Category Archives: Blog

Melinda Donelan’s Blog Keeps Art Room Open 24/7

What does a Good Art Teacher Look LikeSummer vacation is here and classrooms across America are empty. We only know of one art room that is open all year long. The doors to Miss French Fry’s art room never close because she has mirrored the creativity her students experience in school with a bright, constructive and amusing blog, http://missfrenchfrymakesart.blogspot.com/.

“Teaching art is my dream job,” says Melinda Donelan (a.k.a. Miss French Fry). “I like to use my blog as an outlet for sharing some of the fun things we work on in the art room.” And share she does. About twice a week, Donelan publishes posts that show projects her students are working on as well as classroom décor/organization tips. Sometimes she even gives her readers a sneak peek into her personal life by revealing what she is making for dinner and her wardrobe selections for the week.

What sets this art teacher’s blog apart is her fusion of creativity and organization. Every post focused on art education starts by introducing the project and the inspiration behind it. Maybe she traveled to a museum or was inspired by a famous painter from the past. She explains how she does this intentionally, “When I develop lessons, regardless of what the objective is, I like to ensure that the projects tie in with something else, whether it’s a cross curricular connection or a piece of literature.” After tying each project to a deeper purpose, she springboards into the details of the project and shows her students bringing their artwork to life by using pictures. She has lots of pictures that show readers what the students are doing step-by-step. She also shows a finished project, too.

In reading her blog, it is clear that Miss French Fry really enjoys her job. “One of the biggest things I enjoy about teaching art is celebrating my students’ uniqueness,” she says. “Before teaching art, I worked as a special education teacher for students with behavioral and emotional disabilities. It’s been wonderful incorporating that background into my art room and definitely inspired quite a few blog posts.”

Miss French Fry Makes Art: Art Room Sub TubMiss French Fry’s blog posts can inspire more than just art teachers. All teachers could benefit from some of her posts. For example, the “Sub Tub” is an organizer she has created to store and label lesson plans for substitute teachers. All in all, her clever instructions make it simple for any teacher to feel prepared when they leave their classroom in the hands of a substitute.

In this 24/7 world, always accessible art education resources are hard to come by. With her blog, http://missfrenchfrymakesart.blogspot.com/, Melinda Donelan is changing this. Explore the adventurous, industrious and sometime wacky world of an art educator. Get some fresh ideas and walk away feeling encouraged and more creative.

 

Read more Segmation blog posts about colorful artists:

Is an art education necessary?

What does a Good Art Teacher Look Like?

Reviving Art as the Heart of Education

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Cutting Edge Art Blog Inspired by Current Events

What is beautiful about a world that exists in a constant state of war? News media broadcasts incessant reminders about natural disasters, impoverished nations, and a drowning global economy. Not long ago, people made it a point to read newspapers in the mornings and watch nightly news programs. Now, more people are moving away from this practice because the news is downright frightening and often blamed for the onset of depression.

A woman in Columbia, South Carolina views the news in a different light. Maria Fabrizio is inspired by the news. Every day, she puts a creative spin on current events. In fact, she wakes up before five in the morning to scour headlines, looking for trending topics that spark her creativity. And she does this day in and day out, no matter how sad the news might be.

Her blog is appropriately titled, “Wordless News.” Like any good blog, her daily posts keep viewers coming back for more. Considering it is a daily news outlet, Fabrizio extends a free subscription offer, meaning people can receive art in their inboxes every day. Since people tend to read news articles throughout their days (no matter how sad the content might be), the artist of current events finds that people visit her blog when they want to take a break from their work.

In addition, she keeps subscribers clicking. Fabrizio’s blog lives up to its title. It is wordless. Therefore, subscribers see an image before reading the headline that inspired it. In an NPR article she claims, “It’s kind of a riddle… When you click on the image, it takes you to the news story.”

Fabrizio’s dedication to this project is one thing, but her perseverance to trench through the turmoil of the world is another. Inspirational news stories are hard to come by. A person who can use headlines as a source of inspiration is a rare gem. Using this to her advantage, Maria Fabrizio creates a cutting edge art blog that is inspirational in its own right.

Read more Segmation blog posts about inspirational art:

Foreign Landscapes Inspire Creativity

Inspiring Digital Art

Decorate Your Home Office to Inspire Creativity

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The Color Popularity Contest: Cars, Weddings, Sports Teams, and Much More

We all know that colors can conjure up various meanings and sometimes even feelings. The color red can convey power, passion, or caution. Blues and greens can evoke feelings of peace and tranquility. But what are the most popular colors out there?

