Tag Archives: painting

Why Degas Loved Painting Dancers

Have you ever wondered why Degas loved painting dancers? Was he was captivated by the graceful movements ballerinas so perfectly execute? Did the excellence of their craft birthed from years of dedication to practice remind him of his own artistic journey? Thanks to historians and researchers, the answers to these questions are becoming demystified.

images-1Half of Degas’ Works are Centered Around Ballerinas

Known as “the painter of dancing girls,” Edgar Degas helped establish Impressionism. However, he preferred to be recognized as a realist painter. Early in his career Degas wanted to be a history painter, but in his thirties he became primarily a classical painter of modern life. At 39 years old, just a few years after his transition out of history painting, he began painting, sculpting and sketching dancers. Over half the works of Edgar Degas are inspired by ballet.

The Painter’s Love for Modern Realism and Classical Beauty Drew Him to Ballet

images-2It’s possible that Degas stumbled upon his obsession with ballet on account of sheer curiosity. According to Smithsonian Magazine’s Paul Trachtman, “At the ballet Degas found a world that excited both his taste for classical beauty and his eye for modern realism.” Trachtman goes on to explain that Degas spent time in the classrooms and wings of the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Ballet. It was in those wings and classrooms that the artist fell in love with ballet and “claimed (it) for modern art just as Cézanne was claiming the landscape.”

In addition to spending time in ballet classrooms and stage wings, the French painter also invited ballerinas into his personal studio where he could more easily sketch and paint them. The metmuseum.org’s article The Dancers and Degas explains, “Degas enjoyed drawing dancers’ movements, their colorful costumes, the sets, and the effects of the stage lights.”

It may have been Degas’ love for modern realism and classical beauty that initially drew him to ballet as a major form of artistic inspiration. However, his affinity for and engrossment with ballet itself was what anchored his interest in the subject for the rest of his career.

Degas Capitalized on a Despised Art Form

imagesJohn Richardson, writer for Vanity Fair, commented that at the time Degas’ obsession with ballet began, “The golden age of Romantic ballet was long since over…French ballet could hardly be considered an art form.” In some ways, ballet was despised in Degas’ time. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), Degas made ballerinas the central theme of his artwork. Although he did not depict ballet as glamorous (on the contrary, his artwork revealed the harsh realities of the grueling life of a dancer), his choosing of the ballerina as his primary source of inspiration did bring some type of honor to the then-underestimated art form.

It’s a good thing Degas took a notion to devote much of his life to painting ballerinas; his pictures of dancers were, are and will likely remain wildly popular. Obviously, the French painter pulled some heartstrings with his paintings, sculptures, prints, pastels, and pencil and chalk drawings of ballet-inspired subject matter. Perhaps there is something in Degas’ dancers that we recognize in ourselves.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Edgar Degas – Modern Artist, par excellence

Camille Pissarro – Father of Impressionism

Art that Sells Broadway

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Can Elephant Art Save the Species?

Art has been known to increase the quality of a human’s life, but, in some cases, art is saving the lives of animals.

Have you ever heard of elephant art?

This type of art ranges from a photograph taken of an elephant to a picture painted by the intelligent mammal. However, let it be known that elephant art never involves their ivory tusks. Throughout the world elephants are being poached because of their tusks. This is causing the population of African and Asian elephants to dwindle. Much of the time, ivory is used to create works of art. To encourage the growth of elephant populations many countries have banned the importation and sale of ivory.

Other than poaching, elephants are a threatened species because their habitats are shrinking. Because of their large size, elephants need a lot of food, water and land to roam. The development of elephant habitats is cutting in on their space and limiting the basic necessities they need for survival.

What would the world be like without elephants? Many of us cannot imagine this reality and several artists are dedicated to avoiding this threat through creative activism.

Elephant Parade

Mike Spits’s father was in Chiang Mai when he met an elephant that lost her leg to a landmine. The hospital treating the elephant wanted to give her a prosthetic leg someday but such a surgery would be very expensive. Touched by the need, Mike Spits’s father wanted to help but he didn’t want to write a onetime check. He wanted to create a sustainable fund that could help elephants for years to come. From this desire, Elephant Parade was born. Now, Mike Spits operates the social enterprise on funds brought in through painted elephant statues.

Artists Against Ivory

Operating on the vision of “helping elephants live forever,” Artists Against Ivory creates wearable art including t-shits and jewelry, as well as wall art. Through elephant inspired art, this enterprise raises money and empowers the cause of elephants throughout the world.

