Category Archives: Paint by Number kits

What Every Artist Should Know About Copyright (www.segmation.com)

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All artists should be aware of copyright – that is, the exclusive rights that you, as the creator of your art, are granted from the moment your artwork is created.

Because you are the copyright owner of your original artwork, you have the sole right to distribute your art and make reproductions of it. No one else can do this without your consent. If they do, it is illegal and you can take legal action.

Technically, the moment you create your artwork, it is copyrighted. While it might be helpful to draw or paint the copyright symbol © onto your art (followed by the year and your name), this symbol is no longer necessary to protect your copyright. It’s more of a visual reminder to let others know that your art is copyrighted.

However, if you should ever take someone to court because they infringed upon your copyright, the only way to get the utmost in legal protection is to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office. Ideally you should do this immediately after the artwork is finished.

If the artwork is registered with the US Copyright Office, offenders can be held liable for up to $30,000 in statutory damages or even $150,000 if you can prove that they already knew your art was copyrighted but reproduced it anyway.

Registering your copyright is easy. You can fill out the form entirely online at the website of the US Copyright Office, pay the fee, and upload images of your art. Once processing is complete, they will snail mail you a certificate of registration. Even though that may take a few months, your copyright is officially registered from the date you filled out the form, made the payment and uploaded your art.

The cost to register your art is $35, but if you register your artwork as a “series”, you can register as many works of art as you want (as long as they were created in the same year) for one single fee of $35. For instance, if you created 12 landscape paintings in 2010, you can register all 12 landscapes under the same claim for a single $35 fee. This is a great way to save money on registration fees.

In short, it’s always a wise idea to protect your copyright by registering your art with the US Copyright Office. If and when your art becomes wildly popular, you may need that legal protection if anyone infringes upon your copyright.

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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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Painting from Real Life vs. Painting from a Photograph

Which is better: painting from real life, or painting from a photograph?

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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 life, they can work from their photographs.

In many ways, this has made representational painting easier for artists. They no longer have to wait until weather and lighting conditions are just right for outdoor painting, and sitters no longer need to spend precious hours posing for a portrait. While many artists now embrace the use of reference photos as aids to creating paintings, others still prefer to work in the style of the old masters. Which way is better?

One drawback to painting from photographs is that the resulting artwork may appear “flat”, because the objects, scene, or person depicted in the painting was first translated into 2-D form via the camera. When an artist works from real life, she has to use her artistic skills to transform the 3-D view before her into 2-D form on her canvas. When working from a photograph, an artist may become too reliant on depicting the actual 2-D photo, as opposed to depicting the 3-D scene that the photograph itself depicts.

Even so, the use of reference photos has largely aided artists in their working process, although each artist has his or her own preference between working from photos or working from real life.

So artists, when it comes to working from real life vs. working from a photograph, which do you prefer, and why?

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Introduction to Fauvism (www.segmation.com)

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, Oil on Canvas

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How would you describe Henri Matisse’s painting, shown above? First you will probably note that it is a portrait of a woman – however, it is an unusual portrait because of its strange use of color and its choppy, energetic brushstrokes.

This painting by Matisse was part of the Fauvist movement, which lasted only a few years in the early 20th century in France. The French word “Fauve” means “wild beast”. When you look at this painting, can you figure out why the word for “wild beast” came to symbolize this art movement?

The Fauvists interpreted the world around them through color, but they did not seek to represent the world using real-life colors. Instead they utilized bright, bold colors in unexpected places. For instance, take a close look at the woman’s face in the painting above and notice all the different greens that Matisse used to shape her face. Matisse’s composition is so masterful that the greens don’t seem out of place, even though in real life her face wouldn’t normally appear green.

Due to Matisse’s balanced use of bold color and his strong, painterly brushstrokes, he is able to depict the energy, or essence of the people and places around him. These two visual characteristics defined the Fauvist movement, which evolved from a combination of Post-Impressionism and Pointillism.

The most well-known painters of Fauvism are Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. They created landscapes and portraits that can be described as “simplified” to the point where they are almost abstract – yet they are still recognizable as landscapes and portraits. Even though the movement was short-lived, the Fauvist artists left behind a body of work that is both visually and mentally stimulating.

