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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • CHOOSING NEW PAINTBRUSHES DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT – BRUSH SHAPES.

    Finding the brush thats right for you...

    It can be daunting going into an art shop or ordering online and being faced with the seemingly endless number of different brushes from which to choose. A good set of brushes will make the most of your paints and choosing the shape of a brush is probably the first step.

    Paint brushes have been used since the age of cave painting. Animal hair was bundled and fastened to a handle. In ancient Egypt reed stalks and reed fibres were beaten at the ends to make brushes. Artists made their own brushes right up until the 16th century. For several centuries brushes could only be round due to their construction using the quill of a feather. However in the 19th century, brushes could be made in various shapes due to the introduction of metal ferrules. The Impressionist turned the art world on its’ head with the new mark-making options that new brush shapes offered. Today there are many new shapes available. Hopefully our list will help make your choice simpler.

    ROUND BRUSH

    The Round brush is good for: sketching, outlining, detailed work, controlled washes, and for filling in small areas. You can create thin to thick lines – thin at the tip, becoming wider the more you press the brush down. Use with thinned paint, rather than thick paint.

    A pointed round is narrower than the round brush and has a sharply pointed tip. It is good for:  creating fine details and lines, delicate areas and for spotting and retouching.

    DETAIL ROUND

    This brush has round hairs that are shorter in length and has a shorter handle. It is good for: details and short strokes and it holds more paint than you might think!

    SWORD BRUSH

    A long haired brush which is angled to a sharp point at the end. This brush is good for: creating long smooth lines, ideal for painting plants and leaves, it is adaptable and can be used to create both thick or thin lines using different parts of the brush.

    FLAT/GUSSOW BRUSH

    The Flat or Gussow brush has a square end with medium to long hairs. It is good for: filling wide spaces, for impasto and you can use the edge for fine lines, straight edges and stripes. Long haired Flat brushes are also ideal for varnishing.

    GUSSOW INTERLOCKED/BRIGHT BRUSH

    These brushes are flat with edges curved inward at the tip and have shortish hairs.  They are good for: short controlled strokes, thick heavy colour and are better for working up close rather than holding the brush at a distance from the canvas.

    The Gussow is made by binding two bent bundles of hair together in the ferrule, so that they are curved towards each other. This brush has the same uses as the regular Gussow brush. However an Interlocked brush is less likely to have hairs sticking out.

    FILBERT/CATS TONGUE

    Filbert or Cats Tongue brushes are f lat, have an oval shaped end with medium to long hairs. They are good for: blending and have soft rounded edges like flower petals. This brush is a sort of combination of round brushes (because it can be used for detail) and flat brushes (because it can cover more space than a round brush).

    FAN BRUSH

    Fan brushes have flat, spread hairs. Natural haired fan brushes are good for: smoothing, blending and feathering, synthetic haired fan brushes are better for textural effects and are great for painting clouds and leaves on trees. For acrylics, use a strong and sturdy one, otherwise the hairs will clump when paint is added.

    ANGULAR FLAT (SHADER) BRUSH

    These brushes are flat with angled hairs at the end. They are good for: curved strokes and filling corners and you can reach small areas with tip. They can also be used to cover lots of space, similar to flat brushes.

    RESERVOIR BRUSH

    The Reservoir brush is made up of two different bundles of hair, set together. There is a long thin bundle in the centre surrounded by a shorter bundle. The outer bundle acts as a reservoir, feeding the paint into the inner bundle. It is good for: fine detailed work and has the benefit of allowing you to work for a long time before having to dip into your paint again.

    LINER/RIGGER BRUSH

    Liners or Riggers are brushes which have extra long hair. As you move the brush handle, the hairs follow in a wiping motion. These brushes are good for: painting long lines and stripes. They can hold quite a large amount of liquid. There are round and flat versions. Flat Liners are also known as Lettering brushes.

    OVAL BRUSH

    An Oval brush, also known as a Bombe, is a flat brush with an oval tip. It is good for: using as a wash brush.

    So which brush do you think you will go with?

    As you can see there are many different types of brushes for various different techniques, and using the right brush will no doubt aid and improve your skill and enjoyment from painting. Come in-store to browse our wide selection; we will have the brush for you.

  • "Rembrandt or Van Gogh?" That is the question

    Do you know these paint brands?

