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Vanitas Extract

Type of painting concerned with the fragility of man and his world of desires and pleasures in the face of the inevitability and finality of death. It is essentially a biblical term, referring to the vanity of earthly possessions: the corresponding Hebrew term means ‘smoke’ or ‘vapour’. The vanitas tradition, which also appears in Western literature and other representational arts, was a particularly important element in paintings in the Netherlands in the 17th century.

The term vanitas first appears in early 17th-century European inventories: like the term trompe l’oeil, it is used to describe a type of painted still-life (see Still-life §2). Vanitas comes from the passage in Ecclesiastes (1: 2) in which the Greek-inspired Hebrew superlative ‘vapour of vapours’ is used to indicate man’s insubstantiality which are more find out here now. This is a vivid expression of the ‘vanity of vanities’ and of analogous biblical quotations explicitly asserting the weakness, fragility and transitory nature of human life compared with Time, the power of God and History, discover here.

In the visual arts, the term vanitas was first used only in the 17th century. It described a type of still-life painting that was intended to remind the viewer of the transience of created objects, of pleasure, even of life itself. As used to describe a literary theme, however, the term is ancient. It is derived from the famous words of Qoheleth that open the Book of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” Moreover, in its literary usage, vanitas refers not so much to the transience or fragility of life as to the futility of seeking what does not last; it is meant to convey a sense of emptiness more than a sense of impermanence.

10 House Painting Rules You Should Never Break

No home improvement project revives, protects and beautifies a house as quickly, effectively and affordably as exterior painting. A new coat of paint can completely transform a house, and while painting a house can be a big job, it’s a project that can be completed in a week or two.

If you hire a professional painter, expect to pay from $1,000 to $4,500 or more, depending on the size and condition of your house. By doing the work yourself, you can save the labor portion of the cost – typically more than half – but it will take some serious effort.

Regardless of whether you hire a pro or do it yourself, painting your house is something you won’t want to repeat in a few years. With this in mind, here are 10 critical rules that will ease the work and help ensure a beautiful, lasting result.

1. Don’t skimp on materials. Pay for top-quality paint, primer and caulking compound. Top-quality paint lasts longer, and flows and covers better than poor-quality paint. Buy paint that has a lifetime warranty against defects in the finish.

With most house paint, you get what you pay for – the best ingredients are expensive. High-quality exterior paint typically costs from $35 to $40 per gallon, up to $70. Be sure to choose 100 percent acrylic paint.

Top-performing exterior paint brands include Behr Premium Plus Ultra exterior paint and Clark + Kensington exterior paint, costing between $35 and $40 per gallon, and Sherwin-Williams Duration exterior paint and Benjamin Moore Aura exterior paint – pricier at about $68 per gallon.

Flat finishes, preferred for siding, do a good job of hiding defects and irregularities. Satin and semi-gloss enamels, used for trim, are more durable and easier to wash.

2. Do the necessary preparation. For paint to adhere well, it must be applied to a surface that is clean, dry and not flaking or peeling. Depending on the condition of existing siding and trim, this often means considerable scraping and sanding may be required before you can paint.

Begin by washing the surfaces. You can use a hose and a scrub brush with water and detergent, or a pressure washer. If you use a pressure washer, you must be careful not to drive water deeply into the joints between siding or erode the surface of the wood with the high-pressure water spray.

To remove loose, flaking paint, you’ll need a scraper. Then, for removing tougher paint and smoothing the surface, a 5-inch disc power sander or a random-orbit sander will work well. Start with 60-grit sandpaper and follow-up with 100-grit sandpaper.

The idea isn’t to remove all of the paint, just to remove loose paint and smooth the surface. Use a putty knife and wood filler to fill cracks and holes. Let the filler dry, and then sand these areas again. Brush off all of the dust, caulk the joints, and allow the caulk to dry before applying primer.

3. Beware of lead paint. Though today’s house paints do not contain lead, old paint applied before 1978 is likely to contain lead. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns any home improvement work around lead paint can create a lead dust or chips that can be hazardous to the health of children and adults.

For lead testing and removal, the EPA recommends you contact local lead-safe certified renovation contractors, which can be found through the EPA’s website.

