Rangoli Design – Indian Way of Depicting Spirituality and Well Being

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When you visit a typical Indian home, the first thing that catches your eye is the design at the doorstep. These designs are of different kinds and differ from one place to another. While designs of North India are mainly defined pictures and are almost always colored, South Indians put dots and join them to create different pictures which are usually left uncolored. One of the most typical South Indian designs is to make the entire design in one flow, which means that a single line joins all the dots to create a complex artistic masterpiece. Temple designs, coconut designs, flower patterns, diyas and various kinds of geometrical shapes characterize these designs. In the recent times, the concepts and designs used for making these welcoming arts at doorsteps have undergone tremendous metamorphosis and are very different when compared to the olden designs.

Traditional rangoli has certain important requisites and one of the most important aspects is symmetry. Whatever be the design, symmetry is upheld from all directions in the traditional patterns. The reason behind the use of such symmetry is more spiritual than for visual appeal. Symmetry is indicative of unity, well being, growth, luck and prosperity not just in Indian culture but also in cultures of different countries. Also, symmetry indicates balance of natural elements and promotes calmness of the mind and soul. Another very interesting feature of traditional rangoli designs is the use of rounded shapes rather than sharp ones. This is also a spiritual concept which depicts convergence of energies.

White powder, which is coarsely ground rice flour, is used for rangoli. The use of rice powder is also a concept aimed at universal harmony. The rice attracts ants, small insects and birds, indicating that non-humans are welcome as well, and that all creatures need to coexist. White is also the dominant color in all designs, including the ones which use other colors. Borders and outlines are usually done in white. There is a reason for this as well. White is the color which is formed by the convergence of all colors of the universe. So, white indicates wholesomeness, unity and integration of body and soul. White is also the color of purity and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Rangoli is always drawn on clean surfaces, and very early in the morning. This is the time when the environment is at its purest. In Indian households, doorsteps are swept, washed and these designs are made. The person making the design has to bathe before making it. The whole process is greatly purifying. All these deep concepts which are imbibed in a rangoli bring a lot of positivity, spirituality and a warm ambiance to the home. It is not without reason that you feel welcome when there is a nice design at the doorstep.

For more visit Rangoli Designs

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Source by Jennie Kakkad

Blacksmiths and Viking Swords

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According to custom during the Viking age, it is known that all free Norsemen were required to own and carry weapons. The mandate to own and carry weapons was not only for defensive purposes but also to verify a Vikings social status within their clan. A typical wealthy Viking would have a complete ensemble made for them, consisting of a helmet, sword, shield and a chain mail shirt as well as various other armaments. While a man of less stature might only own a spear and a shield. With the spear, sword and shield being the basic armaments of a typical Viking warrior, the art of the blacksmith was especially essential.

Blacksmiths worked typically with iron. The black color that is the end product would come from fire scale, which is a layer of oxides that forms on the surface of the metal during heating. Blacksmiths made their living by heating pieces of wrought iron or steel until the metal became soft enough to be shaped with hand tools, such as a hammer, anvil and / or chisel.

The wealthiest Vikings would have worn a sword in addition to carrying their spear and shield. Owning a sword during the Viking period was a matter of high prestige. In historical records, a sword has been referred to be valued at half a crown, or being worth the same as sixteen milk cows.

Today people try to recreate the life of the Vikings by participating in medieval fairs. While at these fairs the participants dress up in costumes as Viking warlords. Included in these costumes are Viking swords. Unfortunately wearing a real sword tends to be complicated and this has become strictly regulated. A lot of fairs and convention limit the usage of metal weapons for security reasons. A solution does exist however, where the participant can use a replica sword made of safe material like latex or foam. But most of the time the sword is not realistic.

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Source by Steena Holmes

What Are the Venusian Arts?

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What are the Venusian arts? We have all heard of the Martial arts, named after Mars the Roman god of War. The Venutian arts as are named after Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love (Also called Aphrodite).   The venusian arts are a set of values and skills that anyone can attempt to learn to become masters of “love”. The venusian arts have attracted negative publicity over the past decade which has mainly been attributed from the masses of self proclaimed “Pick-up Artists” who have acted without morals or integrity. Social Dynamics does not promote this behaviour.   The concepts of the Venusian arts can also be compared to  love gods from other cultures, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli in Aztec mythology, Kukulcan in Maya mythology, Frigg and Freyja in the Norse mythos, and Ushas in Vedic religion. Ushas is also linked to Venus by a Sanskrit . Venus is also associated with the Latvian god Auseklis, whose name derives from the root aus-, meaning “dawn”.

