality scans or photographs of your artwork so that the gallery owner can get a strong feel for what your work looks like.
  • CV or resume – Your CV or resume really shows the what, where, and when of your art career thus far. You should include things like: education, previous exhibitions (such as gallery or museum showings, art festivals, etc), previous and current gallery affiliations, major commissions, works sold or notable private collections, awards and grants, magazine and newspaper mentions, interviews and reviews, workshops you’ve led, artist-in-residence programs you have participated in, and any other art-related accomplishments.
  • Press Clippings – If your work has been reviewed by the press, include photocopies of those reviews.
  • Artist Statement – The artist statement explains the “why” and “how” of your work. It should answer questions like: What are you trying to express? What does the viewer need to know when he/she looks at your work, in order to understand it correctly? The artist statement should never be more than 1 page in length. Remember that gallery owners are busy people – they wouldn’t have time to read more than a page!
  • Bio – Your bio should also not be more than 1 page in length; usually a paragraph will suffice. Your bio will be more casual than the artist statement, letting the gallery owner know who you are and what makes you unique.
  • Business card – A business card shows that you are professional, so be sure to include a high-quality business card in your packet.
  • A letter of introduction – When you put your artist packet together, put the letter of introduction on top of everything else. Address the letter to the gallery owner by name. (If you don’t know the person’s name, call to find out.) Explain to him or her how you first heard of their gallery and tell them why you feel your art would be a good fit. Again, keep your letter of introduction short and sweet – it should fit easily on 1 page.
  • SASE – If you want your materials returned, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

After you send off your artist packet, you can relax and paint! It is polite to give them a follow-up call a week later to make sure they received the packet, but try not to be pushy. Gallery owners are busy people and they will review your work in their own time.

Good luck!
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Was the Model for the Mona Lisa a Male?

Who was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa?

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Unfortunately, one of the mysteries of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is who was the model was a Male or Female? What age was the model? Where was the model from? Was it his wife? Did da Vinci know the model? We may never know who the model is and of course some may say why does this matter anyway right?

One thing we know for certain is that this portrait has led to many discussions. One discussion is about the Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile. I am sure you have thought about that part yourself. I often have wondered who was this model in such a wonderful piece of art? When I look at the different masterpieces myself that other Historical artists have painted, I often ask myself this same question being who was their model or models? Also, how do these famous artists select their models? Is it their wife, themselves, mistresses, children, lovers, worker, apprentice, grandparent, high school sweetheart, coworker, neighbors, people randomly picked off the street? When the artists select a model or models, what is the artist looking for in the models? What method are the looking in their selection for a model? Are they looking at some unique feature? Unique features such as their smiles, such that the smile is mysterious, sexy, sad or interesting?

When I go the the art museum, I like to look at the famous paintings from all different angles. Do you find yourself doing that as well? When I recently went to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, one of the first things I did was to walk into a room and look at the paintings from a distance. This is sometimes a hard thing to do, especially when the room is large. When the room is large, how do you really know which masterpiece to look at first. I usually look around to see which one intrigues me the most. When I find the one that interests me the most, I then look at them straight on. I often like to talk to the docents to find out what they like about the certain pieces displayed at their art museum. The docent is the true expert as they should know which pieces are the most interesting and any unusual facts about the paintings. I wonder what was the artist thinking before they started to paint on their canvas. Is there a hidden agenda on their canvas that we may never know such as the hidden identity of who their model is?

Most scholars think that da Vinci’s Mona Lisa may be his wife but have you ever thought it could really be one of his apprentices? Perhaps da Vinci had a companion that was even a male and this was the person who da Vinci drew in this well known painting? Was the model Salai who had been a model for Leonardo in several of his other paintings? So the question really is then who was the model and was it a male?

Be a Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC Leonardo da Vinci (see more details here)

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Promote Your Art Through an Open Studio

A great way to drum up interest in your art is to hold an open studio. Instead of waiting for your art to get accepted into a gallery, why not turn your work space into a temporary showing space? Remember that most art lovers enjoy spending time in artists’ studios because it allows them an inside peek into the process behind the art.

Here are several tips for hosting a successful open studio:

  • Send invitations to local gallery owners, local art critics, and anyone you think may be a patron of your art. Don’t forget to invite your friends and family also, because they will help stir up conversation about your art amongst the other attendees, and their enthusiasm will be infectious.
  • Make sure your studio is neat and presentable, but you don’t need to go overboard. People will expect paint splatters in an artist’s studio! You should leave some of your art materials (paints, brushes, palettes, etc) in their natural positions, so that your tidied studio still retains the essence of your creative energy – but make sure all toxic chemicals are safely stored away.
  • Arrange your artwork in an organized display around your art space. Add title cards underneath them with your name, the title of the work, and the price, if it is for sale. It is also a good idea to display one or more works-in-progress, because many people will be interested in seeing the evolution of an artist’s work.
  • Have plenty of business cards available. A guestbook is also a good idea for adding to your mailing list.
  • Consider selling prints of your art for people on a budget. You could also sell other low-cost items with your art on them, such as cards, magnets, bookmarks, etc.
  • If your art space is big enough for people to linger, offer a plate of hors d’oeuvre. If your budget allows, offer your guests wine or other drinks.
  • To set the ambience, select appropriate music to accompany your open studio – but play the music softly. It’s important that your guests are able to hear you and vice versa.
  • Once the doors are open, socialize. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with people you don’t know. You’ll be asked a lot of questions by people who want to know more about you and your art, so be mentally prepared. Your open studio is an opportunity for networking, so make the most of it.
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Art Basel with Lois Ostrov Abstract Artist!

Lois Ostrov

Lois Ostrov

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A beautiful collection of 22 tropical and abstract artworks by Lois Ostrov, an award winning water color and water media artist living in the Miami, Florida area. You’ll find oranges, sailboats, hibiscus and poppy flowers as well as a lighthouse, and toucan in this warm blend of South Floridian themed collection.

Lois Ostrov, originally from Ohio, taught for 25 years before choosing South Florida as the physical place to further develop her art.

Curious about textiles, her first fine art medium, she began to research other techniques of the fine arts. Ostrov found that painting, with collage added, provides the greatest opportunity to express ideas and thoughts in a personal and creative way.

As an artist, selection of colors and mediums depends on the atmosphere and surroundings of the places to choose to paint. Paint in a series. The colors, forms, and textures depicted in each series are quite different. The spirituality one feels about a place is an integral part and helps develop a personal relationship with the environment when painting.

Vision for work is acquired from photo references taken on locations from around the world. The right blend of photographs enhances feelings about a place and allows the construction of a perfect painting!

Ostrov invites the viewer to enjoy, analyze, and question her work.

Ostrov paintings have won awards and placed in juried shows including: Art Serve Broward County, Artists’ Eye Fine Art Gallery, Art Expressions Gallery Artists Haven Gallery, Broward Art Guild, Broward Library Gallery 6, Coral Springs Museum, Cornell Museum of Art, Delray Museum Art School, Florida Watercolor Society (Signature Membership), Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Gold Coast Watercolor Society, Hollywood Art Guild, Miami Watercolor Society (Signature Membership), Palm Beach Watercolor Society, Parker Playhouse, Plantation Art Guild and in private and commercial collections.

In the Press: April 2006 Edition of Palette Magazine, April, 2006– Edition of Watercolor Magic , August, 2003–City Link, December, 2002–City Link

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