Tag Archives: Masterpieces

Politics Aside, the Life of an Artist – George Romney – English Portrait Painter

Long before becoming politicians and business tycoons, the Romney family made its name in art. According to “The Ancestors of Mitt Romney,” George Romney (1734 – 1802) was the first cousin of Miles Romney, who is an ancestor of the two-time presidential candidate.

Different from his 21st century relatives, George Romney was rather private. Little is known about his personal thought life or political opinions. Nevertheless, he has been etched into history books as a high society portrait painter. In fact, many of his followers believe that if it weren’t for the almighty dollar (or, guineas to the Lancashire native), he could have been a painter who completed whimsical scenes inspired by Shakespearean literature and mythical gods. But long before he began exercising his potential as an artist, George Romney had to grow up and find his footing in his chosen career.

George Romney was third born in a family of 11 children. His father, John, was a cabinet maker. George left school to apprentice with John at the young age of 11. Born and raised in Dalton-on-Furness Lancashire, Romney was 21 when he set out to apprentice with Christopher Steel, a local painter in Kendal. For the next two years, from 1755 – 1757, Romney painted small, full-length portraits. During his time there he married Mary Abbot, the daughter of a landlady.

In 1762, Romney left Kendal to travel north where he could paint portraits for money. He left his wife and children at home but sent them financial support and visited them on occasion.

Shortly after landing in London, his 1763 historical painting, The Death of General Wolfe, was awarded a premium from the Society of Arts. Still, he continued to paint portraits as a way of earning a living.

Romney’s travels continued on to Paris in 1764, where he studied the antique classicism of Eustache Le Sueur’s work. Then, from 1773 – 1775 he landed in Italy. Much of his time there was spent in Rome studying the frescoes of Raphael, as well as the work of Titan and Correggio in Venice and Parma. Also, throughout this time his artwork was on exhibition at the Free Society and Society of Artists in Great Britain. Upon returning to London, the Duke of Richmond became a regular client of Romney’s, which may have been a factor in his increased notoriety and speaks to the wave of notable society portraits he completed between 1776 and 1795.

Ultimately, Romney’s time spent touring benefited his work by maturing his art and broadening his abilities. He was known as a “fashionable portrait painter” throughout English society. Those who sat for him were flattered by the subtle qualities he emphasized to make them look their best. Rather than relying on color, Romney used lines to complement the men and women whom he posed in sculpturesque stances. This was especially evident in his portraits, Mrs. Cardwardine and Son (1775), as well as Sir Christopher and Lady Sykes (1786).

Romney’s artwork received much praise from his admirers and was able to support him financially but unlike other successful artists, Romney did not dedicate much time to socializing with fellow artists. Part of this may have been due to him deliberately separating himself from artists of the Royal Academy. It has been said that Sir Joshua Reynolds (who served as President of the Royal Academy) was displeased by Romney’s high fame and low costs. Seemingly determined to avoid such politics altogether, Romney’s sensitive and thoughtful nature led him to befriend people in philosophical and literary circles.

In the early 1780s, Romney met Emma Hart (also known as Lady Hamilton). Emma was said to be Romney’s muse because she appeared in a divine state in more than 50 of his paintings. His paintings of Emma strayed from his path of portraiture, and it is believe she was the muse that allowed him to enter an imaginary world. Romney painted Emma in settings “ranging from a bacchante to Joan of Arc.”

Throughout the last decade and a half of his career, Romney became even more enthralled with historical paintings. During this time he supported the Boydell’s Shakespere gallery and contributed one of his non-portrait paintings, The Tempest.

Towards the turn of the century, Romney’s health began to fail. In 1799 he returned to Kendal and reunited with his family. There, his estranged wife of over 40 years nursed him in his final days. George Romney died in Kendal and was buried in his birthplace of Dalton-in-Furness in November 1802.