    Have you seen these brands in a shop, but are not sure if they are suitable for your work? Or perhaps you wanted to paint as if you were a Dutch Master, or Vincent Van Gogh himself?

    Curious what's the difference between professional and student quality paint?

    Keep reading and get to know why it is so accurate to name the brands after these two particular painters, and why you should probably try them yourself.

    Rembrandt van Rijn

    Self Portrait (1659) Self Portrait (1659)

    Everyone thinks about dark, soothing colours and grandiose scenes when they hear the name Rembrandt. No wonder then, that Royal Talens based their professional artist quality brand for artist materials on the Dutch Master's practice - and now you're about to find out why,

    Why use The Royal Talens Rembrandt brand?

    The Colours;
    Big range of colours (120), traditional, deep and very strong.
    Pigments:
    The pigments are ground very fine, containing the highest concentration possible, thus good for creating smooth surfaces and blending colours.
    Very pure colours, 56 made of only one pigment
    Lightfastness:
    Highest degree possible (+100) years under museum lighting conditions).
    Opacity:
    make sure to check the little square signs on the tube; they indicate the opacity from transparent (white) to opaque (black).
    the Rembrandt oils have: 
    25 Transparent colours
    20 semi-transparent
    35 semi-opaque
    40 opaque colours
    Available sizes:

    • 15ml tube: 120 colours
    • 40ml tube: 120 colours
    • 60ml tube: 5 whites
    • 150ml tube: 25 colours and 5 whites

    Rembrandt’s colour palette:

    • Yellow ochre
    • Umber – The best is probably a mix of Raw Umber and Burnt Umber
    • Lead Tin Yellow – used until the 18th century. The closest is possibly the mix of Cadmium Yellow Lemon  and Transparent Yellow Green.
    • Azurite – the closest colour is Phthalo Blue
    • Smalt (Cobalt blue)
    • Carmine Lake
    • Malachite – Closes possible colour is Ultramarine Green
    • Bone Black (or Ivory black)
    • Lead White – Unfortunately, because of the poisonous pigment it’s not manufactured by the series. It’s supposed to be the warmest tone white paint. Alternatively the same results can be achieved with the mix of Titanium White  and Zinc White  (to reduce the opaqueness of the Titanium) mixed with a bit of Naples Red  to achieve the desired effect.
    • Vermillion
    • Ultramarine
    • Naples Yellow
    The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632)

    Rembrandt's Painting Technique:

    Impasto is a technique when thick layers of paint are put on the surface of the painting in order to create visible brush or knife strokes. The word originates from the Italian verb impastere (“to put in paste”)
    In his paintings, Rembrandt used this technique to enhance the effect of wrinkled and detailed fabrics, jewellery, or to give highlights a more prominent look.
    (Note that only acrylics and oils are suitable for this technique because of the high density of pigments.)

    The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve
    The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve The Jewish Bride (1665) detail, sleeve
    Flora (1635) Flora (1635)

    Vincent Van Gogh

    Van Gogh is known for his unique colour use and neurotic lines which made his works stand out of the 'regular' impressionist style. He wasn't appreciated in his lifetime, but now his name has come to represent the 'student quality' (although in some countries it is considered so good that it is artist quality) paint brand made by Royal Talens. And not by accident!

    Self-Portrait, September 1889 Self-Portrait, September 1889

    Why Use Royal Talens Van Gogh oil paint?

    Colours:
    Less colour shades than Rembrandt (66), but they produce a more “modern” range, in 2 price series, the result being a student quality price with an artist quality colour choice.
    Pigments:
    High level, finely ground pigments (not as fine as Rembrandt) fantastic for keeping brushstrokes visible.
    33 pure colours made of only one pigment
    Lightfastness:
    High level, excellent in keeping the colour over a long period of time (75- 100) years under museum conditions).
    Opacity:
    Make sure to check the little square signs on the tube; they indicate the opacity from transparent (white) to opaque (black).
    Van Gogh oils have:
    14 transparent colours
    10 semi-transparent
    19 semi-opaque
    23 opaque colours
    Available sizes:

    • 20ml tubes: 66 colours
    • 40ml tube: 66 colours
    • 60ml tubes: 66 colours
    • 200ml tube: 55 colours
    • 500ml tin: 16 colours

    Early Works:

    Van Gogh’s early works clearly show the resemblance to traditional Dutch painting: dark, earthly brown tones – probably influenced by his tutor, Anton Mauve – were more characteristic of Rembrandt perhaps than the light colour palette of late 1800’s popular Impressionists.