The multimedia resource center for DuPont recently released the 2011 Global Automotive Color popularity report. This report made us curious to know what the popular color choices are, not only for cars, but for other material things like clothing, home decor, sports teams, and weddings.

According to DuPont’s Global Color Popularity Report, the most popular car colors in 2011 were white, solid, pearl, silver, and black. This is the first time in quite a while that whites have surpassed black and grey in popularity. The colors green and yellow came in last, leaving red, blue, and brown to fall somewhere in the middle.

In North America, white, black, and silver still ranked highest on the list for popular car colors. Green, yellow, and brown came in last, while grey, red, and blue took the middle ground. To view the report yourself and discover which colors were the most popular in numerous countries, visit the website below.

http://www2.dupont.com/Media_Center/en_US/color_popularity/

Color popularity can depend on many factors including seasons, fashions, and purpose. The popularity of a color is always subject to change as new styles, needs, and combinations come to the surface. It is also incredibly hard to determine the most popular color in many situations.

General surveys have revealed that blue is usually the most popular color overall. However, green has been a favored decorating color.

When it comes to sports teams, each team typically claims at least two primary (bold) colors. At the moment, the most popular color scheme for sports teams is red and black.

Popular fashion colors can change by the year or even by the season. Popular shoe colors are generally red, black, and silver. However, discerning popular hair colors is a bit trickier. Usually when we talk about hair color we are referring more to hues and shades than we are to actual colors. For those worried about fitting in to current fashion, platinum blonde is still “in,” as is blonde.

Popular wedding color combinations are also difficult to keep up with, but black and white seem to stay consistently popular. This year you may just be seeing a lot of neutral colors paired with small amounts of bright, eye-popping color.

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Face the Fact, Technology Creates Art

In the 21st century, technology creates all things useful… including art. We have to face the fact that gone are the days when art belonged on an canvas, was formed between the hands of a potter, appeared from inside a slab of granite, or was developed with the intention of advancing culture.

Now there are even more dimensions of art to embrace. We can do this by recognizing how technology allows everyone to become artists by producing visual representations of who we are, as individuals and what we care about.

An online program that allows anyone to create a work-of-art is Picasa. This is Google’s free photo editing software that transforms our every day pictures into artistic masterpieces.

The newest version, Picasa 3.8, has the ability to turn anyone into an artist — or a video producer for that matter. For some time, Google’s Picasa has been an easy tool that makes photo organization and editing a breeze. It allows individuals the ability to create online albums that are easily shared with friends and family members throughout the world. Check out the Face Movie Segmation produced with it:

(If the video does not appear on this screen, visit Youtube to view Segmation’s feature Picasa film: http://youtu.be/16JPgeF5y5U)

Creating A Face Movie

It’s easy to create a Face Movie like this one. Picasa 3.8 can instruct you with step by step directions. However, it is a process that is completed with just a few clicks of a button. The program analyzes faces in the photos you want featured. Then, it couples them with the smoothest transitions in ways of facial expressions and/or poses. The different technique Face Movie uses, creating noticeably different movies, is overlaying photos organized by similar qualities, like expressions or poses. You can start creating your Face Movie today by clicking here.

Benefits of Picasa 3.8

But wait… it gets easier. With Picasa, you don’t need to scramble to find the pictures you want to use. It organizes all the photos on your PC, even those scattered throughout your system. Then, they can be easily organized into web albums.

Name Tags

Google understands that the people captured in photographs are what matter in a picture. This is why they created a collection system based on name-tags. It is a lot like the Facebook feature, “tagging.” By placing a box around an individuals face, one is able write their name and easily store all pictures where he or she has been tagged. This is also available with places, or “geo-tags,” where one can mark the exact location of the picture using Google maps.

Sharing

From there it is easy to publish your favorite photos online. You can choose to share single images or an entire album. This also allows you to connect with friends and family members and set notification settings when those you’ve set as “Favorites” post new photos.

Editing 

And you don’t need to worry about showing pictures that are sub-par. Picasa also includes an editing systems that can improve any picture. By having control of red-eye correction, lighting, and other abnormalities, you are sure to collect and share pictures you’re proud of.

