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Creativity Art Blog

  • Creepy Crawlies: What’s In Your Paint?

    Do you know what makes the colour in your paint?

    When we are thinking about what art supplies we use, most of us don’t really think about where things like pigments come from.   In this modern age it is easy to assume that most pigments are manufactured in laboratories and that there is very little that synthetic production cannot do.   However you might be surprised by what gives your favourite colours, or pallet staples their distinct hue.  Understanding more about how your paint is made and where it comes from adds another dimension to your creative process, and it can also help when we are trying to understand why some materials cost so much, or are so hard to obtain.  We’ve put together a little article to give you some facts you may not have know before!

    Slimy Substances

    Tyrian purple is a dye produced from sea snails which can be traced back as far ass the 13thCentury BC. It is the dye often associated with Roman robes of state; the cost involved in the production meaning only the rich could wear it.  The production of this purple declined after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and was totally replaced in the late 19th Century by synthetic equivalents. snail

    Beetle Bugs

    Perhaps the most famous of these dyes/pigments is that produced from the Cochineal beetle, a small parasitic insect which lives on and off the prickly pear cactus.  Cochineal dyes are used in makeup and as food dyes as well as in paint.  The colour comes from the Carminic acid which the beetles produce to protect themselves from predators.  The beetles are harvested and then dried and crushed to produce a powder.  The use of these beetles is believed to have been developed by the Maya and Aztec and was then brought to Europe by the Spanish after Columbus landed in the Americas.  In the 19th century its use declined as synthetic dyes became more widely available offering an easier and cheaper alternative.  However as with some natural dyes cochineal has experienced a re-emergence as concern over toxicity of synthetic dyes has grown.  Cochineal is proved to be non-toxic and non- carcinogenic.  Today there are major production sites in Mexico, Guatemala and the Canary Islands.  The colour produced is considered to be stable, and it is one of the most resistant natural colours to time, light, oxidation and heat, even more so than many synthetic dyes.  If cochineal has been used in paint, carmine will be listed as one of the pigments. cochineal   The Kermes insect which is found in oak scrub in the Mediterranean was an earlier equivalent for Europeans of the Cochineal beetle.  They also produce a brilliant red dye when treated in the same way as the Cochineal bugs (but based in the kermesic acid which they produce).  After the importation of the Cochineal from the Americas the use of the Kermes insect declined because although the colour produced is similar in intensity cochineal dye is 10 or 12 times more effective and stable than kermes dyes. kermes Lac insects also produce a red dye which can be manipulated with mordents to produce a range of colour from violet to brown. The dye is used in natural fabric dye for wool, silk and sometimes leather. However it is the glassy resin which the insects coat themselves in whilst they mature from larvae which is their principal product.  Once processed this resin is made into shellac, the only commercial natural lacquer.  Shellac is used in varnishes, paint, printing ink and sealing wax amongst other non- art products.  The principal producers are India, Thailand and China, with smaller production lines in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. So next time you reach for a product you might know a bit more about how it’s made!  Whilst some people are put off by the concept of these production methods it is worth bearing in mind that many of these natural dyes are actually safer for you than the things p

  • Colourful Art

    Colleen Ranney

    colleen ranney 1

    Artist, Author and Poet Colleen Ranney creates the most stunning and colourful, textiley paintings and writes poetry and many books too. Colleen was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 4 and has gone from strength to strength through her life. To read more about the talented lady read her biography.  Colleens purpose is exposing hidden truths through the expression  of poetic art which she produces in this beautiful textiley form.

    Lovely Colours

    The colourful artworks are intense and inviting and, grasp your attention quickly. Below are just some of her amazing and beautiful paintings. I for one know that I would love to walk around in her beautifully painted scenes. They are far too inviting and just looking at them I feel i am part of the painting myself.

    meadow-trail-by-colleen-ranney-colleen-ranney 3

                                        meadow-sky-by-colleen-ranney-colleen-ranney 2

  • Handmade Resin Bracelets

    Bracelets embedded with Plantlife

    Designer Sarah Smith at Modern Flower Child creates beautiful and unique natural looking resin bracelet and other jewellery for you to purchase and enjoy. Embedded with real flowers, shells, bark, grasses, foliage's, dried ferns and even peacock feathers and any other organic materials. She produces something very different and unusual, leaving a stunning unique finish that you can wear and show of. The plant-life Sarah uses for her jewellery makes are frozen in time inside these clear time capsules.  The whole process can take up to as much as three weeks from original design to the pouring of the resin, curing, and then the shaping of  the final piece. Look at just how beautiful these plant-life bracelets are. Sarah's one off designs are all done by hand - and by herself alone (she is a one person business) therefore not made on any machine and the tiny bubbles, bumps and slight imperfections found on her designs are all part of her unique hand produced jewellery makes, making them that extra special. To learn more about the artist visit her website. resin bracelets 1 resin bracelet 2 resin bracelet 3    

