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Joseph Mallord William Turner – Great Painter of Light

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Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851) was a controversial English landscape painter. Joseph Mallord William Turner, better known as J.M.W. Turner, was born on April 23, 1775, in Covent Garden, London, England. His eccentric style matched his subjects – shipwrecks, fires, natural catastrophes, as well as natural phenomena such as sunlight, storms, rain, and fog.

Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as “the painter of light” and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.www.segmation.com

The significance of light to Turner resembled God’s spirit. In his later paintings he concentrated on the play of light on water and the radiances of skies and fires, almost to an Impressionistic style. Segmation’s collection of Joseph Mallord William Turner patterns includes many examples of his style including The Fighting Temeraire, The Shipwreck of the Minotaur, Snow Storm, The Grand Canal, Peace – Burial at Sea, and Rain, Steam and Speed.

This Segmation set contains 25 paintable patterns.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

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Pointillism: Tiny Dots of Color

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat

When a color is placed next to another color, a relationship is formed. Each color impacts the other, affecting the way you perceive those colors.

Artists who painted in the Pointillist style were aware of the way our eyes blend colors that are next to each other. Rather than creating forms by blending colors, Pointillist painters dabbed small dots of paint (“points”) of different colors next to each other to create forms.

Georges Seurat was one of the most famous artists to explore Pointillism. His painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (shown above), is a prime example of Pointillism. When viewing the painting at this size, you can’t tell that it is made up of millions of colored dots. But when viewed up-close, like Seurat’s close-up below (from another painting of his, Circus Sideshow), you can see that the images are created from many colored dots painted next to each other and on top of one another.

Pointillist paintings often appear bright with vivid colors, because the colors are not mixed together in the traditional sense on the palette – it is up to the human eye to do the mixing in your mind. The white of the canvas also plays a strong role in making Pointillist paintings appear bright, shining through between the colored dots.

Interestingly, images on TVs and computer screens are made up of tiny dots of color as well. Most printing processes also involve placing dots of color next to each other to create images. Perhaps Pointillist artists were ahead of their time.

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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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Camille Corot – French Landscape Artist


Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) was a French Landscape painter who had a strong influence on Impressionism. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century and his landscape style referenced a neo-classical style with a muted color palette. Many forgeries of Corot were created in the period 1870-1939, mostly because of his easy to imitate style. Our pattern set includes many examples of landscapes and portraits.

You’ll find “Woman with a Pear”, “The Bridge at Narmi”, “Meditation”, “Orpheus Leading Eurydice”, “Interrupted Reading”, “Recollections of Mortefontaine”, “A Windmill in Montmartre “, “The Letter”, ” Aqueducts in the Roman Campagna “, “Temple of Minerva Medica “, “Agostina”, and “Castel Gandolfo”. There are also several self portraits.

This set contains 50 paintable patterns.

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How to Make Your Mistakes Work for You

Every artist knows the feeling of working for hours on a piece, only to make some kind of mistake. Whether it’s spilling paint, making a mark that can’t be erased, or stepping back and realizing that your drawing is out of proportion – we’ve all been there at some point. But when you goof up, does it mean that your artwork is ruined? Not necessarily!

Here are some tips that can help save your artwork after you’ve made a mistake that you can’t undo:

  • Cover over it. This is probably your first impulse, so ask yourself, “Is there a way to cover this mistake?” If you’re painting in acrylics, you can cover over it. But if you’re working in watercolors or colored pencil, covering over mistakes is not an option. In that case…
  • Work the mistake into the composition. Do all you can to make the mistake blend into the artwork, so that it seems like an intentional part of the piece. This may require you to…
  • Embrace the unexpected. Ask yourself, “How can I adjust my original vision for the piece to incorporate this unexpected addition?” You might surprise yourself, as this can produce a very creative approach that you may not have otherwise taken.

Above all, don’t panic. Art is a process of creation, one that requires a balance between control and letting go. By letting go and welcoming whatever happens, you free your creative flow and allow your muses to guide you.

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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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Artists: what are YOUR favorite art supplies to make art while you are traveling?

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In a previous blog post, we discussed the benefits of making art while traveling. In this blog post, we’ll expand the topic further to tell you about the best art supplies for traveling artists.

Whether you will be flying to Europe to sketch the Roman ruins or plein air painting next to your local fishing spot, the art supplies in this list are all portable and compact – but don’t let size fool you! These art supplies are more than capable of capturing the scenery around you.