Mae Taeng Elephant Camp

Elephant habitats in Thailand were being encroached upon when the Chailert family created a camp to protect the species. Later, they opened a clinic to rehabilitate injured animals. They support the park and clinic by opening their doors to visitors who want to get up close and personal with the gentle giants. More so, they sell artwork created by the elephants. At Mae Taeng, elephants begin painting at the age of three.

Will art save the elephants? We can only hope this genre of art is raising awareness of the threat they face. Embrace the art that comes from elephants and share the art elephants create.

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Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Coral Reefs: Rainforests of the Sea

Baby Art Creates Dreamy Photographs

Cold Case Paintings: When Mystery and Art Collide

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Benjamin West – The American Raphael

Benjamin West (1738-1820) was an American born painter who found great success in Europe. During his career he became known for elevating historical art practices in Britain. He also co-founded the Royal Academy and served as president following Sir Joshua Reynolds. In everything he did, West exuded confidence in himself and his abilities. As a result, his art was noticed by all.

Attention was given to Benjamin West long before he became known as “The American Raphael.” West was born in Pennsylvania in 1738, nearly thirty years prior to America claiming its independence from Great Britain. At a young age, he showed great artistic talent and an eagerness to learn how to produce great artwork. In fact, it was believed that West learned how to create paint by watching native Indians mix clay and bear grease together in pots.

After acknowledging his strengths, Benjamin West’s parents and the Quaker community in which they lived gave him permission to travel to Philadelphia and New York where he would study art. However, these emerging art hubs did not keep the skilled artist’s attention for long. In 1760, the painter went to study abroad in Italy on a trip sponsored by William Allen, the wealthiest man in Philadelphia at the time. Upon leaving Italy, West moved to England where he would grow into a great artist and teacher.

West did not spend much time in London before he painted Cymon and Iphigenia which exhibited in 1764 at Spring Gardens. Also, he was quickly commissioned to create portraits for Bishop of Bristol and Bishop of Worcester, as well as the Archbishop of York, Robert Hay Drummond. In 1766, he designed an altarpiece for a church in London, St. Stephen Walbrook. And he also painted Orestes and Pylades and The Continence of Scipio. His portrayal of classical subjects was very well received.

By 1970, Benjamin West was making a big splash among art enthusiasts including King George III with two paintings: The Oath of Hannibal and The Departure of Regulus. These depictions of ancient history proved that the American artist mastered “the style of history painting the French had perfected,” according to Loyd Grossman, a Fellow at the Society of Antiquaries.

Then, in 1771, Benjamin West showcased The Death of General Wolfe at the Royal Academy. West could not have known the painting would become one of the greatest art achievements in the 18th century. West’s refined approach to historical art did not show subjects in Greek and Roman dress, nor did he show them in shabby clothing. All subjects were glorified in West’s paintings; they were made to look pristine. According to Senior Curator at the Royal Academy, Helen Valentine, this was the “grand style” Benjamin West used and taught. He applied his grand style often, making the scenes he painted appear idyllic. He used the style as a tool for inspiration and created high art by deliberately perfecting nature which he felt would elevate himself and society.

The following year, West was paid an annual salary of 1,000 pounds to serve as the historical painter to King George III. Sometime later, after the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, West was royally appointed to the role of president of the Royal Academy. West only took one year off from the Royal Academy between entering office in 1792 and his death in 1820.

In that time, and throughout his career, West influenced many artists in Britain and America. As he painted, he taught others the intricacies of his style and elevated the practice of painting historical art. Looking beyond his influence, one truth remained constant: Benjamin West was Britain’s “American Raphael.” To this day his art is showcased and his talent is noticed.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of West ‘s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=BWT . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 27 digital West patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 26 Benjamin West – The American Raphael. 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:
Jan Gossaert – A Great Flemish Painter of Antiquity”

Joaquín Sorolla – The World-Renowned Spanish Painter

Robert Delaunay, Blazing a Colorful Trail

Sources:

Benjamin West Web Museum Paris

Benjamin West Royal Academy of Arts

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Jan Gossaert – A Great Flemish Painter of Antiquity

The Renaissance style found in Jan Gossaert’s (1478 – 1532) paintings precedes him and defines him. Only a few of his most poignant works exist today, and the information that remains about his personal life is significantly limited. Even his correct name is shrouded with mystery; he may have been known as Jan Mabuse or Jennyn van Hennegouwe.

Today, nearly five centuries since his death, he is commonly called Jan Gossaert.

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Despite a small number of his commissions surviving throughout the years and little commentary being left by contemporary artists, Gossaert has been revered as one of the greatest painters of antiquity and regarded (in the 1500s) as the “nostrae aetatis Apellum” or the “Appelles of our age.” (Apelless of Kos was an infamous Grecian painter from the middle of the second century.)

