Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A new pigment of blue as stunning as Lapis Lazuli but much less expensive (and less toxic) is discovered...

A scientist discovered this stunning new shade of blue 
 Artnet Sarah Cascone, Artnet Jun. 21, 2016, 5:04 PM

OSU Chemist Mas Subramanian. 
Courtesy of Oregon State University. 

The world's newest shade of blue, a brilliantly bright, durable pigment called YInMn blue, has been licensed for commercial use and is already in the hands of some artists. 

The pigment was discovered in 2009 by chemist Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University while they were conducting experiments connected to electronics. For one series of tests, the scientists mixed black manganese oxide with a variety of chemicals and heated them to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. (The name comes from the pigment's elemental makeup, which includes Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.) 

In a serendipitous accident, one of the resulting samples turned a vivid shade of blue. Further testing found that the unique crystal structure of the resulting compound kept the color from fading, even when exposed to oil or water.

The newly-discovered YInMn blue is now commercially available from the Shepherd Color Company. Courtesy of Oregon State University. 

"Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity and durability," said Subramanian in statement released by OSU. Existing blue pigments include ultramarine, made from ground lapis lazuli, and toxic alternatives such as cobalt blue and Prussian blue, making OSU's discovery a major breakthrough. YInMn, Subramanian added, is "more durable, safe and fairly easy to produce … it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency," as it reflects a large amount of infrared light. A roof painted in YInMn blue could potentially help keep the building cooler. "This new blue pigment is a sign that there are new pigments to be discovered in the inorganic pigments family," added Geoffrey T. Peake, the research and development manager of the Shepherd Color Company, which has licensed the patent is already selling samples of YInMn blue. The pigment is still undergoing testing before it is made more widely available. 

Carol Chapel, CaMas001, 
made with YInMn blue using DryPoint printing. 
Courtesy Carol Chapel. 

Speaking to artnet News by phone, Subramanian said that the future of this new blue looked promising. "Several companies have been working with [Shepherd Color Company]," he revealed, citing Pittsburgh Paints and Glass as one example. The chemist has also been fielding plenty of inquiries about his discovery from people on the more creative end. "I have sent samples to artists who have used the pigment in their artwork," he said. So far, those artists have been mainly local, including OSU applied visual arts major Madelaine Corbin, who has been making her first foray into chemistry as intern in Subramanian's lab, while using YInMn blue in her artwork. 

Madelaine Corbin, OSU Memorial Union Façade. 
Courtesy Oregon State University. 

Subramanian has also fielded interest from art restorers. "Our pigment is useful for art restoration, because it is similar to ultramarine but really more durable," he explained. He's perhaps most proud of YInMn's inclusion in the Forbes Pigment Collection at the Harvard Art Museums, which serves as world history of color, with some pigments dating back to the Middle Ages. 

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Monday, June 06, 2016

Real Simple Magazine highlights that making art reduces stress

Real Simple Magazine featured an article that highlights research from Drexel University showing that there was a significant reduction in stress levels after making art. They also list their Top 6 favorite coloring books, and "Color Me Happy" made the list!

The stress-relieving benefits are real. 

By Samantha Zabell 

You may think you’re “not creative” or “bad at art,” but a new study from Drexel University says you should head to the craft store anyway. According to new research, making art can significantly reduce stress levels, whether you’re gluing macaroni noodles or painting museum-worthy landscapes. 

The results of the study, published in the journal Art Therapy, were not entirely surprising to lead researcher Girija Kaimal, EdD, who said in a statement: “That’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting.” Even people who rarely picked up a crayon experienced the same stress-relieving benefits as those who were practiced in making art. 

 The researchers studied 39 adults between the ages of 18 and 59, and measured their cortisol (stress hormone) levels before and after a 45-minute art session. Participants were free to experiment with everything from markers to clay, without instruction or direction. Following the session, 75 percent of participants experienced a drop in cortisol levels. The other 25 percent experienced heightened cortisol levels, but Kaimal explained that those individuals were not necessarily more stressed—heightened cortisol levels can also suggest engagement or enjoyment. 

 There was no significant correlation between skill or materials used and cortisol levels, meaning modeling clay was just as soothing as coloring. But because younger participants consistently exhibited lower cortisol levels after making art, Kaimal believes creative arts would especially benefit stressed students. 