    The Potato Eaters (1885)
    Self Portrait with Pipe (1886) Self Portrait with Pipe (1886)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    (Post)Impressionism

     

    Starry Night Over The Rhone Arles (1888) Starry Night Over The Rhone Arles (1888)

    However, after a while Van Gogh's palette indeed went through a radical change as he allowed the popular style of the age influence his work - he switched the dark colours to that of impressionist ones: this meant that he no longer used browns, blacks and greys, but instead worked with richer brighter colours characteristic of the Impressionist style. They tried to capture the colour of their subject in natural light, using colours directly out of the tube, creating such an effect that the different pure colours next to each other would show a mixed effect on the canvas. This is particularly prominent in Van Gogh's later - and most popular - paintings.

     

    Self-portrait (1887-1888) Self-portrait (1887-1888)

    Whats was Van Gogh’s colour palette?

    • Naples yellow
    • Zinc/Lemon Yellow
    • Chrome Yellow
    • Vandyck brown
    • Vermillion
    • Cochineal lake (Carmine)
    • Madder lake
    • Cobalt Blue
    • Prussian Blue
    • French Ultramarine
    • Cerulean Blue
    • Viridian Green
    • Emerald Green
    • Black
    • White

    So, whats it going to be, Rembrandt or Van Gogh?

    All in all, it seems that there is not much of a difference between so-called artist quality and student quality paints. Like most things in life, it is the subtle differences that can make big differences. Perhaps the most important thought that counts is how you use the paints and knowing exactly what you're looking for in terms of colours and pigment fineness.

    What is also important to note that while many popular brands now manufacture their paints in China, The Royal Talens brands keep up the quality by making their paints in The Netherlands. Therefore, it seems that even if you are looking for either student or professional quality, Van Gogh and Rembrandt are a good choice with their wide range of colours and high quality products.

    Speaking from personal experience, the Van Gogh oils are easy to mix, have a nice consistency and brilliant colour range. The best thing is, you really get what you expect, so no more disappointment when buying a nice tube of supposedly 'Mars violet' that turns out to be pinkish purple...
    I would recommend Van Gogh for fellow art students because of the good quality and affordable price! And what can I say about Rembrandt? Well, having had the chance to get a taste of what a professional paint is like, I do want more - you have to try it in order to fully understand!
    Perhaps, get some as a holiday present, or just simply treat yourself because you deserve it!

     

    If this brief introduction of the artists and their techniques made you interested, keep your eyes on the blog to learn more about them in the future!

    References:
    http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/
    http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/portraits/van_gogh.htm
    http://www.vangoghreproductions.com/art-techniques/palette.html
    http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/renaissance.html

  • Using Tissue Paper To Add Texture

    Try something different for texture!

    It’s always nice to try something different with your paintings. I sometimes use tissue paper to add texture to my watercolours. It’s a really simple technique and very effective.

    All you need is some stretched paper, or a board or canvas, PVA glue, water and a glue brush, tissue paper and of course your paints

    Cover your painting surface with a thin layer of PVA mixed with a little water. Scrunch up your tissue paper and then lay it on the PVA surface. Cover the tissue paper with another thin layer of the PVA water mixture and leave to dry. You will end up with a nice crinkly surface to paint on.

    Alternatively, draw out your design on your stretched paper/canvas Choosing different colours of tissue, scrunch up your tissue, tear into the rough shape of the area you want to fill and stick on the piece of tissue. Keep doing this until you have filled every section of your picture. Cover with a thin layer of the PVA water mixture and leave to dry. Now you can work into your picture with your paints.

    It’s all up to you and your imagination now. How about trying the same technique with lace or paper doilies? Or maybe netting or string.

     

    https://youtu.be/VDaasjYr1LU

  • TURPENTINE – ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE?

    Essential Oils 

    You may have used turpentine to thin paints and clean brushes, which is its most typical (and  sensible) use, but some people regard it as a natural alternative to modern medicine. Turpentine is an essential oil distilled from pine tree sap – so it does have “natural” origins.

    The major active ingredients in turpentine are aromatic hydrocarbons called  turpenes, natural chemicals widely found in essential oils that provide the aroma and flavour of many everyday products.

    Is Turpentine An Ancient Remedy?