It is believed that Gossaert’s style developed as he mimicked great artists who came before him. All the while, the work he produced greatly influenced artist who followed in his footsteps.

www.segmation.comAs with many Renaissance artists, Gossaert concentrated on biblical themes. Specifically, he painted scenes that depicted Adam and Eve, The Virgin and Child and the Crucifixion. He also breathed life into mythological themes and painted many of his characters nude. In doing this, it appears Gossaert approached painting historical and mythological figures with the fine detail and acuity of a sculptor.

In addition to the detail he put into painting characters, he also concentrated on the architectural backgrounds of his paintings. They often included many large, detailed structures and ornate décor.

Much of his style is believed to come from his time training at the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. Antwerp was known for producing artists that had stylistic traits including, “cluttered compositions, fantastic architecture, elegant, exaggerated poses of attenuated figures, swirling draperies, and excessive embellishments of all kinds.”

Many of Gossaert’s paintings appear to take the traits of other famous artists like Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. It is possible that Memling inspired Gossaert’s portraits of Mary Magdalen and Jean Carondelet.

Before being commissioned by Philip of Burgundy, who asked him to paint murals for the church of Middleburg, Gossaert had a well-known piece hang on the high altar of Tongerlo Abbey, titled, “Descent from the Cross.” While working for Philip of Burgundy, Gossaert accompanied him on a trip to Italy where he adopted many stylistic techniques of the Leonardeques. More so, an Italian journey became part of Flemish custom, especially for painters.

Three signed paintings exist in the time closely following Gossaert’s trip to Italy. They include Neptune and Amphitrite of 1516, the Madonna, and a portrait of Jean Carondelet of 1517.

After the death of Philip of Burgundy in 1524 he found himself connected to Henry III and his wife Mencía de Mendoza. Some of Gossaert’s most famous work may have found its way into Mendoza’s art collections. Virgin and Child in a Landscape of 1531 may be been titled as “Joanyn de Marbug” in one of her inventories. Also, Christ on the Cold Stone of 1530 was also believed to be in her possession.

When looking for information about Jan Gossaert in established art resources of today, it is hard to find agreeable facts. What is known about this Flemmish painter is the style he used and the paintings brought to life. Like other Renaissance painters, Gossaert has work that has been etched into history. Today, his work inspires artists by showing his grandiose approach to architecture, care for ornate details and statuesque characters.

Many facts about Jan Gossaert’s life remain a mystery but in legacy he lives on as a great painter of antiquity.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Joaquín Gossaert ‘s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=GOS . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 27 digital Joaquín Gossaert patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 27 Joaquín Gossaert Flemish 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:
Joaquín Sorolla – The World-Renowned Spanish Painter

Robert Delaunay, Blazing a Colorful Trail

The Reluctant Educator and Revered Artist, Emil Carlsen”

Sources:

Jan Gossaert Wikipedia

Jan Gossaert

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Joaquín Sorolla – The World-Renowned Spanish Painter

Valencia was center stage for world-renowned artist Joaquín Sorolla. Though the Spanish painter’s career afforded him a life of worldwide travel and notoriety, the passion that fueled his art was his homeland. Through his portrait art and landscape paintings, he explored people, locations and historical scenes familiar to Spaniards and captivating to foreigners.

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Sorolla’s career, like his personal life, seemed very fulfilling. By the time he reached 30 years of age, he had already received national recognition for his artwork and was approaching an era of worldwide fame. In the following years, his work was exhibited in art capitals like Madrid, Paris, Venice, Munich, Berlin and Chicago. When he was only 40-years-old, he was donning major awards and became known as one of the “western world’s greatest living artists.”

His list of accomplishments is great but, when realizing he started life as an orphan, born in 1863, the heights of his fame seem that much greater. Joaquín Sorolla was only two years old when, it is believed, his parents passed away from cholera. At that time, he and his sister went into the care of his maternal aunt and uncle.

Whatever obstacles he faced were quickly overcome as he showed much artistic talent by age nine. At 14 he was studying art with teachers Cayetano Capuz and Salustiano Asenjo. His first awards started coming at age 15, from the Academy of Valencia. This may have been the reason he was able to travel to Madrid when he was 18 to study painting at the infamous Spanish Museum, El Prado.
After dedicating some time to his studies, Sorolla served in the military. But by age 22 he was freed from his duty and found himself painting in Rome, Italy. He followed this trip with a long stay in Paris where he was likely exposed to modern paintings by Jules Bastien-Lepage and Adolf von Menzel.

