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Talent Library Entrance: Day 11 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Remembering My First Library Visit

Libraries.  Do you remember the first time you went to a library?  I do.  I don’t remember the book I checked out, but I do remember going.

Up until that  magical day, libraries were grown up places and I was too young.  

Talent Library Entrance, Watercolor by Margaret Stermer-Cox

We were living in Bayard, NM and the nearest library was ten miles away in Silver City, NM.  To drive to the library was a big deal.  My mother would go to the library and take my older siblings, but I was not old enough yet.

Then one day I wasn’t too young and got to go with my Mom.  I felt important.  I’m sure I read the book I checked out over and over again.  It was the start of a long relationship with libraries.

The Book Mobile

We used to have a book mobile come to our village too.  I remember happy visits and checking out books.  If a book was about horses or dogs, I was certain to be interested in it.

Speaking of book mobiles, I have a friend and fellow artist who used to be a book mobile driver/librarian.  What a special job!

Buying Books Through School

Though I’m dating myself, I will say that there wasn’t a book store in our village.  Periodically we could order paperback books through our school.  I’d pore over the catalog and take my time in choosing the book I was allowed to order.  It was special!

These were the days before computers and the internet changed our lives.  And yet, I think libraries are still important, perhaps more so than ever.

Local Libraries

Local libraries are our communities’ repository for the written word.  Thoughts, ideas, observations, musings and even gossip exists on the pages.  Stories, pictures, histories, its all there.  Rich and poor alike have access.  The library is a “living” monument to what we think is important.

It did strike me as appropriate to be drawing and painting the library on September 11th.  For me, the seeds of freedom can be sewn and nurtured in the library.

Our library in Talent is a branch of the local Jackson County Library System.  It serves us well.

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Talent Cafe: Day 10 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

New (Real) Talent Cafe

I thought I’d clarify, this is the NEW Talent Cafe!  (They call themselves the “Real” Talent Cafe).

Old (Original) Talent Cafe

On August 31st, I posted an article called “Drawing Talent: Joe Dunbar Designs & Talent Cafe” . You see, the building depicted in the watercolor study was the old, original Talent Cafe. It was the Talent Cafe of my husband’s youth.

Talent Cafe

But, that Talent Cafe went on into the memory books.

Now, Talent has a NEW Talent Cafe!  New building, new location, new owners, new everything but the name.

Lots of Customers

And, let me tell you, they have a lot of customers!  I’ll explain.

Empty Parking Lot

I walked down to the Talent Cafe’s location late this morning. The parking lot was somewhat empty. I was looking for a place to sit that might offer a view with nice light and dark contrast.

Seeing that the parking lot was almost empty, I thought it wouldn’t matter if I set up in a parking space.  But, I hesitated because I’m not particularly familiar with this cafe.  I decided to set up in the weeds just outside of the parking lot.

Last Place Taken – OOPs

Picture this, I’m busy sighting, drawing lines, splashing paint, focusing on my work, not paying attention to the parking lot.  Slowly, the parking lot fills up until the last slot is taken!  OOPS! The last slot was right in front of me and my view was blocked. This is a busy place!

Busy Place

You might not realize that this is a popular cafe; I certainly didn’t! It’s in a small “strip mall”. The backside of the building faces a major road, highway 99 or the Pacific highway.  This is the part I usually see. All the parking is around front so you don’t see how much business the cafe receives. And, its busy!

Good Espresso

Personally, I have only been to the cafe once.  I had a cup of espresso and it was good.  After seeing today’s busy parking lot, maybe I’ll have to try it again!

Update:  Thank you!

I received an enthusiastic email from the owner of the Talent Cafe and I feel honored.  She is an artist herself, working in acrylic paint.  Inside the cafe the walls are decorated with her own, original artwork.  Thank you Ms. Obrien, I feel honored!

 

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Tea Party: Day 8 & 9 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Two paintings with tea cups, that makes a tea party doesn’t it?

The Tea Cup’s Story

I collected my tea cup when I was living in Germany. Its made in there and its dishwasher safe, a bonus! Its kind of an odd choice of souvenir because I’m not a big tea drinker. But, I liked the cup and saucer. I’ve had it for about 20 years now; its family.

Espresso & Tea, Watercolor by Margaret Stermer-Cox

The Espresso Story

I like espresso…a lot! I like a roast that’s rich, strong and leaves a citrus-like after taste. I start my day with two shots of espresso, neat. This cup is one that we picked up at a Pier 1 import store. Its sturdy and does the trick.

The Hot Sauce Story

I’m sure you can figure out the particular brand of hot sauce. I remember my oldest sister coming home from grade school one day and telling us she won the hot sauce drinking contest with her class mates. Can you imagine? I was in awe.

I have used copious amounts of hot sauce on various food items over the years.  Though, in spite of what my husband says, I’ve not had it on ice cream.

Here’s a bit of trivia you might not know. Hot sauce will freeze and the bottle will shatter somewhere between minus 24 degrees and minus 50 degrees. This happened to me in Alaska, to my dismay.

