Energetic Jewels and Colors

Harmony in Green
I have always been greatly influenced by color..and I think that is one of the main reasons that I paint and create jewelry. I can revel in the colors and experiment with their mixtures and nuances...its a joy, in a word!
I, like many people these days, am getting very interested in alternative healing and vital in general. 
And I do know that color does affect one's feelings, moods, and emotions, although often in a subconscious manner..

As you may already know, colors are certain wavelengths of electro-magnetic energy seen through our eyes. The color we see is the part of the visible spectrum that is reflected back by a certain object, and every color has an energy property and vibratory rate.

Colors have a symbolic meaning which is immediately recognized by our subconsciousness. It must be said that not all colors mean the same to all persons and all cultures.
They influence the flow and amount of energy in our bodies. 

When designing the jewelry and putting colors together for instance, in my Harmony Collection, I have used several color pallets for specific energetic purposes: some of this information comes from Color Therapy - Chromotherapy

Each color group effects certain energies:

Healing properties: Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. 

Healing properties: Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The Principles of Light and Color," states that "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world."

Healing properties: Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.
Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent.

Violet / Purple:
Healing properties: These are colors of transformation.  They heal melancholy, hysteria, delusions and alcohol addiction and bring spiritual insights and renewal. These colors slow down an over-active heart; stimulate the spleen and the white blood cells (immunity). Bring sleep. Soothe mental and emotional stress. Decrease sexual activity. Decrease sensitivity to pain. They help in detoxification.

Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.

Healing properties: Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions. Orange shows new possibilities and other options in life. Stimulates creative thinking and enthusiasm, and helps assimilate new ideas.
Taking color a step further and adding the properties of gems and crystals , I believe you have a very interesting and powerful means of changing the energies.Here are some of the metaphysical properties according to Beadage

Metaphysical Properties
Aquamarine is said to do many things metaphysically; it is often thought of as a universal sign of hope, health, and youth 
This beautiful stone is supposed to help with anxiety, fear, and restlessness by creating a peaceful stillness like the flow of a forest stream.
Wearing Aquamarine earrings is said to bring love and affection

Metaphysical Properties
Amethyst - increases vivid dreams, relieves depression, promotes calm, serenity, and spirituality. Helps with addiction and stress.  

Metaphysical Properties
Fluorite (multicolor) - enhances spiritual energy work, focuses the will and balances the psyche. 

Metaphysical Properties
Topaz - soothes physical pain, promotes peace and calms emotions, as well as promoting forgiveness. Promotes individuality, self-confidence, and creativity. Counteracts negative emotions. 

I mentioned only a few of the properties I have found, and think that by combining the colors and the stones together, I believe you can have a powerful assistance in changing your energies. Of course theres the added plus of a beautiful jewel to wear as well! Or the other way around if one prefers! 

For some of my healing energy jewelry, see the Harmony Series
 and the Jewelled Medallions on this page:
on my website

Thanks for reading this! 
All the best till next time! 


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Some great pointers I found on utilizing color !

Painting with color in any medium is not an easy thing to learn to do. Some of it comes instinctively, and alot of it comes from trial and error...

I love to experiment with color relationships, and the hardest thing that I find to keep in mind always is the relationship between color values and temperature , i.e. warm or cool.

I came across a very interesting article describing Arron Westerberg's workshop on color relationships, and I think he summed up the way to proceed very consisely, so I'd like to share it here:

“You should start a painting by establishing the darkest darks, then go to the richest, most dominant color, and finally mark the lightest lights,” Read the article is here

So how does this relate to the warm and cool colors within the painting?

First of all, one definition of color temperature is :

Low color temperature is the warmer, more yellow to red light while high color temperature is the colder, more blue light. Daylight, for example, has a lower color temperature near dawn and a higher one during the day. 

