Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Floating Homes

The floating home is limited only by the designer's imagine and how much 
a buyer wishes to spend for the convenience of living on the water.
We used to call them "houseboats." But just as it took the manufactured housing industry an entire generation to shed the dreaded term "house trailer," the same is likely to be true with the preferred designation "floating homes." If floating homes brings to mind the floating squalor seen below rather than the futuristic image seen above it's time we redefine just what we mean by floating homes. Each state defines floating homes differently, but in general, they are:
        •constructed on a float;
        •designed and built to be used as a residential dwelling;
        •stationary by being moored or anchored, and not meant for navigation;
        •without a means of self-propulsion;
        •powered by utilities connected to the shore; and
        •permanently and continuously connected to a sewage system on shore.

Life is reported to have started in the oceans with the first creatures coming ashore about 3 billion years ago. With 71% of the Earth’s surface made up of ocean water humans may spend the next few millennia re-inhabiting it.

Living on the water has come a long way during the past hundred years.
With the constant climate changes and soaring heat levels which are results of global warming, the world has become very difficult to live in. Various steps have been taken to curb the problems. Different sets of ideas to maintain pleasant temperatures are constantly evolving from various quarters. One such solution is the idea of living in cool and comfortable floating homes. These floating homes comes in various designs and cost. Some of them are affordable while some others are more appropriate for dreams because they are out of the reach of common men. Check out this list of some floating homes which are really cool, luxurious and classy pieces of design and architecture mainly aimed for the rich and the famous. Wherever dry land touches wet water, there are builders and owners with strikingly modern ideas to do with both. Some are in existence today, others likely soon will be.

Solar powered floating island.
This futuristic floating house project is created by Solar Lab. it is based on the concept of a free floating habitat with extendable boundaries to create more living space. It features an integrated solar power supply, an integrated water purification system and a waste treatment system. It is supposed to be a totally autonomous and great sustainable habitat for the future citizens. Currently, this project is mainly used for developing the Institute of Water and Ecology, based on Lake Constance in Germany. This is going to be the most practical sustainable floating structure that will also highlight the sensitivity of water ecosystems and the various prospects of application of solar energy for creating other future housing projects through an exhibition.

Floating home by Waterstudio, Netherlands
This futuristic floating house with unusual decoration from Waterstudio.NL looks very natural and comfortable. It is quite ornamental and stunning in appearance with a beautiful scenery in behind. The entire exterior of this house is made of concrete materials. Wood is also used as another primary material for building this sustainable floating house. It has a kitchen, living room, bedroom and a bathroom.

This particular Stingray Floating House, for example, was purposed
as a luxury home-away-from-home on the Aegean Sea and
designed to allow others to embrace life on the water.
In keeping with their aquatic purpose, this floating house was designed in the shape of a sting ray, with the stinger serving as the lengthy driveway out to the home’s carport. It’s a two story home with the bottom level devoted to communal family space. And it wouldn’t be a beach house without several large glass windows looking out onto the sea. There’s also extensive deck space featuring a beach, an infinity pool, hot tub, dock for small boats, and a fire pit for those chilly nights on the water. On the second level are three bedrooms spaced out around a rotunda and master bedroom is strategically centered on the top floor, hosting two baths and a dressing area. All in all an incredibly sleek home for a lucky family, or someone with several close friends. As an international 3D & Design Solutions firm, Tangram 3DS works with various clients around the world to create architectural works of art that are cutting edge in design and innovative in location.

This moveable home would be able to withstand winds of up to 
156 mph, classified as a Category 4 hurricane.
South Florida, especially Miami and the Keys, was one of several regions that Hurricane Irma pummeled in early September of 2019. The Category 4 storm brought winds of up to 70 mph, destroyed hundreds of houses, and knocked out power for 5.8 million homes and businesses in Florida. A new type of solar-powered home could withstand future storms and rising sea levels. It's designed to be buoyed so that when water levels rise during a storm, it will bob with the water. The luxury homes, which Olthuis and Arkup call "livable yachts," will feature hydraulic jack-up systems to anchor and stabilize them during storms. The systems are designed to lift it 40 feet above the ocean floor to prevent flooding. They will also include systems that collect and purify rainwater for residents to use for their plumbing needs. The team expects the home to cost $2 million to $3 million. From the architect Koen Olthuis and a housing startup called Arkup, the design was presented at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

The floating island concept as seen in Dubai.
This floating island home concept has been developed to answer the needs of island owners in Nakheel’s The World project in Dubai. This concept gave birth to another idea. Atoll Floating Islands, a joint venture between Palmerstone and Donald Starkey Designs. Ome is a floating home that is expected to be maneuvered between Dubai’s coast and The World islands. The floating house sits on a monocoque type structure. The design is a combination of styles. It has to be in accordance with the maritime laws and it also has to meet the standards of The World’s developer, Nakheel. This floating house will offer a 10 m diameter seawater pool, large living areas and five bedrooms.

