Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raphael drawing fetches $47.8 million in auction

LONDON (AP) -- One of the most significant drawings by Italian master Raphael in private hands sold for 29.7 million pounds ($47.8 million) in London Wednesday, smashing pre-sale estimates for the black chalk work.
"Head of an Apostle" was expected to fetch between 10 million pounds and 15 million pounds, and Sotheby's auction house said the sale set a record for any work on paper sold at auction.
Sotheby's said the winning bid was placed over the phone following an intense battle among four bidders.
"Head of an Apostle" was created in preparation for Raphael's Biblical painting "The Transfiguration," which hangs in the Vatican Museum in Rome.
"If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along," said Gregory Rubinstein, worldwide head of Old Master drawings at Sotheby's.
He called Raphael — who died in 1520 — a genius.
The piece had been part of a collection at the Duke of Devonshire's Chatsworth House home in Derbyshire since the 1700s.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Top 5 International Museums an Artist Should Visit

Art history and evolution can be learned in a way that most other things in the world cannot: by looking on the magnificent, classic, and historic pieces with your own eyes. As artists, we all have dreams and aspirations. As your dreams grow and your life becomes a realization of your dreams, make it an intention to try and visit at least one of these museums in your life. Seeing a masterpiece in person is very different from seeing a picture in a book or on the Internet. The following museums are the top in the world, and they are unique works of art even unto themselves, much less the wealth of artwork that they keep safe from the marching of time. We hope you have a chance to experience these great human works; you will certainly walk away a changed person.

1. Le Louvre
Louvre Museum, or simply Le Louvre, is the most visited art museum in the world, as well as a historic monument. It opened on August 1793 and displayed 537 paintings. Today, nearly 35,000 objects from prehistoric times to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 652,300 square feet. It is housed in the Louvre Palace, which was the royal place of the King of France from the 12th century until King Louis XIV moved the throne to the Palace of Versailles in 1682.

2. Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums, located inside the Vatican City in Rome, was founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. It acquired its first piece, the sculpture of Laoco├Ân (the priest who supposedly warned ancient Troy against accepting the Greeks’ hollow “gift” horse), in 1506. Today, it display works from the enormous collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church, including masterpieces from the Renaissances.

3. The British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. It was founded in 1753, mostly from the collections of the scientist Sir Hans Sloane. Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the British Museum is free of charge for admission. It is located in Great Russell Street in London and displays about 7 million objects.

4. The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum, inaugurated in 1902, is located in Cairo, Egypt. It displays 120,000 items altogether. These include numerous artifacts – including mummies and personal treasures of famed Pharaohs – from Egypt’s storied history. During the 2011 Egypt protests, the museum was broken into and two mummies were damaged.

5. Museo de Prado
The Museo del Prado is located in Madrid, Spain. It features one of the world's best collections of European art from the 12th century to the early 19th century. The museum opened to the public for the first time in November 1819. It was designed on the orders of Charles III in 1785 for the purpose of housing the Natural History Cabinet. Currently, the museum is displaying less than 1,000 works in the main building and lending around 3,100 pieces to many different institutions around the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stress Management for Creatives

It is so easy to let the daily worries and small stresses interfere with our creative output, and more importantly, our mental well-being. Give yourself permission to relax and take down time, and your art will be better for it.

Schedule Your Relaxation Time
If you are like us, then it is hard to find the time for yourself. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Instead of hoping for a chunk of time to magically open itself up, schedule your "me time" like you would any important meeting or project, and stick to it! Even just 30 minutes a day can make a major impact on your stress level. Spend that time doing things that relax your mind; avoid anything that makes you think too much. Fill your "me time" with things that let you just be in the moment.

Minimize Energy Black Holes
These days, creative people have to do a lot more in order to successfully maintain a business, or to support themselves. We must be our own production managers, our own networkers, our own accountants, our own marketers...our own everything! It is easy to overload yourself when you have to do everything anyway, so look out for the "black holes" than can take more than they give back. Perhaps your weekly art co-op meetings are running too long, or you are volunteering for a cause that is important, but the group takes more of your time than you have. Learn to say no, or even better, not now, and dedicate only the time that you can.

Get A Massage
Every once in a while, spurge on yourself, and just yourself. It might be nice to take the family to dinner, but this isn't necessarily giving you the mental, and physical, relaxation that you need to recharge. Do something that is only for you: get a massage, take a long bath, or read a good book in your favorite napping spot and let yourself drift off to sleep. When your mind rests, your brain is able to better process all of the things you have seen and experienced, and even the things that your subconscious is dealing with. Let the brain chatter die down for a while to make room for new, beautiful thoughts and ideas.