  • Spiritual Art: Mandala

    The Sacred Circle

      19e29bd085d7fe4fd202a5fd53dbf342 Art has, probably from human beings earliest attempts, often had an association with the spiritual and mystical elements of existence.  Before the written word art and images were the way that human beings communicated experiences, culture and beliefs.  Art continues to be a way in which many experiences in life which are beyond words can communicate between human beings, especially across cultures when language is not shared.  In this first article in the series, we are looking at Mandala, a sacred and spiritual art associated with healing and meditation. Mandala, which translates roughly as circle in Sanskrit, are artistic spiritual and ritual symbols present in many of the religions of the Indian subcontinent. They represent the universe and can be seen most commonly in Buddhism and Hinduism, however they also appear in other religious iconography and have more recently been incorporated into some western psychological theories and practice. Mandalas are used to focus the attention of practitioners and also as a form of worship through creation.  The Mandala work of Tibetan Buddhist monks is becoming particularly well known.  Monks combine the creation of Mandala with the technique of sand painting.  Monks may spend days or weeks creating elaborate Mandala using this technique, usually in groups.  Once the design has been completed it is usually swept away.  This is to remind practitioners of the impermanence of everything.  You can watch a video of this process here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYVcjFhpsHc   The Tibetan mandala is considered a spiritual tool and practice which aides the devotee to gain deeper wisdom and compassion.  The designs are usually predefined and each one’s particular balanced, geometric patterns represent different deities and as a whole represent the oneness and wholeness of everything.  Although Tibetan mandala share elements with other religious traditions, the sand mandala is particular to this tradition.  The creation of the sand mandala is believed to work as a guide to help ordinary minds on their path to enlightenment as well as providing purification and healing.  The process of sand mandala creation also incorporates specific music and mantra chants which transmit healing through the invocation of the blessing of the specific deities which live with the mandala.   In the Tantric tradition the mandala is used to totally absorb the attention of the practitioner during meditation.  Through a process of total contemplation, the idea is that the practitioner should eventually be able to recreate a perfect visual image of the mandala in the mind. When the sand mandala is finished, they are swept away.  The impermanence of the work is to remind the practitioners and any audience of the impermanence of existence. Although the Mandala is commonly associated with Eastern traditions, there are similar elements in Christian iconography such as the designs employed in stained glass window designs. More recently Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst, pioneered the exploration of his own unconcious thought through art making and noted that the circle was a recurring spontaneous motif.  Jung’s familiarity with Eastern religious practice led him to call these crawings “mandala” even though there are fundamental differences. Many therapists since then have acknowledged that this type of structured artistic creation can reorder the inner state of the creator. f477939aab9d5b99064d4d326f0deccc  

  • Adult Colouring Books

    Colouring Books for Adults

    Adult colouring books have taken storm and become very popular to many. Illustrator Millie Marotta has produced a a number of colouring books for grown ups. Animal Kingdom and Tropical Wonderland are just a couple of them. Millie produces these spectacular intricate and very detailed illustrations for you to enjoy colouring in and, in some of her colouring books she even leaves blanks in her illustrations for those to be able to hand-draw their own images and doodles also. The idea of these adult colouring books are a therapy in itself as it allows the consumer to go into another world and just let go. These colouring books help those who suffer mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and more. Allows them to focus on what they are doing and to be able to relax. Also, they are good to help you forget about your worries or problems, and de-stress from a very busy working day. Why not pick one of her beautiful colouring books from Amazon or any other online retailers for yourself or a loved one for Christmas? You can learn more about the illustrator here and be sure to watch this video below https://youtu.be/XnOAiZivzrY