Watercolors

Watercolor travel sets, such as Winsor Newton’s Half-Pan Watercolors, are perfect for traveling artists. Watercolors require minimal preparation and clean up, making them ideal for painting-on-the-go.

Aside from the pan of watercolors, all you need are: a paintbrush, a bottle of water, watercolor paper, and a tiny piece of soap for cleaning your brush. Art supply stores sell handy little plastic containers with lids that you can simply fill with water from your water bottle, and you’re ready to paint!

Watercolors are more ideal for travel than acrylics or oils, because they are easier to clean up and they are available in small, travel sized sets. If acrylics or oils are your main media, you can always do watercolor studies on-site and use them as references later for larger paintings in oils or acrylics.

Colored Pencils

Just a few colored pencils can go a long way. You don’t need to bring your entire set of 100 colored pencils the next time you travel – just bring anywhere from 6 to 12 colors, and you’ll be able to capture the essence of your surroundings. As long as you have a small range of different colors, you can mix them to create the colors you need.

Colored pencils are great for traveling artists because they require no preparation at all – simply open your sketchbook, whip out your colored pencils, and sketch away! Clean-up is just as easy.

Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils combine the benefits of colored pencils and watercolors in a single media that is super easy to transport. Like colored pencils, all you need are a few colors of watercolor pencils, and you can mix them together to create endless color combinations. In addition to the watercolor pencils, you’ll need a paintbrush and a small container of water. However, you can also do without the water and just use the watercolor pencils like colored pencils, if you so desire.

Pens

Pens are excellent for capturing the immediacy of your surroundings. You can buy artist pens in a variety of colors. They are lightweight and inexpensive, and you can also use them to scribble notes in your sketchbook.

Pens can also be combined with watercolor washes to add color and dimension to a piece.

Pencils

Even if you only have a pencil and paper, you can make art wherever you are! Drawing pencils are available in sets of varying softness and hardness, so you can also carry a whole range of pencils with you, to help bring the best out of your pencil drawings.

So, artists: what are YOUR favorite art supplies to make art while you are traveling?

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The Psychology of Color

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Color affects more than just the way things look – it also changes the way we perceive objects by affecting our mood and emotions. Altering the color of an item in a painting might seem like a trivial detail, but it can dramatically impact the way viewers will assess and interpret an object’s meaning.

Psychologists have studied the effects that different colors have on the human mind, and have noted significant differences in how people react to events, how they speak, and even how they score on tests when exposed to different hues.

In chromotherapy, the science of healing through color, each shade is believed to have a specific impact on mood:

• Red is invigorating and may evoke either warmth or anger
• Orange is energizing and inspires creativity
• Yellow has been shown to stimulate the mind
• Green is soothing and calming
• Blue is calming and spiritual
• Indigo is soothing and promotes introspection
• Violet is uplifting and spiritual
• Pink is warm and soothing
• White is uplifting but stark
• Black is grounding and introspective
• Silver and grey are calming

For your next project, consider the impact that your chosen colors will have on viewers. You may be surprised at the difference a red coat or a blue coat, a yellow flower or a blue flower, can have on the impact of your work.

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The Healing Power of Color (www.segmation.com)

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As an artist, you are probably aware of the effects that different colors can have on your state of mind and emotional well-being. In fact, in a past article we discussed the psychology of color and provided an overview of how each color can impact your mood.

In this article, we’ll take a look at color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, and how you can apply the basic principles of chromotherapy in your art.

Color therapy involves using, or meditating upon, specific colors to help you find balance and harmony, both inner and outer. There are many forms of color therapy, such as:

  • surrounding yourself with a color that represents characteristics that you feel are lacking in your life, to achieve balance
  • immersing yourself in a color that represents characteristics, or states of being, that you aspire to
  • using colors to “cleanse” your physical body and achieve physiological harmony (such as practiced in Chinese therapy)

While color therapy was once regarded as a New Age fad, today the effects of colors on a person’s mind, body and spirit are well-documented. Even commercial paint manufacturers recognize the connection; some offer a specific range of paint colors that are designed to promote healing and wellness.

To utilize the healing power of color in your art, you can create paintings or drawings based on specific colors to bring about a certain adjustment in your (or someone else’s) mental, emotional, or physical state of being. You can use a combination of colors to evoke a certain state of mind. Experiment with different patterns and compositions and take note of how the paintings affect you.

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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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