In 1888, Sorolla returned to Valencia to marry the daughter of photographer Antonio Garcia. Before long, he and his wife, Clotilde, had three children: Maria, Joaquín and Elena.
Sorolla’s career took him and his flourishing family to Madrid. It was there that his career began to take stride. During this era of life, his art was predominately focused on social subjects and historical happenings, as well as concepts that were considered mythological and oriental. He painted these works on large canvases and began to showcase them around the world.

It could be said that Sorolla had a “big break” in 1893 when he submitted his work to the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. From there, in year 1900, he displayed art at Paris Universal Exhibition. Later, he was asked to showcase artwork at the Hispanic Society of New York, which would take Sorolla’s work on a tour of the United States. As a result of this honor, Joaquín Sorolla was invited to the White House where he sat President Taft for a portrait.

In 1911, the Spanish painter was asked by the Hispanic Society of America to create a large piece of art displaying the customs and cultures that existed in various parts of Spain. Sorolla would spend the next eight years of his life consumed by this project before suffering a severe stroke.
Three years after his stroke, Sorolla passed away on August 10, 1923.

Today, the memory of Joaquín Sorolla lives on in art history. Unfortunately, some of his admirers believe he is not as famous as he ought to be. Aside from his little notoriety in the new millennium, the Spanish painter far surpassed the life that most orphans lived at the turn of the century. From his birth in 1863 to death in 1923, Joaquín Sorolla used his natural talent, drive and skill to promote his art and native land for the world to see.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Joaquín Sorolla ‘s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=SOR . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 34 digital Joaquín Sorolla patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 34 Joaquín Sorolla Spanish patterns. Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.
Sources:

Joaquin Sorolla – Life

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Sorolla and America

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:
Robert Delaunay, Blazing a Colorful Trail

The Reluctant Educator and Revered Artist, Emil Carlsen”

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

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Robert Delaunay, Blazing a Colorful Trail

There once lived an artistic trailblazer named Robert Delaunay. He had a unique perspective, a countercultural technique, and a desire that drove him to be different.

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Parisian born Delaunay greatly influenced abstract art. He was one of the first nonrepresentational painters who advanced the style of cubism. The cubist painter added bright and bold shades of color to his work and was on the front lines of a style called Orphism.

In fact, the name Orphism didn’t exist until 1912 when a French poet by the name of Guillaume Apolliniare declared that work of this style (and especially work by Robert Delaunay) had musical qualities and ought to be named after Orpheus, the singer from Greek mythology who was often inspired by magic and ideals that were anything but ordinary.

Receiving great recognition for his innovative art style juxtaposed Delaunay’s early life. He was born in 1885 and very little information was published about his early training. However, it has been reported that his uncle, who became his primary caregiver after Delaunay’s parents divorced, sent him to art school after he failed an important school exam. As a result, Delaunay was able to influence the development of abstract art in France and throughout the world.

As Delaunay blazed a trail with his knack for colorful cubism, he was mimicked and challenged by his contemporaries. He and Jean Metzinger often painted together and hosted joint exhibits. In 1907, while in his early 20’s, Delaunay and Metzinger shared an exhibit where they were dubbed as “divisonists.” Divisionism is another word for pointillism. Calling them divisionists was the best way critics could describe their foreign use of “mosaic-like ‘cubes’ to construct small but highly symbolic compositions.”

With such recognition, a new branch of Neoimpressionism was born. The very style Delaunay and Metzinger were thought to originate went onto appear in works of Piet Mondrain, The Futurists and Gino Serverini.

Some people say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which might have been so for Robert Delaunay too. However, he probably would have appreciated some financial attributes during the early rise of his career. At the time, he was not able to support himself on his artwork alone so he designed theatre sets full-time and painted in his spare hours.

In 1908 he met a woman by the name of Sonia Trek. Sonia, an artist, would become his wife and influence Orphism alongside him. They would work on many projects throughout their relationship, but before they got to producing joint works of art, Delaunay would go onto create some of his most famous pieces.

Delaunay began painting colorful, cubist inspired cathedrals and the Eiffel Tower in 1910. He painted several series that are still discussed today for their dynamism and bold coloring. These series include the Saint-Sévrin series (1909–10); the City series (1909–11); the Eiffel Tower series (1909–12); the City of Paris series (1911–12); the Window series (1912–14); the Cardiff Team series (1913); the Circular Forms series (1913); and The First Disk (1913).

As his style evolved, he separated himself from other abstract painters with an interpretation of cubism that was anything but traditional. In fact, by the time he moved onto his “Windows” series, he was solely creating nonobjective paintings. Still, many contemporaries and artists of his time, like the group of Expressionist painters from Munich by the name “The Blue Rider,” gravitated to his style and adopted some of its traits.

