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 Balthus

 Balthus

(1908 - 2001)
Born: Paris, France
Style: Realism
Famous Works:
  • Guitar Lesson (1934)
  • Thérèse Dreaming (1938)
  • The Living Room (1941-43)
Balthus' career as a painter began as a thirteen-year-old boy, when he illustrated Mitsou, the story of a stray cat. The artist not only drew pictures for the story, but also penned the tale, and poet Rainer Maria Rilke, a close companion to Balthus' mother, wrote the preface for the book. This extraordinary introduction characterized his childhood. His mother was a painter, and his father an art historian specializing in Daumier, and the unusual household was frequently visited by family friends Pierre Bonnard, André Derain, and Rilke. In the 1930s, Paris was brimming with poets, writers, and artists, many of whom came to know and admire Balthus' work. Balthus befriended and admired artists such as Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar, Joan Miró, and Alberto Giacometti. During this time, while painting portraits and stage designs, Balthus started to paint awkward portraits of teenagers wrought in a tense sexual atmosphere, a dominant theme throughout his career. Balthus created relatively few paintings considering his long career, but consistently created tense, titillating images, often depicting young girls in shockingly private, or compromising scenes, as well as dreamy, flat landscapes. Seemingly out of place in the world of modern art, Balthus' work reflects cues from a classical, Pre-Renaissance aesthetic. While Balthus enjoyed the favor of critics and is hailed as one of the twentieth century's leaders in figure painting, at certain points in his life his mysterious paintings were shunned by the public. The artist spent his later years in relative seclusion in Switzerland, rarely granting interviews, and even more infrequently traveling to see his own art hanging in museums around the world.
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I like the White Galaxy Marker very much for writing on dark paper, and I have used it to cover another color when I needed to disguise a mistake or simply change effect. For example, I bought an ornament with name SCARLETT spelled on it and by covering the last 't', I was able to give this to someone with a cat named SCARLET. If color to be covered is a paint or other pen color, that can make the other color "stain" the white marker tip. This can be avoided if one is sure first color is dry before trying to cover it with white.
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Lanaquarelle cold press is a beautiful paper for watercolor and gouache. It does not hold up to drafting tape as a masking method, but can take masking fluids. The paint continues to slowly and evenly disperse across a wet surface, applied even after the wet sheen subsides, so be careful not to over-paint during wet on wet or dispersion will go too far. It is a great paper for very surprising subtle and delicate effects, as well as bold and saturated washes, which apply easily and evenly. I am glad I tried this paper and I would definitely use it again and again.
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