Today, portrait painter George Romney has a legacy apart from his successful ancestors. The Romney Society believes there are “…2000 paintings and about 5000 drawings, scattered through 23 countries, on view in fifteen countries….” Over two centuries later, George Romney’s art lives on, as does the name he made famous.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Romney‘s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=ROM . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 35 digital George Romney patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 35 George Romney –English portrait painter patterns . Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:
Franz Marc German Expressionist Painter

Jan Gossaert – A Great Flemish Painter of Antiquity”

Émile Bernard – Making Ideas Art

Sources:

George Romney

George Romney – Britannica

George Romney – British Artist

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Robert Henri – American Portrait Artist and Teacher

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

American artist Robert Henri had a mind of his own. Loyal to a fault and guided by his convictions, Henri was as great a leader as he was an artist. Throughout the course of his notable career, he defied traditional standards of art, pursing and promoting realism.

Robert Henri was born in Ohio and raised in Cozad, Nebraska. At that time this town bared his birth name: his father, John Cozad, founded the town when Robert was eight. Unfortunately, the entire family fled this area after an altercation resulted in John murdering a local rancher. Eventually they ended up – under the guise of alias names – on the east coast.

When the drama of childhood waned, Robert Henri completed his first painting. He was 18 years old. Enjoying the activity and appeased by his natural skill, Robert planned to attend Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1886. There, he came to appreciate the work of Thomas Eakins and the artist’s approach to realism. Henri continued to pursue his education by traveling to Paris where he attending Ecole des Beaux Arts. After his time there, he traveled Europe briefly before returning to Philadelphia where he began his career in art education.

Early in his career it became apparent that Henri was a born leader and a natural teacher too. It is said he inspired students by saying their art could be “a social force that creates a stir in the world”. Within a few years Henri was inspiring more than his students; he developed a following of aspiring artists as well.

During this time, Robert Henri was moving away from the impressionism that influenced his early work. He began moving towards realism, and encouraging other artists to do the same. This ignited a movement that urged American painters to pursue art with fresh perspective, making it okay for artists to express the world as they see it – not the idealized vision society wants see. The movement came to be known as the Ashcan School.

In 1898, Henri accepted a teaching position at the New York School of Art. Around this time, students, colleagues, and critics observed the passion he had for his craft. He was uninhibited by societal norms and blazed a trail for artists to express the realities of life.

Henri was admired and followed by many. In fact, he was elected to the National Academy of Design (a museum and school established to promote fine arts) for recognition of his artwork. Unfortunately, when the National Academy did not display the work of his colleagues at a show in 1907, Henri became disenchanted with the mainstream art world. He knew a bold move would be required to emphasize the importance of realism.

As a result, he set up an exhibition called “The Eight”. All featured work signified a break from traditional art perspectives of the time. In February 1908, five American artists put paintings on display at the Macbeth Gallery. Only once did they come together for this purpose; regardless, it left a lasting impression. It also propelled Henri to continue leading and promoting independent artists.

Robert Henri organized a number of art shows and exhibitions between 1910 and 1920. They included “Exhibition of Independent Artists”, jury-free exhibitions at the MacDowell Club, and the Armory Show. In addition, he continued his career as a teacher at the Art Students League between 1915 and 1927.

While Henri was a skilled artist, his natural gift as an influential teacher solidified his fame. He was effortlessly able to lead and organize people to pursue their passions. All the while, he prompted them to believe that art was a personal expression of a real world. In the book, The Art Spirit, one of Henri’s students compiled his works of art and detailed accounts of his thoughts on the subject.

When Robert Henri passed away in 1929, his influence lived on. In fact, it served as a bridge to usher in European modernism. More so, it inspired artists to reach levels of self-expression that had never been seen before. As an effect, realism came to life through the power of art.

The San Diego Museum of Art will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri  from March 29, 2014 through September 09, 2014. Spanish Sojourns Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain consists of over 40 major paintings borrowed from important museum and private collections around the country. More information can be found at:  http://www.sdmart.org/.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Robert Henri’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=RHR. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 44 digital Robert Henri patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 44 Robert Henri Patterns Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Sources:

National Gallery of Art

Robert Henri Museum

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

William Glackens – American Realist Painter

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

www.segmation.comThe interesting life of Thomas Moran started with humble beginnings and ended in the Whitehouse.  Moran was no politician though; he was an artist who raised the bar for American painters and illustrators. More so, Thomas Moran was responsible for making America what is it today.

