Happy Belated Birthday Gustave Courbet

Happy Belated 138th Birthday Courbet!

Self Portrait with Black Dog, 1842 

Yes we know we are a bit late on this one, Gustave Courbet's birthday is actually June 10th. But let's blame the author of this blog for celebrating his own birthday. Getting back to Courbet, he was born on June 10th, 1819 in Omans, Doubs, France and was a French leader of the Realist movement in the 19th-century. 

He is remarkable as an artist not only for his skill, but his staunch refusal of academic conventions and would "only paint what he could see". He was a true innovator in the field of painting and challenged the normal politics of art by painting peasants and workers on a scale reserved for religious or historical portraits and scenes. His other work involved realistic landscapes, seascapes, hunting scenes, nudes and still lifes. 

He was briefly educated working at the studio of Steuben and Hesse, but left to independently study at the Louvre painting copies of Spanish, Flemish and French master paintings. And, although the Paris Salon said at the time that History Painting was "a painter's highest calling", Courbet denounced the notion saying that true art comes from the artist's experience

Courbet even wrote a Realist Manifesto for one of his personal exhibitions with these wise words:

"The title of Realist was thrust upon me just as the title of Romantic was imposed upon the men of 1830. Titles have never given a true idea of things: if it were otherwise, the works would be unnecessary.

Without expanding on the greater or lesser accuracy of a name which nobody, I should hope, can really be expected to understand, I will limit myself to a few words of elucidation in order to cut short the misunderstandings.

I have studied the art of the ancients and the art of the moderns, avoiding any preconceived system and without prejudice. I no longer wanted to imitate the one than to copy the other; nor, furthermore, was it my intention to attain the trivial goal of "art for art's sake". No! I simply wanted to draw forth, from a complete acquaintance with tradition, the reasoned and independent consciousness of my own individuality.

To know in order to do, that was my idea. To be in a position to translate the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my time, according to my own estimation; to be not only a painter, but a man as well; in short, to create living art - this is my goal."

-Gustave Courbet, 1855                                                                      

Courbet's art left a lasting legacy with younger painters such as Claude Monet, James McNeill Whistler, Paul Cezanne, and even Edward Hopper.

Gustave Courbet spent the later half of his life in jail and exile after his involvement of the Paris Commune and he lived out his exile in Switzerland from 1873-1877 when he died at age 58 in La Tour-de-Peliz, Switzerland. 

Courbet's Art 

Self Portrait (The Desperate Man), 1845

The Stone Breakers, 1849

The Trout, 1871

Fox in the Snow, 1860

The Grain Sifters, 1854

The Castle of Chillon, 1874

The Wave, 1870


Which Courbet Painting is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!



5 Pro Tips for the Beginning Watercolor Painter

Get Better with the Right Knowledge and Right Tools!

In the past, we've taught you 5 Pro Tips for Beginning Acrylic Artists and 5 Pro Tips for the Beginning Oil Painter, and now its time for the budding watercolor painters out there! Watercolors, while typically thought of as light and fun, they can also be a bit harder to control and have a bad reputation for being unforgivable with mistakes. And watercolors might seem daunting to work with, with these five easy watercolor tips and tricks for beginners, we will show you how to improve your artwork and give your paintings professional quality watercolor effects!

1. Paint Backwards

Now I don't mean literally paint backwards, but this is a bit different. In most forms of painting, the artist paints with their dark colors first and then works lighter, however in watercolors, it's the other way around. When working with watercolor paints, you want to begin with the lighter colors and then work towards the darker ones. We do this because in watercolors,  the white comes from the paper, not the paints. So due to the transparency of the paints, your light colors wont "pop" when painted over darker colors. 

2. Don't Add Too Much Water

Even after you've added water to your watercolor paper, a common mistake made by many beginning artists is that they tend to add extra water to their paintings by not properly drying their brushes after washing them. This will make your paints spread more than you'd like them to and can create muddy areas. To avoid adding extra water, make sure you dab your washed brush on a dry cloth or paper towel before putting it back into the paint. 

3. Make Sure Your Watercolor Paper Wont Buckle

While many different types of paper qualify as watercolor paper, choosing the correct watercolor paper for your project is important. The differences in paper are important and and determine how your work will turn out. For example, the difference in shades of white might affect the brilliance of your colors. One important factor to note is how thick your paper is. If you like to use more paint, you might want to use thicker paper so the paper doesn't buckle. Using something close to 140 lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper will work well for most beginners and has an interesting texture for your artwork. 

4. Paint With the Side Of Your Brush

Watercolor paper is abrasive and can ruin your brush if you paint with the tip too often. You will preserve your brushes longer by painting with the sides of your brush.

5. Mix More Paint Than You Plan To Use

A lot of watercolor painting is planning and preparing. It is always a good idea to mix colors in greater quantities than you think you might need. This way, if you run out of your mixed paint in the middle of painting, you wont have to start over. If you're properly prepared, you wont have to try and mix the colors again drying out your paints. Therefore, always mix more than you think you might need so that you'll have enough to finish your painting!

Although these may seem like simple tips, they can save your painting! To find out more about watercolor painting products check out JerrysArtarama.com.



Did You Know- Paul Gauguin

This Weekend Celebrates the Painter's 167th Birthday

Although his birthday is technically tomorrow, June 7, we like to celebrate our artists. Although he was not overly appreciated while he was alive, the artwork Paul Gauguin is certainly appreciated today. And to recognize him as the genius he is, we wanted to share some fun facts about Gauguin and share some of his art! 

Did you know?

  • Gauguin's full name is Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin.
  • He was born June 7, 1848 in Paris, France and died May 8, 1903 in Atuona, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. He was 54 years old. If he was still alive today, he would be 167 years old. 
  • Guaguin was not only a painter, but also was known for his work as a sculptor, printmaker, wood engraver, ceramist and even a writer. 
  • He was raised in Lima, Peru until he was 7 and moved back to France with his family. Even though he learned French after moving, his preferred language was Spanish. 
  • Gauguin first started painting in 1873 to combat the stress of being a stockbroker. 
  • Gauguin was a contemporary to artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and even Paul Cezanne.
  • Vincent Van Gogh once threatened Gauguin with a razor blade!
  • Gauguin worked as a laborer on the Panama Canal.
  • He had ten children but only five of them were legitimate. 
  • In 1891, he moved to Tahiti to live among the natives and even took a native girl as a wife. They had one son.
  • Gauguin died of a stroke in 1903. 
  • In 1906, the Salon d'Automne in Paris held a show with 227 of his paintings.
  • Gauguin is rememered as a leader of the symbolist movement and a source of Fauvism.


The Swineherd, Bittany 1888


Les Alyscamps 1888

Night Cafe at Arles 1888

The Midday Nap 1894

Self Portrait 1885

Tahitian Women on the Beach 1891

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