Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE! reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

MsMaggie – Kitty In Green

Green Painting Retrospective #Four

Time to throw in a green kitty.  I'm continuing on with my green in March painting retrospective.  

Ms Maggie on the Rug - Painting in Green

Background and Intentions

I painted "MsMaggie On a Rug" in 2008.  I purposely chose a green dominate color scheme, just to see what would happen.  My intention was to create a design used contrasting green and red without it feeling like a Christmas painting.

My Process

I took several photos of MsMaggie on a rug on the floor of my aunt's home.  The floor was tile and inspired the grid-like pattern.  As is my habit, I used the photo for inspiration, then created drawings from memory and imagination.  This painting is based on one of several drawings that I did over many months.  The paintings became part of my "MsKitty" collection.

One problem I worked on in this design was creating a Cubist-style kitty. The Cubist devise that I was interested in was the double face.  I wanted MsMaggie cat to be looking at you two ways: head on and in profile.  I like the mystery and ambiquity.  Plus, I think cats make the perfect Cubist subject.  Cats are masters at the "looking at you but not looking at you" ability.

If you look closely, you will notice that MsMaggie is looking two directions.

Once I have a design I like, I enlarge it then get to work painting. 

About MsMaggie

This watercolor painting is one of a series of paintings inspired by my Aunt Mary's cat Maggie, also know as "the Magster", "Maggiemagnificat", and other various nicknames.  Maggie was a sweet, beautiful kitty.  She wasn't particularly vocal.  She talked with her body language and her eyes.

I enjoyed creating this particular green painting.  I hope it brings you joy.  



The post MsMaggie – Kitty In Green appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Green Three – View Across The Valley

Continuing on with the theme of green, this is a small watercolor painting I did in 2006.  The subject is a valley in Southern Oregon and is based on a drawing I did on location.  I liked the long view in front of the buildings across the valley.  And, typical of this area, I like the mountains in the distance.

Green:  View Across the Valley, M. Stermer-Cox

The special significance of this painting to me is the learning and personal growth.  At the time when I was working on this painting, I read somewhere that some of Hudson Valley School of Artists used to apply thin glazes to their paintings to achieve the special glow to their landscapes.  I'm not sure the source of my information.  

Regardless of the source, and inspired by the Hudson Valley School, I tried some thin glazes of green gold and VOILA!  I was so excited; I liked what the thin layers of gold did to the greens.  

Sometimes, a painting is a "keeper" as much for the learning as for the result.  I like this painting because of the subject, the education, and it makes me feel good.

 Please enjoy my third take on green.  See the previous two posts for more green!





The post Green Three – View Across The Valley appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Young Forest – Green Two

About the Painting

Its about the greens in a young forest.

I painted this piece in 2005; its one of my favorites.  It was one of my early experiments with abstraction and mixed watermedia.  I used traditional watercolor paint and acrylic.

Young Forest, Mixed Watermedia

I had a general idea of where I wanted to go, but let intuition guide the way.  I played with texture, using wax paper to create impressions.  I stamped, stenciled and got my hands dirty.  FUN!


I called this abstract "Young Forest" because of the feeling of activity and movement in the painting.  Young things tend to be active and moving constantly.  In my head young and active work together!


Olympic Peninsula – Inspiration


I painted this during a time when I lived on the Olympic Peninsula of Northwest Washington State.  Alders are a common tree when the forests are young.  The trees are long, thin and with whitish bark.  In this painting, I wanted the feel of the Northwest forest so I added a tree shape in white, linked to a wavy water shape.  Alder trees, water, movement equals young forest in the Olympics to me!


The Challenge


This is second in a sequence of five paintings where green is the dominant color.  Thank you friend Ethel Forsberg (Visby, Sweden) for challenging me to post five paintings.




The post Young Forest – Green Two appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Its All Green ~

The Challenge

Welcome to a retrospective of paintings in green!  Why?  My friend and artist Ethel Forsberg from Visby, Sweden, challenged me to participate in the "Art Relay Race" on Facebook.  

Green:  Still Life with Espresso Cup, Candlestick and Vase

What could be better than flooding facebook with artwork?  Just what is needed.  The Art Relay idea is to post five paintings or pieces of art over five days and tag a new artist friend each day.

What To Do?

Having accepted the challenge, I was trying to figure out what to do.  Then, I had an "AHA" moment.  Its March and I recall a new artist friend, Candy Wooding, mentioned she was going to be posting works in green for the first 17 days in March.  Candy's Facebook page is called:  My Paper Arts.

Green Paintings!

Well, its already the second day of March. But green could work!  So, for the next five posts, I'll be showing something green. They can be viewed on my Facebook page called Margaret Stermer-Cox Art.


Today's piece is what I call the "prequal" to "Still Life with Toy Pony".  Its the still life without the toy pony.  The items are an espresso cup, candlestick and vase.  Why green?  Because green has always been one of my favorite colors.  

