A Rough Timeline of Paint, compiled from sources too numerous to mention:

30,000-10,000 B/C: Painting on mud and rock cave walls. Animal fat mixed with black and yellow manganese, red and yellow ocher and red clay with bone and charcoal soot black. A hollow reed was used to blow the pigment on the walls, and fingers were used to manipulate the pigment.

5000 – 3000 B/C: Painting on papyrus, wood, and stone. Potash glass frit was made with copper. This was a solid cyan pigment that could be mixed with wax, sandracca (sandarac), egg, casein or mastic, a color in direct competition with India’s indigo.

2700 B/C: Walls and paintings are done in either wax and ammonia, wax and mastic or lime fresco.

1500 B/C: Paint making as an art became quite widely established in Crete and Greece with the Egyptians passing their skills to the Romans.

1000 B/C: Development of paints and varnishes based on the gum of the acacia tree (better known today as gum arabic) had been developed.

500 B/C: Wax painting was common through out the civilized world. Umbers, ochers and blacks were readily obtainable. For bright blue, red, yellow and green, semi-precious stones (lapis lazuli, cinnabar, orpiment and malachite) had to be obtained. China was using alcohol based paint (lacquer.) It was the major medium from the Far East Coast to Mesopotamia. New colours were also discovered – the first was ‘Egyptian Blue’; ‘Naples Yellow’ also dates from around 500 BC.

Many parents of this century want to send their children to painting class to learn and improve their skills in drawing and painting. This has become a trend nowadays. But, actually speaking, painting is an ancient habit. We can see many old paintings which were done by the painters of BC in temples. Painting is a skill, it cannot be easily acquired by everyone. It is an in-built talent. The painters will sell their painting and earn money. There is also another way for earning money. Qprofit System is an auto trading software in which we can deposit money, do trading and earn profits.

200 A/D: Vitruvius describes production of white lead and verdigris

547 A/D: Mosaics are incorporated in buildings, deep greens, gold, vermilion, blue’s with cobalt and lapis, whites of tin, blacks of iron and manganese. Greek and Byzantine changing from Late Antiquity to Early Middle Ages.

700 A/D: Egg tempera and gold leaf on illuminated manuscripts or wood panels.

1200 A/D: England was protecting wood with oil paint – this is the first noted use of linseed oil.

1400 A/D: Paintings were on leather and wood.

1500 A/D: Oil and tempera were combined on canvas. Easier ways were discovered to extract the intense warm blue of lapis lazuli (ultramarine). Cobalt blue glass offered a brilliant sky blue, though this had to be scattered on wet paint or varnish to get the full effect. Pigments like ‘Dutch Pink’ and ‘Crimson Lake’ derived from certain berries and tree barks, were discovered in the New World. Cochineal red (Carmine) was also discovered, produced by the Aztecs. Indigo was obtainable from dye works. The principal source of manmade white lead was Venice.

1600’s: The Dutch greatly increased availability of white lead. All white lead paints included chalk in their undercoats, reserving purer white lead for finish coats. Later in the century, ‘vermilion’, a manmade type of cinnabar, was developed, as was ‘King’s Yellow’, a manmade type of orpiment.

1700’s: The discovery of Prussian Blue provided a much needed intense deep blue, readily available after 1724. There was still no pigment resembling Spectrum Yellow and consequently no brilliant green other than that produced from arsenic. In 1778, a much less poisonous green was invented, ‘Scheele’s Green’. A break-through came in 1781 with Turner’s Patent Yellow, though this still required varnish to preserve the colour.

1818: Discovery of water-resistant Chrome Yellow. Heating it produced ‘Chinese Red’ – the basis of Pillar Box Red. Mixtures of Prussian Blue and Chrome Yellow produced the well-known ‘Brunswick Greens’. ‘Cerulean’, an aquamarine blue, and Gmelin’s manmade ultramarine were discovered between 1821 and 1840, as was Alazarin Crimson.

1829 – Cadmium colors were introduced in oil paints.

1840 – Oil paints became available in lead tubes. Boar hair and red sable brushes and pre-stretched canvases and paint in tubes were now pre-made and available in art stores throughout Paris.

1856 – The first real synthetic dye was discovered by Henry Perkins – it was a violet.

1870 – Using cast-iron paint mills and zinc-based pigments, industrialists produced the first washable paint marketed as ‘Charlton White’. They also produced emulsions based on similar formulae, marketed as ‘oil bound distempers’.

1880 – The new paints were readily available in tins, in a wide range of colours, and came to be exported all over the World.

