Oregon artist, Margret Short, specializes in
still life and floral subjects in oils. She is a signature member of OPA,
Master Signature Member of American Women Artists, and a member of the
Salmagundi Club of New York. It was at this organization that she was awarded
top prize four times since garnering membership in 1998. Historical pigments
are currently her focus, where she develops projects based on mythology and
pigments of ancient cultures.
The study of art materials and
techniques has always been a fascination for me. The history of pigments, mediums, primers,
linens, brushes and all the habiliments employed by artists is an endless and
interesting journey. Today, artists
around the world are still using many pigments used thousands of years ago.
Thanks to specialty companies, we know more about the composition, archival
quality, rarity, cost, permanence, transparency, opacity, toxicity, saturation,
drying times, and source of these pigments, issues enormously important to
In 2006, I was captivated by
Rembrandt’s bling and set out to produce a series called, Lessons
from the Low Countries. This project was inspired by the color
palettes of eleven select paintings in the exhibit, Rembrandt
and the Golden Age of Dutch Art, which traveled
to three U.S. cities in 2006/2007. I replicated 17th century paints
for this collection by hand grinding each pigment. Luscious colors, with
magical names like lapis lazuli, cinnabar, malachite, and azurite, are the
focus of each painting.
After a trip to Egypt in
2009, I was captivated by yet more bling.
For this project, however, it was not Rembrandt’s bling, but the bling
of the Pharaohs. To create this new collection of 12 paintings, Lessons from the Pharaoh’s Tomb, I
researched pigments used in tombs and temples in ancient Egypt from 3500BCE.
This nearly sold-out exhibit inspired a third pigment series, Lessons from the
Pharaoh’s Tomb Part Two. Subsequently, in 2012, a fourth series
from the Spider Woman was created using pigments from the
Southwest Native American culture. You can read
all about each project at: www.margretshortblog.com.
While I am actually painting
with these splendid pigments from the past, I talk to myself about what I want
as a final aesthetic look to the surface of my painting. I like loose
brushstrokes here and tight detail in other places, with sharp edges sometimes
but very blurred ones in other places also. In the focus areas, I pile on the
paint in thick impastos, but in the shadows, the paint is thin and translucent.
To accomplish this in the past, I constantly switched from bristle to soft brushes
to get just the right look.
After discovering The Trekell’s Mongoose
series, I found these brushes do double duty with no switching. By pressing
with some firmness, I accomplish the lovely streaky bravura brushstrokes. Contrarily, a light touch of the canvas
surface with the same brush will create a nice smooth look. Either way, the
Mongoose is just the perfect brush.
AmaryllisCleopatra's GardenDutch TreatJourney of the MedlarMetamorphosisOfferings of the Spider WomanSpider Woman's WeddingThe Turning Point