The romantic ideas behind the venus and the venusian arts are based on beauty and desire, however the core of its principles are deeply ingrained in human psychology, animal instinct and natural selection. There is actually scientific fact to these ideas.    Allow me to explain.   Let’s summarize Pre-Historic Man. As limited as his knowledge was of the world we live in he knew in order to survive he needed to procreate. He also understood that in order for him to have offspring his mate needed to be fertile. He looked for a woman who appeared healthy, he could tell by looking at her skin, the fullness of their lips, her breasts, her hair, etc. The subtle story that these body features told him the chance she had of bearing strong, healthy children. Age was also a huge factor; younger women are more fertile than older women. The qualities men are looking for are physical.   Now we summarize Pre-Historic Woman. She had different needs. She spent a large percentage of her time as pregnant or bearing young children. She looked for a man that would be able to provide and protect her and her children. She could tell by finding Men who where leaders and able to accumulate and provide wealth (in those days it was food) and a man who would be able to quickly make decisions and stand to protect her. The interesting fact here is that opposite to the man, the Woman desired Emotional qualities. Does this still sound true?

Man may have realised their intelligence at an alarming rate, however their evolution has lagged behind. Why else do we still have an appendix to perform bodily functions that modern man no longer requires.   The venusian arts takes these principles and modernises their concepts to allow us to leverage the hard-wired code that has been left behind by evolution. When we understand the basic concepts we are able to ensure we are meeting our partner’s most basic needs which will make everything else easy.   Here is a personal illustration. Before I had knowledge of the venusian arts, My Wife at the time and I where planning our wedding. My sister and soon-to-be Wife had a misunderstanding regarding one of the travel arrangements for another family mamber. My wife was clearly in the wrong and I decided to play nice guy and defuse the situation without taking sides, society says that what women want. Wrong. This caused a huge argument with my Wife stating that she just wanted me to defend her position right or wrong. I didn’t get it!

I thought I had done the right thing? Later my wife had an argument with another family member and this time I stood by her and actually went as far as to fight the argument for her. When it was over she purred to me how much she loved me and how it made her uh-hum feel.   There are techniques you can use to ensure you highlight your most attractive qualities that are simple to apply and do not require you to behave like someone who you are not.   At Social Dynamics we take the time to work with you and assess which areas you could benefit from our professional coaching. Some need a little, some need a lot but at the end of the day we want you to be in a happy loving relationship!

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Source by Simon J. Maselli

Choosing A Tattoo Style That Fits Your Body Type – Four Perfect Tattoo Art Work Designs

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Finding the perfect tattoo style for your body can be a pain, but these tattoo art work designs will give you a clearer idea of your choices.

When choosing the best tattoo style for you, there will be times when you run into a confusing number of designs and art work. Tattoos are very popular nowadays, so you want to make sure you get the most original tattoo style possible. While you can pick a category that a lot of people have inked on them, you should never get a flash art design, or any design for the matter, tattooed onto your skin. You should always pick the perfect design and put your own touches on it, whether you do it yourself, or you are helped by your local tattoo artist.

So, what is the best tattoo style for your body? You be the judge. Here are five of the best tattoo styles available, that look the best on a wide number of body types. Remember, when searching the web for images of the perfect design, most of the stuff you are seeing is so widespread that countless people already have those inked on them. There are, however, state of the art tattoo sites out there that only have original artwork that is not plastered on everybody’s body.

New School Tattoo Style – This is the modern and newer version of the tattoo style that usually includes anchors and swallows. Sailors used to wear these back In the day and they are now making a huge comeback. Good tattoo artists are now becoming very creative with these designs. They are now a lot more animated and much brighter in appearance. Even women are now getting anchors and swallows on their neck area and loving it. Placement is a huge thing to consider if you want them to look perfect. Overall, the New School tattoo style is a must see.

Japanese Kanji Tattoo Style – Japanese tattoos, especially Kanji, are usually seen on people who have “full sleeve” tattoos. This tattoo style has been used as a full arm piece in the past, but it is now making a strong run with the arm and shoulder crowd, even if you don’t want a full sleeve.