The abilities of Google’s Picasa 3.8 are numerous, but you don’t have to believe us. Explore the free program and see for yourself.

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4 Reminders Why Art is Important

Art is important. It is of the highest value to our individual selves and an intrinsic part of culture. However, in the 21st century, we often find ourselves taking art for granted. This is why it is important to be reminded about just how important art is to us.

After exploring the history of art and opening ourselves to the reality of its importance, we’ll take a look at 4 reasons why art benefits everyone.

Why do we take art for granted?

Think back to the first time you walked into an art museum. Remember how magnificent everything appeared, with the halls full of paintings, photographs, sculptures, mosaics, and so on? Large spaces set up with exhibits allowed art to tell a story, highlighted an artist or explain a segment of history.

But when was the last time you entered an art museum and experienced breathtaking art up close?

In the past century, the introduction of technology has brought fine-art into our homes. This only advanced with the evolution of technology, computers and the internet. It also allowed another branch of art to form — digital art.

However, the only way to advance art from the point we are currently at, is to look back at the history of art and acknowledge what it has always done for us humans.

4 reminders why art is important

Art is individual

Art appeals to the senses

Art is collective

Art is ritualistic

Individual— Art has the ability to evoke special feelings inside of an individual.  The fact that art makes people feel special is undeniable and relates directly to every human’s need “to embellish, decorate and personalize,” writes Cathy Malchiodi. In her recent blog post, What is Art For? The Restoring Power of Imagination, she explains how important art is to an individual because of our unique taste for aesthetically pleasing design and appealing imagery.

Sensory

The reason why people have different tastes in art is because art has the ability to stimulate our senses. It is believed that art practices, in general, came about as a health-giving behavior. This means that art makes people feel good; it encourages them to be lively and brings playful qualities to difficult circumstances. Before visual art, humans used other forms of art to stimulate their senses like rhythm, story telling, order, pattern, natural color, and body movement. Nevertheless, all art forms, with an emphasis on visual art, give humans a sensory experience that can lift the spirits of any individual.

Collective— While art does wonders for an individual in the sense of growth and sensual stimulation, art is actually a community experience. After all, it is most often created to be enjoyed by others — not just the artist. It speaks to a time and place, and engages all who relate to it’s message. Even though reactions to art differ, coming together for the purpose of art has been, and always will be, a center point of human community. It is where we can gather to celebrate or grieve life’s most important events and issues. Not to mention, in the 21st century as all times before, it gives people reason to come together.

Ritualistic— People who gather together to create and critique art have more unifying interactions and ceremonies than groups who don’t. A evolutionary ethologist, Ellen Dissanayake, makes the point that historically, people who came together for the purpose of art “…were able to survive longer than those who did not engage in using art.” Art rituals have been part the human experience since its beginnings. In fact, much of history reflects that people have always come together for the purpose of art. Do you remember studying Tibetan sand paintings? Or Native American totem-polls? These were sacred rituals for cultural groups at certain times throughout history. Malchiodi points out how these rituals were founded in human survival-instinct because “they help us make meaning of life as well as reduce life’s inevitable stresses.”

Hopefully, these 4 reminders refresh your memory as to why art is important. It is likely that you have personal reasons why you appreciate art. Segmation wants to hear about those moment. Comment below and share with us about why art is important to you.

Top image made available by Torley on Flickr through Creative Common License

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Colors Change What is Beautiful

What is beautiful? The term is a bit subjective, don’t you think? After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

It most certainly is, but one undeniable quality about color is its ability to make all things beautiful!

This is why color-field painting, with its abstract merging of vivid colors, is responsible for some beautiful works of art.  In this post we will look at how color-field painting evokes emotions and has the ability to change an environment.

By now we know how color impacts art and also stirs emotion in people. Recent posts discuss color therapy, known as chromotherapy and the psychology of color, offering insight into how color can impact an individual.  As artists, we know the emotional impact art can have on us. Vivid colors can stir emotions and hold an observers heart once they pass.

Sometimes, color makes beautiful what was not beautiful before. This is the case of color-field painting; color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale change a blank canvas into a brilliant work of art.