Pay Attention to Your Diet
We are bound by our physical bodies in this world, so make sure your are giving yours the proper energy and fuel that it needs to perform at its best. Stay very well hydrated, add healthy, nutritious things to your plate, and keep your energy going with small snacks throughout the day. You brain runs on what you eat just as much as your body, so don't start out from zero: give yourself a boost with good food.

Put Time Into Your Own Creative Work
When you work in a creative industry, or run your own creative business, you are constantly doing creative work for other people. Take time in your week to do creative work only for yourself. Even if that means just doodling out a little comic strip, or painting your workspace, give time for your creative self to work for yourself. Clients come and go, but you will always be with yourself, so make sure you are giving that relationship something to grow on. Also, doing your own creative work will help with the quality of your other work.

Have Your Tools Ready
Don't ever let yourself be deterred from your artwork by too much set up time. Save yourself the hassle and prepare your space for the next time you use it by getting everything cleaned, organized, and ready to go each time your end a session in your studio or workspace.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Most Important Tools for Any Artist


A Good Quality Sketchbook
 (Or Two...)

Excellent Drawing Pencils

Comfortable Workspace

Digital Camera

Sunday, August 12, 2012

5 Visualization Exercises for Artists


Embrace Childlike Curiosity
The first step toward creating art is learning how to perceive the world around you in a unique way. Yes, we have to learn this; or rather, we have to re-learn this. Think about how you saw the world as a child. There was always something new and fresh to discover, and it seems that a child's curiosity can overwhelm even the best parent's ability to always have an answer. Try to take back that inner child and look at the work around you with fresh eyes.
Untrain Your Eye
Ours eyes are trained to automatically recognize patterns so that we can function in a world of communal organization. Take, for instance, road signs. Red means stop and green means go. Without a collective understanding of these rules and patterns, driving would be haphazard and dangerous. Now look at these signs without the thought for what they "mean". (We recommend you DON'T do this while actually driving.) Let your eye see what is there, and not what your brain assumes will, or should, be there. Removing your bias for what you think you will see will help you to grasp visual freshness.
Observe Rather than Participate
Step away from your daily commute, and look around the world with an "observer's eye" rather than a participants. What things do you see? What are the underlying patterns? Perhaps it's how people hold their mouth when walk down a certain flight of stairs. Maybe the pattern is when a certain flock of birds moves from one place to another. Allow the world to function around you while you sit an observe; remove your participation and simply look.
It may sound like a stereotype, the squinting artist, but squinting is one way to change how your eye sees the physical world in front of you. Objects lose detail and become impressions of how they appear realistically. This might not be the style in which you want to create, but physically changing how your eyes see the world can lead to a mental change in your perception.
Connect Analogies and Metaphors
Have you ever heard that, from a distance, human beings look like ants, going about their daily business? These kinds of connections are incredibly important to creative thinking, and thus have a place in visualization. This is about how we perceive our world, and the kind of connections, inferences, and similarities we can draw from two seemingly unrelated things. Blinking street lights look like fireflies, steam from manhole covers is like the steam that emits from geysers and hot springs,office buildings are like beehives, and on and on.
The equation of visualization comes down to three simple things: Perceive. Connect. Create.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Feeling Stuck? 20 Ways to Overcome Artist's Block

1. Draw a caricature of your favorite actor or actress.
2. Design your own deck of cards.
3. Create the cover of an imagined children's book.
4. Create a dish pattern based on an era of design, like art deco.
5. Photograph ordinary objects in abstract.
6. Draw 12 black and white landscapes for a monthly calendar.
7. Design a business card for a well-known cartoon character.
8. Paint a visual representation of your favorite song.
9. Draw a still life, then draw the same scene as a comic book illustration.
10. Design a page (or two!) of a coloring book.
11. Design an animal that combines bird, fish, and mammal.
12. Create a replica of a classic sculpture with food.
13. Re-envision a one sheet for your favorite film.
14. Design your own alphabet letters, and create an illustration for each letter.
15. Make a flip book about your favorite memory.
16. Draw an illustrated tutorial on how to wash a dog.
17. Draw your favorite picture of yourself, but upside down.
18. Draw an image of something in nature in all four seasons.
19. Illustrate an abstract idea, like success, love, freedom, or evil.
20. Paint a portrait with only three colors.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Perfecting Pastels: Tips for Pastel Arts

Choosing Pastels
Pastels come in several types, so let's look at what is available and their pros and cons.

