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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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Gilbert Stuart – American Portrait Painter

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Have you ever wondered how George Washington’s image came to be on the United States one-dollar bill? The answer to this query can be found in the life of a man named Gilbert Stuart, a renowned American Portraitist.

Gilbert Stuart’s story began on December 3, 1755 in Rhode Island. Stuart’s father was a Scottish immigrant and his mother was a member of a prominent land- owning family. At the age of six Stuart moved, along with his family, to Newport Rhode Island. It was in Newport that Stuart first took an interest in art and began to demonstrate his abilities as an artist.

In 1770 Gilbert Stuart met a man named Cosmo Alexander. Alexander was a Portraitist himself and became Stuart’s tutor. Under Alexander’s tutelage, and at the mere age of 14, Stuart painted one of his most well known pieces titled, “Dr. Hunter’s Spaniels.”

A year after this fete, Stuart moved with Alexander to Scotland in order to finish his studies with the painter. Unfortunately, after only a year together in Scotland, Alexander died in Edinburgh. Stuart was left to make his own way as a Portraitist in Scotland. However, after a year of attempting to make a living as a painter with little success, Stuart moved back to Newport Rhode Island in 1773.

His return home coincided with the American Revolution leaving him little opportunity to pursue a career as a Portraitist. Due to this, Stuart once again left Rhode Island in the hopes of building a career, this time to England. England, it seems, was a wonderful place for Stuart’s career. He studied with Benjamin West, and by 1777 his work was on exhibit at the Royal Academy.

By 1787 Stuart had married Charlotte Coates. However, he had also found himself plagued by financial struggles; the result of extravagant living and poor bookkeeping. On more than one occasion, Stuart found himself escaping debtor’s prison. Thus, in 1793 he and his family moved back to the United States and settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania Stuart set up his own studio. Pennsylvania was also the place where Gilbert Stuart began his work on the famous portrait of George Washington in 1796. Interestingly, the portrait was never completed. Instead, Stuart kept the unfinished portrait and made copies which he sold for $100.00 a piece.

It is this popular image which appears on the United States one- dollar bill and has also appeared on postage stamps.

During his life, Stuart painted over one-thousand portraits. Having painted such a large amount of noble men and women in the United States he was declared the Father of American Portraiture. Stuart was popular not only for his talent but because of his knack for conversation. The individuals who sat for long hours as he painted their likeness found him entertaining, and it has been said that he did so to keep their expressions natural and unstructured.

Stuart himself preferred to paint bust, or half- length, portraits. He also favored dark or neutral colors for his backgrounds. He cared little for detailed accessories which he felt had the potential to distract from an individual’s facial features.

However, one of Stuart’s most famous pieces deviates from these preferences, yet still proves him to be remarkably talented. “The Skater (Portrait of William Grant)” is a portrait that depicts Grant engaged in the sport of ice skating. Unlike the formal bust portraits, this piece is of a man taking part in a rather vigorous activity. Stuart’s talent in this portrait is still praised today.

Popularity followed Gilbert Stuart throughout his life, but so too did financial woe. In 1824 Stuart suffered a stroke while living in Boston. He continued to paint until, at the age of 72, he passed away. Unable to afford a proper burial, the Stuart family was forced to lay Gilbert to rest in an unmarked grave.

There is, however, a memorial tablet on Boston Common bearing his name that stands in remembrance of the man and his famous, unfinished portrait of George Washington; in remembrance of the Father of American Portraiture.

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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 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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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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Introduction to Fauvism (www.segmation.com)

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, Oil on Canvas

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How would you describe Henri Matisse’s painting, shown above? First you will probably note that it is a portrait of a woman – however, it is an unusual portrait because of its strange use of color and its choppy, energetic brushstrokes.

This painting by Matisse was part of the Fauvist movement, which lasted only a few years in the early 20th century in France. The French word “Fauve” means “wild beast”. When you look at this painting, can you figure out why the word for “wild beast” came to symbolize this art movement?

The Fauvists interpreted the world around them through color, but they did not seek to represent the world using real-life colors. Instead they utilized bright, bold colors in unexpected places. For instance, take a close look at the woman’s face in the painting above and notice all the different greens that Matisse used to shape her face. Matisse’s composition is so masterful that the greens don’t seem out of place, even though in real life her face wouldn’t normally appear green.

Due to Matisse’s balanced use of bold color and his strong, painterly brushstrokes, he is able to depict the energy, or essence of the people and places around him. These two visual characteristics defined the Fauvist movement, which evolved from a combination of Post-Impressionism and Pointillism.

The most well-known painters of Fauvism are Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. They created landscapes and portraits that can be described as “simplified” to the point where they are almost abstract – yet they are still recognizable as landscapes and portraits. Even though the movement was short-lived, the Fauvist artists left behind a body of work that is both visually and mentally stimulating.

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Maurice de Vlaminck, The River Seine at Chatou, 1906, Oil on Canvas

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Street Painting in Washington, DC

Look around you. The buildings, the streets, the trees – they all look pretty much the same, day after day, don’t they? So much so, that you probably got to the point where you don’t really notice your surroundings anymore, other than to get from Point A to Point B, or to admire an occasional flower or sunset.

What would happen if someone painted multicolored stripes across the street you take every day to work? Imagine how much that would change your perception of the street and alter your day to day reality. Color has the power to lift you into another world, and take you beyond the ordinary. Many artists are utilizing this power to transform our everyday surroundings so that we see our own familiar spaces in a new light.

Here are three examples of how color can transform space:

  • In the image above, artist Mokha Laget, in conjuction with the Corcoran and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, recreated a striped street painting that she originally created 20 years earlier on 8th St. NW in downtown Washington DC. The painted stripes are an homage to former Corcoran professor and noted color field artist, Gene Davis, who died of a heart attack in 1985. The bright colors enliven the street, bringing a sense of wonder and whimsicality to the US capital.
  • Rio de Janeiro, capital of Brazil, is a city with striking disparities between the rich and the poor. Twenty percent of Rio’s inhabitants live in densely populated favelas that crowd the hillsides overlooking the capital’s more wealthy residents. The ‘O Morro’ Favela Painting project is an attempt to bring color and culture to the impoverished community, injecting vitality and pride into an otherwise depressed area rife with social issues. The Favela Project is employing favela residents to paint their houses in specific, carefully-designed patterns that when finished, will be a display of beauty and color visible from the center of Rio.
  • Christo and Jeanne-Claude, famous for “wrapping” buildings, bridges and entire islands, once again soared into the spotlight in 2005 with their “Gates” installation in New York City’s Central Park. For 15 days in February 2005, 7,503 vinyl saffron-colored gates rising 5 meters into the air were displayed along Central Park’s pathways, stretching a combined length of 23 miles. Although the public had mixed feelings about the installation, the gates undeniably brought color to New York’s austere winter landscape.

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