“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 in thin and translucent”.
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. 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 endlessly interesting to Margret.
In 2006 after being captivated by Rembrandt’s bling, she 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. Ms. Short replicated 17th century paints for this collection by hand grinding most of her pigments. 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, Margret 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, she carefully 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 titled, Lessons from the Spider Woman was created using pigments from the Southwest Native American culture.