  • Apple Pen for Ipad Pro

    Introducing the Apple Pen for iPad Pro

      Apple recently recruited the gifted artist James Jean after interviewing him to promote their new Pencil Stylus that pairs perfectly with the new iPad Pro. James is a Taiwanese American visual artist who is know for both his fine art gallery work and commercial work. The gifted 36year old has  put the pencil stylus product to good use by drawing out his amazing imagery directly onto the tablet itself which you can see here. james jean 2 The pencil stylus is just perfect for apple iPad Pro as there are many different things you can acheive with this novel technology on the iPad Pro itself plus the great thing about it is that you can draw and be creative with it. The battery life lasts hours but when needing to charge up it just takes taking a part of at the end of the pencil and has a connection on it that you place into your iPad Pro allowing it to charge. . You can produce broad or single strokes with this wonderful tool and it has been designed to feel and look like a familiar tool. Watch the video  below to see just how works and how creative you can actually be with this apple pencil for the apple iPad pro. https://youtu.be/iicnVez5U7M?t=87   You can see from the close up picture of James Jean drawing here for the Apple pencil that the pencil leaves true sketch marks making it look like a real physical drawing as if on paper. james jean 3

    You can see his work just here on his website.

  • London Street Art

    Passion for Street Art? Check London town happenings. Paul Insect and Dscreet

  • Brush up your own Christmas Cards

    Homemade Christmas Cards

     

    Fancy making & brushing up your very own Christmas cards? Then watch this lovely brush lettering homemade Christmas card. Gouache, water-colour, pens & inks, calligraphy pens are ideal for creating beautiful Christmas cards with your very own personal touch. Purchase any of these products in our shop iartsupplies in Dundee, Perth Road, or visit us online and order from there. You could even add some sparkle with our lovely Stardust Glitter Gel Pens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyeFM3_kEqE

  • Artist of the Month

    Meet Artist Katy Jane Dobson

    Our artist of this month, Katy Jane Dobson, is a UK based artist who works predominantly in oil, often water-colour, producing amazing vivid and detailed paintings. Inspired by so many things Katy brushes up stunning subjects of nature, wildlife scenes and animals using her inspiration of the artist Odilon Redon, with his ethereal qualities and further by his use of vivid colour. She depicts each of her subject matters with spontaneous and kinetic overtones, which gives her subjects such vibrancy and excitement. Originally from Yorkshire where she grew up Katy fed herself with her love of art through drawing and painting in a self taught approach. Katy now lives in Lincoln where she had furthered her education for her love of art,  attending the University of Lincoln.

    katy jane dobson.jpg 2

    Katy's paintings have such beautiful harmony to them. Katy's use of vivid colours and strokes allow her work to create a gorgeous blend of drama to her work. Just look at some of the paintings below, which depict these factors.

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                                            katy jane dobson.jpg 6

       Watch a video to listen more about her work here

    Watch Katy here in action painting.

    Happy Painting

    xx

  • Amelias Colourful Companion

    Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion artist

    Illustrator Alex McGinn is one of the artist's featuring in Amelias Colourful Companion Magazine for her stunning vibrant, unique and bright illustrations. A Falmouth college student, who was discovered at the New Designers 2015 Summer Show. It was her distinctive autumn palette of vivid and bright colourful illustrations that allowed her to really stand out from the crowd and the fact that her palette lends her work to different subjects. Some of Alexs' illustrations can be found in Amelia's Colourful Colouring Books for adults who love to colour in. Alex takes on commissions and one of them being was to design and produce  a leaflet depicting the History of the Workers’ Educational Association within Dartington itself, from the past 100years. The illustrated map was put together leading the viewer to see the trail of Dartington Estate and the countrysides surroundings. Along the way on this map Alex had some NOW and THEN statements displayed, that explained the past and current projects the WEA undertook in Dartington. This was Alex's first commission due to her tutor from Falmouth College having contact with Write to Freedom which collaborated with Workers Eduactional Association. Drawing is her passion and you can see that perfectly in her work displayed here and read and learn more about Alex McGibb from the Interview on this link.

    Alex-McGinn-Artwork 1

    The latest trend

    Adults colouring in books are right on trend just now. These nature illustrations designed by Alex McGibb are just too beautiful that anyone would want to fill them up with their choice of colours and bring the whole image alive. Why not pick yourself - or a loved one - one up, or even as a Christmas gift, and get colouring. Supermarkets and newsagents stock them. If you do have a go, why not share your finished piece here or on our Facebook page. We would love to see your colouring in.

    Alex-McGinn-Artwork- 2

    Stuck for getting colouring in products? Buy yourself a variety of colouring in pens on our website and colouring pencils too. A lovely way to finish a busy da, relaxing with a truly wonderful and well illustrated colouring book.

    "Live Creatively" All xx

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