I would like to quote Sergei Bongart, Russian/American artist (1918-1985). He offers a very succinct treatise on painting .  This is from a compilation of quotes from Bongart's classes and student's notes , edited by Norm Nason:

Understand the basis of composing a picture in color. No color should be viewed in isolation, but rather in constant relation to what is around it. A color is what it appears to be only because of its relationship to the surrounding colors. Nothing exists in isolation. Each previous color choice must be re-evaluated as a new color is placed along side of it. If you change one color, you have in effect changed them all.

When we paint, we really aren't copying the colors of nature, we are painting the color relationships. We don't have the color palette that nature has, so we must give the illusion of truth through the relationships of the colors we choose.

As in chess, try to think several moves ahead, painting the color relationships that are deemed integral to the picture. Always make the next most important move. Don't paint in nose highlights, for instance, before you have established the background colors.

There are three properties, or contrasts, of color. They are:
1. Value (Light to Dark)
2. Intensity (Rich to Gray)
3. Temperature (Warm to Cool)

Nothing in the light is as dark as the shadow. Nothing in the shadow is as light as the light. In other words, you can have all the detail you want in the lights and all the detail you want in the shadows, but the lights should stay light, the shadows dark. The two should never mix.

Of all the properties of color, value is by far the most powerful. Value and design set the painting; all else builds from them. Design your painting in terms of silhouettes; dark on light, rich on grey, warm on cool, etc. As you design your painting, always keep in mind that the viewer's eye moves from the area of greatest contrast to least contrast.

Think of color first, subject last. Everything begins as an abstraction of color. A warm light on a warm object will intensify; a cool light on a warm object will mute. All other combinations logically follow. When dealing with complimentary colors in a composition (warms against cools), a good rule of thumb is to shift both to the same side of the color wheel. This may help harmonize and otherwise sharp composition. Take, for example, yellow and violet. Move them both to, say, the red side. The yellow then becomes a yellow-orange, while the violet becomes a reddish violet.

A composition will often harmonize better if you bring some of the foreground colors into the background, and background colors into the foreground. In nature, colors reflect into other colors, although this is not always evident. 

In mixing compliments to gray, the intensity of it may become dull or dirty. To correct the problem, move the colors slightly to the same side of the color wheel (add a stain that is a common color to both).

I wanted to pass these gems on , because often, we do these things instinctively as artists, but seen put into words so clearly, it may help to put our thoughts and our painting in better order. You can see an example of Bongarts art at the link above as well as more of his gems!

Thanks for reading this! 
Gemma Insinna

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Thoughts on Animal Portraits

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when painting an animal portrait is the same as for a human portrait, and that is to reflect in some way, through colors, action, or expression, the subject's personality.


Since it isn't usually too convenient to sketch and paint other people's pets from life, I find myself doing most from photographs. And if I am lucky enough to have snapped a few myself, like the one I used to paint the cat in the above portrait, I can usually find what I am looking for. 

In this particular instance, the cat loved sleeping in this large pottery bowl that remained heated by the overhead light, it was an unusual place for a nap, and I thought it would make a great painting!
It's even better if the pet owner has a collection of favorites that they feel really gives insight into the animals personality, or in some way forms an interesting and unusual painting because of composition.


Then there's the lucky snap shot of just that look or expression that you say "yes! thats fluffy to a t! or fido...and the resulting portrait is easy and almost paints itself!

So I would recommend to whomever wants a painting or portrait, to take a series of photos over a day or so, since animals and people both have their moods and moments.  

The above painting was done from a photo session, and we decided that the expression on her face was very indicitave of her personality and sense of humor.

So, if at all possible, it would be helpful that a photo session be organized between owner and artist as another option to take. Sometimes the artistic eye behind the camera is a big plus, for lighting as well as that "artistic" shot. 

However, in some instances, it is the case that the beloved pet may have passed away years ago, and the opportunity arises only now to have a painting commissioned. In that instance, we must do the best with the material at hand, which hopefully will be like this one example below, a perfect and lovely pose complete with color and surroundings!

A nice story or two about our very much missed friend is a great help, just as it would be if you were commissioning a portrait of a person now gone.....