1900 – Synthetic (acrylic) paints were born in Germany.

1946 – Acrylic paints were made by Sam Golden (at Bocour, in New York) for Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Roy Lichtenstein and other professional artists.

1955 – The first commercially available water-based acrylic paint was developed by Liquitex (“liquid texture”). Encaustic revival was led by Jasper Johns.

1970 – First machine for testing lightfastness of paint was developed. Oil paint in stick form became commercially available.

Anything I should add? Email it to me.

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December 14, 2004 (Tuesday)
While poking around in one of the local used book stores, I found an uncorrected galley proof of an interesting new book – “In Passionate Pursuit” by art historian Alessandra Comini(published by George Braziller, 2004, ISBN 0-8076-1523-4.)
It’s a slim book, 219 pages, with just a few, low quality, black and white photos. The author began life as a refugee from Franco’s Spain, then Mussolini’s Italy, landing in Texas for her school years, but traveling the world during her college years and ever since, as a musician and an art scholar. She’s had an adventurous and art-filled life, but the most interesting part of the book is very beginning, when she writes about discovering Egon Schiele’sAustrian prison cell. Schiele spent three and a half weeks there in 1912 for painting “immoral” works. But while he was there, he did another 13 watercolors and copious pencil sketches. He drew himself, his cell, and the hall outside his damp basement quarters. In 1963, when Ms. Comini sneaked into the Neulengbach courthouse and then downstairs to the old prison, it was not the Egon Schiele Museum. In fact, the basement was being used to store government papers, and firewood. She was easily able to recognize Schiele’s cell because she was so familiar with his work from this period. Apparently the place hadn’t changed much. About ten years later, she published a book (Schiele In Prison) about Schiele’s prison diary and paintings, and finally ten years after that, in 1983, Neulengbach turned the cell into a little museum. The photo reproductions in my copy were pretty poor, but here’s a scan of page 21 from Comini’s “In Passionate Pursuit”, showing a couple of Schiele’s sketches and the corresponding photos:

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December 13, 2004 (Monday)

It’s the dark time of the year. The days are short and the new moon was the night before last. It’s harder to paint this time of year. But it’s a good time for conjuring new projects. And finishing or burning the old ones…. maybe a little fresh air and sunshine would help.
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December 10, 2004 (Friday)
A few days ago, I mentioned Mark Grim’s show at the Soularch Gallery. I finally got a chance to interview him yesterday. We met at the Corner Cup coffee shop, and were already talking before I dug out my tape recorder. We finished the interview down at his studio, a few blocks from the ocean, in the outer Sunset district. I put the full interview on its own page, because it was too big for this page (at least on dial-up.) A few quotes are below, the rest is here.

I see the term “abstract” as exclusive. It doesn’t really encompass what I’m interested in. It doesn’t really tell people anything about what you do. It almost sounds adversarial in terms of realism, and I don’t buy that. To me, all the kinds of mark-making, building surface, creating light, comes from my experience of painting realistically. Yet, I’m interested in applying that to other things. Taking all of those ways of creating surface, form and depth and explore with it, from the subconscious.

One of the things about painting now, is that color has fallen out of favor. A lot of the art magazines devalue it these days. It’s a fashion thing. Obviously I like color, but it’s just an aspect of my work. I do like “sweet and sour” color combinations. I don’t mind if a painting’s little bit over the top, a little out there, in terms of saturation, as long as it works, as long as it’s cohesive.

I question why it always has to be about beauty. In northern California, there’s a huge emphasis on beauty, because of the wealth here. It comes from the French school, mostly. Germanic painting, for example, which is like reading Tolstoy or something, is about the horrors and trials of hard life. It’s not accepted here because people are so full of their beauty… but I think it’s OK to do things that are ungainly and strange. Pull it back from the brink and try to make something of it. My motto is, “Clash the particles, then go in and edit the debris.”
San Francisco painter, Mark Grim – full interview HERE