Tribal Tattoo Style – Tribal tattoos have been around for a very long time. They have been seen on people even before your Grandparents were born and they will be here even after you pass away. This is a timeless piece, but all too often, you will see guys tat get generic, off the wall designs plastered on them. Long story short, this is not the way to go. You want to be very original if you are going to get a tribal tattoo style and since it is extremely easy to create a 100% original tribal tattoo, why wouldn’t you want an all original design? It amazes me and others how men can pick a tribal right off of the wall and want it put onto their body. You could even consider getting color ink put into your tribal tattoo style of choice, as this is a very new way to stand out and the designs look better than ever.

Star Tattoo Style – The days of a girl putting random stars on her stomach are coming to an end. So many women have the same generic stars on their bodies that you don’t even notice the artwork anymore. There are now better, more original ways to implement the star tattoo style, so please, take the time to think of something creative.

You should always sift through and choose your tattoo style of choice very carefully. Spend as much time as it takes to find a handful of the best designs for your particular taste. Never get a certain tattoo style on impulse, because you will usually regret getting it sooner rather than later. Also, never go to a random tattoo parlor before you find out feedback from other people that have gone there. You should also do yourself a favor and always look through the artist’s portfolio. Following these tips will make certain that you get the perfect tattoo style, whether is a flash art design or a black and white piece. Getting the perfect tattoo style has never been easier.

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Source by Adam Woodham

His Most Famous Painting (The Swing) – Jean-Honore Fragonard

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Jean-Honore Fragonard (April 05, 1732-August 22, 1806) was a French painter and printmaker of high repute. His creative ‘Rococo’ style was elaborate and cheerful, with ‘Genre Paintings’ being his forte. Fragonard created over 550 paintings, exclusive of the countless drawings and etchings. Out of this huge lot, only five artworks are dated. Jean Fragonard’s most famous painting “The Swing” or “the Happy Accidents of the Swing (French: Les Hasards Heureux de l’Escarpolette)” (1769) is by far one of the best ‘Rococo’ works globally.

Measuring 81 cm x 64.2 cm, Jean’s “The Swing” is colorful, attractive, oil on canvass painting, brimming with verve. It shows a young woman wearing a candy colored, flowing dress, a touch of fashion completed by a hat. She is enjoying high swings in a garden, with a Bishop, probably her lover, pushing the swing hanging from a large, thick tree. A young man, hidden behind the bushes, is watching the woman. As she goes high on the swing, the backwards reclined man is able to get a sneaky peep up her legs, under the dress, ‘Symbolizing’ the loss of virginity. Themed on carefree enthusiasm, Jean Honore’s “The Swing” shows the woman carelessly letting off one of her shoes in the air. The statues around seem to acknowledging the scene with a sculptural silence.

According to Charles Colle’s autobiography, a young man first asked Gabriel Francois Doyen to make this painting of him and his mistress. Not comfortable with the idea of this casually, perky work, Francois Doyen recommended Jean-Honore for it. “The Swing” was an instant success. It is believed that Jean made several versions of “The Swing,” each unique in its own right though. Grimaldi and Labeyrie Collection gave a smaller version, sized 56 × 46 cm, to the Musee Lambinet in the city of Versailles, where “The Swing” is presently displayed. Virgile Josz has mentioned about the following three replicas of “The Swing” in his book ‘Fragonard: moeurs du XVIIIe siecle,’ written in 1901. Baron Bollioud de Saint-Julien owned the original painting, which was sold to the Duke of Morny, when the baron died in 1788. Sir Richard Wallace then bought it and presently “The Swing” by Jean Fragonard is a part of the ‘Wallace Collection,’ London, United Kingdom. Another version of “The Swing” is slightly different, with the woman’s dress being blue, instead of the original candy. Edmond James de Rothschild owns it. Duc Jules de Polignac owns an even smaller version of “The Swing.”

Undoubtedly, Jean-Honore Fragonard stands as a prominent figure in the world of ‘Rococo Paintings,’ with artworks like “The Swing” vouching for it. He has truly passed a legacy of creative innovation to inspire several generations of existing as well as future artists.

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Source by Annette Labedzki

5 Ways to Use CBT and Stop Worry Now

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If you have ever experienced that feeling of compete dread, impending doom, overwhelming worry or fear when you are at work just about to give a presentation, going to a party alone, eating in public, stepping out the house with an outfit you are unsure on, walking down a street you don’t know or driving on the motorway, you have more than likely been anxious. You will know the feeling of your heart racing, irrational but what feels like real thoughts running through your head of everything that could go wrong and then that sensation of hot or cold, palpitations, sweating, nausea and/or breathing difficulties; this is what is known as a panic attacks or extreme anxiety.

