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Medium Well Done: 10 Acrylics
Traditional oil paints were the mainstay medium used by professional painters in the west from the Renaissance until the late twentieth century, a period of well over half a millenium. Although other media have been widely and successfully used, until recently the apparently infinite flexibility of effects and painting... Read more
Medium Well Done: 9 Ink and casein
Since ancient times, writing, drawing and paintings have been made using pigments and/or dyes in water, often without any binder as such. These are generically inks, which don’t conform to other media such as watercolours or the temperas. The most common among them is India ink, whose essential ingredients... Read more
Medium Well Done: 8 Crayons, oil pastels, and more
Professional painters have long used brushes to apply paint for their finished work, but many used hand-held sticks of pigment only when sketching in preparation. Charcoal was widely used at first, with metal wire in silverpoint an alternative. In the sixteenth century, large deposits of graphite were discovered in... Read more
In Memoriam Leonardo da Vinci: Pure Genius
Today we remember the death five hundred years ago of one of the most brilliant of all the figures in the Renaissance: the polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Over the last few weeks, I have looked at his few surviving paintings. In this concluding article, I will cast my net... Read more
Medium Well Done: 7 Pastels
Artists have long used chalks and similar solid media for drawing, but lacking any form of binding medium their only adherence to a ground is mechanical. They were thus only used for ephemeral work such as studies and cartoons used in the production of more permanent works. Leonardo da... Read more
Yellow and pink and blue: I can make a Unicode standard too
I put quite a lot of effort into researching, composing, and publishing articles here, but sometimes that effort comes back to bite me. Last week, I published two articles about quarantine flags in macOS. I don’t normally use emojis in my posts here, and very seldom in their titles.... Read more
Medium Well Done: 6 Oils
Since the decline of egg tempera as the preferred medium for easel paintings in the Renaissance, oil paints have dominated those used by professional painters. This is due to their longevity and versatility. When appropriate techniques are used, oil paintings readily survive over five hundred years, and are the... Read more
Take notes: Tinderbox 8 is the bee’s knees
There aren’t many apps I have been using since the first public release of what was then Mac OS X. One is the text editor BBEdit, which has just celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday and is now available in the App Store. The other two are both products of Eastgate... Read more
Medium Well Done: 4 Egg Tempera
If you’ve ever left plates coated with egg around for a while, you’ll know how difficult egg residue can be to remove. No one knows when people first took advantage of this in paints, but earliest surviving examples are from late classical times. By the Renaissance, egg yolk was... Read more
Medium Well Done: 3 Glue Tempera (distemper)
At some stage in the dim and distant past, our ancestors discovered that processing some natural products created glues. The raw materials either came from boiling animal bones, hide, and other offal, or from natural exudates of plants. In turn, these came to be used as the binder for... Read more