Elements of Painting with Crayons by John Russell

Here is the link on Google books to “Elements of Painting with Crayons” by John Russell from 1700s. It is an interesting booklet on 40 pages, especially when you consider when it was written. Do not expect fancy color paintings and be prepared to many spelling errors, most likely due to book digitizing software. Russell explains drawing basics, pastel application, approach to painting portraits and drapery. The last section covers materials and explains how to mix your own pastels.
Here are some excepts that might ignite your curiosity ­čÖé

“When the Student paints immediately from the life it will be most prudent to make a correct Drawing of the Outlines on another paper the size of the Picture he is going to paint which he may trace by the preceding method because erroneous strokes of the sketching Chalk will prevent the Crayons from adhering to the paper.”
“The Student will find the sitting posture with the box of Crayons in his lap the most convenient method for him to paint. The part of the Picture he is immediately painting should be rather below his face for if it is placed too high the arm will be fatigued.”
“Brilliant greens are produced with great difficulty. In Switzerland they have a method of making them far superior to ours. We usually take yellow Oker and after grinding it with spirits mix it with the powder of Prussian blue then temper it with a knife and lay the Crayons on the Chalk without rolling them.”

Edgar Degas, Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green)

The original of this paining is located in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. This is one of the entries in the Googles Art Project and you can check incredible details on this link.

Degas was fascinated by the world of ballet; hence, it figured prominently in many of his paintings. Here, the group of dancers is depicted in mid-performance, as viewed from an upper side box. Only one of the girls in green is shown full-length, captured as she executes a swift, complicated turn. The other figures are cropped, leaving the viewer to imagine the rest. In the background, a number of ballerinas dressed in orange stand against the landscape scenery, awaiting their turn. Degas’ use of a cropped, off-centred pictorial space was influenced by photography and by Japanese prints. He felt that the unfinished, transitory nature of reality could only be conveyed using a fragmented technique. Here, the fleeting nature of the movements is captured with rapid pastel strokes, applied with immense skill.

Google Art Project

Google has made a new tool where you can see more than 1,000 works of art in extraordinary detail. They used a camera-carrying trolley to create 360-degree pictures of 17 galleries, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Tate Britain & The National Gallery in London, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The viewers can focus on certain works and get close enough to see individual brushstrokes. Art Project also allows viewers to create their own galleries, saving views of pieces from different museums.

Place Your Art on the Map

The Arts Map is a website based on some sort of Google Maps where you can geographically find artists, galleries, art stores, museums, art schools and any other art related institution around the globe. They are still building their base but there are already plenty entries. You can open your profile and place your website or studio address on the Art Map. The site got a big plus from me since they use pastels as one of the search options. I’m going to use this site next time I plan my travels.

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