December 9, 2004 (Thursday)
A friend of mine, an abstract painter, told me I should see the John McCormick show at the Elins Eagles-smith Gallery. So I did. The work is nice, it’s good, but it doesn’t excite me all that much. Lots of very attractive landscapes in warm, glowing colors. Very painterly – actually, this work is more abstract than you’d realize from the reproductions. They’re obviously imaginary landscapes, but inspired by the local (SF Bay area) scenery. A few of them (including this one at left – “Lands End”, 36″ x 36″) had some odd little collage elements along the bottom of the canvas. I was having trouble making sense of these, until the gallery owner said that they were pages from a book on rivers & water flow. Which is interesting but doesn’t seem to contribute anything to the image visually. While looking up info on the artist, I came across a fun web site that documents tours of artists studios(including John McCormick’s studio.)
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December 8, 2004 (Wednesday)
I headed downtown yesterday, in the break between rainstorms, to the Cartoon Art Museum to see “Contemporary Literary Comics: Selections from McSweeney’s #13”. It’s a group show which “showcases 25 of the most progressive and provocative talents in modern comics.” The show is up through May 22, 2005, and I highly recommend it, especially if you like works on paper, ink drawing, and of course, comics. I’m not sure which came first, here – the show or the book. They’re both terrific, and each stands on its own, but I consider myself lucky to live near enough to visit the exhibit before, during and after reading the book.

Most of the art in the exhibit is reproduced in the book, plus the book is a work of art in itself. The first thing I noticed on entering the gallery was a few big panels by Chris Ware(guest editor for this issue of McSweeny’s.) With his teeny, tiny (hand-drawn) text, I was wondering how this work could possibly be reduced to a size small enough to publish in the 6.5″ x 9.5″ book pages. I got the answer later in the museum bookstore: they published these panels on papers the size of the Sunday funnies, then folded them make jacket cover for the book. Tucked inside was two little chapbooks – “King-Cat” by John Porcellinoand “Girls Against Pain” by Ronald J. Rege, Jr. This could be considered gilding the lily, as the book is the one of the most beautifully designed and crafted books I’ve seen. The gilded binding, the illustrated covers, the comic design end papers with book plate; the smooth thick pages; the sharp, high quality color reproduction…. OK, OK, I like books and this is a beauty, but back to the exhibit…

I’m always impressed by the talent of the cartoonists at this museum. And I’m talking about control of the materials (mostly ink, pencil, watercolor.) When reading the strips in published form, I tend to focus primarily on the story, but when I’m standing in front of the originals, it’s the line and the wash that grab my attention. This the work of people who have put in many, many hours/days/years at their craft and the results are awe-inspiring. And then I think, besides the drawing, they have to come up with a decent story!

This museum always has some historical works to give a little context to the current show. The book covers some of this territory as well. 264 pages… almost all of them illustrations! I give up – I’m have to go make a cup of tea and start reading this….
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December 7, 2004 (Tuesday)
This argument has legs.
The magazine, “Physics Today,” ran a little story about the Hockney-inspired debate over optics in early art.

Walter Liedtke, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, says”for the vast majority of art history, it’s a footnote. These questions are irrelevant, trivial, for art historians.” Moreover, he adds, the optics claims “depend on very narrow measurements. It all seems so unnecessary. By the time an artist had it all set up, he could have knocked it off freehand. [The optics claims] underestimate the skill of the artists.” Referring to a 1420s painting by Robert Campin, for which Hockney and Falco claim optical aids were used in painting latticework on the back of a bench, he adds, “Why don’t they step back and think, Why is the bench there anyway? An artist would say it makes a framing device for an important head. Can’t people just appreciate the painting?”
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December 6, 2004 (Monday)
Death in Art
How do other artists portray death? I’ve been thinking about this lately, as I prepare for my next series of paintings (working title, “Lady in Red.”) Since death is not a physical object, but a state of being, or transition, it can present a challenge to visual artists.

(Image at left: detail of “The Triumph of Death” by Peter Brueghel, 1562; image at right, above: “Cancelled Mask” by Robert Arneson, 1992)

As I’ve been looking at paintings, prints, photos and sculpture, I’ve noticed that a very high percentage of work, especially Western art, deals with death indirectly, by focusing on the circumstances that result in death (crucifixion, war, illness or murder – for instance, Goya’s “Disasters of War” – image at right.) Or the artist focuses on the literal image of the corpse and/or mourners.

In “The Dutch Funeral”(1872, at right) Petrus van der Velden uses strong contrast of black and white and the huddling of figures against an inhospitable environment to emphasize the sense of drama, loss and helplessness against the inevitability of death.

Betty La Duke’s “Long Night’s Journey” (1973, below left) is an image of cremated remains entering the Ganges River, which is already flowing with other souls.

Romaine Brooks, in “Sorrow of Rebirth” (1930, right)also focuses on the the soul after death (and before rebirth.)

Images of heaven, hell, or restless ghosts are another popular way to indirectly depict death. And then there are a few cultures that personify death (the grim reaper, dancing skeletons, or the dark aspects of various gods.)

“Kali” by Anna L. Conti (1996, left); “Death and the Peasant” by Romaine Brooks, (1930, right); Dora Carrington’s, “letter drawing” (1917, below)

Some artists make death the primary focus of their work.