These feelings can be brought on by anything you experience sporadically or frequently, leading to a life that has little confidence, low self esteem, high levels of fear, social ineptness and worry which all fuel and is caused by anxiety. The debilitating worry of what others think of you or danger can use up huge amounts of energy, time and life. We have the potential to achieve anything we put our mind too but anxiety can take us over as the body and mind refrain into a comfort zone of fear rather than trying to break free of the grasps of this worry.

A certain level of worry is actually healthy as if we were completely fearless we would make many wrong decisions, hurt ourselves or get into some sort of trouble. Worry offers a calculated risk which is healthy. However, for millions of us this worry is heightened and has spurred anxiety and excessive fear in us that results in us shying away from many things in life and causing a spiral of negative behaviour. What we do not realise though is that anxiety and worry can be battled and stopped if approached in the right way. One way is using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is a technique used to change your cognitive (thought) processes from negative to positive in order to change your behaviours in the same way. Here are 5 ways in which you can use CBT to conquer that worry and anxiety so you can lead a life of confidence, high self esteem and happiness.

1: Knowledge

Research as much as you can about CBT, anxiety and worry. We can go through life not realising that we can help ourselves and that we can make changes. We do not have to accept things how they are most of the time. Learning about both anxiety and worry will begin to give you a realistic basis on which to pitch your thought processes and hence behaviours. Knowing things like we can’t change the past so worrying about it has no use at all, the things we worry about are statistically likely not to happen and most of our worries are about things we really don’t need to seriously think about.

2: Write it all down

Keep a small note book or diary on you at all times.

– Write down every time you are anxious or worried, repercussions of this, thoughts, feelings, actions, anything that affects your day and you think is note worthy.

– At the end of the day look at the things you write down and scale them 1 – 10 (10 being the highest) of how strongly you felt worry or anxiety.

– Then categorise each point under 4 sections: 1 – Worried that it might happen 2 – Worried because it has happened in the past 3 – Worried about the small things in the day (Small things that will probably go unnoticed by most) 4 – Worried about the big things (Something that will really have an impact on your life).

– Look at the list and see how it is distributed and see if the points are relative between the score you gave them and the categories you put them under.

– Seeing them in this way will give you an insight to false and irrational beliefs and give you the tools to make changes as you can begin to work on changing the way you think and moving these points to lower scores and different, more realistic categories.

– From this you can begin to take the initiative to make decisions and take responsibility and control for your life.

3: Step out of your comfort zone of fear

The results of anxiety and the false beliefs ingrained into our minds and behaviours can leave us, ironically, remaining in a comfort zone of fear. This means that we are more at ease feeling negative and leading a life controlled by anxiety than facing our fears and making changes to get a life we should have. To step out of this zone can be daunting but we need to. We have to face our fears. Although this can be overwhelming it can be done. However, facing your fears using exposure therapy must be done carefully, it not a case of ripping the band aid off in one go when it comes to this. By taking small steps and using a combination of techniques and positive affirmations you can expand those comfort zones boundaries slowly until you can confidently break through them. Make plans to tackle your worries and fears to help you, try using a perspective from others point of view and practice.

4: Anchoring

Anchoring is a common technique used within CBT, it is a method to connect a positive association to something you currently find traumatic by using a trigger.

– Choose an object you have on you everyday such as jewellery (ring or necklace is good) If you do not have this you can use your knuckle on you left had to pinch or tap you finger against your leg

– Find somewhere quiet to go where you will not be disturbed.

– Think of a time, situation or event when you felt completely relaxed, confident and happy.

– As you picture this time feel the positive energy and whilst you do this rub the piece of jewellery, tap your finger or pinch your knuckle. Repeat this process over and over again, use different happy images to layer different positive emotions to make the anchor stronger.

– When you are in a situation that leaves you worrying and negative repeat the action and feel how differently you feel as your brain triggers more positive emotions towards something you would usually perceive as negative.

– Practice makes perfect when it some to anchoring so try exercising this everyday to set these positive associations into your subconscious.