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Maurice de Vlaminck, The River Seine at Chatou, 1906, Oil on Canvas

How to Photograph Your Art

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It’s important to take good photos of your Art for many reasons.  Photos of your work will be used for several purposes:

  • To show your work to prospective galleries
  • To display on your website
  • To use on your business cards and other promotional materials
  • To serve as a record of what you have created

Back in the day, manual SLR cameras were the norm for taking high-quality photographs of artwork.  These days it’s possible to take good photographs of your art using consumer-quality point-and-shoot digital cameras – the kind you use for everyday purposes.  If you plan to print any of the photos of your art, keep in mind that the higher the pixels, the larger you’ll be able to print while maintaining a sharp clarity.

You can choose to shoot your artwork indoors or outdoors.  If you photograph your work indoors, drape a black velvet cloth on the wall and hang your artwork in front of it, at level with the camera, which should be placed on a tripod for ultimate stability.  Place two tungsten light bulbs inside two clamp lights and space them at equal points on either side of the camera, pointing towards the art at an approximate 45 degree angle.  Then point and shoot!

These days it’s not necessary to create an indoor photo set-up to get decent pictures of your art.  Many artists take photos of their artwork outside, because it is far easier than setting up a photo area indoors.  By using a digital camera and a photo-editing program, you can almost always get good photos of your art even if outdoor conditions aren’t 100% perfect.

It’s best to take photos of your art on a sunny day, to bring out the best in your artwork’s colors, but be careful to position your artwork either at an angle to the sun or place your artwork in the shade so that the direct sunlight does not cause a glare.  It may take some experimentation to get it just right, but the great thing about digital cameras is that you can take all the photos you want without worrying about wasting film.

After you’ve taken the photos and uploaded them to your computer, choose the best ones and edit them in a program like Photoshop or GIMP.  In these photo-editing programs, you can adjust the image’s brightness and contrast, hues and saturation, as well as crop the image.

Thanks to digital photography and photo-editing programs, taking accurate photos of your artwork is easier than ever!

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The Interesting and Expressive Vincent Van Gogh – Dutch post impressionist

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Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30 1853 in Grot Zundert, Netherlands in the southern Netherlands. His father was a minister and three of his uncles were art dealers, two vocations that were to pull Vincent in different directions at various times in his life.

He is known as a famous Dutch post-impressionist. There are a couple of interesting things about this artist that I find interesting. He became more famous after he died. This is sad, don’t you agree? I have found that he only sold one painting during his lifetime. This painting was “The Red Vineyard” to an impressionist painter named Anna Boch. Another fact about him is he fell in love with a lady and gave her his ear as payment as he had no money. I cannot find if she really took his ear or what she did with it. It has been written that he had bipolar depression combined with other ailments. Sadly, he committed suicide when he was 37 years old, which is indeed sad and a great lost.

His Post-Impressionist paintings laid the groundwork for Expressionism, influenced the Fauves and greatly affected 20th century art. He created more than 2,000 works, including 900 paintings, three of which make up the world’s ten most expensive pieces of art.

In letters, Vincent has described his youth as “gloomy, cold and barren,” and he left school at 15. With the help of his uncle, he was offered a job with the art dealer Goupil & Cie, and in 1873 was sent to London and from there to Paris. After complaining repeatedly about the commoditization of art, his job with the art dealership was terminated and Van Gogh returned to England to work as a teacher and minister’s assistant.

In 1879, after failing a course at a Protestant missionary school near Brussels, Van Gogh began a mission in the poor mining district of Borinage in Belgium. Choosing to live in the same poverty-stricken conditions as the local population, he was dismissed for “undermining the dignity of the priesthood” and returned home. His behavior over the following months led his father to enquire about having Van Gogh committed to an asylum.

Aged 27, Van Gogh eventually took up the suggestion of his brother Theo, now a successful art dealer, to focus on painting. In 1880, he moved to Brussels and studied at the Royal Academy of Art.

Van Gogh’s first major work, The Potato Eaters, was painted in 1885 shortly after his father’s death. Like many of his early works, the painting used sombre colors, especially dark brown, a preference which would make his paintings difficult to sell; buyers’ tastes were now influenced by the bright tones used by the Impressionists.

