Category Archives: pigment

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

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The Many Different Hues of Blue

The Many Different Hues of Blue.

The Many Different Hues of Blue

The Many Different Hues of Blue.

The Many Different Hues of Blue

The Many Different Hues of Blue.

Studying the Shades of Green

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In previous blog posts, we examined the many different shades of blue and studied the vibrant variations of yellow.

In this post, let’s take a closer look at a color that also boasts just as many wide-ranging hues: the secondary color green.

When painting nature, the color green will usually pop up prominently on your palette. Landscapes featuring forests, trees, or fields will involve a range of greens. Likewise, still lifes of apples, olives and limes will require their own sets of greens, not to mention the leaves and stems on flowers.

No matter what your medium, there are many types of greens available to suit your purpose. Here are a few of those greens along with an inside look at their origins:

  • Chromium oxide green gets its name from the inorganic compound that is used to create the pigment. This green has a bluish tinge, and is also known as Viridian.
  • Cobalt green is an artificial pigment made from a heated mix of cobalt oxide and zinc oxide. Although it is a permanent color, it has weak tinting strength.
  • Hooker’s green was named for the English botanist/artist who created it in the 19th century by combining Prussian Blue and Gamboge.
  • Phthalo green is short for ” Phthalocyanine Green G”. This synthetic pigment is created from a combination of copper and phthalocyanine. Available in a blue shade or yellow shade, Phthalo green is one of the most popular greens for painters.
  • Sap green was originally made from the berries of Buckthorn shrubs, but now it’s manufactured from a mixture of other pigments, including Phthalo green.

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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

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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Will the Real George Washington Please Stand Up?

Segmation found this article interesting and thought we would share it with our viewers. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20030727-501465.html

It mentions Gilbert Stuart who will be a future Segmation Artist of the month.

United States President Caricature by Segmation

United States President Caricature by Segmation

United States President Caricature Pattern Set for SegPlay® PC by Segmation (see more details here)

Here’s a fun and easy set of United States President Caricature patterns (thanks to our friends at Graphics Factory for providing this content).  The set includes 17 nicely done portraits of the more familiar presidents including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

When these patterns are completely colored, the resulting image has a very strong resemblance to the original artwork. These vibrant and colorful pieces of art are truly engaging and exciting for you to paint, and especially a joy to look at when completed.

With over 2800 available patterns from an ever growing collection of artistic themes, SegPlay® PC will provide you with hours upon hours of painting fun and entertainment. SegPlay® PC Splash Screen With SegPlay® PC as an Art Appreciation teaching tool, students can memorize famous works of art, color by color. Children can truly touch images related to a wide assortment of subjects. As a parent or educator, the learning possibilities stretch as far as your image-ination!

SegPlay® PC is in the computer software category known as “casual gaming”. While it provides a pleasurable and creative escape from mundane computer activities, the program is simple to use and new players can begin the painting function immediately, with just a few, intuitive tools. However, the program also offers rich features with challenging and engaging options, so it expands with each user, whether they seek an education in art appreciation or just want to enjoy a creative gaming challenge.

With a dynamic and clear user interface and fun sound effects, the program’s gaming features compliment the artistic benefits and engage users at all levels. For a gaming challenge, users can race against a timer to complete patterns in a given timeframe at levels from Easy to Experienced and Expert. Users can also employ speed-painting tools, monitor the mistake counter, and track the number of remaining pieces and colors to increase the program’s challenging and addictive potential.

United States President Caricature

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How to Make Your Own Oil Paints

In a previous blog post, we discussed the benefits of making your own paints, rather than buying commercially-made paints from art supply stores. Two of the most appealing reasons for making your own paints include the ability to control the color and the quantity of the paint that you make. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at how you can make your own oil paints using just a few simple supplies.

The two main ingredients you’ll need for making your own oil paints are powdered pigment and an oil, such as linseed oil (which most oil painters usually have on hand anyway). The tools you’ll need to mix the ingredients can either be a mortar and pestle (shown above), or a sturdy spatula and a flat glass surface. The mortar and pestle is the preferred choice because it will allow you to grind the pigment into finer particles.

To make your own oil paint, place your desired amount of pigment onto the glass surface or into the mortar. Add a small amount of oil and grind together the pigment and the oil using your pestle or spatula. Be sure to start off with a small amount of oil, because you don’t want your mixture to be too runny.

As the pigment absorbs the oil, note the consistency. If the mixture looks too dry, add more oil. If it is too oily, add more pigment. Your goal is to create a mixture that resembles the consistency of toothpaste.

Once the pigment and oil are thoroughly mixed, then you are ready to paint! The process is as simple as that. Your homemade oil paint can be mixed with commercially-made oil paints, and it may be stored in tubes or airtight jars for future use. segmation dot com.

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The Benefits of Making Your Own Paints


Did you know that you can easily and affordably make your own paints right at home? The supplies needed to make oil paints, acrylics, watercolors or pastels are fairly inexpensive and they can be easily purchased online or at a local shop. You don’t need a giant studio or an excessive amount of supplies to make your own paints – all you need are a few basic ingredients pertinent to each medium, and a tabletop that you can use as your work area.

You might wonder, “Why should I bother making my own paints?”

There are a number of reasons why it is beneficial for artists to make their own paints. For starters, when you break down a specific medium to its individual components, it helps you to understand the nature of the medium. Taking part in the process of creating an oil paint or a pastel stick provides invaluable insight into the qualities of that particular medium. Plus, the magic of watching loose powdered pigment transform into a usable paint can become part of the overall creative experience.

One of the best things about making your own paints is that you can control the hue, value and intensity of each color. If you need a specific shade of green that is difficult to mix using commercial paints, you can create your own. If you need a range of blues to create skyscapes and seascapes, you can create the exact colors that you need and save them for future use.

It’s easy to forget that there was once a time when all artists either had to make their own paints or purchase these supplies from a local artisan. The vast majority of artists today buy their paints and art materials off the shelf. Most artists don’t even think twice about how these materials are made or what is actually in them. This has changed our relationships to our art materials. By making your own paints, you can reinvigorate your connection to the materials that you use to create art.

In future articles, we’ll take a closer look at the process involved for making oil paints, pastels, watercolors and acrylics.

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