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Free Online Paint by Numbers - the neatest way to play with Art on the Web! This versatile Adobe Photoshop? plug-in converts your Photoshop images into intriguing line art, paint-by-number, and Escher-like patterns. Paint by Numbers for the Digital Age - SegPlayPC? is an amazing desktop Paint by Numbers program for your PC!

June 2007
Volume 1, Number 6

Inside this issue...

Artist Of The Month: Vermeer
Art In The News 
Outside The Lines
Segmation News

Artist Of The Month: Johannes Vermeer 


Johannes Vermeer, also known as Jan Vermeer (October 1632-December 1675) was a genre painter who lived and worked in the Dutch city of Delft. He painted domestic scenes of ordinary life; most of his paintings show one or two figures in quiet interiors. They are some of the most exquisite paintings in the history of European art. .

Vermeer's paintings are characterized by a masterly use of light. It is thought that he created his unique effects by using a 'camera obscura,' an early lens which produces haloes around light sources and an exaggerated perspective, as seen in the painting Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman. He used a cool palette of mainly blues, yellows and greys, the transparent effect being achieved by applying the paint in loose brushstrokes with a combination of glazes, as can be seen in Woman with a Water Jug.

Few facts are known about Vermeer's life. We don't know what he looked like because he never painted a self-portrait. There is not a single handwritten document of his, and only his birth, marriage and death certificates have survived. Vermeer's life is a shadow of which we catch fleeting glimpses through his art.

We do know however that his father was a silk weaver and art dealer, and probably introduced Jan Vermeer to painting. Vermeer himself was an isolated figure, both in life and in art history: his teacher is unknown and he had no pupils, but he was active in the Delft painters' guild.

Today, Vermeer is one of the most admired Dutch painters, but in his own day he had only a small circle of patrons; half of all his works were purchased by Pieter van Ruijven, a local collector. He produced very few paintings ? only 35 or 36 paintings are attributed to him. After his death, his works were virtually forgotten for around two hundred years.

Vermeer married Catharina Bolnes in 1653 in a civil marriage in the Delft city hall; she was a Catholic and five years older than him. Vermeer converted to Catholicism for her. Catharina's family was wealthy and the couple lived in her mother's house where Vermeer would spend the rest of his life. The couple had fourteen children.

The high prices his paintings received allowed Vermeer to support his large family and he is thought to have also been active as an art dealer. He joined the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft and was elected President in 1662, showing that he was highly respected by his peers. But in 1672 the French invaded the Netherlands, the economy collapsed and Vermeer's business as an art dealer and painter was ruined. He was forced to borrow money to support his family; his last few years were miserable.

Johannes Vermeer died in 1675 at the age of forty-three. He left behind a wife and eleven children. Catharina was left with large debts and in 1676 she asked the city council to take over the estate in order to pay them off. Twenty one of Vermeer's paintings were sold off at the Guild on March 15, 1677. They were bought by local collectors who locked them away in their homes. Vermeer was forgotten until art critic Thoré Burger discovered the View of Delft and was so impressed that he devoted the next twenty years of his life to finding out who Vermeer was. It is thanks to him that Vermeer is today considered to be one of the greatest of the 17th century Dutch masters.

You can find a great collection of Vermeer patterns to use with SegPlayPC ? here: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternsets.asp#VER

Here are some recently added SegPlay? patterns (see more..)

Swallowing a Seed

Stainglass Melon

Cut Open

Everyone Loves Watermelon

Watermelon Entertainment

Art In The News

Liz Taylor Gets To Keep Her Van Gogh

Bloomberg News reports that Actress Elizabeth Taylor can keep a Vincent van Gogh painting thought to have belonged to a Jewish woman who was forced to sell it before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939.

Mauthner's heirs claimed that the painting was probably confiscated by Nazis and asked for the painting, valued at US$10-15 million, to be returned. Elizabeth Taylor said she had never seen information suggesting the painting was stolen. Her father, Francis Taylor, bought the picture on his daughter's behalf at a Sotheby's auction in London in 1963 for 92,000 British pounds -- about $257,000 at the time.

The actress's lawyers agreed that the Nazis forced Margarete Mauthner to give up her job, pension and home, but said there wasn't any information on whether she sold the painting or whether it was confiscated.

Source: Bloomberg

Charles's Royal Mistress Goes On Sale

A 17th century portrait commissioned by King Charles II of England goes on sale in July with a price tag of around US$4 million. The portrait by Dutch artist Peter Lely shows a scantily clad English royal mistress lounging on pillows and was painted in the hedonistic days of the English Restoration.

The painting used to hang in the royal bedchamber, behind a secret sliding panel so that only the King could see it, and was originally thought to be a portrait of the famous Nell Gwyn. But the accuracy of that claim has always been doubted and many experts believed that it is, in fact, a portrait of Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castelmaine, one of King Charles's earlier mistresses who was considered to be one of the most beautiful women of her day.

Although Barbara Villiers wielded huge influence over the King, her extravagance and promiscuity led to Charles abandoning her in favor of Nell Gwyn.

Reuters reports that the painting is going on sale at Christie's on July 5. A spokesman for the auction house claims that the scales are tipping in favor of the portrait being of Barbara Villiers because of the eyes, the color of the hair and the date it was painted.

Source: Reuters

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Outside The Lines

What Do You Know About The Statue of Liberty?

Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi used his mother as inspiration for the face of the famous statue.

There is a replica of the Liberty Flame on the Place de l'Alma in Paris, near the underpass where Diana, Princess of Wales died. Fans of the princess think it is a memorial to her and place a constant stream of flowers there.

Ms. Liberty weighs 225 tons, she measures 151'1'' and her index finger measures 8'.

On July 4, 1889 the American community in Paris made a gift to the French people of a smaller, bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty. It was placed on an island in the Seine, downstream from the Eiffel Tower, where it still stands today.

Segmation News

We've finally released our first handheld device Paint-by-Number product, SegPlayMobile™. It runs on the Windows Mobile/PocketPC devices (this includes many cellphones and PDAs) and is a whole lot of fun, especially if you want to paint patterns on the go. Take a closer look here. Thanks to all those mobile artists who helped beta test. We're now working on a version that will support Windows Mobile/SmartPhone devices. If you'd like to participate in the beta, drop us an email (beta@segmation.com).

Our SegPlayPC pattern collection is growing!! We've added some great new pattern sets in the last few weeks including "Life's a Beach" and "El Greco - European Mannerist". .

We're always looking for more appealing art pieces for our SegPlay? online paint by number collection. If you are an aspiring artist and am interested in setting up a free personal category on SegPlay to showcase some of your work in our fun paint by number world (like Michelle Vauk and Stan Levine recently did), drop us an email submit@segmation.com.

We hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter.  Please feel free to pass it on to a friend or colleague. If you have any comments or suggestions about this newsletter, please drop us an email to: comments@segmation.com.

-Mark & Beth


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