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Garden Art Knows No Limits

Is there a limit to what can be considered art? It is very likely that there will never be a consensus on that question. Every person has his or her own opinion of what constitutes art. For Pearl Fryar, art doesn’t merely exist in the form of oil paints on a canvas or chalk pastels on paper, it exists in a most unusual place: His garden.

In 1984, Pearl Fryar wanted to win the “Yard of the Month” title in his community. In an effort to do that, he began creating a garden that would one day become what it is today: a three acre topiary wonder. Possessing only desire and no training, Fryar set out to purchase plants for his garden. He took home the raw materials of his soon-to-be feast for the senses as well as a three-minute lesson in topiaries. From those basic resources, Fryar created a garden that is as true an art form as one can find.

Years after he had started crafting his garden, people began to tell Pearl Fryar that he had broken the rules of horticulture in the creation of his art. By that time, he had cultivated a masterpiece that was drawing major attention.

There is something about art that intrinsically draws people to the divine and eternal. The art that resides in Pearl Fryar’s garden is no different. Each week 300-500 people flock to his garden with all the fervor of those pursuing a weekly service at a church or temple. Fryar commented that he considers his garden as much a ministry as any place of worship.

Bente Borsum said, “Art knows no limit, and the artist will never achieve perfection.” How true that statement has proven itself in the life of Pearl Fryar. His garden art has outgrown the limits of what is considered a “traditional” art form, and even proceeded to touch the human spirit. As far as achieving perfection in his craft, Fryar seems to know that he never will, and he is not concerned; that is not his goal.

What is Fryar’s goal for his garden art? In his own words, “The idea is to leave this garden with a message, to feel differently than you did when you started.” Pearl Fryar wants those who come into contact with his art to be changed; isn’t that the desire of all true artists?

http://www.scetv.org/index.php/etv_sumter/entry/pearl_fryars/

http://quote.robertgenn.com/getquotes.php?catid=176

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Travel Like an Artist

Sansepolcro, Italy, will not likely be pursued as a travel destination for food lovers, architecture buffs, or history professors. It is not well-known for its topography or sought after for its museums. But for an artist, Sansepolcro might be considered heaven on earth. Why? Because it was the birthplace and hometown of Piero della Francesca, painter of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is located in Sansepolcro, making this small town a potentially big draw for artists searching for a travel destination.

The Resurrection is known as a “special masterpiece,” therefore it and its creator are mainly familiar to art historians. Still, Sansepolcro is a destination that would probably be very much appreciated by any artist, especially after he or she learned more about Piero della Francesca.

Born sometime near 1415, artist Piero della Francesca authored geometry and mathematics books. His did not leave a vast amount of artwork, but what he did leave is remarkable. Flagellation of Christ, Pregnant Madonna, Resurrection, and Legend of the True Cross were all crafted by Francesca. Each is captivating in its own way.

The Resurrection was probably painted by Piero della Francesca in the 1460s. Susan Spano, writer for the Los Angeles Times, explained the Resurrection in these words: “It depicts Christ climbing out of his tomb on Easter morning, eyes fixed on something beyond, still morbidly pallid but strong, in the very process of changing from mortal to god.” With a description like this, it is little wonder that the Resurrection is a jewel in Sansepolcro’s crown.

Every year in September, Sansepolcro’s citizens celebrate Piero della Francesca in elaborate festivals that feature flag-waving and medieval crossbows. (The flag and crossbow-bearing partakers wear costumes similar to clothing depicted in Francesca’s paintings.) These festivals draw tourists and are a nod to the legacy that Francesca left for his hometown.

Many creators of art glean untold inspiration and creative capacity from traveling. In fact, some individuals would argue that travel is not a privilege, but a necessity for artists. If you are an artist or even a lover of art, perhaps Sansepolcro would be an excellent travel destination for you.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-piero-20120610,0,3644415.story

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Art Making from Unconventional Objects

Contemporary artists are constantly stretching the boundaries of art by using unconventional materials to craft their artwork. Way back when, “true art” consisted of things like realistic oil paintings and finely carved marble statues. These days, even things you find in your kitchen, office or trash bin can be turned into respectable art.

Perhaps it started in 1917 with Marcel Duchamp’s submission of a urinal that he signed “R. Mutt” to an art show in which purportedly “all submissions” would be accepted. In the end, the urinal was not placed on display, but Duchamp’s impish act revolutionized the art world.