5: Relax

A heightened sense of worry cause huge amounts of stress on both the body and mind. This reaction is what leads to anxiety and causes a vicious circle. But teaching yourself to relax and combat anxious feelings and behaviours can relieve levels of worry, helping you to see past your false beliefs and react realistically, making calculated decisions and ruling your own life.

– Breathing: Breathing techniques have to be done carefully but as long as you remember to breathe out longer than you breathe in you can master relaxation to calm anxiety and worry down. So inhale for a count of 4, hold and then exhale for a count of 8. You should always breathe out for double the count of the inhale. Think about where you are breathing from (your chest or your diaphragm) putting your hands on them to see which is higher. Try to make sure you make your diaphragm raises more than your chest.

– Have fun: By letting our hair down and doing something we want to we can forget the stress brought on by worrying and you can use this energy for anchoring techniques and positive visualisation.

– Sleep: Try getting those all important hours in of sleep. If your sleep pattern is disturbed by worry and anxiety don’t stress yourself out with trying to get 8 hours in as the more you worry the more stress is created. Instead set yourself a realistic target even if it is 2 hours, this will immediately relieve stress and help you sleep. Get in to a routine, be active in the day, eating well, avoid stimulants and have hot drink and bath before bed will all help.

Follow these 5 tips and use the research you do to find out more about combating worry and anxiety and rid yourself of a life led by negativity.

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Source by Jay Chase

Custom Picture Framing Vs Store-Bought Or Standard Frames – Which and When to Choose

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Many people wonder whether there’s a difference between custom picture framing and purchasing a “standard” size, store-bought frame from a department or craft store. A frame is a frame, glass is glass, matting is matting — what does it matter? Why should I pay a little more money when there’s really no need? There is a difference, it can matter greatly, especially if the art or item you intend to put in that frame has any sort of value or is of a specific dimension, and the additional cost of having it done right is well worth it. Not everything requires a custom frame, but for certain types of art or items there is really no choice. Additionally, it pays to be wise in your choice of custom framer. Not every facility that advertises itself as offering custom framing is truly providing that service. The following information and guidelines should help you in your decision making process.

The benefits to having your art custom framed:

• No force fitting — the size of the art dictates the final size of the mat and frame — perfect symmetry (I.e. if your art has a dimension of 6″ x 17″, you are not forced to purchase a mat and frame at 16″ x 20″ resulting in “odd” borders)

• Unlimited choices in moulding and matting

• High quality, acid-free materials to protect your art and keep it in pristine condition

• It’s more affordable than you may think (call around and price compare)

• Value retention – improperly treated art will quickly deteriorate and lose its value

• Confidence in knowing the job was done professionally – different types of art require their own special treatment — a canvas should not be framed in the same way as a charcoal sketch, as a needlework, etc.

The drawbacks to purchasing a store-bought, “standard” size frame and doing it yourself:

• The frame (often plastic or resin)

• The glass (probably not UV, or worse, a sheet of acetate)

• The mat (usually made from wood cellulose product)

• The backing (generally cardboard)

• All of these materials will damage any type of art because they contain high levels of acidity, which is extremely harmful to the art

• The glass won’t be of much help either because it lets in ultra violet light, another “art killer”

• Size limitations – you won’t be able to find a frame at 6″ x 17″ if that is what you need

• You don’t have to struggle trying to trim a photo, cut a mat, “glue” the art down, or force the art into a too small or too large space

• You may have to pay to have the job done over, especially if damage was done by you or a non-professional

Any professional framer should be using acid-free materials and UV or museum glass in order to protect the art or item from environmental conditions such as sunlight, acid, air pollutants, etc. It is always a shame to see a lovely, original piece of art that has been tucked into a store bought frame with the intention of having it done by a professional later. When it is removed from the unprotected environment, the damage is clear: fading of color and inks (which can clearly be seen when observed next to the area that was under the edge of the frame), yellowing (evident when the mat is lifted off the borders), evidence of trimming or cut edges on the art because it had to be forced into an inappropriately sized frame (sure to decrease the art’s value if there is any), and on and on. Once something has been improperly handled, there is often little to be done to make reparations (at least as far as the value is concerned).

There are all sorts of ready to buy picture frames available. You can find them almost anywhere you shop from retail and home stores, to craft stores to the local “dollar” store. They are perfectly fine if you have a snap of the family dog or a greeting card you want to display. These types of frames are not acceptable for much more than that though. Do some research, make some calls to custom frame shops in your area and by all means, do not be afraid of asking these questions:

• Does your facility use acid-free materials and offer UV or museum glass?