    Turpentine has been used medicinally since ancient times, as topical and sometimes internal home remedies. Topically it was used for abrasions and wounds, as a treatment for lice and when mixed with animal fat it was used as a chest rub, or inhaler for nasal and throat ailments. Many modern chest rubs such as Vicks, still contain turpentine in their ingredients.

    Taken internally, it was used as a treatment for intestinal parasites and candida because of it’s antiseptic and diuretic properties. It was thought to be a general cure-all and sugar, molasses or honey were sometimes used to mask the taste and bait parasites.

    It was also a common medicine used by seamen during the age of discovery and was one of the products carried aboard Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet in his first circumnavigation of the globe.

    Why risk using Turpentine as an alternative medicine?

    It is surprising that in the 21st century, when modern medicine is freely available in the UK, that there are still people who happily pay for alternative medicines, such as homeopathic remedies, which have no proven efficacy. If they were proven medically, they would no longer be referred to as alternative, but simply be labelled medicine..If someone is told that they don’t have an infection that requires antibiotics, they’re generally pretty happy. But when you explain that “detox” is a marketing term, and there is no need to waste money on a “detox” kit, sometimes it only seems to reinforce the belief that supplements are useful, that taking supplements is safer and as effective as prescription drugs. Red yeast rice is a poor substitute to statins following a heart attack and yogurt is not a reasonable alternative to chemotherapy when treating bowel cancer. Many people, however have a negative perception about the risk and benefits of prescription drugs, with the opposite perception about the merits of various “alternative” remedies.

    The problem with alternative medicine is, that though it often sounds benign, this is rarely the case.  Homeopathic remedies will not fight infection and drinking turpentine as a cure for anything is positively dangerous, as you might expect from the poison label on the bottle. It can cause hydrocarbon poisoning. As little as a teaspoonful can be fatal for a child. Severe and sometimes fatal lung inflammation can result in inhalation in addition to heart arrhythmia. Even the vapour can irritate the mucous membranes in the mouth eyes and nose.

    A wee tip for cleaning your brushes

    So turpentine has it’s uses, but maybe sticking to thinning your paints and cleaning your brushes is the safest option. However, please remember that as Turpentine is from the Eucalyptus tree, the liquid contains tiny resin balls, which over time will stick in you brush, and harden it, making it more or less unusable. So for brushes that are high quality, or ones that you want to last, we recommend you clean your brushes with White Spirit, or a natural alternative like Zest IT

  • Get Creative With Clay

    Have you thought about trying Das Modeling Clay?

    Das, modelling material is lovely to work with and no need to mess with oven baking – it is air drying! Das clay contains tiny wee fibres, that give it added strength and rigidity.

    family-portrate

    Stuck for new ideas?

    Instead of model making, how about making a picture instead? Don’t paint that vase of flowers, make your vase out of a layer of the modelling clay. Make your flattened flowers and leaves. Maybe decorate your vase with flat spots or stripes. Then how about putting the vase on a flat table? Wall paper? Flying ducks? Let your picture dry and then start painting.

    Of course you’re not limited to vases of flowers, anything that you like to paint – your cat, a face, a landscape, can be made just as easily. Or how about a family portrait?

    the-cardowsYou can find all you need here to get started!

  • Our easy and comprehensive guide to varnishes!

    All the things you need to know about varnishing your work

    Feeling confused about the endless array of different varnishing options available in art shops?

    Well don’t worry, we’re here to clarify things! Below you’ll find a comprehensive list that we’ve compiled which explains which varnish is best for which medium, what it does and what it can be used for.

    The main reasons to varnish a picture are to a) protect its surface from dust, dirt and any imperfections that may result on the picture surface and b) to leave your image with a glossy or matt sheen. What in fact you are doing by varnishing paint is closing the surface off to oxygen, thereby preventing it from oxidising and discolouring over time. In theory therefore, your paint should remain in the same condition it was when you varnished it.

    You can even mix matt and glossy varnishes to give lots of structure., but make sure you use the spray form though if you don't want to influence the painting, as a spray varnish does not influence the painting, the same way a brush on varnish does.

    We stock most of our varnishes in bottles of 75ml, 250ml and 1000ml, and also in a 400ml spray can. Glossy and matt finishes are fairly self explanatory, and a satin finish is somewhere in between the two. Whether you prefer a gloss, matt or satin finish is very much down to individual preferences, whilst remembering that a high gloss finish can end up quite reflective, and a matt finish won’t boost your colours like a gloss varnish will.

