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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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Do Colors Change What is Beautiful

What is beautiful? The term is a bit subjective, don’t you think? After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

It most certainly is, but one undeniable quality about color is its ability to make all things beautiful!

This is why color-field painting, with its abstract merging of vivid colors, is responsible for some beautiful works of art. In this post we will look at how color-field painting evokes emotions and has the ability to change an environment.

By now we know how color impacts art and also stirs emotion in people. Recent posts discuss color therapy, known as chromotherapy and the psychology of color, offering insight into how color can impact an individual. As artists, we know the emotional impact art can have on us. Vivid colors can stir emotions and hold an observers heart once they pass.

Sometimes, color makes beautiful what was not beautiful before. This is the case of color-field painting; color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale change a blank canvas into a brilliant work of art.

This style of art is very abstract and those who are best known for its development are considered Abstract Expressionists. Color-field painting emerged in New York in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It was a type of art inspired by European modernism and made popular by artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

What sets color-field painting apart from other types of abstract art is the artist’s regard for paint. With the main focus being color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale, there is less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and consistent actions that create form and process. In fact, the entire work of art is created by the artist who determines what elements he or she will add to convey a sense of place, atmosphere, or environment. In other words, what makes color-field painting beautiful, is its subjectivity.

Like most art, the beauty of color-field painting is in the eye of the beholder. These colorful pieces are nice accents for decoration and fun to paint too! But don’t let the look of simplicity fool you. This style is not easy to perfect and contrary to how it appears, cannot be replicated by a 6 year old!

Have you splashed your art palette with color today? Try it and see how color changes what you see as beautiful.

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Benefits of Making Your Own Paints

Did you know that you can easily and affordably make your own paints right at home? The supplies needed to make oil paints, acrylics, watercolors or pastels are fairly inexpensive and they can be easily purchased online or at a local shop. You don’t need a giant studio or an excessive amount of supplies to make your own paints – all you need are a few basic ingredients pertinent to each medium, and a tabletop that you can use as your work area.

You might wonder, “Why should I bother making my own paints?”

There are a number of reasons why it is beneficial for artists to make their own paints. For starters, when you break down a specific medium to its individual components, it helps you to understand the nature of the medium. Taking part in the process of creating an oil paint or a pastel stick provides invaluable insight into the qualities of that particular medium. Plus, the magic of watching loose powdered pigment transform into a usable paint can become part of the overall creative experience.

One of the best things about making your own paints is that you can control the hue, value and intensity of each color. If you need a specific shade of green that is difficult to mix using commercial paints, you can create your own. If you need a range of blues to create skyscapes and seascapes, you can create the exact colors that you need and save them for future use.

It’s easy to forget that there was once a time when all artists either had to make their own paints or purchase these supplies from a local artisan. The vast majority of artists today buy their paints and art materials off the shelf. Most artists don’t even think twice about how these materials are made or what is actually in them. This has changed our relationships to our art materials. By making your own paints, you can reinvigorate your connection to the materials that you use to create art.

In future articles, we’ll take a closer look at the process involved for making oil paints, pastels, watercolors and acrylics.

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Sir Henry Raeburn – Scottish Portrait Painter

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Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 -1823) was a successful Scottish portrait painter who lived in Edinburgh. His works are characterized by strong characterization, stark realism, and dramatic lighting effects. He typically employed clashing color combinations, and a course modeling technique. Our pattern set includes many of his portraits, including his most recognized work, The Skating Minister. Other portraits include Boy and Rabbit, Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry, Sir Walter Scott, Mrs. Robert Scott Moncrieff, and Sir John Sinclair. There’s also a self portrait included in the set.

This set contains 31 paintable patterns.

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Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge in San Francisco. It spans the Golden Gate which is the opening of San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. It is considered to be the most photographed bridge in the world. Construction started in January 1933 and opened in May 1937. It is painted in a color called International Orange, originally used for a sealant for the bridge. Unfortunately more people attempt suicide at the bridge, than any other location.

Our pattern set collection contains many photographs of the bridge taken from various angles and vantage points, and at different times of day. Several show the bridge enveloped in fog, a common occurrence in San Francisco.

This set contains 25 paintable patterns.

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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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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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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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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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