“Me, My Bones, and My Roses,” (2001, left) by Anita Rodriguez, who says:

“Someone who is afraid of death will also be afraid of life. My paintings are about life. My characters are very much alive. They are dancing, making love, driving around in their lowriders, eating, getting married. The image of death in these settings makes the life I paint more pungent, poignant, more precious.”
From the show catalog 2002, Roswell Museum and Art Center

Symbolic hints that death is in the vicinity have included skulls, vultures, owls, crows, tombs, ships, concentric circles, shells, empty bowls, or caves.

“The Swimmer”(1991, left) by John Register, who wrote, after years of struggling with cancer, “Blake did a painting of what you were to see when you died. This is something that interests me. The ocean is the primordial ooze from which we ascended. For my version of the death experience I have man returning to the ocean ooze and heading towards the beautiful light.” from the book, “John Register, Persistent Observer,” by Barnaby Conrad III ©1998, San Jose Museum of Art, ISBN 0-942627-50-4

More subtle references to death are images of fall or winter (Charles Burchfield’s “Sunlight in Forest” at left and “Springtime in the Pool” at right), cut flowers, and cyclical images that give equal weight to death and rebirth (such as concentric circles, wheels, and fertile women.) Death has also been equated with time, fate, and sex.

Kathe Kollwitz’s, “Death and Woman” (1910, left)

Masami Teraoka’s “Geisha and AIDS Nightmare” (1990, right)

Contemporary allusions to death still tend to focus on war and disease. Besides the war du jour, AIDS and cancer treatment have been showing up as vehicles for artists to deal with mortality. (At left: Robert Arneson’s “Chemo I”,1992.)

Local culture provides a visual language which the artist can use as a a starting point, but I tend to think that the artist’s personal experience with death will force them to search out and use the visual language that best suits their purpose. Are they preoccupied with the agent of death, with the moment of transition, or with what happens afterwards?

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December 4, 2004 (Weekend)
On November 29th, while waiting for the bus, a sticker on a lamp-post caught my eye – it said, “buy toasty, fun, affordable art online! www.ArtToaster.com.” I came home and looked it up… and surprise – it’s a guy I know, Steve Dehlinger. So I asked him about his new art promotion…
(art work by Steve Dehlinger)
ALC: I just saw one of your art toaster stickers, and took a look at the site – and it looks like a great marketing plan….What inspired you to do this?

SD: I felt like I was not getting my foot in many art gallery doors, and when I did, they weren’t as professional as I imagined. Perhaps they were either too new as a gallery or are a “lower tier” gallery compared with the big names downtown.  Showing with Sunset Artists has been good, but the show sales vary widely. Open Studios, though, has been a shining example of consistent sales growth year after year. This pattern led me to realize that my best bet may be selling straight to the public. So, I decided, in September, to create a catchy, easy-to-remember web address like ArtToaster.com , since my name may be hard to remember the correct spelling of at  SteveDehlinger.com.  I wanted to make it a simple to maintain storefront for my paintings and imprinted promotional items. The idea was an affordable art store online with price categories to fit different budgets. I also chose to publicize it cheaply such as with stickers used in a “guerilla/underground” style by putting them up where people naturally paused and looked around in their normal lives in The City; and free or cheap ads in local papers and online.
Oh, and wearing the logo everywhere I go !

ALC: How long have you been using this new marketing plan?

SD: I’ve just started ramping up during November 2004. Stickers now, with ads coming over the next several months.

ALC: Is it working?

SD: I’ve heard from a few people that they’ve seen the visual promos (stickers,shirts) and like the logos/catch-phrase: “Buy toasty, fun, affordable art online!”

ALC: Would you advise other artists to try this, or do you think it works better with certain kinds of work and not others?

SD: It does depend on an artist’s style or media, but varying the approach slightly and fitting the style of promotion to the artist’s persona and image should make it viable for most artists, I think. I’m using a Paypal “click and buy now” type of setup that is simple HTML that I feel comfortable maintaining from anywhere, but others may prefer to sell original art in their studios and may only sell prints/posters this way. Others may setup a more complex storefront. I have seen many artists use Ebay to sell their own work, while others use online galleries to sell for them. It all depends on the technology they prefer to use or maintain. I don’t see a high percentage of bidding happening on Ebay, so I decided to not pursue that space early on. Since domains are so cheap to register these days and there are a large number of free or cheap web hosts available, my method made sense for me to try right now.

ALC: Good luck – the timing is certainly right (holiday shopping, etc.)