Thanks to YouTube and various social-networking websites, unorthodox works of art are now reaching a wide, and very appreciative, audience. Artists who create portraits of Elvis out of Cheetos or detailed architectural renderings on an Etch-a-Sketch are now celebrated as innovative and amusing contributors to our contemporary pop culture.

Next time you sift through your junk drawer or finish a bag of chips, think about how those everyday things could be turned into a work of art!

Are you a person that makes are from unconventional object? If so, have you ever considered painting them for yourself? Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you can be one today – see more details here).

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Tips for Buying Art at Auction

Anyone who’s ever visited a gallery knows how expensive it can be to purchase original art. Fortunately, there is a more economical alternative for fine art lovers who are on a budget. At an art auction, it’s possible to find a piece you love at an amazing bargain. Below are a few quick tips to ensure that your first auction is a smooth, successful experience:

  • Know which type of auction you’re attending. There are three main categories. Estate auctions (an upscale version of a “moving sale”) are held when a family or heir needs to liquidate everything in the house, regardless of price. Consignment auctions are usually held at an auctioneer house, with most sellers setting minimum reserves to ensure that their pieces don’t sell too cheaply. Mixed auctions are a combination of the two.
  • To find an auction, enter your location and “art auction” into a search engine. You can also check the newspaper and try calling antique dealers and auctioneer houses directly.
  • Once you’ve found an auction, call to make sure the location and time is accurate. Also find out when the preview period starts — this allows you to come a few hours (or sometimes days) early and get a look at the items that will be up for bidding.
  • When registering to bid, find out if the auction house adds a premium to your bids. In some cases, this can increase the total selling amount by 10% or more. Also find out what form of payment they accept.
  • At the auction, choose your seat carefully. Sitting toward the front will give you a close view of the items, but sitting or standing in the back will let you see who else is bidding on an item. Always have a maximum bid in mind for items you’re interested in. Resist the temptation to exceed it, especially in the heat of the moment during the bidding process.
  • Listen carefully to the auctioneer’s descriptions of items. Also pay attention to the conversations going on around you, as this may help you determine the value and authenticity of a piece of art. Write down the selling prices so you can review them later and recognize trends.
  • After winning a piece of art, be sure to get a receipt after the auction is over. If it’s high in value, you might also consider insuring the item.

If you do your research and resist getting carried away, an auction can be a fun and cost-effective way to enhance your art collection.
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Color Theory Basics: The Color Wheel

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The world is filled with infinite shades of color, from a candy-apple-red sports car to a smoldering orange sunset to the crisp green of springtime grass. The popular color wheel simplifies the shades into 12 distinct colors to help illustrate the variations.

Arranged in a circle with 12 sections, the wheel presents a visual representation of the primary colors in the following order: blue, blue/green, green, yellow/green, yellow, yellow/orange, orange, red/orange, red, red/purple, purple, blue/purple. The colors are arranged in a chromatic sequence, with complementary shades opposite one another. These are all of the standalone colors that cannot be created by mixing other hues. Secondary and tertiary hues can then be created by mixing three primary colors (traditionally red, yellow, and blue).

The color wheel is further segmented into active and passive hues. Active colors (reds, oranges, yellows) will appear as more dominant when placed against passive shades, while the passive colors (purples, blues, greens) appear to recede when viewed near the active ones.

In our next post of Color Theory Basics, we’ll explore the art and science behind color combinations.

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French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

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Henri Fantin–Latour was born in 1836 in Grenoble, France. As the son of an artist and art teacher, Fantin–Latour spent his childhood learning how to paint and draw under his father’s tutelage. This aspiring artist continued to hone his artistic skills at home, even after the family moved to Paris, until he was old enough to study professionally.

In the early 1850’s Henri Fantin-Latour found himself studying with many great artists such as Lecog de Boisbaudran. He was also privileged to study at many wonderful studios, one of which was the Ecole de Dessin. For several years he devoted himself to studying and copying the old painting masters in the Louvre. He worked hard to immerse himself in classic styles of painting, particularly from the Romantic period. During this time of study, Henri Fantin-Latour made numerous friends who encouraged his career and helped him achieve success as a well-known artist in both France and England.

