Category Archives: books

A Color Manual Ahead of its Time

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books Before technology made color automatic, creating the perfect hue required a rather systematic approach.

Prior to the days of RGB values and hexadecimal strings, humans used creative means to create color options. Depending on the medium, artists might have mixed paints and in some cases, added water to achieve lighter tones.

A Brief History of Watercolor

The concept of watercolor may be as old as time itself but it didn’t become a well-known, consistent art medium until the Renaissance.

Albrecht Dürer was considered the father of the trade. He was a German painter who had much influence throughout Europe in the 16th century. Often times, Dürer chose to use watercolor when bringing landscape settings to life.

In an age when art was held with high value, watercolor quickly became a popular art medium. It became so popular, that in 1692, during the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, a man by the name of A. Boogert wrote an 800 page color manual, by hand.

A Medieval Color Manual

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books Predating Pantone (the modern-day authority on color) by nearly 300 years, Boogert compiled a comprehensive account of how to achieve different colors when adding water to paint. He explained how using one, two or three parts water would create three varying tones of the same hue. He organized each page by meticulously positioning varying shades of the same color.

This book was recently brought to light by medieval book historian, Erick Kwakkel. He noted that another scholar knew of the book’s existence and he only gave it a platform in the limelight because of his personal notoriety.

Ancient Art Trumps Modern Convenience

Regardless of how it came to the world’s attention, the book entitled, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, is causing art enthusiasts to take note. While the concept of the book does not seem groundbreaking, it is causing a multitude of 21st century RGB-HEX artists to imagine the painstaking amount of work and attention that went into deciphering and mixing hundreds of hues.

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books It would be nice to say that this book greatly contributed to how we use color today. In reality, the book was collecting dust before Kwakkel came across it a few weeks ago in a French database. Even though the book may have been the “most informative color guide of its time,” it was not widely distributed. Since the book was written by hand it has been assumed that the manual never made it into wide circulation.

Nevertheless, A. Boogert’s color manual recently made a splash. Upon its unearthing, much of the art community paused and shared thoughts about what it would be like to mix colors without technology.

Read more Segmation blog posts about historic art.

Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art

Art in Ancient Egypt

William Blake English Romantic Artist by www.segmation.com!

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Lovers of Literature Get Lost in 250,000-Book Maze

Do you get a chance you art-lovers to see the “maze” of books that has been created by two Brazilian artists in London?  The artists, Marco Saboya and Gualter Pupo, made excellent use of about 250,000 books, arranging them in what is described as a “labyrinth” that is displayed at the Southbank Centre. The book maze (aMAZEme) has attracted scores of visitors since its opening. The up to eight feet high maze walls are made of stacked books of all colors and textures, offering visitors a true feast for the senses and stirring up of literary passion.

Reportedly, aMAZEme is not the first book labyrinth of its kind. Another book maze was constructed and displayed in Rio de Janeiro, but did not boast the number of books that are contained in the London exhibition. aMAZEme, created with an astounding quarter-of-a-million books, both used and new, took only 4 days to create. All of this was accomplished though the hands of about 50 volunteers and the brilliant minds of the two artists who dreamed the idea into existence.

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer, provided the exhortation behind Saboya and Pupo’s book creation. Apparently Borges was an avid book enthusiast. Pair that with his affection for labyrinths, and you have the inspiration for aMAZEme. The book maze is actually patterned after Borges’ fingertips, adding to the unusual but captivating overall design of the project. It’s obvious that Jorge Luis Borges’ influence is planted firmly in the heart of aMAZEme.

aMAZEme does not exist solely for aesthetic purposes; it is also interactive. Visitors are greeted with the opportunity to go on an audio tour of the book labyrinth. To ensure spectators don’t assume the books are haphazardly placed, the audio tour “guides (visitors) through the meticulously mapped book titles.” For an even richer experience, visitors have the option of watching literary icons give “performances.” The funds aMAZEme brings in will be given to poverty-fighting charities. The aMAZE me labyrinth is proving to be beneficial to both book lovers and underprivileged individuals around the world.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-504784_162-10013188.html?tag=page

http://inhabitat.com/amazeme-book-labyrinth-completed-for-the-london-2012-cultural-olympiad/

http://inhabitat.com/amazeme-book-labyrinth-completed-for-the-london-2012-cultural-olympiad/amazeme-book-maze-london-2012-2/?extend=1

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Is an art education necessary?

There’s an ongoing debate about whether an artist needs a ‘proper’ art education before they are considered a ‘true artist’. Some say yes, others say no. What do you think? Does an art education matter in this day and age?

First of all, what is an ‘art education’? Generally speaking, an art education can include anything like:

  • studying art in college
  • attending art workshops at a local center, or
  • taking private art lessons.

For some people, a ‘real’ art education means getting a college degree or studying for years with a master artist, like an apprentice.

Yet, there are also many ways for budding artists to educate themselves without attending college for art or studying under a master – and without spending a fortune.

Instructional videos, artist forums and art websites are readily available for free on the Internet, where you can learn just about any technique you can think of. Plus, magazines and books are available from local libraries.

Attending college for fine art is cost-prohibitive for many people, especially since a fine art education does not produce any qualifications for well-paying jobs. Engaging in ‘self-education’ allows an artist to save money and learn what they want to learn, at their own pace, instead of being forced through the college structure.

On the other hand, there are undeniable benefits to learning art techniques firsthand from a skilled artist – whether it involves watching an art professor paint on a canvas in a certain style, or looking over the shoulder of artists sketching at a figure drawing workshop. Those benefits can’t be gained from self-education.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to getting an art education versus self-educating. Is either one better, or are they just different? What do you think?

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Introduction to Color Expert Johannes Itten

“Color is life; for a world without color appears to us as dead.” – Johannes Itten

When you take an art course on color theory, you can thank Johannes Itten for laying much of the foundation for what you’re being taught. Johannes Itten was a Swiss artist and teacher who taught at the Bauhaus in Germany. He published several books on art theory, the most popular being The Art of Color.

Sir Isaac Newton is credited with creating the first color wheel, which included 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, cyan and blue. Around 250 years later, Johannes Itten expanded Newton’s color wheel to include 12 colors instead of 6. These 12 colors included red, yellow and blue as the primary colors; orange, green and purple as the secondary colors, and 6 intermediary colors created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. This is the same color wheel often used in school’s today to teach students about color theory.

Itten also examined color saturation, contrast and hue, devising theories for creating different color combinations that are still useful to artists and designers today. He looked at the expressiveness of color, and also the way colors affect one another. He also explored the emotional properties of colors which he considered to be fairly subjective, proposing that we each have different individual reactions to colors.

For more information about Johannes Itten and his color theories, look for his books online or in your local library.

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