His palette however, began to change after he moved to Antwerp in 1885. He studied color theory and began using carmine, cobalt and emerald green. But it was while living in Paris from 1886 to 1888, where he met Emile Bernard and Toulouse-Lautrec and came into close contact with Impressionist art, that Van Gogh’s art really began to develop. He experimented with Pointillism and painted in the sunflower-rich region of Arles with the artist Gauguin. By late 1888 his behavior was becoming difficult however, and fearing that Gauguin was going to abandon him, he stalked the painter with a razor before cutting off his earlobe and giving it to a local prostitute, telling her to “keep this object carefully.” The following year, after suffering from hallucinations and believing that he was being poisoned, Van Gogh was placed in the mental hospital of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Arles.

By now, Van Gogh’s work was beginning to be recognized. The critic Albert Aurier called him a “genius,” and Monet declared that his work was the best in a major avant-garde Brussels art show.
The beginnings of success did nothing to help Van Gogh’s depression though, nor did the intervention of the physician Dr. Paul Gachet. On July 27, 1890, he walked into a field, shot himself in the chest with a revolver and died two days later.

Although there has been much speculation about the nature of Van Gogh’s mental illness, he is now recognized as one of the world’s greatest artists and a bridge between 19th century Impressionism and 20th century art.

I like painting the swirls and wavy lines of his innovative expressive style. His collections includes a few still life’s and self portraits, as well as some very popular images including Self Portrait, Still Life with Yellow Straw Hat, Potato Eaters, Houses Seen from the Back, Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, Red Vineyards near Arles, Café Terrace at Night, The Starry Night, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Still Life with Absinthe, White House at Night, Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers, Bedroom in Arles (3rd Version) The Night Café, The Yellow House, and Irises.

Vincent Van Gogh

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On Cloud Nine www.segmation.com

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Clouds are visible masses of water droplets which are suspended over in the Earth’s atmosphere. Clouds are classified in various groups depending on their altitude, structural appearance, and coloration. Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus, Altocumulus, Altostratus, Stratocumulus, Stratus, Cumulus, Nimbostratus, Cumulonimbus, and Cumulus are the most common names given. Their coloration gives clues onto what they contain due to light scattering effects of water drops and ice crystals and the direction of the light hitting the clouds. Our set of cloud patterns will put you on Cloud Nine. We have many representations of clouds of various types photographed against cactuses, birds, bridges, shades, water, and grass fields. Several of the patterns are based on clouds images which have been artistically enhanced to give them a different yet, fun, and colorful appearance.

This set contains 23 paintable patterns.

On Cloud Nine

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Next Art Museum Visit www.segmation.com

Visiting art museums can be both fun and daunting. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, contains over 2 million square feet of exhibition space – now that’s a lot of art! With room upon room filled with treasures from various civilizations, a visit to a major museum such as the Met is certainly an eye-opening, educational experience… but it can also be exhausting. Almost against your will, you’ll find that after awhile, your mind shuts down as you stare blankly at artwork after artwork.

Follow these tips to avoid that zombie-like state and glean the most from your visit to an art museum:

  • Study the museum map before you enter to familiarize yourself with everything the museum has to offer, then plan out a logical route that takes you through everything you want to see.
  • Don’t try to see everything at once. Prioritize your visit by planning to see the artwork you’re most interested in at the beginning of your museum visit, while your mind is still fresh.
  • Read the placards that explain what each exhibit and artwork is about. If you start to get burned out after awhile, don’t try to retain all the information. Just let your eyes skim over the information and absorb the key information. Look for artist, time period, medium, and location, if applicable.
  • Linger awhile in front of the pieces that most interest you, and contemplate why you like that particular piece. It is better to spend time examining the artwork you really enjoy, rather than to rush through rooms full of art that you really don’t care about.
  • If photographs are allowed, take photos of the pieces that most interest you. You should also photograph the title card of the piece, so that you can research the artist and artwork later.
  • Carry a sketchbook with you to jot down notes, ideas, impressions, and sketches of artwork that catches your eye. If photographs are not allowed, a sketchbook can be a useful substitute.
  • If you need a break, sit down in the museum cafe and rest your eyes for awhile. Fresh air can help if you’re feeling burned out, but if you leave the museum to step outside, make sure it is okay for you to re-enter without having to pay the entry fee again.

Follow these tips and your next trip to an art museum will leave you happily saturated with creative inspiration!

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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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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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