Henri Fantin-Latour’s circle of artistic friends included Eugene Delacroix, Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, and Gustave Courbet. However, it was with the famous Whistler and Alphonse Legros that he formed the Societe des Trois in 1858. Whistler was the friend that encouraged Henri Fantin–Latour to make his way to England.

In London, Henri Fantin-Latour became associated with the social circles of the artistically-minded. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864. London was where he started to paint his famous flower pieces. Henri Fantin-Latour was quite famous throughout England and there were many who supported his artistic career by purchasing his paintings. His success in England was such that he was virtually unknown in France during this time period.

When he returned to France, Henri Fantin-Latour joined the Societe des Aquafortistes. In 1861 he had his first exhibition at the Salon in Paris. It has been said that Henri Fantin-Latour left behind a magnificent gallery of Parisian celebrity personalities in the form of his group portraits. In 1879 he was awarded the Legion d’ Honneur medal.

Perhaps Fantin-Latour’s success was largely due to his independent nature. Though he was constantly surrounded by the Impressionist style, which many of his friends practiced, he remained true to his more conservative, Romantic style. He had an academic demeanor yet an independent approach to painting. Fantin-Latour never exhibited alongside his Impressionist friends and fellow painters. He was praised for the realistic aspects of both his group portraits and his flower paintings.

The subjects of his group portraits were primarily other artists in various fields of study. The rows of faces that Henri Fantin-Latour painted are believed to adequately represent the time period in which he lived as well as the colorful personalities of his day. It is a testament to Henri Fantin–Latour’s artistic talent that his knack for realism is still appreciated for its historical worth. This same realism is also apparent in his flower paintings; they have a certain attention to realistic detail that makes them truly memorable.

Some of Henri Fantin–Latour’s most famous group portraits include The Toast, painted in 1865, A Studio in the Batignolles, painted in 1870, At the Table, painted in 1872, and Round the Piano, painted in 1885. Interestingly, Henri Fantin–Latour also left behind twenty-three self-portraits. Henri Fantin–Latour’s style was incredibly delicate and imaginative, differing in ways from his realistic flower paintings and group portraits. His lithographs were greatly inspired by music. This style of art is essentially a printing process that involves ink being transferred from a flat surface, such as stone or metal, onto paper or another suitable material.

He enjoyed many of the great classical composers but was perhaps most influenced by Richard Wagner, whose music prompted him to create many imaginative drawings. In 1875 Henri Fantin–Latour married Victoria Dubourg, who was also a fellow artist. After his marriage, the French artist took to spending time at his wife’s family estate. It was there on the estate in the countryside that he passed away. Henri Fantin-Latour, a man who was both extremely academic and distinctly independent, left behind a gallery of paintings full of realism and imagination.

Our Segmation set of Fantin-Latour contain many examples of his floral paintings in still life renderings of flowers, roses, and fruit.

There are also numerous portraits including Marie-Yolande de Fitz James, Duchess Fitz James, Charlotte Dubourg, Two Sisters, Adolphe Jullien, Mr. and Mme Edwards, and several self-portraits.

This set contains 31 digital paintable patterns.

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Moonglow

Moonglow

Moonglow

Pattern Set for SegPlayPC released (see more details here)

The moon is Earth’s only natural satellite and we celebrate its beauty in this wonderful pattern set. On June 5-6, 2012, the moon will be used as a mirror when Venus will appear as a tiny black dot crossing the sun’s face. How exciting!

The moon’s surface has been studied by telescope since Galileo first observed it in 1609 and firsthand by a total of 12 U.S. astronauts during the six successful lunar landing missions of the US Apollo program. The Moon’s small size and low mean density result in surface gravity that is too low to hold a permanent atmosphere, and therefore it was to be expected that lunar surface characteristics would be very different from those of Earth. The moon is the most ‘human’ of the heavenly bodies, since its phases and the shadows on its surface give it a face, encouraging the popular lore about the ‘Man in the Moon’.

Because the moon rotates in step with the Earth, we can only see about 59% of the moon’s surface. The dark and featureless plains we see on the near side of the moon are called maria, a Latin term for seas.

In our set of Moonglow patterns we showcase photographed images of landscapes, which are lit or dominated with the visible moon. In some patterns, the moon is depicted by itself, while in others, the moon is shown reflecting over calm waters, lighthouses, beaches, bare trees, cloudy skies, rocky coastlines, wheat fields, and mountain ranges.

This set contains 21 paintable patterns.

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