Please enjoy!


The post Its All Green ~ appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

On Being A Drawing Student

Opinionated Student

I once read that children of artists sometimes have trouble being an art student; they can be the hardest to teach drawing and painting. I can relate. I grew up in the household of an artist, my Dad, John H. Stermer. I have strong opinions about drawing, painting, art in general and my own abilities.

Study, Eggs, Shells, Egg Cup and Spoon

I'll say that again and hope you don't laugh too hard!  Yes, in spite of all the self doubt, I do have strong opinions about drawing and painting.  Many of the opinions were formed in my youth.  Things that my parents said, and Dad in particular, stuck with me.  Oddly enough, how to hold a pencil is one thing Dad taught me, for example*

Dad Learned Classical Drawing

My Dad received an education in classical drawing at The Arts Student's League in New York.  I recall him saying that the classical approach was the backbone to his work.  This was true even as he experimented and developed his own personal style. So, if Dad learned classical drawing, I figure I need to study it!  And, here I am in a classical drawing class.  

Be the Student

As I continue to participate in a local Classical Drawing Workshop (Ashland Art Center), I remind myself to open my mind to ideas. Instructors and classmates do have things to teach me.  Odd, isn't it, to have to remind oneself to learn?  The instructor, Sarah F. Burns is good and has studied many years.  I am learning from her and getting a good drawing workout.  I even come home tired!  And, yes, its OK/fine to learn something new.  

Funny how it can be hard to be the student.  But, if one isn't a good student, can one be a good teacher?

Study of Light & Dark

I'm including two of my more recent practice drawings, or studies that I am doing at home as my own homework.  I have to practice to learn!

As the class is progressing, we are studying how light falls on forms by doing value (light/dark) drawings.  Having to discipline myself to take the study to a more finished state is good for me.  The work will apply to my watercolor painting.

As we like to say these days, "its all good!"

How to Hold a Pencil While Drawing

*PS.  My father taught me to hold a pencil near the eraser end when drawing.  In that way, you have the best leverage for drawing.  He encouraged me not to hold the pencil as I do when writing.  The grip is too tight.  Considering Dad's drawings were sublime, I think he had a point.  :)

Egg and Boxes (On being student)


The post On Being A Drawing Student appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Valentine Girl & BlogLovin


Hi! Happy Day before Valentine's!


Valentine Girl

Since its Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a little heart day Valentine Girl.  This is from a card I created for my Mom.  She gave me the toy that was my model.  I think she received it in a happy meal of some sort.  In any case, I've had it for about 20 years.  Silly, but fun!  

Enjoy!  Thanks!

PS.   I'm joining "Bloglovin" to try its reader function and network with other blogs.  This post was used to "claim" my blog and as a test post.  Thanks!


The post Valentine Girl & BlogLovin appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

How To Draw

The "Draw" Question

I've been wondering about what people mean when they say someone knows how to draw.  Draw what?  Draw how?  How did they learn?  Do we every finish learning?

Drawing: Vase and boxes

Drawing Approaches

I think there are all sorts of drawing approaches.  Just as in painting, there is the classical approach where the drawing looks like the subject; ie a chair looks like  a chair.  On the other side of the spectrum, there is the non-objective approach, where the drawing doesn't look like an object.  Instead, it relates to a feeling, impression or maybe something else entirely.  

Common Comments

Back to this idea of "knowing how to draw".  Hanging around artists, art shows and art organzations, one hears the comment "oh, that person really knows how to draw".  And the opposite is common too, "that person doesn't know how to draw…"  The funny thing is that it is assumed that we know what these two comments mean.   Perhaps the speaker would be clear if he or she said instead, "I like the drawing" or "I don't like the drawing".  

Drawing Study: Egg and Box

My Thoughts

It seems to me that knowing how to draw is something we might strive for.  Some of us might become accomplished and masterful at drawing.  But, do we ever reach a point where we can say definitively "I know how to draw?"

Or, maybe we can.  Is a simple line, drawn on a piece of paper, evidence of being able to draw; of knowing "how to draw"?

Drawing Class

OK, you say, what is this really about?  I love drawing and I strive to learn more about the art of drawing.  Currently, I am enrolled and participating in a classical drawing class taught at one of the local art centers.  I am studying the fundamentals with desires to improve technical and artistic skills.  Its all part of my larger goal to "see as an artist sees".

But, even as I draw boxes, eggs and vases, I wonder, is one approach to drawing more valid than another?  Is drawing from life more artistic than drawing from imagination or emotion, or the other way around?  Which is right, true or authentic?

Answers?  Relax!

I don't have all the answers.  My husband suggests I just relax and enjoy drawing.  Could be he has a point.


Just for fun, I'm including three drawings that I worked this first week of drawing.  Maybe we'll compare in April when I've completed the class.  These are academic drawings done with a specific purpose in mind.  I'm studying proportions, placement, perspective and structure in the drawings shown her.


