I go to a class called Classical Conversations, and we are learning about artists. I thought that I would like to share the artist’s story with you. The first artist that we have learned about was named Giotto.
Giotto was born in the year 1266. When he was an older boy he became a shepherd and he enjoyed drawing in his spare time. Now one day, a traveling artist happened upon some of Giotto’s drawings and was amazed. He then asked Giotto if he would be his apprentice, Giotto accepted the invitation. While he was an apprentice he learned how to make paints, paintbrushes and many other art tools. He also drew more and perfected his skill. Later on he went off on his own to find a job that he could use his painting skill. When he was busy painting one of his beautiful pieces of art work and needed more paint or a new paint brush, he couldn’t just go to a store and get it. He had to make it! He would have to find and grind materials such as blueberries, insects called cochineal that make a bright red dye, and other natural ingredients. He would then mix it with egg yolk and water. The paint lasts a long time too! Remember, if you see a painting done by Giotto, its about 720 years old! Giotto died in the year 1337 and left a lifetime of paintings behind him. You can look at some of his paintings at: http://www.giottodibondone.org/the-complete-works.html
Here is how we made paints like Giotto!
To crush the chalk you will need to gather: A hammer or a rock, chalk, and a hard surface.
- First, crush the chalk (with the hammer) into tiny pieces.
2. Then, do the same thing with the other chalk colors that you are using.
There! That was easy! Now for the next part!
To mix the paint you need to gather: Four different containers, the chalk you crushed, a teaspoon, and some water.
- First, separate the egg yolk, from the egg white.
2. Mix two teaspoons of water with the egg yolk, and mix it with one color of chalk.
And do the same thing with all the colors of chalk you crushed.
3. Paint a picture with your new paints.
WARNING: Don’t leave your paints out, due to the fact that they have raw egg yolk in them.
4 thoughts on “Giotto”
Did you know that the same natural materials he found to use for pigment for the paint are also used to dye textiles? For example, cochineal is still used today as a natural dye. It is an insect that lives inside prickly pears (a cactus plant). To get the pigment for dye, you have to mash up (or use a blender/food processor), then boil the ground up material in distilled water for about an hour (sometimes more). Then strain the water to capture the cochineal bugs. The great thing is that you can keep the cochineal and make more dye using the same bugs. It’ll be less dark, but can produce beautiful pinks. In paint, he would not have used as much water, but would most likely have used something else for the base for his pigment so the paint would be useable. Cochineal creates a lovely red that has a blue undertone. At its darkest, it can reach a maroon, and at its lightest, can be baby pink. I recently found cochineal at Colonial Williamsburg. I believe you have some white wool to spin during Spinzilla. Perhaps, after Spinzilla, you could experiment with dyes?
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I didn’t know that they still sometimes use insects in paint. Thanks for telling me! When I am done with Spinzilla, I am hoping to dye the yarn and knit things with it. What are you going to make with your three miles?
I’m glad you liked it! But you know you are an artist too! You fit right in!🎨
That was a wonderful article! Did you know that many artists did not know they were artists until someone noticed and told them? They just liked to draw! We have a great artist at Randolph Arts Guild (Les III) but it was his Mom who noticed he was different and talented and encouraged him in his pursuit of art! I especially liked your information on paint making!