Volume 2, Number 7
Recent SegPlay™ Patterns
There's a new set of "Hat" themed SegPlay patterns this month. From a pointy Witch's hat to a curvy Cowboy hat to a fluffy chef's hat to stylish ladies pink hat to a patriotic Uncle Sam's hat, you have lots of fun coloring these patterns.
New SegPlayPC™ Patterns
Our little pattern factory has been busy in July! There are three more SegPlayPC™ pattern collections this month expanding our collection even more. These new sets include Casper David Friedrich - The Essence of German Romanticism,
Green Thumb Gardening - a a marvelous set of gardening themed illustrations, and
Eugène Delacroix - The Great French Romantic Painter (and Segmation's June Painter of the month!).
Casper David Friedrich - The Essence of German Romanticism
Green Thumb Gardening
Eugène Delacroix - The Great French Romantic Painter
Our popular online SegPlay paint by number activity is going to get a makeover. The six year-old Java applet that we've named SegPlay has been enjoyed by many thousands of visitors young and old. However it's showing its age and we wanted to add a few new features and be able to showcase it on various game sites.
It's getting a totally new look and feel - a classical theme with several new features.
We're definitely going to make the screen larger (a very frequent request!), make the zooming in and out a bit easy, and we'll be porting the program to Adobe's Flash format so that the game can have more animated effects and load up a bit faster than our Java version.
We're targeting late September for the roll out.
If you have any comments about new features you'd like to see in it, this would be a great time to let us know. Please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're starting to add some informative artist descriptions to our pattern set pages (e.g. Renoir pattern set contents). If you have interest art-related articles, papers, or rantings and ravings, let us know what they are, and we'll consider publishing them on our site.
Also be sure to stop and check out our Segmation Video Gallery where we've compiled a bunch of nicely done YouTube movies relating to painting and fine art. There are a few new categories including Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, John Constable and James McNeill Whistler. You'll definitely get inspired when you watch the "Painting with Food" videos!!
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, drop us an email email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Mark & Beth
Artist Of The Month: Caspar David Friedrich
The Essence of German Romanticism
Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1744 – May 7, 1840) was one of the greatest 19th century German Romantic painters. He is considered to be one of the most important proponents of the landscape as an allegory to express the spiritual plane and his haunting works directly influenced the Expressionist and Surrealist schools.
Friedrich was born in Griefswald, a town on the Baltic Sea in Pomerania, northern Germany, an area which at the time was part of Sweden. He was the sixth of ten children and was brought up a strict Lutheran by his father, who had a successful candle making business. Tragedy repeatedly struck the Friedrich family while Caspar David was still very young and these events are thought to have formed the painter’s artistic vision. His mother died when he was seven years old, and when he was thirteen, one of his brothers drowned when he fell through ice on a frozen lake. He also lost two sisters: one sister died when he was 32 years old and a second died of typhus when he was 48.
Little is known about Friedrich’s early desire to study painting or what drove him to take up art lessons at the age of 16, but in 1790 Friedrich studied art at the University of Griefswald as part of a course of studies that included literature and aesthetics. His professor, who was influenced by contemporary British thought at a time when European society was turning towards spiritualism, taught him about the “inner eye”, considered to be the eye of the soul, and the “physical eye”, which sees the world in its physical, as opposed to its spiritual form. In 1794 he entered the prestigious Copenhagen Academy where he studied art until 1798.
In 1798 Caspar David Friedrich went to live in Dresden where he quickly joined a circle of writers and painters who were leading proponents of the Romantic ideal. He produced lovely sepia drawings and watercolors of the barren Baltic landscapes, rocky beaches and massive mountain ranges. In fact, Friedrich produced only drawings until he was 34 years old when he produced his first major oil painting, The Cross in the Mountains. It was produced as an altarpiece and, although considered controversial, it gained much approval. The painting, which depicts Christ on the cross, shows the crucified Saviour at the top of a mountain, alone in a vast landscape, the elongated cross reaching for the sky. This was the first time in Christian art that a pure landscape had been produced as an altarpiece. The painting sparked much heated public discussion, with the artist’s friends coming to his defense and Friedrich producing, in 1809, a written commentary on the work that explained his personal interpretation.
It is no coincidence that one of Caspar David Friedrich’s closest friends was the poet and writer Goethe; Friedrich captured Goethe’s Gothic vision in his paintings, which often feature stormy skies, forests, misty mornings and ruined cathedrals. The cold colors, use of sharp light and contours increase the sense of isolation and powerlessness of the human condition. When people do appear in his paintings, they seem to be engaged in a timeless contemplation of the mystery of life, much like the artist himself.
Friedrich did obtain recognition during his lifetime. In 1810, following the purchase of two of his works by the Crown Prince of Prussia, the artist was elected to the Berlin Academy and in 1816 he joined the Dresden Academy. His work also found favor with the Russian aristocracy and among his Russian patrons were a Grand Duke and Vasily Zhukovsky, tutor to the young Czarevitch, Alexander II.
Tragedy struck once again in 1835: Caspar David Friedrich suffered a debilitating stroke that affected his ability to paint. Symbols of death, such as oversized owls, graves and the full moon, started to appear in his work. By 1838 his situation had deteriorated to the point where he was almost incapable of producing any work and, as a result, was thrown into poverty, depending on the charity of his friends. Additionally, Germany was entering the industrial age and Friedrich’s mystical paintings were now viewed as remnants of a pre-industrialized past.
Caspar David Friedrich died in 1840. After his death his work fell into oblivion until it was rediscovered early in the 20th century and subsequently influenced some of the major movements of 20th Century art.
You can find a large collection of Friedrich patterns to use with SegPlayPC™  here.
Art in the News:
Rare Rembrandt Comes to Light
A rare self portrait by Rembrandt, painted around 1628 when the artist was living in Leiden surfaced in a British regional auction house and was sold for £2.2 million ($4.4 million) after having been valued at £1,500 (US$ 3,000). Experts consider the painting to be worth over £15 million ($30 million).
Before going on sale the painting had belonged to a British family and had been in their possession for more than 100 years. The painting was subsequently loaned to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.
French Resident of Florida in Monet Art Heist
Fifty-five year old Bernard Jean Ternus was charged by a Miami federal court with conspiring to sell stolen art works. Ternus tried to sell paintings by Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Jan Brueghel the Elder to undercover FBI agents. The works had been stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Nice, France last year.
The stolen paintings are Claude Monet's Cliffs Near Dieppe, Alfred Sisley’s The Lane of Poplars at Moret and the two works by Jan Brueghel the Elder are Allegory of Earth and Allegory of Water. All four paintings were recovered in Marseille, France after Ternus struck a deal to sell them for €3 million ($4,725,000) to undercover FBI agents.
It wasn’t the first time the works by Monet and Sisley had been stolen from that very same museum. In 1998 the museum’s curator staged a “heist”, pretending to be taken hostage by the thieves when, in reality, he was a part of the robbery. The curator was caught and convicted and the stolen masterpieces recovered from a boat in Nice harbor.
Outside the Lines
American artist Grant Wood worked as a farmer and silversmith before painting his famous “American Gothic”. The models for the painting were the artist’s sister and... his dentist.
The term “Gothic” was originally used derisively by the Italian Renaissance artists, who considered Gothic art and architecture to be far inferior to those of the classical school.
Charles Willson Peale painted seven portraits of George Washington. He also produced a set of dentures for the first President of the United States of America.