    We’ll go step-by-step through each medium that you’re looking to varnish over, starting with acrylics.

    ACRYLICS VARNISHESAcrylic Varnish

    If you’re working with acrylic paint, you’ll want an acrylic varnish! It’s important that you give yourself a flexible layer of varnish on top of your acrylics, otherwise you’ll find that the paint might begin to crack off if it adheres to a non-flexible varnish. We stock matt, satin, gloss and high gloss in our Amsterdam range for acrylic paintings. We also sell a varnish for our Amsterdam Deco paints, which are used for textiles, glass and porcelain. It’s worth noting that if you might want to remove your varnish later on, you can use a gel medium to form what’s known as an isolation coat – a permanent, protective barrier between the painting and the varnish.

    As the acrylic varnish has a "flexible" surface, they are also suitable for use on oil paintings

    PicVarnishOIL VARNISHES

    If you’re working with oil based products, we have several options depending on your preferences. Varnishes should technically only be used if the painting is completely dry. We have a standard synthetic picture varnish, dammar varnish, retouching varnish and our Cobra (solvent free ) varnish.

    • Our standard picture varnish is a synthetic form of a traditional varnish, and should only be applied when completely dry
    • Made from dammar resin, by dissolving resin in turpentine, dammar varnish is a traditional varnish used for hundreds of years. Watch out though as it can be prone to yellowing. cobra
    • Retouching varnish is used to bring out dull colours where the paint has sunk in, and provides temporary protection for paintings that are still drying.
    • Finally, our Cobra range of varnishes is more environmentally friendly, and less toxic to use as they correspond to our solvent-free range of Cobra products.

    All the oil varnishes have an "inflexible" surface and for that reason should only be used on top of oil paint.

    Why do I need to wait at least 6 months to a year before varnishing my oil painting?

    When your oil paintings is no longer wet on the outside and the inside, the drying process then transforms to an ageing one as the oxygen continues to combine with the oil paint.

    As varnish effectively closes the surface to the oxygen in the air,  the ageing process almost stops altogether. If the varnish was not present, this is process would eventually cause cracks in the surface of the paint (known as ageing). So you see, if you varnish too soon, it will never dry!

    OIL PASTEL, WATERCOLOUR, GOUACHE & OTHERS            wcvARNISH

    We have a specific varnish which is made for and named after each of these mediums. We also stock a clear lacquer which provides a durable and scratch-resistant layer for painted surfaces, but is for objects and furniture rather than paintings or pictures. Gum Arabic makes gouache more transparent and increases gloss and elasticity. GArabicOx gall prevents beading and improves the adhesion of water-based paints to their support.

    We also stock varnish removers which remove varnish from the brushes you are using. If you have any further questions, just pop in to us on Perth Road and we’ll do our best to help!

     

  • Artist Profile: Ginny Elston

    Artist Profile on DJCAD Masters of Fine Art Graduate

    This month's Artist Profile is with Ginny Elston, who's studying for her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at DJCAD and works part-time at iartsupplies - say hello next time you're in! Originally from Edinburgh, she studied History of Art and French at the University of Manchester, and then studied Fine Art at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh for 3 years. Ginny tells us a little more about her practice and thoughts on art in the following interview...

    SneakyPeaky_Richtone(HDR)

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    My family moved to Spain for 3 years when I was a child, and so I was fortunate enough to go to the Prado Museum, which then was home to Picasso’s Guernica. I must have been about 6 years old, and I can just remember standing aghast in front of it. It was the horse which seemed to particularly horrify me, with what looked like a bullet or bomb in its mouth. I just remember being so confused and feeling dreadfully scared by it.

     

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

    I feel I produce many different types of art. My tastes and interests frequently change and I feel this is reflected in my changing methods of working. I took art as a subject all the way through school and loved it. It was always the most complex, surprising and interesting of subjects… with the most peculiar teachers.

     

    20160808_121628_Richtone(HDR)What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work in different media depending on what I’m doing. I’d describe myself predominantly as a draughtswoman, a painter and a printmaker.

     

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work? 