What do I think?  I hope learning how to draw never ends!  And, mastering the art and skill of drawing would good.

Class Acknowledgement

The class I'm taking is called "Academic Approach to Still Life Drawing and Painting with Sarah F. Burns".  It is being taught at the Ashland Art Center, Ashland OR.

PS.  I adjusted the contrast in the digital files of these drawings so you can see the pencil work better.  

Drawing: Column and boxes



The post How To Draw appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Vivisection, 10”x10”x1.5, oil & ink on wood…

Vivisection, 10”x10”x1.5, oil & ink on wood panel, SOLD

Organic form and it’s emergence from geometry. This painting has sold but there are a few available in this style in my online store!

Elaine Witteveen Artist Talk - Life Drawing - Show Your Art on an RVTD Bus!!

January 10– February 13, 2015

For over six decades Elaine A. Witeveen has been active in the arts. Her rich history is filled with stories of bringing artists together in the Northwest, and many travels at home and abroad. Come hear local artist Elaine A. Witteveen talk about her work and life as an artist next Wednesday, February 4th at 1pm in our Main Gallery.

Learn More About The Exhibit >>>

eileen Witteveen

Life Drawing: Academic Approach begins this Tuesday!

Only two spots left!
In this ten week class well-known local artist Sarah F. Burns will guide you in developing the skills to capture the expression of the human figure using a live model.Sarah’s extensive training includes study in contemporary art at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, academic realist drawing and painting at Ashland Academy of Art in Ashland, and intensive workshops with Ben Fenske, Michael Grimaldi, Andrew Ameral in contemporary classical painting, drawing and anatomy.

An incredible class with an amazing artist that you will not want to miss!

SIGN UP TODAY! Register here>>

to see our full list of adult classes, and to see our classes for youth.

A Chance to Exhibit Your Art on a RVTD Bus

A panel of judges will pick up to 10 winners whose art will be applied to one of RVTD’s new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered buses in the summer of 2015, and remain on the buses for seven years. Submit your work on paper no larger than 11″x17″ and turn it in to RVCOG or RVTD during normal business hours. The theme is what you love about the Rogue Valley and outdoor activities. All submissions must be turned in by the end of March, 2015. Please contact Mike Bowman at [email protected] or 541-608-2420 or Greg Staback at [email protected] for more information. See for information about their programs.

Lithia Park – Paintings From A Different View

The Park

Lithia Park is an historic place Ashland, Oregon.  Its a beautiful park designed by the same person who designed Golden Gate Park.  It has lots of varieties of trees.  A creek runs through it.  Rhododendrons and azaleas bloom profusely in spring.  There are two duck ponds.  But, I chose a different viewpoint – looking down at my feet.

Autumn In Lithia Park

The Challenge

My choices for day five of the 3 paintings/day for 5 days FB challenge* date back to 2003.  These early paintings are still among my favorite, plus I think its instructive to see them again.  I contemplate how far I have traveled on this artistic journey.  The four paintings and drawing in this small series were purchased as a collection and I am happy knowing that they are together.

Autumn in Lithia Park

Back to the park.  It is a favorite place to visit for my husband and me.  One day in October of 2003, we were walking along one of the park trails and there were butterflies and baby skinks (a type of lizard) all over the place.  It was like a final bursting of life on that autumn day.  The coloration of the butterflies and baby skinks was similar to the colors I used in "Autumn in Lithia Park".  The butterflies were dark, almost black with orange and white spots.  The baby skinks and bright blue tails and yellow stripes running down the body.  What glorious color.

Autumn In Lithia Park II

Oddly enough, I have never seen the skink and butterfly combination in such profusion again in Lithia Park.

I did not draw on location.  I didn't have paper or pencil.  Instead, I took mental notes and when we returned to our hotel room (we had been visiting), I quickly drew my impressions and notes of what I had seen.  From these notes, I created four designs that became the paintings and drawing shown here.

Autumn in Lithia Park IV

A Word About the Colored Pencil Piece

Oh, I almost forgot, in the early days of my art "career", I worked colored pencil side-by-side with watercolor.  For the past five years or so, I have focused on my watercolor work.


I have enjoyed doing this mini, on-line retrospective of my work.  In thinking about my drawings and paintings, I am reminded of my goals and intentions I set to paper back in 2002 when I first started my artistic journey.  I have wanted to express what I see and feel in a personal way.  Inspired by nature, people, relationships and pets, the paintings are my own vision.  I suppose that's not particularly profound.  I'm thinking this is pretty much true of any artist.  We can't help but paint our own vision.

That being said, I've learned tremendously from other artists and I hope to continue to do so.  


I hope you enjoy the four views of "Autumn in Lithia Park".  Thank you Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to take part in the three-for-five FB challenge.

Autumn in Lithia Park III


The post Lithia Park – Paintings From A Different View appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.