A design variation of the Ome.
The first Ome house will have a 32m diameter form. Ome will also have a sustainable design. The roof will be covered with photovoltaic screens, making it be self-powered, comprising every level of energy source: water, light etc. The structure and design of the Ome floating house is capable of producing approximately 30,000 kW of renewable energy. That means that the energy is more than enough, it can power six households. A facilities management company will provide service and towing support. Atoll decided to build the Omes on the Dubai mainland and if the houses will gain popularity, the project might extend for builds in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and other island resorts or beach locations all around the world.

On the waterfront has now become a prime, prestigious location
The Fennell Residence located in Portland, Oregon is a floating house designed by Robert Harvey Oshatz. This innovative structure has curved glue lam beams, glass exteriors and an expansive sliding glass door to make it even more impressive. It has a master bedroom, a study, a living room with a dining area and extends out beyond the river. What makes this floating luxury home such a stand-out dwelling is the fact that it is equipped with an upper level that offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, and a so-called 'Sky Majlis', an area that is inspired by Arabic-style sitting and communal spaces designed to encourage socialization. However, these spaces are incredibly versatile and are designed to make it possible for residents to adapt rooms to their needs.

Great for cities with a high rent district.

Not a UFO unless you take it to be an
unidentified floating object.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Roof Styles

The roofer's nightmare
When we think about houses, it goes without saying we're also thinking in terms of "...a roof over our heads. That's unfortunate in that the roof of a house also has a tremendous impact upon the style and era of the house. Otherwise we have little more than walls, doors, and windows. And while each of these may denote a particular architectural style, taken alone, none of them is all that important as to architectural style style. For several years now, I've written as to various housing styles from glass houses to cave houses. All of these have roofs, of course, but this is as closest I've come to a general review of housing styles.

A glossary of roof components.
The onion dome, possibly
the most complex roof
design ever conceived.
A roof serves several purposes other than protecting a house and its occupants from the elements. However, different roof shapes have different pitches, supporting structures, numbers of panels, and even materials, among other features. As such, the roof shape and style will depend on the look and feel desired, costs, needs, preferences, and local weather conditions. Roof shapes differ greatly from region to region. The main factors which influence the shape of roofs are the climate as well as the materials available for roof structure and the outer covering. Roof terminology is also not rigidly defined. Usages vary slightly from region to region, or from one builder or architect to another. But before we can have a serious discourse on roofs, it's vital we understand the nomenclature. We probably all know what a rafter is, but are you familiar with the term, "rake." If not check out the chart above. Although each term is quite specific, some if not most are not words we use in everyday conversation. By the same token, there are some very basic types of roofs (below) which are used in more than one style of housing architecture. Each one is discussed in some detail on down below.

Common roof types
An example of a gable roof.
Gable roof--Gable roofs shed water and snow easily, allow much more ventilation, and can provide additional space in the form of attics or vaulted ceilings. However, gable roofs can be problematic when used in high wind areas, particularly if the frames have inadequate structural support or when there’s too much of an over-hang. In an area that exper-iences high winds, the need for proper braces and roof inspection after a storm becomes quite important. Clay or concrete tiles, asphalt shingles, metal, and cedar shakes are some of the roofing materials you can use for a gabled roof. Though a 40° angle of pitch is recommended for snowy areas, using metal shingles or standing seam could help prevent leaks if the roof features hips and valleys.
The Mansard roof, named for the 17th century
French architect, François Mansart
Mansard roofs have low-pitched portions that are not suitable for areas that receive heavy snowfall. Because of the embellishments and de-tails featured, mansard roofs usually cost more than the more traditional types. How-ever, the added character and space can make up for any extra cost incurred. Since this type of roof is uniquely de-signed, the use of a unique material is bound to make a mansard roof much more special. Metals like zinc and copper are great choices for the roof’s steep portion. While zinc and copper can cost more up front, they are excellent long-term options because they will require minimal maintenance. When installed in a diamond pattern, wood or slate shingles can make mansard roofs stand out. Overlapping composition shingles aren’t, however, a good option. But you can use regular-patterned asphalt shingles on the roof’s steeper portion. Regardless of the material used, the roof’s low-slope part needs to be properly flashed and waterproofed. Types: Mansard roofs come in a variety of shapes, the most common being straight-angle, convex and concave silhouettes.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Winslow House features
a hip roof.