    I’ve started exploding out from the confines of my paintings into the surrounding space, by painting on the walls and introducing objects into the surrounding space. So I guess I’ve taken a few steps into the realm of sculpture and installation, which I’m finding new and exciting at the moment. I always love trying out new printing methods – I’ve never done lithography and I’d love to have a go at that.

     

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    Since my tastes are often in a state of flux, I find myself drawn to many different things at once. I’m very interested in history, language and sites of particular human interest, as well as both Eastern and Western philosophies and scientific associations with art. I’ve made previous works about the planets and our solar system, about the Nuremberg Trials that happened in Germany after the Second World War and about arcade and gaming spaces… so quite an eclectic bunch of topics!

     

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

    I’m not associated with a Gallery or art collective.

    20160629_174155

    If from traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?

    I think the institutions one studies in are always formative to your practice, whether they end up affirming your current beliefs on art or whether you end up rebelling against the institutional grain. Being in an intensive, educational environment which pushes you and challenges you enables you to critically question and reflect upon your own work and that of your peers, which is mostly always a good thing. However this can sometimes overwhelm you and often undermine your confidence in your own work, and you need to be aware of when you increasingly rely on the advice of those in the position of ‘teacher/ tutor’ to know what steps to take next. Everything in moderation.

     

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    There are many, many, many inspirational people in the art world. They range from past and current tutors, peers, and both celebrated and non-celebrated artists, living and dead. Specifically at the moment I find the sculptural works of Jessica Stockholder, Judy Pfaff and Katherina Grosse very inspiring, and the paintings of Tomory Dodge, David Schnell and Tonye Moe very exciting. Artists like Marina Abramovich and Ai Wei Wei are also incredibly inspirational, calling for an awakening of the collective consciousness.

     

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I’m currently finding a whole world of visual inspiration from just the colours and shapes in my immediate environment. Buildings, windows, the colour of the sky and trees in different lights, hi-vis jackets, bright window displays…

     

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?20160726_145112_Richtone(HDR)

    I’m lucky to be working in a very bright and spacious studio that will eventually turn into my Masters exhibition space.

     

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

    Art can bring up a surprising array of emotions. It's a deep, mystical and sometimes murky journey to travel through... But it’s also clearly the best way to spend your time here on planet Earth.

     

    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    At its best, art is of the utmost importance to society, it’s life-changing, eternally profound. Imagination is a most basic necessity which we need in order to survive.

     

    You can see Ginny's work alongside other Masters students at the DJCAD Masters Show 2016, which runs from 20th August - 28th August, 10am - 4pm weekends and 10am - 8pm weekdays, with the opening night on Friday 19th August from 6pm - 9pm.

  • D’Arcy Wentworth Thomspon – The Man Behind the Museum

    A multi-disciplined man with a passion for nature

    Dundee artist Suzanne Scott, A.K.A Whimsical Lush, has recently designed 10 bronze plaques commemorating a whole host of Dundonians, whose lives have significantly impacted both their respective fields of expertise and the city. The plaques have since been installed in the new Discovery Walk waterfront, set into the paved area of the Green Space. One man in particular stood out for our very own Paul Wallace, who's company (Trinity Arts ~ iartsupplies) championed D’Arcy Thomson’s plaque. Here we find out a little more about the famous biologist, and how Suzanne was influenced by his work in creating his plaque.

    D'arcy Thomson

    Born in Edinburgh in 1860 to Irish parents, D’Arcy Thomspon was schooled at the Edinburgh Academy and studied medicine and zoology at the University of Edinburgh and Cambridge respectively. He became the first Professor of Biology at the University of Dundee at the age of only 24, staying in the role for over 32 years.

    img_5573Known as a ‘pioneer’ of Life Sciences, Thompson was known as an interdisciplinary thinker. He was well versed in maths and classics, and translated German texts on biology on the side to earn money whilst at University. He displayed an obvious passion for nature in all of its fascinating, mysterious guises, and was dedicated to preserving and conserving wildlife, lobbying for legislation to be introduced that protected endangered species. In 1917, he authored ‘On Growth and Form’, which demonstrated the links between the growth of organisms and their forms and mathematical principles. He wrote extensively on ideas surrounding ‘Morphogenisis’, the pattern formation in plants and animals, and ‘phyllotaxis’, the botanical study of leaf formation. It is said that his work even influenced eminent thinkers such as Alan Turing and Claude Lévi –Strauss, and artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Jackson Pollock.


