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Spring’s Offering

Teasel and blossoming trees in Talent, Oregon

Flawed Courts

Despite cracks and wet courts, we played pickleball in the distant right courts shortly after this photograph was taken.

Three Kitties, Six Faces (Cubism)

Say What?

Three Kitties, six faces?  How?  You guessed it, Cubism.

Cubist Influences

I would like to tell you a little about my Cubist-style cat paintings.  So, lets begin at the beginning.

Watercolor painting inspired by Cubism; its a double face cat!

I grew up looking at art books.  Cubism was one of my favorite styles.  I was intrigued by the different approach to perspective.  I wanted to know how they did it; what was it all about.

As you might imagine, I looked at the masters of Cubism to get an idea about how I might create a face.  Naturally, I looked to Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque first.  But, in one of my art books, I found some sculptures and drawings by Henri Laurens done during his Cubist phase.  Aha!  Cubism is sculptural!  Yes, I'd read it, but now I could see the link and could imagine 3D on a 2D surface.  "Regal Kitty" is inspired by Henri Laurens works; "Star Gazer" and "Merry MsMaggie" by Picasso.  (You might notice that I included a different version of "Merry MsMaggie" in the previous post).

Merry MsMaggie

The Idea

To over-simplify, one of the Cubist ideas was to show different sides of something, say a cube, as if all the sides were on the same plane.  Imagine a cardboard box before the sides are folded in, stapled or glued to make a box.  Conversely, imagine a cardboard box with all of the sides un-folded.  Its a flat object.

That is one of the ideas behind the double face seen in Cubist portraits, for example.  One is looking at a three dimensional object flattened as if it was two dimensional.

Cats Look And Don't Look

Hmm, I liked this idea and thought that a cat would make a perfect subject for a Cubist style face.  I love the way cats look at you but they don't.  They can accomplish this feat without moving a muscle.  To show this way of looking or being, I figured the double face would be perfect.  That means a half face is superimposed on a full face.  The viewer needs to be able to see both the half face and full face.  The ambiquity of which view dominates can be fun and mysterious.

What I'm showing you today is three variations on a cat showing how I resolved this problem of the double face.  I created the design for "Star Gazer" first, followed by "Merry MsMaggie" and "Regal Kitty" in order.  

Can You See It?

Can you see the two faces – looking sideway and looking forward?  In the first two designs, the sideway or profile view is to the right; the head-on view merges left and right.  The last design, "Regal Kitty" has the profile half to the left; the entire head makes the forward or head-on view.  I tried to use color and tone to differentiate the views.

I hope you enjoy my kitty paintings!  Thank you!

Cat, design influenced by Cubism


The post Three Kitties, Six Faces (Cubism) appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

BUNNYMANIA – Opens March 27th at 6PM – Dana Feagin – Inspired Pet Portraits & Animal Paintings in Oil

Two of my paintings (Sweet Cheeks and Blue Bunny) are part of the BUNNYMANIA fundraising art show curated by celebrated Los Angeles art critic, Peter Frank, and exhibit producer, Delia Cabral. The show opens tonight at 6PM at Chungking Studio, 975 Chung King Road, Los Angeles (China Town Area) and remains at that location over the weekend. On April 4th, the show opens again at Wilding Cran Gallery, 939 South Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles (Arts District), and remains at that location through April 18th.

This show raises awareness about our relationship to rabbits, both the animals, and what they’ve come to symbolize in our human experience. Inspiration for this show stems from the pure awesomeness of bunnies, but also from the curators’ shared penchant for rabbit-themed art, and their exchanges of all things ‘bun over many years. Proceeds from Bunnymania benefit the National Museum of Animals & Society. This 501(c)(3) non-profit museum is the first of its kind dedicated to enriching the lives of animals & people by exploring our shared experience. The musem focuses on animal studies (where people and animals intersect in culture), the history of animal protection, and humane education in their collection, exhibitions, public programming, and educational efforts.



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DIY – Cute Paper Birds

Although I consider myself a serious artist, I sometimes just have to do cute. And these birds certainly are cute.

These paper birds are made from paste paper scraps, discarded paint sample cards and paper clips.

These paper birds are made from paste paper scraps, discarded paint sample cards and paper clips.

I’ve made their legs from paper clips, while their bodies are from paste paper scraps left over from other projects. If you remember my most recent post showing the spring flowers I made from discarded paint chips, their wings might look familiar to you.

The paper bird on the left is the only one who doesn't have paint chip for his wing. I had some left over shiny green paper that I thought went well with his colors.

The paper bird on the left is the only one who doesn’t have paint chip for his wing. I had some left over shiny green paper that I thought went well with his colors.

They are really easy to make. The hardest part for me was deciding on the shapes for the birds and wings. I sketched out a bunch of ideas, and found that I liked a simple, but very graphic design best. Once I decided on my design, I made a template out of card stock and traced the bodies and wings of my birds.

Paper birds perfect for springtime.

Paper birds perfect for Spring decorations.

I cut out the body shapes from scraps of paste paper and cut coordinating wings from solid colors of paint chips. I found I liked a card stock weight for my bird bodies. A scrapbook paper would probably work well for both bodies and wings.

Those who know me, know I like color. Even my paper clips are colorful. So, it seemed natural to make my birds’ legs and feet out of colorful, bendable paper clips, which were right within reach. I just straightened out most of the wire and left one curve for each foot (see photo below).

This photo shows how I made the bird feet and legs from paper clips.

This photo shows how I made the bird feet and legs from paper clips.