Hip Roof--Hip roofs have four sides with slopes of equal length that come together at the top, forming a ridge. Thanks to the inward slope of these four sides, hip roofs are sturdier, more stable, and can last longer than gable roofs. In fact, hip roofs are an excellent choice for both snowy and high wind regions. The slant allows hip roofs to shed snow and water easily. You can also add a dormer or crow’s nest for extra living space. You can use almost any roofing mat-erial for a hip roof. Options include shingles, metal, and tiles. Hip roof designs are more complex and require more building materials than gable roofs, making them more expensive to build. Along with improper installation, the addition of a dormer could lead to the formation of water leaks in the valleys and several other issues, hence the importance of proper construction and maintenance. As mentioned before, this roof is very similar to the bonnet roof. The main difference is that the four sides of the roof meet at a ridge or a flat spot, instead of coming to a point at the top. This enhances the practicality of the roof type.

A pyramid roof.
Pyramid roof--is a variation of the hip roof except that rather than a ridge down the length of the roof, the slope origin-ates from a single high point in the center, sloping in all four directions. Pyramid roofs were quite popular in the early de-cades of the 20th century but are seldom used today.
The saltbox roof, named for its resemblance to
the colonial kitchen storage container for salt.

The Saltbox is sometimes called a house style, a house shape, or a type of roof. It's a modification of a gabled roof. Rarely is the gable area on the front, street-facing façade of a saltbox. A saltbox roof is distinctive and characterized by an overly long and ex-tended roof in the back of the house—often on the north side to protect interiors from harsh New England winter weather. The shape of the roof is said to mimic the slant-lid storage box that colonists used for salt, a common min-eral used to preserve food in Colonial New England. The house shown here, the Daggett Farmhouse, was built in Connecticut in the 1760s. It is now on display at Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Dutch colonial housing style often features
aa gambrel roof.
Gambrel Roof--Although it is almost the same as the mansard since both have two slopes, the gambrel or barn roof features two sides instead of four. Same as the mansard, the gambrel roof’s lower sec-tion has a steep, almost ver-tical slope and a much lower upper slope. Although the name is synonymous with Dutch Colonial and Georgian style houses, gambrels are often used on log cabins, farm houses, and barns. The gambrel is not only easy to frame out but offers extra living space as well. This design involves fewer materials and is simple to construct, meaning significantly lower costs up front. The gambrel uses two roof beams and gusset joints. In addition to being one of the greatest roof shapes for storage buildings and outdoor sheds, gambrel roofs have a shape that provides more room for storage without occupying more space than any of the other designs. However, since this open style is susceptible to extreme pressure, it's not recommended for heavy snowfall and high wind areas. When installed in areas with extreme weather, reinforced trusses should be used to support the upper pitch. This type of roof is very similar to the Mansard Roof. This Dutch-inspired type of roof is made up of four slopes, two on each side of the home. The lower slope is a much steeper vertical style than the upper slope, which might or might not be visible from below

Flat roofs lend themselves to contemporary
modern housing styles
Flat Roof--As the name suggests, the flat roof looks completely flat to the naked eye. They do, however, have a slight pitch, one that enables water run-off and drainage. Although flat roofs are mostly used for commercial buildings, they are also great for resid-ential houses. This is one of the easiest types of roof to identify because it is very common–and flat, as its name implies. Flat roofs are easier to construct than any other roof type. They are safer to stand on, and they are generally more accessible for maintenance and repairs. The main drawback to this type of roof is that it does require more maintenance than other types, largely because the lack of slope can tend to accumulate debris. Other than the fact that they can work well in both low and high rainfall areas, flat roofs offer an unmatched amount of outdoor living space. While flat rooftops can be used as a site for partially enclosed penthouse rooms, gardens, or patios, the design also allows the installation of heating and cooling units as well as PV solar panels. Compared to pitched roof designs, flat roofs require fewer building materials and are easier to construct, both of which help lower costs. Though this type costs less to install, they can be more expensive than pitched roofs in the long run because of ongoing maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. Also, the low pitch makes them more susceptible to leaks, which means flat roofs might not be an excellent choice for high rainfall or snowfall areas. Materials that are continuous and do not involve any seams are the best option, especially since flat roofs must be waterproof. Tar and gravel, metal sheets, PVC, roll roofing, rubber membrane, and TPO are the most common materials.

