Category Archives: Puzzle

Tips for Buying Art at Auction

Anyone who’s ever visited a gallery knows how expensive it can be to purchase original art. Fortunately, there is a more economical alternative for fine art lovers who are on a budget. At an art auction, it’s possible to find a piece you love at an amazing bargain. Below are a few quick tips to ensure that your first auction is a smooth, successful experience:

  • Know which type of auction you’re attending. There are three main categories. Estate auctions (an upscale version of a “moving sale”) are held when a family or heir needs to liquidate everything in the house, regardless of price. Consignment auctions are usually held at an auctioneer house, with most sellers setting minimum reserves to ensure that their pieces don’t sell too cheaply. Mixed auctions are a combination of the two.
  • To find an auction, enter your location and “art auction” into a search engine. You can also check the newspaper and try calling antique dealers and auctioneer houses directly.
  • Once you’ve found an auction, call to make sure the location and time is accurate. Also find out when the preview period starts — this allows you to come a few hours (or sometimes days) early and get a look at the items that will be up for bidding.
  • When registering to bid, find out if the auction house adds a premium to your bids. In some cases, this can increase the total selling amount by 10% or more. Also find out what form of payment they accept.
  • At the auction, choose your seat carefully. Sitting toward the front will give you a close view of the items, but sitting or standing in the back will let you see who else is bidding on an item. Always have a maximum bid in mind for items you’re interested in. Resist the temptation to exceed it, especially in the heat of the moment during the bidding process.
  • Listen carefully to the auctioneer’s descriptions of items. Also pay attention to the conversations going on around you, as this may help you determine the value and authenticity of a piece of art. Write down the selling prices so you can review them later and recognize trends.
  • After winning a piece of art, be sure to get a receipt after the auction is over. If it’s high in value, you might also consider insuring the item.

If you do your research and resist getting carried away, an auction can be a fun and cost-effective way to enhance your art collection.
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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

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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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Lady Liberty (www.segmation.com)

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The Statue of Liberty is a massive sculpture located in New York Harbor. It was designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and is a gift to the United States from France. Dedicated in 1886, it has become an icon of liberty and freedom and a recognized landmark throughout the world. The 151 foot Lady Liberty holds a torch with her right hand and a tablet, symbolizing the law, in her left hand. Our set of Lady Liberty patterns are based on a wonderful set of photographs of the statue. Back dropped against blue skies, and wispy clouds, the patterns show the Statue of Liberty from many angles and various close-ups. We’ve also included a pattern of the Las Vegas replica of the statue.
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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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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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How Color Can Transform Space www.segmation.com

Street Painting in Washington, DC

Look around you. The buildings, the streets, the trees – they all look pretty much the same, day after day, don’t they? So much so, that you probably got to the point where you don’t really notice your surroundings anymore, other than to get from Point A to Point B, or to admire an occasional flower or sunset.

What would happen if someone painted multicolored stripes across the street you take every day to work? Imagine how much that would change your perception of the street and alter your day to day reality. Color has the power to lift you into another world, and take you beyond the ordinary. Many artists are utilizing this power to transform our everyday surroundings so that we see our own familiar spaces in a new light.

Here are three examples of how color can transform space:

  • In the image above, artist Mokha Laget, in conjuction with the Corcoran and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, recreated a striped street painting that she originally created 20 years earlier on 8th St. NW in downtown Washington DC. The painted stripes are an homage to former Corcoran professor and noted color field artist, Gene Davis, who died of a heart attack in 1985. The bright colors enliven the street, bringing a sense of wonder and whimsicality to the US capital.
  • Rio de Janeiro, capital of Brazil, is a city with striking disparities between the rich and the poor. Twenty percent of Rio’s inhabitants live in densely populated favelas that crowd the hillsides overlooking the capital’s more wealthy residents. The ‘O Morro’ Favela Painting project is an attempt to bring color and culture to the impoverished community, injecting vitality and pride into an otherwise depressed area rife with social issues. The Favela Project is employing favela residents to paint their houses in specific, carefully-designed patterns that when finished, will be a display of beauty and color visible from the center of Rio.
  • Christo and Jeanne-Claude, famous for “wrapping” buildings, bridges and entire islands, once again soared into the spotlight in 2005 with their “Gates” installation in New York City’s Central Park. For 15 days in February 2005, 7,503 vinyl saffron-colored gates rising 5 meters into the air were displayed along Central Park’s pathways, stretching a combined length of 23 miles. Although the public had mixed feelings about the installation, the gates undeniably brought color to New York’s austere winter landscape.

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