Setting the Stage:The Early Life and Times of
E.D. Merrick Excerpts from the article by Charles S. Wright-Edward Dempster Merrick and his Art Gallery.
Edward Dempster Merrick was born in 1832 and at the age of five, moved with his family to New Brighton, Pennsylvania. It was in New Brighton that Merrick, as an adolescent, first dreamed of becoming an artist. He tells the story in concise fashion in a five-page autobiographical reminiscence written in 1902, his 70th year. He writes that early in his life he immersed himself,through books, in work of great artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Michelangelo, becoming thoroughly saturated with the romantic ideal of art for art's sake. Merrick's father, however, "threw cold water on the scheme at once." Merrick goes on to record hisfather's additional thoughts on art as a career for a young man: "There is nothing in it;they all starve to death. Go into manufacturing; do something to make money." Lacking parental blessings, Merrick was resigned to a business career, following in his father's footsteps.
At one point during the 1850s, Merrick and brother Charles fell victim to what Merrick diagnosed as "western fever." They headed west and prospected land and herded cattle. Merrick went out with $100 worth of gold and return with same by 1857.
in the summer of1858, when the first cable was laid across the ocean."
Edward served as a telegraph operater for the Union army and later as a sergeant in the New Brighton militia which went to guard Harrisburg prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.
(We will continue with the life of E.D. Merrick post Civil War in another lesson.)
National events in 1832
February 9 - The city of Jacksonville, Florida received its town charter
from the legislative council of Florida Territory.
April 6 - The Black Hawk War begins.
May 21 to 23 - 1832 Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore.
July–August - Cholera epidemic in New York City.
November 14 – Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the
Declaration of Independence dies at age 95.
December 3 –Andrew Jackson is re-elected president.
National events in 1862
in the Atlantic Monthly.
is created by an Act of the California Legislature.
as Lakota Sioux attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.
They are overwhelmed by the U.S. military 6 weeks later.
October 11 – American Civil War: In the aftermath of the
loot Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during a raid into the North.
Definition of terms
Paint made of pigment ground in oil, usually linseed oil.
Pigment mixed with water to form an opaque paint
Pigment mixed with water to form a transparent paint.
A drawing medium of dried paste made of ground pigments
and a water-based binder that is manufactured in crayon form.
A crayon of this material.
Artistic design and manufacture of prints as woodcuts or silkscreens.
The art of forming designs by cutting, corrosion by acids,
a photographic process, etc., on the surface of a metal plate,
block of wood, or the like, for or as for the purpose
of taking off impressions or prints of the design so formed.
A printing process in which the image to be printed is
rendered on a flat surface,where part is treated to retain ink
while the nonimage areas are treated to repel ink.
A printing method using photo-mechanical means.
Learning to Read a Painting
How to read a painting.
Let us start with color.
White contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, at full brightness
Black is the absence of color, the result of the absence of or complete absorption of light.
On the color wheel you have primary colors-yellow, red and blue,
secondary colors of orange, violet (purple) and green, tertiary colors of
red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet, blue-green.
Complimentary colors are on opposite on the color wheel such as red and green,
blue and orange, yellow and violet.
Hue is the family of twelve purest and brightest colors.
Three Primary Colors
Three Secondary Colors
Six Tertiary Colors
Lightening the twelve basic colors with white creates Tints.
Darkening the twelve basic colors with black creates Shades.
Adding white and black (gray) to the twelve basic colors creates Tone.
Next, let us look at a painting and list what colors you see.
Warm colors: yellow, red, orange tend to come forward.
Cool colors: blue, green, purple, tend to recede.
Do you find evidence of these in the painting?
What objects do you see?
What people do you see?
What shapes do you see?
Is the painting balanced?
Next try to mentally divide the painting in three parts horizontally.
Foreground is the bottom third of the painting.
Middle ground is the middle third of the painting.
Background is the top third of the painting.
What do you see in each of these sections?
What is the subject matter? What story do you think the painting is telling?
Some ideas of Color Theory
Issac Newton (1642-1727) “Light is split into its component colors
when directed through a prism”.
Joan Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Goethe was initially induced to occupy himself with the study of colour
by the questions of hue in painting. "During his first journey to Italy (1786-88),
he noticed that artists were able to enunciate rules for virtually all the elements
of painting and drawing except color and coloring. In the years 1786—88,
Goethe began investigating whether one could ascertain rules to govern the
artistic use of color.
This aim came to some fulfillment when several pictorial artists,
above all Philipp Otto Runge, took an interest in his colour studies.
After being translated into English by Charles Eastlake in 1840,
the theory became widely adopted by the art world – especially
and referenced it in the titles of several paintings.[ Wassily Kandinsky considered it "
one of the most important works."
symmetric colour wheel. He writes, "The chromatic circle... [is] arranged in a
general way according to the natural order... for the colours diametrically
opposed to each other in this diagram are those which reciprocally evoke
each other in the eye. Thus, yellow demands violet; orange [demands] blue;
purple [demands] green; and vice versa: thus... all intermediate gradations
reciprocally evoke each other; the simpler colour demanding the compound, and vice versa.