To assemble your bird, tape two legs on to the inside of one bird body. Then, paste a mirror image bird body on the back, sandwiching the legs between the two bodies. Glue on the wings, positioning them to suit your taste. Add a triangle for the bird beak. Add the eye. You can draw a black circle for the bird’s eye, use a seed bead or googly eye. For my birds, I opted for the simplicity of a black circle for the eye. I thought it went well with the simple graphic style of my birds.

These paper birds are easy to make.

These paper birds are easy to make.

There are lots of possibilities for these birds. Experiment and see what you can come up with. I’d love to see what you do.

Enjoy, Candy

A freebie – sign up now … (thanks!!!!)

I’m running a bit behind, but this is already designed, just have some ‘tweeking’ to do. My next newsletter will be going out in the next week, and will always have a freebie for you. Please sign up for my mailing list.

This time it is a box the size of playing card decks – to store ACEO and ATC art cards or other treasures. It is handwritten vintage paper with one of my own ACEO sketches of

Working Hands, A Journey of Creativity


Working Hands

Working Hands

When I was a little girl, I would watch my mother and grandmother’s work with their hands.  On Sunday’s they would make “a pot of gravy,” our name for marinara sauce.  Meatballs and pasta would accompany the sauce.  Sometimes I helped make the meatballs, my hands squishing all the ingredients together .   I can still smell the gravy cooking on the stove and hear the soft bubbling sound as the sauce simmered.

My mother’s mother would get together with her sisters once a year and make pizza dough in the basement of my great grandparent’s home in preparation for our summer family picnic.  The dough would be kneaded, set out on a big table and allowed to rise. Four generations of family would come to eat, laugh and tell stories. The pizzas could not come out of the oven fast enough and by the end of the day; we had consumed close to 50 pizzas, some eggplant parmesan and Italian pastries for dessert.

After dinner the women would sit around in a circle and knit.  They would talk about their children and recipes and their plans for the summer.  I loved listening to their stories and watching them create blankets, booties and sweaters.

When I was 10 year old, my mother and grandmother took me to our local yarn shop to pick out my first knitting project.  Little did I know that I would be turning this skill into a lifelong passion for working with fiber.  When I walked into that little yarn shop stacked with wool, I took in the bright and warm colors and was filled with a sense of beauty and possibility.

I was 16 when I made my first garment; a knitted dress made with chunky pink merino wool on size 32 needles.  It was the 1960’s; a time of changing and diverse trends in clothing.  This influence of breaking fashion tradition is visible today in the playful way I combine wool, silk and other fibers to create nuno felted fabric.  Nuno is a Japanese term meaning cloth.  I use silk as my base cloth and add merino wool, silk roving and strips of fabric that I then use to make clothing and accessories.  Recently, I have been experimenting with other “shrinking” techniques to create fabric to incorporate with my nuno felt. I enjoy up cycling garments; taking them apart and incorporating them with my felt fabric to create new fashion.

When I am creating, I feel connected to my mother and grandmother.  It takes me back to them and it lets me feel like I’m a part of a circle of women, working with their hands; connected and loved.

Studio Snapshot – Spring Paper Flowers

It’s Spring! So our neighborhood decided to have a Spring Potluck which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight. I decided to make some paper flowers to use as table decorations.

These paper flowers were made from discarded paint samples.

These paper flowers were made from discarded paint samples.

Last Fall, Ace Hardware, here in Ashland, was kind enough to give me a large supply of left over paint chip samples. I decided these paper samples would make the perfect colors for my Spring Flowers.

Paper flowers made from discarded paint samples will decorate the tables for today's Spring Potluck.

Paper flowers made from discarded paint samples will decorate the tables for today’s Spring Potluck.

So, this past week, I’ve been making these paper flowers. The paint samples are 4″ by 4″ so each flower is two different colors while two leaves on each flower are the same color.

So far I have made 36 paper flowers from discarded paint samples for today's Spring Potluck.

So far I have made 36 paper flowers from discarded paint samples for today’s Spring Potluck. There should be enough for everyone to take one home.

For the flower centers, I cut a circle out of watercolor paper and painted watercolors in yellows and orange.

Paper flowers made from discarded paint samples. I still have hundreds of paint samples left to play with.

Paper flowers made from discarded paint samples. I still have hundreds of paint samples left to play with.

Enjoy, Candy

Dueling Paintbrushes at Journaling Retreat ~ Day One

Today breaks clear, brilliant blue and sunny warm at our first full day of the Women’s Journaling Alpine Retreat. After we’ve welcomed the day with yoga on the sparkling lake’s edge, we breakfast and then, settle out between the two closest cabins with a view peering into the shadowed, cool forest.

We’ve designed this “Dueling Brushes” demonstration to show how differently both Jean and I approach a journal page and how differently we paint. Jean takes her thirty-five minute time frame first. With this result! And then I take mine. As I’ve mentioned I’m struggling with this new journal size (it’s smaller) and the quality of paper (some of the pages are just writing paper). So my attempt to solve the paper challenge is to glue a small piece of watercolor paper into the page where I want to

watercolor. I like the results . . . and I’m pleased with the traveling off the watercolor paper in small overlappings onto the writing paper.

I’m actually pretty pleased with the full spread visual. I like how the colors happen to balance themselves out between the pigments I chose for the landscape and the delicate hues of the pods in this
handmade black paper. Still I feel astonished that those holes I’ve had to cut for the paper clay insert add harmony to this unpredicted page so much further back from when the holes originated.

It’s that magical serendipity of the journal that continues to surprise and please and enamor me. I’m still in love with this process. Ever new . . .

Last Fall

A foggy fall morning on the south side of Ashland, OR