This style of art is very abstract and those who are best known for its development are considered Abstract Expressionists.  Color-field painting emerged in New York in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It was a type of art inspired by European modernism and made popular by artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

What sets color-field painting apart from other types of abstract art is the artist’s regard for paint.  With the main focus being color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale, there is less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and consistent actions that create form and process.  In fact, the entire work of art is created by the artist who determines what elements he or she will add to convey a sense of place, atmosphere, or environment. In other words, what makes color-field painting beautiful, is its subjectivity.

Like most art, the beauty of color-field painting is in the eye of the beholder.  These colorful pieces are nice accents for decoration and fun to paint too! But don’t let the look of simplicity fool you.  This style is not easy to perfect and contrary to how it appears, cannot be replicated by a 6 year old!

Have you splashed your art palette with color today?  Try it and see how color changes what you see as beautiful.

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If you enjoyed this Segmation blog post, we’re sure you’ll like:

  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: A Father of Expressionism

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/ernst-ludwig-kirchner-father-expressionism/

  • What Color Should You Paint Your Home?

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/what-color-should-you-paint-your-home/

  • United States Presidents Were Skilled Musicians

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/united-states-presidents-were-skilled-musicians/

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A Summer Activity for Leisure Days

© Dave Dugdale: Flickr http://www.learningdslrvideo.com

Summer days are notorious for bright sun, hot temperatures and endless activities. The irony here is that summer days are also supposed to be days of leisure. This is why lounging around inside is okay even when the sun is bright. In fact, one of the most enjoyable things about a summer day is air conditioning!

Indoor summer activities often consist of watching television, sitting on the computer and working around the house. It is challenging to find a leisure activity that is also mind stimulating. This is why Segmation offers the perfect summer activity for all ages.

Paint by Numbers

Since the 1950’s, paint by numbers has been known as a leisure past time and summer activity.  It became popular when people began making more money, working fewer hours and increasing the amount they shopped. As a result, people purchased items to use in their free time. With consumers buying items like TV sets, barbeque grills and paint by numbers kits, these popular past times became better known as “new leisure.” To this day, paint by numbers, among the rest, are still a favorite past time, even though they all have new faces.

The Artist in Everyone

© Kara Allyson: Flickr

Paint by numbers is not just a great past time; it allows anyone to become an artist. Even a clumsy hobbyist can paint the perfect picture. This is why the box tops of paint by numbers kits formerly proclaimed “Every man a Rembrandt.” While every person can craft the perfect picture with paint by numbers, different levels of expertise offer this leisure activity at any skill level.

Now you have it all; all you need are leisure summer days to awaken the artist in you. The virtual paint by numbers program, Segmation, will turn you into a Rembrandt, or at the very least, a graphic design artist. Enjoy picking colors, following a pattern and watching your masterpiece appear on screen. With Segmation, this leisure activity awaits your next air conditioned summer day.

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Giotto di Bondone – Father of European Painting (www.segmation.com)


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Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267 – 1337), known simply as Giotto, was a Florentine painter and architect. He is now considered the first great master of the Italian Renaissance and the founder of modern European painting. Giotto’s natural and realistic style broke away from the symbolism of Byzantine art and was the catalyst that marked the start of the Renaissance.

Giotto was born in a small hamlet north of Florence. His father was a farmer and Giotto probably spent much of his youth as a shepherd. According to art historian Giorgio Vasari, the renowned Florentine artist, Cimabue, who was the last great painter in the Byzantine style, discovered the young Giotto drawing pictures of sheep on a rock. Cimabue was so impressed by the young boy’s talent that he immediately took him on as an apprentice. That story may be apocryphal but by around 1280 Giotto was working in Florence and by 1312 he was a member of the Florentine Guild of doctors and apothecaries, a guild that also included painters. He traveled to Rome with Cimabue and may well have worked on some of the master’s commissions.

Giotto signed his name to just three paintings. All other attributions to him are speculative and the unresolved controversy has raged through the art world for over a hundred years. Nevertheless, his work stands at the brink of a new age in art. He concentrated on representing human emotions, people in everyday situations, and capturing the human experience through his art.

Although he lacked the technical knowledge of perspective, he created a convincing three-dimensional pictorial space. His genius was immediately recognized by his contemporaries; he was lauded by great philosophers, writers and thinkers of his day, among them Dante and Boccaccio. Under Giotto’s leadership the old, stylized Byzantine art forms slowly disappeared from Florence, and later from other Italian cities. His freedom of expression influenced artists of the early and high Renaissance, and changed the course of European painting.

