Thursday, March 31, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016
The diamond's story began back in the 13th century when it was found in India and after changing hands many times, ended in the possession of Queen Victoria after the British conquered the Punjab region in 1849. Following a fairly perilous sea voyage, the diamond arrived in London and became the "got-to-see" item in the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park, London in 1851. Jostling crowds complained that it didn't really sparkle as sunlight was not really catching it. Prince Albert was also unhappy with the dull irregular gem and in 1852 had it cut down from 186 carats to 105.6 carats. Some size loss was because of the discovery of flaws, but after 38 days of cutting, the diamond emerged 42 percent lighter in a dazzling, oval-cut brilliant. It was worn in a brooch by Queen Victoria. After her death, it was set into a crown for Queen Alexandra and is now in the Queen Mother's crown on display with the other Crown Jewels. There is still some dispute about the real ownership but Britain claims legal ownership under the Treaty of Lahore.
Obviously the diamond would have received a lot of attention around the time of the Exhibition and the re-cutting so it must have been around this time that the Czech pencil company adopted the name. Interestingly, Koh-i-noor was the first pencil company to paint their pencils yellow- a colour now quite common for pencils. The photos above are of an art supply store in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech republic. The doors of most shops are double-doors for security. Then,when the outer doors are opened for business, wonderful decorations are often shown. This art store features interesting sculptures that combine fingers and paint-tubes. And, yes, they also sold Koh-i-noor pencils.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Another bit of pencil history... the Eagle company was founded in 1856 in New York by the Berolzheimer family. In 1969, it became part of the Berol Corporation. Eagle made pencils especially for Thomas Edison - three inches long and with a softer graphite than normal.
"Berol" is another name very familiar to artists. It is interesting to find people and stories behind the names we see printed on our pencils and other artist's tools. Following on the idea of Derwent's coloured pencils of 1938, P.G. Hooley invented Powdered Color in 1952 and then sold to Eagle. We know these great coloured pencils as Prismacolor now. In 1989, Berol also bought Osmiroid International, started by James Perry in 1824. Osmiroid drawing pens are another popular artist's tool.
Prismacolor has a really interesting website with samples of artist's works and hints for using coloured pencils. The easy spread of information is a great boon for artists today.
Studio work continues as various events are around the corner - Richmond Artists Guild show will open in the upper lobby of Gateway on April 1st and run until June 1st, the Finn Slough Show is from April 7th to 10th in the Performance Hall, Richmond Art Centre, and a four-woman painting show, "Four by Four", will be showing at Rocanini Coffee Shop in Steveston from April 18th to June 1st. I have work in all of these - as well as two paintings currently over in Taiwan on exhibit in the National Taiwan Art Education Center. Then there is DoorsOpen June 4th and 5th- so much activity in the art world.
Monday, March 7, 2016
The Seated Figure above, turns her back on the whole subject. She has been signed, sold and gone on to a good home.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
I've just taken it down to be framed as I was also taking in the painting that will be in Gateway Theatre upper lobby next month. I had a couple of frames with glass given to me but these still needed matting and proper backing. I'll have them for DoorsOpen - which will be on June 4th and 5th this year.
More on pencils: I remember when indelible pencils were fairly common- but I don't remember why- maybe it was before ballpoints, which became common in the mid 20th century. I have a vague memory of my grandparents having indelible pencils . Indelible pencils cannot be erased and were developed in the 1800's as alternatives to fountain pens which were quite expensive then. They could be used on documents and various legal papers. During the war, they were often used to censor letters sent home by soldiers. The earliest indelible pencils had silver nitrate in them. I remember as a small child being warned off them as whatever was used was considered toxic. They are usually made now with graphite and an added dye. There are still artists who like them because they don't smudge - but that would also mean no chance to erase. However, the wax crayon I used in the above drawing was not erasable either. Indelible pencils are also used by dental laboratories- and, in Italy, they are mandated by law for voting papers. No chance of switched ballots!