4. Don’t skimp on coats of paint. Begin with a high-quality oil-alkyd primer if you’re painting over bare wood or metal for your base coat. Some painters like to tint the primer toward the final paint color to minimize the need for two finish coats of paint. Others prefer to tint the primer to a contrasting color, which will highlight any spots where the final coats haven’t completely covered.

Apply the first finish coat and, after it becomes tacky, apply a second top coat.

5. Use the right tools. A high-quality brush, roller and, for some houses, an airless sprayer can be rented at most home improvement centers or tool rental outlets. The easiest way to apply primer and paint to textured surfaces is to spray it on with an airless sprayer, and then back-roll it by hand with a roller to ensure adhesion.

If you have never used an airless sprayer, pay close attention to the equipment’s directions and gain a little experience by painting a less-conspicuous side of the house first. Work from a 5-gallon paint bucket and use a paint strainer so paint doesn’t clog the sprayer.

6. Be realistic. Don’t paint your house yourself unless you have the time, tools, skills and stamina to do the work. Depending on the size and height of your house and the condition of the existing siding, preparing and painting a house on your own can be a tedious, difficult job.

7. Wait for temperate weather. Don’t paint on hot days, in the rain, or during windy or dusty weather. Ideal temperatures for painting are between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot weather causes the paint to dry too quickly, as does direct sun. When possible, follow the shade. Temperatures below 50 degrees may prevent the paint from adhering to the surface properly. Dampness or dew can bubble surfaces.

8. Cover everything else. Protect decks, shrubs, gardens, patios and walkways from paint spills and splatters with drop cloths or plastic sheeting. This will save you from big cleanup problems later. If you use an airless paint sprayer, masking and covering will be absolutely imperative – overspray can even coat your neighbors’ cars, click over here.

9. Paint using proven techniques. If you’re a painting novice, do your homework. You can find lots of free information on the web, including videos by pros and experts that show specific techniques.

Work from the top down, starting with overhangs so fresh paint won’t drip on newly painted surfaces. Paint the siding, and when that’s dry, tape around windows and doors, and paint the trim. As soon as you’re finished painting the trim, remove painter’s tape or masking tape so it won’t leave a residue. After all of the paint has dried, touch up where paint hasn’t covered fully.

10. If you hire a pro, get bids and references. Request detailed bids from at least three painting contractors, and ask them for the names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. Call two or three of those customers or, if possible, visit their homes to inspect the workmanship and confirm the customers’ satisfaction.

A Giant, Mirrored Hot Air Balloon Is Currently Traveling Over Massachusetts

A cool breeze sweeps in off the Atlantic Ocean, rustling the grassy coastline of Long Point Wildlife Refuge on Martha’s Vineyard’s south shore. It’s 7 a.m. and a crowd has begun forming in anticipation: Will this be the gust that sets artist Doug Aitken’s mirrored hot air balloon, a traveling art installation, into flight?

Unfortunately, so far Mother Nature hasn’t been cooperative, blowing gusts off the coastline that inflate the oversized hot air balloon, which is made of nylon coated in a layer of highly reflective mylar, only for it to deflate a few minutes later. But Aitken doesn’t appear to be the least bit perturbed. He knew from the moment he came up with the concept to create a giant roving sculpture that he would be at nature’s mercy, and he’s up to the challenge of your investment.

It all began when The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit land conservation and historic preservation organization in Massachusetts, tasked Boston-based independent curator Pedro Alonzo to find an artist.

“I started hanging out by the dunes over here between the lagoon and the ocean and thinking, oh my God, what am I going to do here?” Alonzo says. “I was thinking about who I could bring here who could have an impact. This is not any easy place [to create an installation]. But I’ve been wanting to work with [artist Doug Aitken] for 20 years.”

So Alonzo approached the L.A.-based multimedia artist and filmmaker to create an installation for The Trustees’ Art & the Landscape public art series. Rather than choose one site out of the 117 sprinkled throughout Massachusetts that are in The Trustees’ care, they picked several, including the 632-acre refuge where the balloon kicked off its multi-week journey this past weekend.