• Is the framing work done on premises or “farmed out?”

• Do you have the resources to cut your own frames to size, or are you ordering factory, “standard” size frames and then fitting the art to the frame?

• Are you familiar with handling different types of art? (E.g. canvases, needlework, pastels, 3-D objects, textiles, etc.)

• Are you familiar with the proper treatment, mounting and framing of fine or valuable art?

• Are you insured?

By taking the time to assess the importance of the piece of art you are interested in framing, doing a little research and asking some pertinent questions, you will be fully equipped to make the right decisions. Again, not every little photo needs to be professionally framed, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run for having made the right choice for the art that should be.

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Source by Liz Addison

Can You Treat Trichotillomania With Holistic Medicine?

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Trichotillomania is an impulse control or brain disease similar to OCD or addiction where the person pulls out their own hair. The hair can be located anywhere. Trichotillamania may be caused by trauma, rape, physical violence, torture, child abuse, and very severe emotional abuse. It may be minor and easily managed or severe. This disease can overwhelm the person. It is very important for the person with this disease to eliminate or minimize exposure to any severely negative people in their life that are abusive or exploitative. It is an emotional disorder that usually needs several therapies in order to be managed successfully. There are many alternative therapies which are untried for this illness, but these may successful due to the large emotional component of the illness. Trichotillomania seems similar to addiction, OCD, and a bad habit. Quieting the mind should be one of the goals of any therapy. Alternative therapies that quiet the mind include Yoga, scalp acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique(EFT), botanical extracts, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS),and orthomolecular medicine.

This person must be evaluated by a medical professional. A full physical and diagnostic testing of hormones and neurotransmitters must occur. This patient must be evaluated for AIDS and a brain tumor. There are several diseases that are severe enough to result in very irregular symptoms. It is extremely important to be very aggressive in treating this disease. Amino acids therapy for this may be useful and could include 5-HTP, theanine, GABA, and phenylalanine. Chinese herbal patent formulas may be considered along with Chinese liquid herbal extracts. Scalp acupuncture may be very successful in treating this type of illness. It should be done with larger needles for this type of disease. Scalp acupuncture treatments last about thirty minutes to one hour. It may take nine treatments in order to see results. Laser therapy using a cold medical grade laser may work well on this patient. You may need several sessions of cold medical grade laser therapy before you see a significant change.

It is important for this person to sleep well and eat a well balanced diet without nitrates, amines, and food dyes. This person should avoid genetically modified foods, food additives, MSG, tumeric, and drink plenty of pure water to stay fully hydrated. The diet should allow Swiss method decaffeinated coffee or organic coffee and tea. This person should consider trying the Rotation Diet where each food may be eaten once during a four-day period. It is also a good idea to identify and reduce exposure to all allergens. You may want to consider some form of allergy treatment. Convention allergy treatments with shots is one alternative. NAET is a non-painful alternative that incorporates chiropractic and acupuncture with a special diet to treat allergens. This person needs consider a form of regular exercise like the walking, gym, biking, Bikram yoga, hiking, and dancing.

©Dr R Stone, MD-India

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Source by R Stone

10 Fast Facts About Watercolour Paint

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1. It is made from pigments that are ground together and held together with a gum binder that’s water-soluble, of course. The pigments used in watercolour paint can be either natural or synthetic.

2. It dries a lot lighter than when it is applied. In other words, the colour you apply to the canvas won’t be the same colour you’ll get once the paint has dried out. The final, dried colour is about two times lighter than the original colour applied to the canvas.

3. It is very safe and practically non-toxic. However, you should still avoid getting it on your hands, just to be on the safe side.

4. It has been used for many millennia – cave paintings done in paleolithic Europe were done in watercolour. It gained a surge of popularity during the Renaissance when it became appreciated is a proper art medium.

5. It can be transparent or opaque. Transparent watercolours let the light into the canvas and reflect it back, creating a sort of glowing effect. Opaque watercolours, on the other hand, don’t let the light in as much and instead make it bounce off the pigment, which creates a sort of dull and weathered effect.

6. It comes in tubes or pans. With tubes, you just squirt the paint out and go from there. Pans are basically square blocks of paint put together in a plastic or metal box. Generally speaking, tube paints are much easier to mix; they’re also cheaper and are better for creating large washes. Most artists prefer to use tube paints.