The bonnet roof often involves a house with a
wraparound porch.
A bonnet roof-- features a double slope on all four of its sides. The lower slope is less steep and more angular than the upper slope and extends over an open-sided raised porch. The design of the roof of-ers great shade and pro-tection. The roof’s design is an opposite to the standard man-sard roof due to its upper slope being far steeper than the bottom slope. Bonnet roofs are also known as a kicked-eaves roof. Kicked eaves are a roof enhancement that gives the home a visor effect. Modified gable roof, modified hip roof and a belcote roof are also common names for a bonnet roof. Bonnet roofs are generally seen on homes that have porches around the perimeter of the building.

A contemporary modern style house often
utilizes a shed roof similar to this one.
Shed Roof--Think of a shed roof as a flat roof at a steeper slope. You can also think of it as one half of a traditional gable roof. Whereas a hip roof and other popular roof types have at least two sides, the shed roof has a single slope that can vary in steepness depending on the design. This style was once used mainly on sheds, but it's becoming more popular on residential homes. Sometimes, the entire roof is a shed-style roof. On other homes, only a section of the structure uses a shed roof. You might use a shed roof on a new addition to your home even though the rest of the house has a hip roof or another design, for example. It's a simple and inexpensive way to roof the newer section. Since the shed roof has just one flat surface, it's a very simple design that makes it easy to build. Your contractor doesn't have to worry about various surfaces meeting, multiple ridges or lots of valleys that make the job more challenging. That means your contractor can build your roof much faster than many other roof styles, and you have a clean, simple look when it's done. The simplicity of the shed roof design also makes it more cost effective. This style uses fewer materials, which cuts down on that part of the cost. It's easy for roofers to build, so they can complete the job faster for less labor time, and there aren't any complex parts of the job to make the price skyrocket. Roofs with multiple valleys introduce more places for leaks to happen and more potential places for pooling water. The shed roof eliminates those additional seams and pooling spots to better shed the water and keep the roof safe from water damage.

The jerkinhead roof style of the Harriet Beecher
Stowe House, Hartford, Connecticut.
Jerkinhead roof--The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hart-ford, Connecticut has a hipped gable or jerkinhead. A jerk-inhead roof has a hipped ga-ble. Instead of rising to a point, the gable is clipped short and appears to turn downwards. The technique creates a less-soaring, more humble effect on residential architecture. A jerkinhead roof may also be called a Jerkin Head Roof, a Half-hipped Roof, a Clipped Gable, or even a Jerkinhead Gable. Jerkinhead roofs are sometimes found on American bungalows and cottages, small American houses from the 1920s and 1930s, and assorted Victorian house styles.

Factory made skeletal roof support designs. Notice they all rely heavily
upon the triangle for their strength.
There are any number of additional roof styles to numerous to mention. Some are derived from the ones depicted above, or are combination of the most common styles. Below you'll fine images which describe their various features more accurately than I can with mere words. Except for doors, roofs are the most important element in the house. The roof is the major determinant of a house's style, not just as shelter from the elements.


Monday, February 3, 2020

St. Paul's Cathedral

Night falls over St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Over the past fifty years I've visited several big churches. Now my numerous health problems and my wife (mostly the latter) have forced me to limit my travels to three-hour road trips to the Cleveland Clinic. There aren't many world-class churches along I-75 so it's unlikely I'll visit any more. Starting with the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. some fifty years ago, each, for various reasons, have left a lasting impression. The most impressive was La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, which is not actually a cathedral at all but simply a huge church. Close runners-up would St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and Notre Dame in Paris. Strangely enough, the most recent (and final) cathedral I've visited did not seem to me to be all that impressive. St. Paul's Cathedral in London is huge, ornate, and architecturally significant, but it did not seem to me to be in the same class as most of the others.
Wren revised his design for St. Paul's Cathedral numerous times.

Sir Christopher Wren
St. Paul Cathedral is unique due to the fact that, although it was constructed over a period of some thirteen years (1707-20), it was totally designed by just one man, Sir Christopher Wren. Wren came by his commission due to a tragic accident. In the 1666 the Great Fire of London gutted Old St Paul's (below). While it might have been possible to reconstruct it, a decision was taken to build a new cathedral in a modern style. This course of action had been proposed even before the fire. As early as 1661 (before the fire) Wren had planned to replace Old St. Paul's dilapidated tower with a dome, using the existing structure as a scaffold. He produced a drawing of the proposed dome which shows his idea that it should span nave and aisles at the crossing. After the Fire, it was at first thought possible to retain a substantial part of the old cathedral, but ultimately the entire structure was demolished in the early 1670s.

