Tag Archives: Color by Number

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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Ice Sculptures

Ice sculpture photographed by G.Goodwin Jr. and Snark

In a previous blog post we took a close look at the art of making monumental sculptures out of sand. Now let’s take a look at another natural material used to make art: ice!

Solid ice provides a compelling substance for sculptors. The ensuing artwork is ephemeral, because the ice will inevitably melt. Ice sculptors are always aware of the fleeting nature of their artwork, but at least their ice sculptures can always live on in photographs.

Although some may see ice sculptures as more of a novelty than a fine art, there’s no denying the amount of extreme craftsmanship that goes into creating an ice sculpture. There are even schools and classes that teach the art of ice sculpting, where artists can learn how to use chainsaws, hand saws and chisels to create their masterpieces.

To create an ice sculpture that doesn’t break or melt prematurely, a sculptor must become intimately aware of the qualities of ice. The ice must be frozen in just the right away to avoid impurities that may blemish the final appearance of the sculpture. Once the artist starts working, the slightest chisel in the wrong place can ruin hours of work, so careful attention and patience are necessary.

There are many ice festivals held around the world that showcase a dazzling variety of ice sculptures – from ice “castles” that are large enough to walk through, to delicate ice sculptures of mermaids with flowing hair, to modern sports stars and other celebrities. Ice sculptures are also a fun decorative addition to events such as weddings and other ceremonies.

The next time you drink soda or water with ice, just imagine how those floating ice cubes could be transformed into an astonishing work of art!

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Beach Fun

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Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach – being outdoors with the sun, sand, and surf. There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy including volleyball, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, playing with beach balls, fishing, building sand castles, watching the sun set, or doing nothing at all except working on your tan. Our Beach Fun pattern set has a great set of images which capture this experience splendidly… and there’s no suntan oil needed!

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Camille Corot – French Landscape Artist (www.segmation.com)

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 17, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was the leading landscape painter of the 19th century French Barbizon School. His fresh, spontaneous approach to landscape broke the academic tradition and opened the doors to Impressionism.

Corot was born in Paris, the second of three children. His mother was a milliner and his father, a draper, managed her shop. Corot’s father wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, but after a short stint as an apprentice, and at the age of 25, he informed his parents that he wanted to become a full-time painter. His father didn’t approve, but was supportive and gave the young Corot a small annual allowance that had been destined for his youngest sister who had died in 1821.

The young Corot studied first in the studio of neo-classical landscape painter Achille-Etna Michallon then, in 1822, under Jean-Victor Bertin, Michallon’s teacher. Corot, however, preferred sketching outdoors from nature and made extensive studies of the forests near Paris and the Normandy seaports.

Following the tradition of most young French painters, Corot traveled to Italy in 1825 to study the Italian masters. His parents financed the trip on condition that he paint a self-portrait for them. He stayed in Italy for three formative and productive years: he produced over 200 drawings and 150 paintings. He painted historical monuments and scenery from nature. Under the intensity of the Italian sun, he learned to master the pictorial rendition of light. Corot visited Italy again in 1834 where he sketched Florence, Venice and the northern cities and he made another trip in the summer of 1843.

It was not only the Italian scenery and light that had Corot entranced. He was quite captivated by Italian women whom he painted in their regional costumes. Yet Corot never married. In 1826 he wrote to a friend that he wished to devote his entire being to painting and that he would never marry. He never formed a long-term relationship with a woman and remained close to his parents well into his fifties.

Upon his return to France, Corot concentrated on exhibiting at the official Salon, adapting and reworking some of his Italian paintings. One of these, The Bridge at Narni, was accepted to the 1827 Salon while Corot was still in Italy. For the next six years Corot would spend the spring and summer painting out of doors. In winter he would rework these outdoor sketches in his studio into large landscapes for exhibition at the Salon.

Corot was now a regular exhibitor at the Salon. In 1833, when he was in his late thirties, the Salon jury accepted a large landscape of the Fontainebleau forest and even awarded the painting a second-class medal. This meant that Corot now had the right to exhibit his works without approval by the jury. In 1835 Corot exhibited another important work, a biblical scene of Hagar in the Wilderness. It was a success with the critics, but his other biblical paintings did not meet with the same triumph.

Throughout the 1840s the critics were ambivalent about Corot’s paintings. Recognition came slowly and, although the state purchased one of his works in 1840 he did not sell many paintings. Nevertheless, Corot’s popularity was growing and after the 1848 Revolution his treatment by the critics improved. The French government awarded Corot the Legion of Honor medal in 1846 and in 1848 he was awarded another second-class medal by the Salon. In that same year Corot was a member of the Salon Jury and the state bought a few more of his paintings for French museums.

Corot was close to the Barbizon group and, after his parents’ death, he felt free to take on students. A constant stream of friends, collectors and visitors passed through his studio. His students included future Impressionists Berthe Morisot and Camille Pissarro.

Corot died in Paris of a stomach disorder at the age of 78 and was buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery.

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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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Do you love Cats?

Cats are great to use in Art! Aren’t cats cuddly, cute, calm, curious, playful, as well as finicky. Cats are among our most popular pets. They come in numerous breeds and coat patterns including Tuxedo (bicolor), Tabby (marbled), Calico (Tortoiseshell), Colorpoint (Siamese), and white. Photorealistic patterns of colorful felines in an assortment of poses and expressions are fun to enjoy painting and so relaxing! Some find cats even cutie! Cats can be found in different kinds of art where there are many great shots of them playing, staring, yawning, and just being curious.

I wonder if our cats know we love them? I know that my cat does. One thing that is for sure they make good companions and they are so sweet! My cat is very affectionate. I think that cats aren’t too much of a hassle to take care of. I don’t see people walking my neighborhood with their cat besides them.

Cats make it fun to paint! I love relaxing and painting cats on my Windows computer! I hope you do as well.

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