7. Fugitive watercolours fade very quickly. Most of the watercolour paints available now are non-fugitive, meaning the colour won’t fade as quickly and will therefore last a lot longer.

8. The same colour by different manufacturers may not look the same. If you want to use a particular colour, make sure to buy your paints from a single manufacturer so you get a consistent colour.

9. As it is water-based, watercolour paint can be quite unpredictable. When painting with watercolours, you have to learn how to control the paint. Of course, you could let the paint do its own thing and incorporate this into your painting.

10. Staining refers to how easy it is to remove watercolour paint from a support once it’s been applied or has completely dried. A staining paint is one that’s hard to remove, while a less-staining paint ca easily be wetted and lifted. The make of paint and the make of the support can both affect a paint’s staining.

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Source by Joanne Perkins

Otaku Nation: Anime’s Effect on American Pop Culture

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The modern age of Anime arrive in Japan in the 1960s, and over the course of the next decade or so boomed into the giant robot, space battle genre bender that we would soon recognize as the anime of today.

Evolving over the next 30 years or so, it reached a peak where it could begin to overtake and become an integral part of other cultures, much like the Hollywood of the 1930s quickly grew to encompass the rest of the world and inform their pop culture. In the same manner, American pop culture becomes increasingly informed by the trends and cult response to anime.

Anime first appeared in the US market in the 60s with shows like Kimba the White Lion and Astroboy. However, the national consciousness as to where these shows came from as well as the poor marketing of the shows made them forgettable and rather than a jumping in point, they act as a nostalgic reminder.

When Speed Racer arrived, the beginnings of a true consciousness that Japan was creating something new and exciting began to set in. The popularity of Speed Racer was never that of its American contemporaries, but it created in a set fanbase the willingness to devour newer offerings later on in Starblazers and Robotech (a convoluted perversion of multiple animes, but still a relative success in the states). Still, the affect was mostly underground.

In the 1980s, the introduction of Beta and VHS made it possible to join together with friends and watch more varying forms of anime. Truly it was the technological revolutions of the coming years that would make it truly possible for anime to perforate the American entertainment bubble. When Akira arrived in 1989, the effect was palpable. Receiving only a limited American screen release, few saw it in initial release, but the copying of VHS tapes and word of mouth made it something of a cult sensation. Those that knew of Akira were fans for life, eagerly awaiting their chance to partake more and more of the growing trends out of Japan.

For Japan’s part, this era was a period of major expansion, a veritable boom in the business. The 1980s saw the success of shows like Gundam and Dragon Ball overgrow the national consciousness and become runaway sensations. The explosion of the manga industry before hand, with serializations of works by Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo in the early 80s simmered in the youth of Japan and finally seeing the commercial possibilities of these works, creating in the process a major conglomerate of companies in the Akira Committee to bring the massive budget of Akira to fruition.

By the 90s anime was the mainstream in Japan, and the result was the ramping up of production and increased output of shows. In part because of the simple, streamlined art style, multiple artist were able to work on a single project and create on episode a week for years at a time, resulting in monumental runs such as the case of Dragonball (156 episodes) and Dragonball Z (276 episodes). The ability to serialize and turn a story into something that millions of youths would tune into each and every week made companies billions (of yen) and secured the kinds of commercial sponsorships and funding necessary to undertake incredible projects that would require vast sums of money to complete.

Back in America, a few executives were beginning to see the effect these shows were having in Japan. Slowly and very carefully they began taking the most popular, Dragonball Z and Sailormoon for example and finding timeslots very early in the day, before the daily retinue of American cartoons, testing the waters of marketability. In 1995, the trickle of anime into the states was just that, a relative trickle. Sailormoon aired every morning in syndication, but chopped up and missing key seasons to relate the endings of important storylines. Dragonball Z ran an equally mild run early on Saturdays in syndication that was abruptly cut when the rights to the show were lost by the initial company and purchased by Funimation.

All the while, works from Japanese masters like Hayao Miyazaki were being overlooked, passing unnoticed through limited release in the states, while making him a God of his craft in Japan. All the while companies like Manga, Funimation, and Viz were buying up licenses and releasing little known, untraceable shows that no one knew the origin of. The shows were treated poorly, often dubbed and cut up to match American audiences. Viz even launched the first Anime magazine in 1993 with Animerica, primarily reviewing their own products but still giving a view of the culture that no one knew anything about.