Old St. Paul's Cathedral was originally a Gothic structure.

The result was the present St Paul's Cathedral, still the second largest church in Britain, with a dome proclaimed as the finest in the world. The building was financed by a tax on coal, and was completed within its architect's lifetime with many of the major contractors engaged for the duration. The "topping out" of the cathedral (when the final stone was placed on the lantern) took place on 26 October 26, 1708, performed by Wren's son Christopher Jr and the son of one of the masons. The cathedral was declared officially complete by Parliament on 25 December 1711 (Christmas Day). In fact, construction continued for several years after that, with the statues on the roof added in the 1720s. In 1716 the total costs amounted to £1,095,556 (£161 million or $213,775,800 in 2018) completed within its architect's lifetime with many of the major contractors engaged for the duration.
One of the earliest photographs of the cathedral. It dates from sometime before 1860.
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The cathedral is one of the most famous and recognizable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's other city churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 meters) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral. Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the launch of the Festival of Britain; and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees celebrating the 80th and 90th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth II. The cathedral is a working church with hourly prayer and daily services. The tourist entry fee at the door is £20 for adults as of January 2019, (cheaper online). No charge is made to worshippers.
St. Paul's Cathedral after the London blitz of WW II.
During WW II, the iconic St Paul's Survived the Blitz although struck by bombs on October 10, 1940 and April 17,1941. The first strike destroyed the high altar, while the second strike on the north transept left a hole in the floor above the crypt. The latter bomb is believed to have detonated in the upper interior above the north transept and the force was sufficient to shift the entire dome laterally by a small amount. On September 12, 1940, a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers. Had this bomb detonated, it would have totally destroyed the cathedral; it left a 100-foot (30-meter) crater when later remotely detonated in a secure location Extensive copper, lead, and slate renovation work was carried out on the Dome in 1996 and in June, 2011, a 15-year restoration project—one of the largest ever undertaken in the UK was completed.
Wren's final design floor plan of St. Paul's Cathedral.
In designing St. Paul's, Christopher Wren had to meet many challenges. He had to create a fitting cathedral to replace Old St. Paul's, as a place of worship and as a landmark within the City of London. He had to satisfy the requirements of the church and the tastes of a royal patron, as well as respecting the essentially medieval tradition of English church building which developed to accommodate the liturgy. Wren was familiar with contemporary Renaissance and Baroque trends in Italian architecture and had visited France, where he studied the work of François Mansart. Wren's third design is embodied in the "Great Model" of 1673. The model, made of oak and plaster, cost over £500 (approximately £32,000, or $42,000 today) and is over 13 feet (4 m) tall and 21 feet (6 m) long. This design retained the form of the Greek-Cross design but extended it with a nave. Another problem was that the entire design would have to be completed all at once because of the eight central piers that supported the dome, instead of being completed in stages and opened for use before construction finished, as was customary. The Great Model was Wren's favorite design; he thought it a reflection of Renaissance beauty. After the Great Model, Wren resolved not to make further models and not to expose his drawings publicly, which he found did nothing but "lose time, and subject [his] business many times, to incompetent judges". The Great Model survives and is housed within the Cathedral itself.
Structural drawing of Wren's
design for St. Paul's dome.
Another of the design problems that confronted Wren was to create a landmark dome, tall enough to visually replace the lost tower of St Paul's, while at the same time appearing visually satisfying when viewed from inside the building. Wren planned a double-shelled dome, as at St Peter's Basilica. His solution to the visual problem was to separate the heights of the inner and outer dome to a much greater extent than had been done by Michelangelo at St Peter's, drafting both as catenary curves, rather than as hemispheres. Between the inner and outer domes, Wren inserted a brick cone which supports both the timbers of the outer, lead-covered dome and the weight of the ornate stone lantern that rises above it. Both the cone and the inner dome are 18 inches thick and are supported by wrought iron chains at intervals in the brick cone and around the cornice of the peristyle of the inner dome to prevent spreading and cracking. The final& design showed external buttresses on the ground floor level. These were not a classical feature and were one of the first elements Wren changed. Instead he made the walls of the cathedral particularly thick to avoid the need for external buttresses altogether. The clerestory and vault are reinforced with flying buttresses, which were added at a relatively late stage in the design to give extra strength. These are concealed behind the screen wall of the upper story, which was added to keep the building's classical style intact, to add sufficient visual mass to balance the appearance of the dome and which, by its weight, counters the thrust of the buttresses on the lower walls.