Soft and Hard Pastels: The most common pastels come in these two types: soft and hard. The colors range from extremely bright and saturated, to very pale. The biggest con of pastels is that they cannot be remedied like paints can. Instead, you have to employ various blending techniques. Regular pastels have a chaulky like consistency. Hard pastels are used for their fine lines and details. Soft pastels are easy to blend and easy to apply, but their edges are less defined

Oil Pastels: oil pastels are very similar to regular pastels, but they have a smoother, creamier consistency and feel because they are bound with non-drying oils and waxes. Oil pastels tend to be less likely to smudge, and thus, they are less prone to accidents.

Tools for Pastels
Working with pastels necessitates more than just the pastels themselves. Here's a brief look at the secondary tools and materials used for pastels.

Brushes: Brushes are used to clear a pastel work of flakes and debris, or for blending large areas. Soft bristle brushes are ideal for clearing dust and other things from your work, and stiffer bristle brushes can be used to blend.

Blending Tools: Blending tools are ideal for working with pastels, but they do more than their name. Blending tools and tortillons blend pastels very nicely, but they also lift color. Pointed blending tools work well for more detailed work, which is a nice fit for working with pastels.

Pastel works, if you want them to last more than five minutes after being finished, must be coated with a binder or fixative. A light coat of fixative will create a boundary of protection, as well as keeping pastel dust from sticking to the glass of a frame. Fixative also helps keep the colors of the work true, as sunlight and time can fade them. Basically, you should always finish a pastel work with two light coats of fixative.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

6 Drawing Exercises for Artists

Drawing exercises help keep you in practice, whether you paint, sculpt, draw, or animate. These exercises also help you visualize your subject in unique ways, as well as break you away from regular practices that might become more of a habit rather than an intention. The following drawing exercises are also great for beginners, but come back to these basics whenever you need the practice, if you are searching for inspiration, or if you just want to tighten your technical skills.

Blind Drawing
Blind drawing means looking only at your subject, and not at your paper. Not even a peek. Try to allow your hand, as you draw, to approximate the spacing, distance, and proportions of your subject without having to look at what you are doing.

Negative Space Drawing
This exercise is all about looking around your subject and not at it. Concentrate on the negative space, the space that defines your subject and draw. Don't even draw the subject: only look at the space defining it. In fact, leave your paper completely white where the subject should be

20 Second Drawing
Get a timer. Study your subject carefully, then set your timer for 20 seconds. Quickly sketch out as much of your subject as you can. After your 20 seconds are up, study your subject versus your sketch. Now, do it again. Start over and draw your subject again, but only in 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise until your 20 second sketch gets as close to your subject as possible.

Continuous Contour Drawing
In this exercise, the point is to keep your pencil or pen on the paper the entire time you draw. Don't lift it to stop and start lines. The drawing should ideally be one continuous line. Focus equally on your drawing and your subject, but try to keep your pen or pencil moving the entire time.

Continuous Blind Contour Drawing
Combine what you've done with the blind drawing exercise and the continuous line exercise into this: one continuous line drawing, but a drawing at you don't look at until you are finished. The initial drawings look pretty abstract; that might be a nice look, depending on your goal.

Non Dominant Hand Drawing
This exercise is a drawing exercise, and a brain exercise. Train your brain while allowing yourself to relinquish control. Letting go is the point of this drawing exercise, so let your non-drawing hand do the work, and enjoy some stress-free training.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 10 Art Collectors in The U.S.

American Rank #1
World Rank #4. Art Collector:
Barbara and Ted Alfond
Weston, Massachusetts; Vail, Colorado
Fashion (retired)
Built new sports center for Rollins College
Art Collection:
Collects american art and furniture

American Rank#2
World Rank #5. Art Collector:
Paul Allen
Computer software and sports franchises, co found Microsoft
Founder and Chairman of Vulcan Inc., own NFL, NBA, MLS teams
Art Collection:
Collects impressionism, Old Masters; modern and contemporary art; tribal art

American Rank #3
World Rank #6. Art Collector:
Lonn Apfel
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Collecting for over 12 years

Art Collection:
American Rank #4
World Rank #9. Art Collector:
Laura and John Arnold
started at Enron, Hedge fund, giving away half of salary to The Giving Pledge
Art Collection:
Impressionism; postwar and contemporary art

American Rank #5
World Rank #13. Art Collector:
Hank And Mary Beckman
Dallas, TX
Art Collection:
collects traditional western, Russian Impressionist, contemporary western, and old illustrators.