But, in 1995, the release of the shows in America along with the premiere and rave reviews of Neon Genesis Evangelion in Japan, Otaku interest abroad began to spike. Otaku is a bid of a misnomer as it’s a bit of an insult in Japan, a mean spirited way to call someone a nerd. Here though, it generally means a purveyor of Japanese pop-culture and with the Otaku so in style right now it’s less of an insult than a clique. The import and fan subbing of shows began in earnest via VHS editing software that few if anyone had access to. The early 90s was a time of massive growth of interest in the little known import of Anime though, and the American marketplace wasn’t slow to react.

In 1997, television networks made broad sweeping moves to bring shows to the mainstream. The Sci-Fi channel had always had a small niche in its latenight line up for cult classics like Vampire Hunter D, but Warner Bros finally brought the genre to primetime. Funimation finally got their licensing figured out and Dragonball Z saw its triumphant return to the Cartoon Network, with new episodes to follow a year and a half later. And in 1998, a little known video game for the Game Boy exploded in the American market, bringing along with it its entire arsenal of marketing ploys, including the overwhelmingly childish, but enormously popular Pokemon anime. Finally, children across the nation were gluing themselves to the television set as earnestly as their Japanese counterparts had for nearly a decade before hand.

Miyazaki’s new film played to better reception, receiving a proper release via Miramax. Princess Mononoke was a success in the terms of the time, even receiving the coveted two thumbs up (let alone a review at all) from Siskel and Ebert. Films began to arrive in America more liberally, still finding limited release, but release at least. And the shows began to pour in. At the time, the fansub scene was more or less the only way to get access to some of the more obscure titles being released in Japan. But as the market boomed, so did the licensing by major companies, and it actually started to become illegal to fansub certain shows because they might be released by a company eventually.

Thus began the final and full assimilation of Japanese pop culture into American. The DVD format sped up the process, as more episodes of a show could be packed into a disc than a VHS and production costs plummeted, removing a lot of the financial risk of an untested foreign product in the American marketplace. Cartoon Network debuted its Toonami afternoon cartoon slot, in which they featured anime that had been around for a little while, but managed to appeal to a much larger demographic and spread the word about these great story driven cartoons from across the ocean. An entire generation grew into the growing popularity and became entranced by the epic storylines, amazing storytelling and ability to show in a cartoon what many considered adult themes and much more mature perspectives on things like competition and personal success. The Japanese ability to cross genre and the extremely high production values that started to go into shows made in the late 90s and beyond meant amazing shows that appealed not just to children but to adults and beyond.

What started as a crossover, slowly began to actually change the way in which American’s marketed their television to children. Shows with more adult content appeared, and in some cases emulated the Japanese format. The writers at Pixar crafted brilliant, more maturely themed cartoons without the silly musicals of Disney past, and Disney even dissolved their tried format in favor of more mature, complete stories. The devolution of American quality in cartoons though as they attempted to match the output meant even more Japanese entries in the market. Now, if you turn on Fox kids in the morning you’ll find over half of the shows on are animes. And Cartoon Network still presents multiple entries themselves, with more mature offerings in their Adult Swim block late at night. Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animation in 2003 and South Park, the quintessential American barometer of cultural trends at first knocked the trend with their Chinpokemon episode, later to embrace it (while still mocking it) via changing their own art style in the Weapons episode just a couple years ago.

Nowadays, you’ll find anime oriented t-shirts everywhere, an entire aisle devoted to DVD releases in Best Buy (compared to the one row only seven years ago) and the success of the Anime Network, a channel solely devoted to Anime programming. Magazines like Newtype, a Japanese trade magazine for the Anime industry is now translated and released in America every month with previews of new shows, and American directors like James Cameron are looking to direct live action versions of manga like Battle Angel Alita.

Now, we see new releases from Japan within six months, and the fansub community has to scramble to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not legal to offer via their online services. The internet itself has made it a huge community, where a show can be recorded on Japanese television, ripped and subbed, then uploaded within a couple hours for the world to view. There’s no lay over, and new shows are immediately available. And it’s evident in the universities too. Japanese is one of the most sought after languages, filling up immediately with a yard long waiting list every year, and more sections being added every year.

Japanese pop culture managed to tap a certain perspective that American counterparts were unable to do themselves and in so doing, cornered and grew in a market that few thought existed in America.

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Source by Anthony Chatfield