The interior of St. Paul's Cathedral as seen from the dizzying height of the dome.
I think one reason St. Paul's Cathedral did not seem as impressive as some of the other churches and cathedral's I've visited was the fact that I was there on a rainy, heavily overcast day. Churches such as St. Paul's need light. Any interior as large as St. Paul's cannot possibly be lit effectively. Add to that Wren's infatuation with the Baroque naturally entails a certain massive "heaviness," with smaller windows and fewer of them than the Gothic or Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia.
St. Paul's Nave from eye level.


Monday, January 27, 2020

The Color Green

The meanings of green.
Now that we've explored all the primary colors--red, blue, and yellow--it's time to move on to the secondary colors--green, orange, and violet. And inasmuch as green is said to be everyone's second favorite color after blue, let's start there. Being a secondary color such as green, there are two different approaches available. The first is like that of the primary colors, the use of the natural pigments of that color. The second is quite different, that being the combining of various blue and yellow pigments to form some type of green. And since there are thousands of combinations and variations possible in doing so, this method is far more complex and far beyond the scope of this discourse. There is a third method, and one quite possibly used more often than not--the "adjusting" of a naturally green pigment with (usually) either blue or yellow pigments. The possibilities are endless, which means that doing so is also far too complex to deal with here. Let it be said, though, that many artists and connoisseurs prefer the latter two means of obtaining green hues. Therefore, in keeping things "simple," let's explore various green pigments.
Copyright, Jim Lane
Buddha, 1970, Jim Lane. One of my own excursions into the world of greens
relying heavily on chrome oxide.
As the "word cloud" at the top suggests, the color green is a relaxing color that is pleasing to the eye and is said to have healing powers. It is often used to represent anything that has to do with health. Many pharmaceutical and nutritional companies use a green color meaning in their logos and their material to advertise safe and natural products. Green is the color of nature and health. It represents growth, nature, money, fertility and safety. Dark green is often associated with the military, monetary, financial and banking businesses. The color green is full of balance and harmony. From a color psychology perspective, it’s the color green, that puts heart and emotions in balance, and equals head and heart. The green color is an emotionally positive color, which gives us the ability to love and care for ourselves and others unconditionally. As a natural peacemaker, green avoids the tendency to be a martyr. The color green loves to observe, is a good listener and counselor, and would make a good social worker. Green loves to contribute to society. It likes to work with charity and is a good parent and a helpful neighbor.
Explore green color meaning
Some of the more popular shades of green.
As a combination of the color yellow and the color blue, the color green get its mental clarity and optimism from the yellow color, with the emotional tranquility and insight from the blue color. It gives more hope than any other colors. The color green has a strong sense of right and wrong, and a good judgment. It sees both sides of the case, weighs them up, and then take the moral and appropriate decision. On the negative side, the green color can be judgmental and overly cautious. The color green promotes love of nature, family, friends, pets and home. It is the color of people who love being in the garden, at home, or being a good host. But green color meaning can also be associated with being new or inexperienced. The color green is becoming a very popular color for new website designs. The words Shades of Green are synonymous with or represent various shades of the color green: apple, aquamarine, beryl, ​ chartreuse, emerald, fir, forest, grass green, jade, kelly green, lawn green, leaf green, lime, mint, moss, olive, olive drab, pea green, pine, sage, sap, sea green, seafoam, spring green, and viridian none of which are well defined. (some samples of which can be seen above).
Natural Green Pigments are an important part of any artist's palette. In such mediums as egg tempera and fresco they are indispensable. Green Earth Pigments are rare and often very weak in tinting strength and coverage. Mineral Green Pigments are often made from semi-precious stones. Below are listed some of the most common green pigments: 

Phthalocyanine green is derived from phtha-locyanine blue by chlorination in the presence of aluminum trichloride. Due to the presence of strongly electronegative chlorine substituents, the absorption spectrum is shifted from that of the parent copper phthalocyanine. Phthalo green is highly stable and resistant to alkali, acids, solvents, heat, and ultraviolet radiation.
Viridian Green Pigment is transparent with good tinting strength, excellent lightfastness and high oil absorption with slow drying rate. It is stable in all media and has been used since 1900's. Toxicity is at a level B.