Like many history makers, Thomas Moran immigrated to America from England in the 19th century. He was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1837. Early in his life, his entire family moved to a suburb of Philadelphia.

The four Moran brothers, (two being older than Thomas) were all artists, either by profession or hobby. Thomas’s artistic nature and innate talent began to show at the age of 16 when he apprenticed for a wood engraving firm. In this role he was diligent to develop abilities in illustration and watercolor. By 1860, Thomas sought to infuse his personal art with fresh inspiration.

He traveled to the Great Lakes to paint their landscape. After returning to Philadelphia, he was able to sell lithographs of his work. This encouraged the growing artist to travel and further his skill in drawing and painting landscapes. Moran found himself in London next, studying the works of J. M. W. Turner. It is noted that Moran appreciated the esteemed artist’s choices of landscape and color usage.www.segmation.com

Between his time in London and his next adventure, Thomas Moran’s landscape art appeared in numerous publications. With some notoriety and industry connections, Moran was asked to be one of the first artists to document The West with the United States Geological Survey. Throughout a forty day journey, Moran kept a diary of drawings reflecting the various landscapes he and the team encountered. As a result of his art, and the team’s work, Congress was persuaded to name Yellowstone a national park. In 1872, it was the first park of its kind.

This voyage created a good amount of recognition and wealth for the artist. Yellowstone inspired Moran’s infamous piece, a 7′ by 12′ oil painting appropriately titled, The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The United States government purchased this for $10,000 that year. This is the same amount paid for another large painting inspired by a different survey that took place two years later.

The Chasm of Colorado was the result of a survey that sent Moran and Army General, John Wesley Powell from Salt Lake City to, what would soon be known as Zion National Park. The results of this survey were numerous illustrations, publications, and growing notoriety of both the artist and America’s unseen west.

Throughout the course of his United States travels, Moran grew a strong affinity towards the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In fact, every year for the last 25 years of his life, he would visit this source of inspiration. Of the natural wonder, Moran wrote, “Of all places on earth the great canyon of Arizona is the most inspiring in its pictorial possibilities.”

At the age of 89, Thomas Moran passed away in Santa Barbara, where he lived out his senior years. His legacy, on the other hand, continued to live. The oil paintings bought for $10,000 by the government were later featured in the Smithsonian. In addition, Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park was named after the artist. There are many other landmarks and museums that have collections or pieces of his 1,500 oils paintings, 800 watercolors, and countless illustrations.

Thomas Moran’s portrayal of the magnificent West united the states of America. With that honor comes recognition that transcends time. On a wall in the Oval Office hangs Moran’s The Three Tetons. His place in American history has been solidified; his legacy lives on a Whitehouse wall.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Science:

Art and Science – A Genius Combination

Custom Art Made from Your DNA

Color Advances Science

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How Pigments Create Color in Artist Mediums

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Have you ever wondered where the color in your paints actually comes from? For instance, what makes your ultramarine watercolors appear blue, and what makes your crimson pastels appear red? The answer is pigment. The pigments used to create artist mediums (such as paints, colored pencils, pastels, etc) consist of colored powder that is then mixed with various substances to create each specific medium.

The color intensity of each paint, pencil or pastel will depend on the ratio of pigment to filler. Filler is added to most commercial art mediums to “bulk up” the product. Higher quality art supplies will contain more pigment and less filler. Even though the result is a higher-priced medium, the cost is worth it for the better results that are achieved with the higher pigment content.

In addition to pigments, each medium has specific ingredients that give the medium its unique qualities:

  • Watercolors are created from a mixture of pigment and gum arabic (or synthetic glycol), which acts as a binder. Additives are often added to adjust the characteristics of the watercolors, altering qualities such as durability and sheen.
  • Acrylics consist of pigments dispersed in water and bound together with an acrylic medium.
  • Oil paints are made from a combination of pigments ground with an oil, such as linseed oil.
  • Pastels are a blend of pigments and a binder, such as gum tragacanth, gum arabic, or methyl cellulose. Pastels contain a higher percentage of pigment than any other art medium.

Commercially-made art mediums also typically contain preservatives and other ingredients, but you can easily make you own paints and pastels using the materials listed above, adjusting the hue and intensity of each color to your specific liking.

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