” Take a nice,dry, willow stick; and make some little slips of it the length of the palm of your hand, or, say, four fingers. Then divide these pieces like match sticks; and do them up like a bunch of matches. But first smooth them and sharpen them at each end, like spindles… Then tie them up in bunches this way,in three places to the bunch, that is, in the middle and at each end, with a thin copper or iron wire. Then take a brand-new casserole, and put in enough of them to fill up the casserole. Then get a lid to cover it, luting ( sealing) it with clay, so that nothing can evaporate from it in any way. Then go to the baker’s in the evening, after he has stopped work, and put this casserole into the oven and let it stay there until morning.”
from IL LIBRO DELL’ARTE by Cennino Cennini, c 1435 from the book, A Miscellany of Artist’s Wisdom , compiled by Diana Craig, Consultant Editor, Laurence Wood M.A.
I understood the word CASSEROLE!
Aren’t we all fortunate that we live in a time when we can just drive on down to the art supply store or go on-line and order our supplies? There must have been a feeling of preciousness to the above described charcoal sticks, once they were “baked”, as there was with the hand-made pigments and hand-made brushes of the time. But, with the invention of tubes for paint came the Impressionists. How would the history of art be different if art materials had been easier to come by during the 15th . century? When I buy new materials, I DO have a feeling of preciousness about them at first. To make the first mark on a piece of brand new watercolor paper seems sacreligious…. to dull the beautiful point on that brand new colored pencil feels like a crime…. but I get over it , get down to ‘business’ and never look back.
Maybe we should all go and “cook” some charcoal sticks today, and then thank our lucky stars in a Van Gogh’s Starry Night kind of way for Dick Blick and Michael’s Crafts stores !!
“Blue is a mysterious color, hue of illness and nobility, the rarest color in nature. It is the color of ambiguous depth, of the heavens and of the abyss at once: blue is the color of the shadow side, the tint of the marvelous and the inexplicable,of desire, of knowledge, of the blue movie, of blue talk, of raw meat& rare steak, of melancholy and the unexpected,(once in a blue moon, out of the blue). It is the color of anode plates,royalty at Rome,smoke, distant hills, postmarks, georgian silver, thin milk, and hardened steel; of veins seen through skin and notices of dismissal in the American railroad business. Brimstone burns blue, and a blue candle flame is said to indicate the presence of ghosts. The blue-black sky of Vincent van Gogh’s CROWS FLYING OVER A CORNFIELD seems to express the painter’s doom. But, according to Grace Mirabella, editor of Mirabella, a blue cover used on a magazine always guarantees increased sales at the newstand. “It is America’s favorite color,” she says.
The Primary Colors – Alexander Theroux
” In my opinion, I am often as rich as Croesus, not in money, but (although it doesn’t happen every day ) rich, because I have found in my work something to which I can devote myself heart and soul, and which gives inspiration and significance to life. Of course my moods vary, but there is an average of serenity. I have a sure faith in art,a sure confidence that it is a powerful stream, which bears a man to harbour ,though he himself must do his bit too; and at all events I think it such a great blessing, when a man has found his work, that I cannot count myself among the unfortunate. I mean , I may be in certain relatively great difficulties, and there may be gloomy days in my life , but I shouldn’t want to be counted among the unfortunate nor would it be correct.”
–Vincent Van Gogh–