“I wanted to [create an installation] that wasn’t static or fixed, but could change locations while also transforming itself [along the way],” Aitken says. “It became a mental exercise for me on how we could break stasis and have flow, and then I came up with the idea of making an artwork that could fly and would make the journey part of the narrative.”

The result is New Horizon, a 100-foot-tall nomadic art piece that is traversing the state and making pit stops at Trustees properties in Greater Boston and the Berkshires now through July 28. At each location, it will be tethered and serve as a backdrop for a lineup of concerts; discussions about timely topics such climate change, creativity and the economy; and other curated events. The idea comes as an evolution to another project Aitken did in 2017 called Mirage, a mirror-paneled home nestled in the California desert.

“It was something that we built from the ground up,” Aitken says. “The gondola is made from scratch and was made to serve as a kind of nomadic studio that a musician could use to improvise sound while flying over the landscape or a poet could use to recite spoken word.”

Within the gondola, there are jacks for microphones and other equipment to be plugged in should performers want to use and check the balloon.

But despite the many months of planning, Aitken is well aware of the unpredictable nature of hot air balloon flight. If there’s little to no wind on any given day or the surrounding air temperature becomes too warm, there’s no choice but to ground the installation for the day, which was the case for the morning flight at the coastal refuge. But the fickle nature of the project is also what keeps Aitken inspired—tomorrow is one more opportunity to take flight.

Must-know Painting Techniques for Artists

You’ve learnt how to draw a range of subjects, assembled all the necessary tools, set up your own workspace and you’re ready to start your artistic journey in paint. But before you do, it’s worth knowing some fundamental painting techniques and styles that will to help you along the way.

Having some knowledge of tone, colour, texture, brushwork, and composition will help you create your own masterpieces with confidence. Here are seven essential painting techniques that will have you painting like a pro in no time.

01. Underpainting

I never work from white when using oils or acrylics. Create an underpainting in burnt umber or a mix of burnt sienna and phthalo blues to establish shadows and values. Acrylics are probably the best medium to use at this stage as they’re quick-drying and permanent. Work paint up from thin to thick, especially when using slow-drying paints. It’s impossible to work on top of heavy, wet paint. In the same way, work up to highlights, adding the brightest (and usually heavier) paint at the end. Have a roll of kitchen towel to hand to clean brushes and remove any excess paint.

02. Blocking in

Brushes come in a number of shapes and with different fibre types, all of which give very different results. The key is to try all of them as you paint. The most versatile are a synthetic/sable mix – these brushes can be used with most of the different paint types. Brushes come in flat and round types and it pays to have a selection of both. Check out our guide to picking the right brush to learn more.

I work with a range of brushes. For most of the early work I use larger, flatter and broader brushes. A filbert is a good general brush for blocking in form and paint. It has a dual nature, combining aspects of flat and round brushes so it can cover detail as well as larger areas. I tend to use smaller brushes only at the end of the painting process.

03. Building up texture

Have a dry, flat brush that you can use to blend your paint and create smooth transitions. I tend to like lots of texture and like to see brush marks in my own work. Almost anything can be used to add texture to your paint. There are ready made texture media available, but I have seen items such as egg shell and sand used to add interest to a painting, look at more info.

One tip is to use an old toothbrush to spatter your image with paint. This can be remarkably effective at suggesting noise and grain.

04. Dry brushing

This is a method of applying colour that only partially covers a previously dried layer of paint. Add very little paint to your brush and apply it with very quick, directional strokes.

This method tends to work best when applying light paint over dark areas/dried paint and is useful for depicting rock and grass textures.

05. Sgraffito

Removing paint can be as important as applying it. Sgraffito is the term used when you scratch away paint while it’s wet to expose the underpainting. It’s especially useful when depicting scratches, hair, grasses and the like.

You can use almost any pointed object for this – try rubber shaping tools or the end of a brush.

06. Glazing

Glazing is the process of laying a coat of transparent paint over a dry part of the painting, and it’s used for intensifying shadows and modulating colour. A light transparent blue over dry yellow will, of course, create green.