Chromium oxide (or chromia) is an inorganic compound which occurs naturally as the mineral eskolaite, and is found in chromium-rich tremolite skarns, metaquartzites, and chlorite veins. Eskolaite is also a rare component of chondrite meteorites. The mineral is named after Finnish geologist Pentti Eskola.

Cobalt green has a light fastness of 8 (graded 1-8) is weather resistant and non toxic. It is often used in paints, coatings, and plastic.

Tavush Green Earth is a greenish mineral of hydrated iron potassium silicate containing small amounts of aluminum, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and numerous trace elements. It is a bright green mineral that looks like tiny flakes of the mineral mica, or small lumps of clay. The color of glauconite varies considerably from pale green, bright green, bluish-green, olive-green, and black-green, depending upon its constituent elements. Tavush Green Earth is from the Tavush deposits of Armenia.

Virtually all artist have worked with various green tones. And like every other color, some love the color green and its broad versatility in rendering summer foliage and other plant life. By the same token, there are others who detest all greens for various visual and psychological reasons. Few artists, however have excelled in the mastery of greens as the Impressionists, who insisted upon the purity of their own formula for green (often variations of cobalt blue and cadmium yellow light).

Wheatfields and Cyprus. September 1889, Vincent van Gogh
Second only to his sunflowers and their inherent color of yellow, Vincent van Gogh seems to have loved the green derivative of yellow in every imaginable combination. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil painting, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and self-portrait and are characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of Modern Art. He was not commercially successful, and his suicide at age 37 came after years of mental illness and poverty. Some of his best landscapes depict the local wheatfields and Cyprus seen above.

The Green Line (Portrait of Madame
Matisse) 1905. Henri Matisse
In this iconic, indeed famous work, Matisse painted a portrait of his wife (right) with the two halves of her face in different colors, one approximating to flesh tones and other in yellowish greens. A green stripe sep-arates the two halves. Much has been written on this work, rightly seen as the opening salvo in the battle for modern art, and much is clearly untrue, e.g. "The Green Stripe is an embodiment of every-thing that Matisse himself and the Fauve movement stood for: the lyrical use of color to create 'an art of balance, purity, and serenity.'" Similarly, statements like 'His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art' also need to be seen in context.

Certainly colors are being used for emotional effect, but 'the green for jealousy' is an argument for naivety. Painters had developed a much more effective vocabulary by traditional means of representation. There is some balance in the work but there is no 'purity' or 'serenity'. The drawing is crude, and the colors are brash. The muddle in the center right has not been resolved: some heavy use of black was needed to continue the strong outline, but the muddy green of the background is most charitably called an improvisation, as are the other four panels when examined in detail, the purple, red and green of the background and the red dress. They are not attractive in themselves, and do not interact with any subtlety. 'Fauves', or 'wild beasts' was an apt term for work that intended painting to start on new foundations.
Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest,
1905, Henri Rousseau
When asked where he learned so much about the jungle, Rousseau commented on his army years spent in Mexico; however, art historians agree that this was a fabrication. Garden plants and tropical vegetation combine in monstrous or eerily miniscule forms, sometimes overwhelming the unlikely characters around them. To the right, dressed as a woman of the times, the figure stands amid a stage-like jungle surrounded by overgrown houseplants and dwarfed by trees which grow oranges bigger than her head. Combining the extravagant and the miniscule is a major point of Magical Realist art. For Rousseau and landscape painters like him, greens, in all their manifestations were an integral part of their artist's vocabulary.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Bertoldo di Giovanni

Shield Bearer, 1470-80, Bertoldo di Giovanni
It's always difficult to say whether the outstanding success of an artist is the result of outstanding art instruction or simply hard work, talent, and persistence on the part of the individual. Both are, of course, important and the answer to that question may well be simply an exercise in intellectual rhetoric, in fact of little importance. Bertoldo di Giovanni was a pupil of the famous early Renaissance sculptor, Donatello. He worked in Donatello's workshop for many years, completing Donatello's unfinished works after his death in 1466, for example the bronze pulpit reliefs from the life of Christ in the Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze in Florence. The trademark style of Donatello is easily discernable in Bertoldo's Orpheus, (below left) dating from 1471 (before Donatello's death) and in his Hercules with the Apple of the Hesperides, (below, right) from the period 1470-75, (near the time of his master's death). Bertoldo's Shield Bearer (above) is also from this period.
Statuette of Orpheus,
1471, Bertoldo di Giovanni
Hercules with the Apple
of the Hesperides, 1470-75,
Bertoldo di Giovanni