One of Giotto’s finest works is the series of frescoes painted 1304-1305 for the Scrovegni chapel in Padua, usually known as the Arena Chapel. The 37 scenes depict the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary and are considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. The figures in his paintings interact, gossip, and look at each other.

From 1306 to 1311 Giotto was in Assisi where some art historians believe he painted the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis. Although the style of the frescoes is realistic and breaks away from the Byzantine stylization, the controversy is caused by the stylistic differences between the St. Francis and Arena Chapel frescoes. Documents that could have proved the origin of the commissions were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops when they occupied the town in the early 19th century.

Giotto received commissions from princes and high officials of the church in Florence, Naples and Rome. Most scholars agree that he painted the frescoes in the Church of the Santa Croce in Florence and although he never signed the Ognissanti Madonna altarpiece, the Florentine work is universally recognized as being by him. It is known that Giotto was in Florence from 1314-1327 and the large panel painting depicting the Virgin was painted around 1310. The face of the Virgin is so expressive that it may well have been painted using a live model.

Towards the end of his life, Giotto was assigned to build the Campanile of the Florence Cathedral. In 1334 he was named chief architect and, although the Campanile is known as “Giotto’s Tower,” it was probably not built to his design specifications.

Giotto died in January, 1337. Even his burial place is surrounded by mystery. Vasari believed he was buried in the Cathedral of Florence, while other scholars claimed he was buried in the Church of Santa Reparata. But Giotto left an artistic legacy that could not be ignored. His disciples, Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi continued in the master’s tradition and, a century later, the artistic torch lit by Giotto was passed on to Michelangelo and Raphael, the great masters of the High Renaissance.

Giotto made a radical break from the Byzantine (abstract – anti-naturalistic) style and brought more life to art. Giotto primarily painted Christian themes depicted in cycles and is best known for his frescos in various Chapels (Arene Chapel, Florence Cathedral, Assisi, Scrovegni).

Our pattern set collection features many of his more familiar works including the Ognissanti Madonna, The Mourning of Christ, The Marriage at Cana, The Mourning of St. Francis, Crucifixion and Madonna and Child.

Giotto di Bondone

Have fun and relax with beautiful online painting art. So fun and easy to use with no mess but just a mouse!

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What to Write About on Your Art Blog (www.segmation.com)

 

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In a previous blog post, we explained 3 ways that artists can benefit from blogging. Basically:

  • A blog provides exposure for you and your work.
  • A blog provides insight into your working process.
  • A blog facilitates connections between you and your fan base.

Now that you’ve set up your blog, what should you write about? Let’s take a look at a range of topics you can blog about to keep your readers interested in coming back for more!

Give your readers an inside glimpse into your studio. Show them what you’re working on and tell them about your working process – what inspires you, what materials and techniques you are using, what challenges and surprises you’ve encountered.

Show your readers a bit about your personal life – but not too much. An art blog is an ideal way to get “personal” with your fan base and potential gallery contacts. By including cute anecdotes about something you experienced or by sharing photos of your new dog, your blog readers will see you more as a real person than as a bunch of pixels on a screen.

At the same time, be careful not to get too personal. Be aware that everything you write can affect your image, so don’t write posts about what you ate for breakfast or what TV shows you watched last night. There is such a thing as “too much information”, so before you hit the “publish” button, ask yourself, “Does it help or hurt my art business if people know this about me?”

Plug your upcoming gallery shows, competitions you’ve entered, workshops you’re leading or attending, and any other art-related events. Your fan base will be interested in seeing that you are active in your field, so keep them updated on your artistic activities. It’s okay to toot your own horn, but try to avoid “sales talk”.

Write about things that inspire you. You can write about other artists you admire, your favorite place to paint, or a cloud formation that caught your eye on the way to the grocery store that you quickly captured in your sketchbook.

Provide tips about making art. By sharing what you’ve learned about art, you can help establish yourself as an expert in your field. Other artists will appreciate your openness and potential collectors will take note that other artists look up to you.

Above all, remember to make your art blog both friendly and professional. Think of your blog as a combination of:

  • an ongoing conversation with a trusted gallery owner whom you have known for years
  • a warm welcome to a new fan of your artwork
  • a chance for friendly art talk over a cup of virtual coffee

In other words, many different types of people will be interested in reading your art blog, so try to write with these various audiences in mind.

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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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