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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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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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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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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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From Sand Castles to Sand Sculptures

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Many of us have fond memories of building sand castles at the beach when we were children; overturning buckets of sand to create towers, digging out moats, and sticking seashells into the damp castle walls. Even though we weren’t consciously aware of it at the time, building sandcastles was a fun, hands-on way to express our creativity and let our imaginations run wild.

Building sand castles is not just for kids anymore! In the 1970s, the art of “sand sculpting” was born on the beaches of California, pioneered by visionaries who took the concept of sand castles several steps further by creating elaborate, detailed, breathtaking monuments out of sand. Animals, architecture and pop culture icons are common subjects for sand sculpture art, although the sky’s the limit. Sand sculptors have depicted everything from African wildlife to Greek gods and goddesses to scaled versions of the Taj Mahal.

Creating complex sand sculptures requires both technical skill and knowledge. In order to stay in place properly, the sand must be a certain consistency and contain a certain degree of moisture. Once the foundation is ready, it takes talent, time and energy to sculpt 3-D images into the sand without the sand falling to pieces. It’s no wonder that the best sand sculptors are actually professionals who get paid to create these magnificent works of art using all-natural materials.

Sand sculptures are a popular attraction on some of the world’s best beaches, from Canada to Florida to Australia. Next time you’re at the beach, why not see what you can create out of sand!

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Color in Monochrome Paintings www.segmation.com

1918 Monochrome Painting by Kazimir Malevich, titled "Suprematist Composition: White on White"

When you think of “abstract art”, what pops into your mind? A jumble of shapes on a canvas? Art that resembles spilled paint? How about paintings with lots of color?

The strong use of color is one of the most prominent features of abstract art, but it’s not necessary to use a variety of colors to make the painting interesting. In fact, there are some artists who do just the opposite: they focus each painting on just one color, and sometimes include tints or shades of that color.

This is called monochrome painting. The main element of the painting is a single color. In the painting above by Kazimir Malevich, the main color is white. The bottom layer is painted a warm white that appears slightly off-white when contrasted with the smaller square painted on top of it, which is a cooler white.

Monochrome paintings start with a single color (or hue), which is then mixed with various degrees of white paint to create tints and black paint to make shades. See the image to the right for an example of a monochromatic color scheme.

In a purely monochromatic painting, no other colors are used. Working in a monochromatic palette allows artists to explore the qualities of a specific color, while experimenting with how that color looks in relation to itself, only altered by white or black.

Some people may find monochrome paintings boring, due to the lack of diversity in color. However, limiting the palette forces the artist to come up with a more creative composition to create interest in the piece. If the artist is working in a realistic or representational style of painting, such as creating a recognizable portrait, landscape or still life, then working on a monochromatic color scheme can help the artist focus on tone and value – two concepts that we’ll discuss in future articles.

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A Closer Look at Complementary Colors www.segmation.com

"The Dance" by Matisse

Take a close look at Matisse’s painting The Dance, shown above. What is it about this painting that makes it “pop”? The dancers seem like they’re almost floating on top of the background. Why is that?

Matisse was a master colorist, so he chose his colors carefully. He knew that when orange and blue are placed next to each other, they each appear brighter and more intense. Here’s why:

Orange and blue are complementary colors. Complementary colors have a special relationship because they are opposites on the color wheel. Take a look at the color wheel below:

You’ll notice that yellow and blue are also complementary colors. Red and green make up another complementary pair.

When complementary colors are placed next to each other in a painting or drawing, the artwork seems to vibrate. Complementary pairs can make an artwork more eye-catching and dynamic. For this reasons, many artists (like Matisse) make the conscious choice to use complementary colors in their compositions.

If you look closely at the color wheel, you’ll notice that the complement of each primary color is the combination of the other two primary colors. This means that:

  • Yellow + Red = Orange, which is the complement of Blue.
  • Red + Blue = Purple, which is the complement of Yellow.
  • Blue + Yellow = Green, which is the complement of Red.

When you examine these colors on the color wheel, you can see how they are related. You will also note that the complements of the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) are all secondary colors (green, purple and orange).

The next time you make art, keep the complementary colors in mind to see if you can make your painting more dynamic.
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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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