Although Bertoldo was a better than average pupil, Donatello was in no danger of being eclipsed by his young assistant. That is not the case however with one of Bertoldo's pupil's. Bertoldo became the head of and primary teacher of the informal academy for painters and in particular for sculptors, which Lorenzo de' Medici had founded in his garden. At the same time, Bertoldo was also the custodian of the Roman antiquities there. Though Bertoldo was not a major sculptor, some of the most significant sculptors of their time attended this school, such as Baccio da Montelupo, Giovanni Francesco Rustici, Jacopo Sansovino, and most importantly, a young man named Michelangelo Buonarotti. 

Bertoldo di Giovanni
In 15th-century Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici financed the Medici Sculpture Garden, an academy for artists that is recognized as one of the most important gathering places in Western art history. The garden was an oasis of Roman marvels enveloped by the cloisters of the Convent at San Marco. In the center of that garden was a sculpture (possibly one of those mentioned above) which attracted Ber-toldo's ambitious, talented, and most prom-ising young student--Michelangelo--inspiring him to study antiquity and produce art for noble patrons.
The Medici family, who ruled Florence for over three centuries, were the period’s most important patrons. Bertoldo occupied a privileged position at the center of the political and aesthetic landscape of Florence. In working for the patron that is the tastemaker of the city, the position gave Bertoldo a bit of artistic freedom, putting him at the center of the dialogue between ancient arts and literature.
Battle with Hercules, 1478, Bertoldo Di Giovanni
With the Medici family behind him and their vibrant art collection at his fingertips, Bertoldo was free to produce art of the highest quality. Bertoldo’s mastery of bronze and skillful reimagining is embodied by a show-stopping battle scene (above, ca. 1478). While the piece mimics the format and subject of classical sarcophagi, it achieves a new level of robust dynamism. The triumphant Roman warriors and their horses rise to the top of the jumbled mass as their barbarian foes suffocate beneath them. Lorenzo entrusted Bertoldo to cultivate the next generation of Renaissance geniuses as the principal educator and curator at the Medici Sculpture Garden. A young Michelangelo was among Bertoldo’s pupils who would become one of the most celebrated artists in history. Little did Bertoldo know that the same pupil that would bring his school great glory would also lead to the destruction of his own legacy.

Bellerophon and Pegasus, 1486, Bertoldo di Giovanni
Michelangelo celebrated and fashioned himself as a self-taught artist who was divinely blessed with his abilities, and therefore obviously Bertoldo would not have played a role in the narrative that he was constructing for himself. Michelangelo is very explicit that no one gave him real training,” Noelle said. The eclipsing of Bertoldo’s legacy was intensified by his death in 1491 and the death of his patron Lorenzo months later. In the 16th century, Giorgio Vasari wrote the foundational text of Italian art history—Lives of the Artists (1550)—and left Bertoldo out of his manuscript almost entirely, having everlasting effects on Bertoldo’s reputation. When you have Michelangelo himself erasing Bertoldo, and when you have a founding art historian (especially an Italian one) negating Bertoldo’s role, coupled with the exile and fall of the Medici, it didn’t create a good environment for Bertoldo’s artwork.

Madonna of the Stairs, 1491,

As one of Giovanni’s most outstanding students Michelangelo, at the age of 15, was invited to stay at the palace and study under Giovanni. While at the school under Giovanni’s instruction Michelangelo’s work included two marble reliefs, Madonna on the Stairs (right) and Battle of the Centaurs. Madonna of the Stairs is a piece that shows much influence from Donatello’s low relief. Battle of the Centaurs (below. left) is a variation of a bronze piece that Giovanni had created, Battle of the Horsemen which Giovanni seemed to have based on an ancient manuscript. While the structure and training process of the school is unknown, it most certainly would have been an educational and inspirational environment in which to learn.
Battle of the Centaurs, 1492, Michelangelo

In the final analysis, we come to the age-old quandary as to whether a young person is more influenced by nurture (Bertoldo's instruction) or by nature (Michelangelo's innate talent). Initially Vasari and es-pecially Michelangelo himself considered his own efforts as solely responsible for his fame--sheer genius--nothing else. It has only been in more recent years that art scholars have chosen to take a closer look at the other side of the coin. That inspiration was at least as important in Mich-elangelo's case as "perspiration." 

Lorenzo de-Medici il Magnifico,
Bertoldo di Giovanni.