SD: Thanks, I’ll keep you posted after the ads are all out  for  ArtToaster.com  and a bit of time has passed.

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December 3, 2004 (Friday)

Yesterday I received this email from a photographer I know:

Hey Y’all, can you believe the audacity of this snake of a soul praying on us foolish, gullible, brain dead artists?

I would love to sell them SOMETHING.


——– Original Message ——–
From: “nicole fraser” <nicole_fraser@yalla.com>
Date: Thu, December 02, 2004 12:46 am
To: ……………@hotmail.com











YALLA  FREE Internet Number inside Egypt : 0777 4444
Visit YALLA Site www.yalla.com

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December 2, 2004 (Thursday)
The November issue of local magazine, “7×7 SF” has an article called, “Art Addicts Anonymous – Four Urban Collectors Confess Their Compulsion for Canvas,” written by Chloe Harris with photos by Chris Mitchell.

“The Modernist,” Yuri Psinakis, has nearly 200 pieces in his SoMa loft.

“Psinakis’ quest for personally meaningful art has resulted in an avant-garde collection of intrepid works. Vintage pieces, like a Japanese painting, picked up at a flea market, cohabit with an easily recognizable Yositomo Nara. Opposite a hanging sculpture made of oxidized computer monitors, an enormous sketch of a woman masturbating dominates the living room wall.”
From the November issue of 7x7SF

“The Romantic,” Lisa Mummert, is filling her China Basin loft with commissions (a mural and a portrait) and big graphical works by David DeRosa and Shepard Fairey.

“Great art does amazing things for the social atmosphere of a person’s home, “Mummert says. It stimulates the mind.”
From the November issue of 7x7SF

“The Rebel,” Lee Gregory, has been collecting since junior high, and has filled her Lone Mountain apartment with an eclectic mix of well-known and unknown artists.

“She only buys ‘what talks too me’ – like a vibrant red cross composed entirely of red glitter by Marin native Micol Hebron, and a toilet paper roll made of rationed toothpaste tubes by Cuban artist Rene Francisco Rodriguez.”
From the November issue of 7x7SF

“The Hipster,” Steve Brindmore, calls himself “an art pack rat” and a compulsive collector of emerging art.

“A black and white John Meyer diptych shares wall space with works on paper by Jim Gaylord, and the more serious art – such as a Cravaggio-inspired painting by Odd Nerdrum – seems strangely at home next to a $25 collage , which Brindmore spotted on the walls of Boogaloos while having breakfast.”
From the November issue of 7x7SF

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December 1, 2004 (Wednesday)
J.T. Kirkland at Thinking About Art runs short essays from artists – mine is today. Kirkland asked me to write about “community” and what it means in my art. He’s still accepting submissions – click here if you’re an artist and you’re interested in participating.

From DC Art News, an open letter from artist and art critic J. W. Mahoney about Art-O-Matic (an unjuried art event similar to San Francisco’s Open Studios.):

What final virtue exists in a circus like Art-o-matic? Art is made in order to make concrete the deep abstraction that is the self. Each artist here, regardless of the depths of their relation to the discourse of art history, has a story and a unique identity that emerges on these walls. In enormous vulnerability. To be able to stand alongside the occasionally talentless courage, manic generosity, and raw eccentricity of my fellow artists is a real honor. Because what art is about isn’t safe.”

Iconoduel discusses death as a career move for artists (example Ed Paschke):

On the positive side, I suppose it’s an ultimate sign of relevance when news outlets use your death as an opportunity to speculate coldly on its material benefits. Ed, you’ve arrived: transcending death in the late-capitalist mode.

“Committed abstractionists are finding themselves irresistibly drawn to the figure,” according to Deidre Stein Greben at ARTnews Online :

Philip Guston began by working in his rough, cartoonish style in the evenings, while continuing in his abstract mode by day, according to art historian Martin Hentschel. …

Less known is that Dan Flavin, who never actually abandoned abstraction, indulged a passion for the Hudson River School, painting and drawing landscapes and sailing pictures while making his neon sculptures. …

Today, deciding to paint figuratively or abstractly, artists and curators agree, is no longer considered a problem. ‘My own sense is that it is now a false distinction,’ says Robert Rosenblum, a professor at New York University and a curator at the Guggenheim. Rosenblum singles out Gerhard Richter, an artist who has oscillated between realism and abstraction since the mid-1980s, as having made that abundantly clear. ‘The issue is why paint at allversus whether what you paint is representational or not,’ adds Ferguson. ‘If you are going to paint, paint what you want.’ “