American Rank #6
World Rank #14. Art Collector:
Maria and William Bell Jr.
Los Angeles
Television production, creator and executive producer of the The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful
Art Collection:
Modern and contemporary art

American Rank #7
World Rank #17. Art Collector:
Stephanie And Bill Birdsall
Tucson, AZ
has been collecting for over 20 years
Art Collection:
collects representational landscapes, florals, still lifes, seascapes

American Rank #8
World Rank #18. Art Collector:
Leon Black
New York, New York
Private equity specialist
Art Collection:
On the board of the MET and MOMA
funded biography of Pablo Picasso
Collects old masters and contemporary art worth $750 million

American Rank #9
World Rank #19. Art Collector:
Nelson Blitz Jr. and Catherine Woodard
New York and Rye, New York
HVAC mechanical contracting
Art Collection:
German Expressionism; modern and contemporary art; Wiener Werkstatte metalwork and furniture

American Rank # 10
World Rank #20. Art Collector:
Neil G. Bluhm
Real estate, investments, owns the Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel and MGM Tower in Los Angeles, apart from a number of casinos. He also owns the real estate investment firm JMB Realty
Art Collection:
Contemporary art

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Painting with Transparent Colors

Painting with transparent colors, whether you are painting with water colors, oil, or acrylics, is a means of building up the color on your canvas in layers, rather than mixing colors on a palette. Painting with transparent colors allows you to see through the color to the layer beneath; you can mix your colors by layering colors one atop of another, you can build up the opacity of a color, and you can use the paint's transparent properties as part of your painting.

Glazes Create Depth
Painting with transparent color, also called glazes, is a fantastic way to create real depth in your composition. Layering the colors is up to you; thinner transparent colors allow more of the under layers to show through, and more opaque layers block out more of the layers beneath: the level of transparency is up to you. Each layer will change the color of the layers beneath, so this is worthy of experimentation.

Patience is a Virtue
When you are layering with glazes, you must learn to be patient. Each layer must dry thoroughly before the next layer is applied. Glaze colors mix optically, rather than chemically, to create the color tones and hues. This means that our eyes see the mixed color, rather than the paint itself combining to create the new color. Remember to let each layer dry completely before you apply the next.

Thin, Single Pigment Layers are Best
Glazes work best when applied in a thin, fluid layer. Your color layers will reproduce much more nicely if you use single pigment transparent paints; wet mixing two paints doesn't always give you the glazed results you might be going for, so work with single pigment glazes that dry thoroughly between layers.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Storage Tips for Canvas

Many of us keep a supply of blank canvases on hand so that when we are inspired, we can quickly start working on a piece. So, to make sure you don't encounter any unpleasant surprises the next time you go for a blank canvas, store them properly.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
If you keep you canvases out of direct sunlight, their lifespan will be much longer. The sun's rays can break down the strength of the canvas, especially if it is primed, so make sure they are out of direct sun.
Store Upright
Don't lie your canvases flat on a surface, even if they have proper stretcher bars. The material will loosen and sag over time, and you will being to see impressions of the stretcher bars in the canvas's fabric. Storing canvases upright also lessens the likelihood that dust and other particles will settle on the surface. Storing your canvases vertically also helps conserve precious studio or storage space.
Store In a Dry, Cool Space
Keep your canvas away from any elements that could potentially damage them, especially moist places. Mold is not a medium that anyone should work with! Also, heat can be a real problem for canvases, regardless of whether they are primed or not, so make sure your storage place is cool.
Store Off the Floor
Keep your canvases off the floor! You never know when a spill, a migration of ants, or any other unforeseen thing might occur. At the least, use several 2x4 lengths of lumber to create a lift that keeps your canvases from touching the floor. The best solution is a storage rack or storage system that keeps them away from potential floor issues. Raised storage can also be a plus for limited studio spaces.
Cover Canvas with a Light Cloth
When your canvases are in storage, keep them covered with a light cloth, like an old sheet. This will help keep them clear of dust, cobwebs, and other things that build up and settle in a space over time, even closet spaces.