So in conclusion, the challenge goes beyond just achieving a wonderful likeness, as with people, it's a matter of finding that special ingredient that makes it a unique work of portraiture.

See my wesite for more of my portraits ! 

Thanks for reading this, 
All the best,

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Paintings that tell a story

The Past

I wanted to mention a kind of painting that I love to look at, but have painted very few...a painting that tells a personal story of some sort.
I think all paintings should tell some kind of story, but the ones I am thinking of recount in some way an aspect of the artist's life.
I did these 2 very large oil paintings at a crossroads of sorts in my life, and they represent me at 2 different points in time, ie, Past as a young girl,  and Present as an observer ...with distance and perspective representing more time than space...

How to define and paint time? Good question...  I did it with color--brights looking into the future, and as a panorama, with the important places in my life in the far distance.

When reflecting on the past, you can clearly see the person that you once were--complete with all the bright expectations--I put a blank page in the figure's hand to represent all that will be written...

The Present was done as a companion to The Past , and the figure of the young girl is still in the painting in the very far upper left corner.

   The Present
Older, one can sit down and look at the book of life that's halfway written, yet incomplete, and gaze at all that has been. 

One keeps in mind that some things leave your life, like my beloved cat Ruffino, who was with me for 20 years, and is seen leaving the table...leaving space for other things that will be comming in. Expectations and reflections both.

Just some thoughts on how to depict more an idea than a thing...I would love to hear some more ideas on this , and any comments! 

Thanks for reading this!

 All the best, 

Gemma Insinna

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Inspiration, where does it come from, and how do you keep it ?

Sunshine and Shadows

I am speaking for myself of course, but I find that most of the time, inspiration comes from a light that hits and illuminates a certain object, a leaf, a hillside, a face or body, that just gives me a thrill, and I say--wow! I have to paint that!

And soft pastel is a great medium to capture the moment quickly!

I grab my camera--or a notepad if I don't have the camera, and try and note the main points that excited me about it...if I can, I sketch it right there, and refer back while working on the piece later. It may be an unusual color combination, or combinations of lights and shadows that really scream out "paint me paint me!" They form a design , or an astounding blast of color that has to be captured and presented to the world!

Olive grove in late afternoon shadows.

I spend alot of time looking at my inspiring surroundings. I live in the countryside outside of Rome. It is very beautiful with rolling hills, mountains that change color constantly, vinyards and olive groves with so many unusual light effects and shadows during the course of the day.

There are farms with stone houses and medieval towns with winding streets. I have compiled a lot of what I call my future pictures, just waiting to be born!

Here's an example of a quick sketch done to capture this sunset on the treetops.

Once I start the painting, I think the trick to not letting your inspiration end with the moment, like a soufflee in a blast of cold air, is to work slowly, and not go beyond the point where you say, yes, this is what I saw, yes this is just perfectly IT!

This is that white sunlight on the old stone wall!

This is that magic I saw on that teapot glowing in the afternoon sun coming through the window!

I try to capture that luminescent glow of leaves in a ray of setting sunlight.

There are so many amazing effects to portray in a painting...and most importantly, illustrate the moment so it is not forgotten!


These are 2 examples of magical reflected light that I just had to capture.I think that as an artist, I want to point attention to these wonderful moments--these brilliant colors that dance and glitter all around us!

Even in my home, I have lots of what I like to call "memorabelia" , there are small objects and little things everywhere, and I find myself arranging them as a stillife when I put things on the sideboard in the dining area, it's as if arranged for a painting!

It's unconscious and friends have pointed this out to me, a kind of painting waiting to happen...most times it never does, but this just to say that an artists eye never sleeps!

just some ordinary objects in extraordinary light

Inspiration is a spark, and an artist, I think, is here to maybe focus the less practiced eye on an arrangement of color and shape and say, look! This is our beautiful world! The ordinary often becomes extraordinary! You just need to look around!


Thanks for reading this, and taking a look at my world !
Till next time,

Gemma Insinna
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