07. Painting with mediums

Mediums are fluids that can be added to paint to modulate its consistency, drying time and texture. In the case of acrylics, you get different mediums that make the paint matte or gloss. However, I tend to use the matte medium mainly to seal my paper or board, so paint doesn’t soak into it.

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Write the Perfect Artist Bio With These Five Simple Tips

Your artist bio is about connecting with someone and giving them a window into who you are. Keep it concise and engaging. If you focus on what is intriguing about your work, your artist bio can be a powerful tool to help your biggest fans become repeat customers. With your Society6 bio at the very top of your shop page, you’ll want to take advantage of it’s prime location.

We asked photographer Mallory Morrison to draw up her top tips on writing an artist bio. Her distinct blend of dance-inspired poses and underwater photography has kept her active in the art scene since she began shooting in 2007. She’s taught several workshops on how to shoot underwater and her work continues to be purchased, shown and licensed across the US and internationally.

1. Get straight to the point

For the basic info, stick to your highlight reel! While it might be important to you, most customers aren’t going make a purchase because they know your cat’s name, where you went to high school, or how much you have struggled to “get where you are today” (unless, of course, it’s obvious to a customer that it’s relevant to your artwork).

These are the items most important to your bio. It usually makes for a more interesting read to lead with your inspiration.

Where you are currently based. Only mention where you were born or grow up if it informs your current work and is worth noting.
Your art medium(s) and special techniques
Inspiration and what you are passionate about
Your biggest achievements. This can be awards, high profile clients you’ve worked for, or gallery shows
Bonus Tip: When describing how long you have been doing something, use the year you started. Example: “since 2013” vs. “for 5 years”. This way you won’t have to update it every year.

2. Use your voice

As a rule of thumb, most bio’s are written in the third person. It should read as if someone else is writing the bio about you. Someone who is passionate about your work. Not a stuffy gallerist who is trying to upsell to a collector. Be honest and authentic about the artist that you are. And if your art is a hobby that makes you a little money on the side, there’s no need to mention that.

“You are an artist, no matter how often you make art or how much you make from it.”
If you do choose to write your artist bio in the first person, make sure to include all of the same info listed in #1.

Tone is also something important to think about. Have it match the personality of your work, to an extent. If you have quirky, playful style of work, let that show in the words you chose, however, be careful not to let it sound too unprofessional.

Bonus Tip: Have confidence. Avoid using phrases like “I hope you like my work” or “this is first time showing my work” or “click here“. Be proud of your work and let your passion for it show through your bio.

3. The length depends on your audience

It’s common to have multiple versions, in different lengths. Each version will likely emphasize various achievements relative to where your bio is being read.

Society6 shop: This will be the shortest one–about 50 words long. Make sure to include your location, medium, and inspiration. Then finish with your social media/website links (2-3 max) and you are done!
Website: This one can be a little longer, around 100-150 words. Anything longer and you’ll tend to lose your fans. With this expanded version, let your personality show. Add a few extra sentences about your inspiration and process. Get them hooked and connected to you.
Gallery show: This should be around 100-150 words, but you’ll want to focus more on the common themes in your work as a whole, what has influenced you as an artist, and a few notable achievements.

4. Give them what they want

Be sure to answer the number one question people ask you about your work! From process to inspiration, usually there is a common question that your work will elicit. That will get you on the right track to engage your customers and help them emotionally connect with your work.

Bonus tip: If you consider yourself a “bad” writer, this section is where you should start. Record a voice memo about why you started making your work and what keeps you inspired. Listen back and take the highlights!

5. Trim it down and proof read

Once you have a few different versions for different purposes, send it over to a trusted, highly-literate friend to have a look. Since spell check isn’t a concern, ask them to focus on grammar and tone. Is it professional yet approachable? Is everything in there useful and necessary? And the final test–does your artist bio feel like you?

Bonus tip: If English is not your first language, make sure to get someone to proof it who is a native English speaker.

Make sure you have all of the essentials and don’t overthink it. As you grow as an artist, so will your bio writing skills. This is one of the most important things to have out there to support the work you show. It’ll help fans, brands and customers get to know the artist behind the work. Be authentic and let them in!