 If you don't have a robust craft closet at your disposal, there is a simple way to reap the same benefits without much mess—adult coloring books. You’ve likely read about the craze, which proves these intricately designed books are no longer just for kids. In 2015, 12 million copies of coloring books were sold in the U.S., compared to just 1 million in 2014. Here, our favorite books to help you unwind:

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Friday, June 03, 2016

The Huffington Post includes "Color Me Calm" and "Color Me Stress-Free" on Top 15 Coloring Book List

Both "Color Me Calm" and "Color Me Stress-Free" made Dr. Martinez's favorite 15 coloring books for the Huffington Post!

My Top 15 Favorite Adult Coloring Books, and Why...
06/03/2016 11:28 am 11:28:13 | Updated Jun 03, 2016

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC
Tele-health counselor for www.DrNikkiMartinez.com, Adjunct Professor, Consultant, and Writer

1. Mandalas to Color, Volume I, by colorit.com. Who does not love a Mandala? There is something about these intricate patterns that allows us to get lost in the beauty of them, and these are some of the best quality I have come across.

2. Outside the Lines, curated by Souris Hong-Porretta. If you are someone who is obsessed with the likes of Gary Baseman, Shepard Fairy, AIKO, Keith Haring, and more than 100 other artists, this is the book for you. Edgy and creative, the fun and complexity is attracting.

3. Dia De Los Muertos, Volume 1. 50 pages of Sugar Skulls. I am not sure about you, but I am in love with sugar skulls, the detail, the beauty, and the ability to make something dark, but beautiful. If you love them too, this is the book for you!

4. Color Me Calm, by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter. These two ladies truly came together to form a series of images that would calm even the most anxious person. They are lovely, original, and enjoyable for anyone who chooses to start with this.

5. Coloring for Grown-Ups, by Ryan Hunter and Taige Jensen are just plain fun. They are edgy, silly, and undeniably fun. A great gift for yourself or anyone with a great sense of humor. You will not only get lost in the coloring, you are bound to giggle as you do it.

6. Colorama Color Me Happy, Coloring Book, by Telebrands Press is a great book for anyone. They are clean, clear, and cheerful. A terrific book to get you started, and a gift that will be appreciated by anyone who receives them.

7. Colorful Flowers, Volume I, by colorit.com is a personal favorite. I will admit, I have a bias for varied and beautiful flowers, something I like to think I share with many. These books are not only beautiful, they are sturdy, high quality, and real remembrance that will hold up over time. While some books may be a few dollars cheaper, I think the quality more than makes up for it with these.

8. Breathe, Volume 3, by Angie Grace, These books are small, portable, and well done. The images are inventive engaging. A great book, at a wonderful price. A nice way to calm yourself for a small investment if you are starting out with adult coloring as a hobby.

9. The Tattoo Coloring Book, by Megamunden. If you are like me, and you love tattoos just as much as you love flowers, because aren’t we all eclectic? You will really enjoy this book. It has wonderful traditional tattoo designs for you to color the way you always want the professionals too when you watch them.

10. Outside the Lines, Too, Curated by Souris Hong. In the second installment of this series, you will not be let down with images created by the minds of another 100 imaginative minds. If you love the likes of Tim Biskup, Caroline Hwang, Jack Black, and many more, you will love every second you spend lost coloring this book.

11. Color Me Stress-Free, by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter. In another installment of this collaboration, the two come up with works that are bound to reduce stress, create relaxation, and foster creativity. I find the series to all be very well done.

12. Colorama, Flowers, Paisleys, Stained Glass and More, Coloring Book, by Bulbhead. Another simple, clean, and pretty book for the person who is looking to dip their toe in adult coloring. It also makes a wonderful stocking stuffer for any creative friend.

13. Calming Doodles, Volume I, by colorit.com. As mentioned before, a few of these, and a pack of colored pencils, make a really sharp gift. Not only are the pictures and books high quality, but they look like you have spent invested in this hobby for them. Fun, function, and flare, at its best!

14. Balance, Volume I, by Angie Grace. This is another book in her series, and carries the same portability, reduction of size, mixed with lovely images and centering coloring activities for the novice to the expert.

15. Calming Therapy, an Anti-Stress Coloring Book, by Hannah Davies, Richard Merritt, and Cindy Wilde. I saved one of my absolute favorites for last. This book helped me fill more hours than I can name during recovery from surgery. The book is sturdy and attractive, and the pictures are very engaging. You find yourself not wanting to walk away until you have finished a piece.

So there is my list of my 15 favorite books that I have come across, and that really help meet any interest, need, and function that they are intended for. Check them out online and see if any might be a good fit for you. Perhaps another book by one of these artists will be the right fit for you, or maybe a complete other book will be the one that touches a note with you. No matter what you choose, enjoy, relax, and regroup in a wonderful way.

Follow Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrNikkiMartinez

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