Throughout his remaining years, Delaunay and his wife worked together on theatre designs as well as a large mural for the Paris Exposition of 1937. These years were checkered with war and financial struggle. For instance, when Delaunay did not fight in World War I he was labeled a deserter. Then, when the Russian Revolution took place, the Delaunay’s were severed from the financial support they received from Sonia’s family.

By the time World War II broke out, Robert Delaunay had cancer. He and his wife tried to avoid German forces by moving to Auvergne, but Robert’s health deteriorated quickly after the move. In 1941, at the age of 56, he died in Montpellier France.

A lot can be said about Robert Delaunay, but rarely do people discuss his desertion from the military or tragic death. Robert Delaunay is known for infusing color into cubism. In doing so, he created a nonobjective approach that would influence art and aspiring artists for years to come.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Robert Delaunay’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=DEL. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 25 digital Thomas Delaunay patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 25 Thomas Delaunay Landscape patterns. Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

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Sources:

Robert Delaunay Wikipedia

Robert Delaunay

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

The Reluctant Educator and Revered Artist, Emil Carlsen”

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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A First Rank Landscape Painter, Thomas Doughty

Shortly after America declared its independence from Great Britain, an artist was born in Philadelphia. Thomas Doughty (1793 – 1856)  would come to change the face of art in America and throughout the world by mastering and popularizing landscape painting.

Ruins in a Landscape

Ruins in a Landscape

Doughty’s career flourished during his time in Philadelphia. What started with an apprenticeship as a leather currier turned into a career as a painter, seemingly overnight. There are only a few records of how Doughty developed his skill, but it is clear that he showed natural artistic talent at a young age. In fact, by 1816, he had an exhibit with his landscape artwork at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1820 he declared “painter” as his full-time career.

What Thomas Doughty did not know was that his art would change American art forever. At this time, Americans were beginning to show more interest in landscape painting than portrait art. Doughty was known as a highly skilled landscapist. His art often reflected his perception of gentle rivers and quite mountains.

View of the Fairmount Waterworks

View of the Fairmount Waterworks

Some of his work was copied from European landscapes he saw in collections by Robert Gilmor, Jr. Copying the landscape work of other artists was how Doughty taught himself to paint different types of landscapes, which he would set behind familiar scenes found in blossoming American towns. Often times, the artist would travel to take sketch notes that would allow him to breathe realism into his whimsical work.

Thomas Doughty was often able to sell his artwork and make a living as an artist for much of his life. In 1830 he went onto edit a magazine titled, “The Cabinet of Natural History and American Rural Sports.” Doughty would create hand-colored lithographs of animals for this monthly review. But after only two years of production, Doughty stopped publishing the magazine and moved to Boston.

The time Thomas Doughty spent in Boston was lucrative. He sold many paintings, exhibited often, and taught landscape painting to young artists. Also, Doughty was able to expand his style, which took on more of a romantic flare. In the swell of his success, the landscapist received a rave review from the first American art historian. William Dunlap referred to Doughty as, “The first rank as a landscape painter.”

Still, what many saw as his greatest accomplishment was yet to come. Doughty would go onto become one of the three leading figures of the Hudson River school. In addition to Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, and other American landscape painters who worked between 1825 and 1870, Doughty made up a school of art that prized 19th century themes such as discovery, exploration, and settlement. Most of the artists drew inspiration from natural scenes found in the Hudson River valley and other parts of New England. The Hudson River school was the first native paint school in the United States. This gave it a high sense of nationalism, which shown in the artists’ beautiful portrayals of America.

While part of this association, Doughty’s art style continued to evolve. Then, in 1845 and 1847 he visited England, Ireland and France. Even though he might have only passively studied art there, his style became more serene and thoughtful after this tour. These traits would continue to mark his style throughout his later years.

Thomas Doughty would return to the United States and settle in New York. As he grew older, he painted less. By the time he passed away in 1856, it is said that he and his family were living in poverty.

Regardless of the penniless inheritance he left his family, the life and work of Thomas Doughty is rich, and continues to be pass down from generation to generation. The artist changed American art work forever because of his talent as a first rank landscape painter.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Thomas Doughty’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=DOU. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 26 digital Thomas Doughtypatterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 26 Thomas Doughty Landscape patterns. Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

 

Scituate Beach Massachusetts

Scituate Beach Massachusetts

Sources:

National Gallery of Art: Thomas Doughty

Hudson River School

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

The Reluctant Educator and Revered Artist, Emil Carlsen”

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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