    img_5823 - CopySuzanne Scott took great interest in his drawings, which are available to see in the D’Arcy Thompson Museum, in the University of Dundee’s campus. Both a space for teaching and research, as well as housing many different species of animals and plants, the museum is open regularly to the public on Friday throughout the summer vacation, so be sure to make a trip out there! Suzanne immersed herself in a method of researching his botanical studies, in a manner appropriate to Thompson himself. Through dedicated and meticulous studies, the artist successfully managed to convery the intricacies and subtleties of these exquisite forms. She picked out particularly organic and delicate creatures, such as the jellyfish, and picked out bulkier shapes, such as the rock roses, in order to balance out her compositions, allowing for a flowing arrangement of shapes and lines.

    D'Arcy Thompson was also on the committee of the Dundee Private Hospital for Women, and also a founding member of the Dundee Social Union. He was knighted in 1937, and won the Darwin Medal in 1946. After he left his post at the University of Dundee, he spent another 31 years at the University of St Andrews as Chair of Natural History. He died in 1948 aged 88, survived by his wife and three children.


    DarcyThompson

    Amongst the other Dundonians celebrated in Suzanne's plaques are Mary Ann Baxter, Professor Margaret Fairlie, Dr James Riley and R.D Low, all of whom have made progressive scientific, medical or cultural discoveries. The commemorations fit accordingly with Dundee's motto, 'One City, Many Discoveries', and form an integral part of the the up and coming new waterfront development area. Imbedded into the fabric of our city, they call to us to know our past, understand our present and inspire us in the future.

  • Enough Excuses – Get Creative! Keeping an Artist’s Journal

    jenndalyn

    Get creative anytime, anywhere!

    Do you feel that you would love to be more creative, but never seem to be able to find the time to set it aside for artistic endeavours? Why not try keeping an artist’s journal with you whenever you’re on the move, to record some of your day-to-day activities?

    CharlotteAliceMurrayEven keeping just an A5 or A6 slim-line sketchbook with you, and some fine-liners, colouring pencils or coloured gel pens is enough to start you off, and can keep you artistically engaged in the world around you. Even better, you don’t have to carry lots of materials around, nor do you have to set aside special time after a long day to do it – just keep your drawing gear in your bag!

    Seize and capture any moment!

    Whilst you’re on the bus, waiting for a train or in the airport, in a queue at the post-office or even on a lunch break, taking out a sketchbook and drawing/ doodling/ writing can really calm you down, help you to relax and allow some small moments of creativity into your day-to-day. Whether it’s a peculiar architectural detail, a quick interaction between two strangers or simply a colourful window display that captures your attention, try to note it down in whatever way comes to you. Drawing has been proven to relieve stress and engages your brain in a different kind of mental stimulation - and it’ll help you to put down your phone and be with yourself a little more.AndreaJoseph

    Our Hahnemülle journals and booklets have lined pages alternating between blank pages, allowing you to note down ideas, thoughts and bits of poetry, or even funny comments overheard at a supermarket. All these minor moments that you capture eventually build into something much bigger, which you can look back on in your visual diary. Small ideas or colour studies quickly noted down can also be the germinations of bigger ideas, such as a series of prints, paintings, a poem – or even all three.

    Pen, pencil, watercolour, pastel... use anything you like!

    MissWearer

    If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, and love the idea of noting the wonderful changing colours of spring, for example, you could always keep a Van Gogh watercolour pocket box, a travel-size bottle of water and some Fabriano A6 postcards with you. Equally, carrying a handy small pack of Rembrandt pastels with an A5 or A6 kraft paper sketchbook means you’re always prepared to embrace the surprising, moving or intriguing moments of your day. You could also collage onto some pages in advance, with newspaper, magazine cuttings or tissue paper which can give you something to work on, instead of the (sometimes frightening!) blank white page. As you become more accustomed to carrying a sketchbook around with you, your observation and drawing skills will also develop.

    Remember – you’re not setting out to make a phenomenal ‘work of art’ here, nothing needs to be judged. If a drawing doesn’t work out, don’t worry, just move onto the next page, and you can always make it into something else at a later date. You are making personal observations that relate to you and the quiet moments you encounter throughout the day, and no one needs to see what you do - unless you want them to!

    Images courtesy (top - bottom):

    Jenndalyn, Charlotte Alice Murray, Miss Wearer, Andrea Joseph

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