Tomorrow, more tea?

Day 8 Hot Tea M StermerCox

 

 

 

 

 

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SOU Churchill Hall: Day Seven of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Yesterday (day 7) my husband Robert and I went to nearby Ashland, OR on an errand. We thought it would be fun for me to do a watercolor study of something at Southern Oregon University (SOU). I chose “Churchill Hall” which we used to call the administration building.

Churchill Hall, SOU

You see, some thirty years ago my Robert and I were attending SOU. Robert was a Political Science major. I was doing graduate studies in biology. At that time the school was known as Southern Oregon State College (SOSC). It has had various other names too, such as Southern Oregon Normal School; Southern Oregon College.

I looked online and found some “gee whiz” facts about Churchill Hall.

  • Built in 1926
  • Italianate Revival Architectural Style
  • Houses president, senior staff and class rooms for the nursing program
  • One of the past presidents of the University was Julius A. Churchill

And, here I thought it was named after Winston.

Mostly, I liked the nice lawn, trees and garden around Churchill Hall.

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Porto Gelato: Day 6 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Today’s painting is a good example of how I find subject matter  I had a story I wanted to tell, but didn’t know what building would help me tell that story.

Drawing Talent:  Porto Gelato

I walked downtown and was looking at sights and wasn’t quite satisfied.  Then, I saw my neighbor and proprietress of “Funky Fashions” in downtown Talent.  We had a chat.  As I started to walk away, I looked across the street at “Porto Gelato”.  Perfect!

Porto Gelato is a new business in our town.  It is family owned.  Italian ice cream, what could be better?

So, I sat down and enjoyed myself.  Later, my husband and I came back and sampled their gelato.  We will have to try it again!

 

 

 

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A Cubist State of Mind, Day 5 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. ”
-Pablo Picasso

Day five of 30 paintings in 30 days.  I am  burnt siena, ultramarine blue and Cubist today.  What else?

Cubist "Lady in Blue"

 

I awoke feeling square.

I drew one.

Then I drew a circle, just to be different.

Add a line, a stitch in time and I had a face.

Am I a Cubist? Could be.

Feeling out of shape, I exercise.

I triangulate out the door.  Round I go then point back again.

Shipshape: I’m a rectangle and a point.

Lie down, touch the ground, I’m flat.

Draw this; draw that.

I’m in a geometric state of mind.

Square.  Circle.  Triangle.  Polygon.

Point. Line. Draw.

No time.  State of mind.

Square and circle; Cubist it is.

——–

Happy Friday and I hope you enjoy my non-poem and “Lady in Blue”.  This is my “Day Five” accomplishment for the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge that I’m participating in.  Its fun!

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Day Four of 30 Paintings in 30 Days: Railroad Depot

Why Not?

The day was beautiful, the light just right, so why not paint outside? Exactly! And, off I went to visit my hometown railroad depot for a session of watercolor painting. I have drawn it before as part of my “Drawing Talent” project, but had not painted the depot.

Railroad Depot Talent OR by Margaret Stermer-Cox

Railroad Connections

I was brainstorming about what attracts me to railroad depots; what’s my personal connection? Naturally, it all started when I was a child:

  • My grandfather Stermer was an engineer for the railroad. He worked out of Elmira NY. He used to talk about trains, the Erie & Lackawanna railroad, and wear a railroad cap.
  • My grandparents Stermer would come visit us via the train. It would be a treat to go in the car with my Dad to either pick them up or drop them off.
  • There was a railroad track that went through my childhood town of Bayard, NM. It used to be part of the Santa Fe Railroad. It was a freight train and went right by the grade school. We loved watching the trains go by and waving at the engineers.
  • I’ve traveled by train in the US and Europe; its great fun and an excellent way to travel.

Talent Gets A Railroad Depot

Depot Nearby

The train tracks that run through my current home town of Talent, Oregon, are close to my house. They go through the middle of town. The depot is only a couple of blocks away. I jog by it during my morning exercise. However, I did’t know that much about the depot itself, until I started this blog post.

Mr. Talent Gets the Mail

I found a file on line from our Talent Historical Society about the depot. First of all, there really was a Talent family that the town is named after. The Talents used to receive the mail at their house during the stagecoach days. Mr. Talent became Postmaster. Eventually, the railroad began delivering to the Talent’s house. This situation continued for over 15 years.

Depot Delivered to Talent

By the turn of the 20th Century, the town was big enough that the citizens figured they ought to have a depot. They lobbied the Southern Pacific Railroad for a depot and received one. A depot was delivered to Talent, by train of course! The depot came from nearby Medford, Oregon. Coincidentally, Medford was getting a new depot so Talent received the old.

Depot a Replica

Today’s depot is a replica of the depot Talent once had. Its not used as a depot because passenger and freight traffic no longer runs on the rail. The rail is maintained, however. Who knows, maybe one day rail service will resume.

I found it amusing to imagine the train depot being moved down the tracks. If you click on this link, you can see a photo of Talent’s depot being transported down the track: http://www.talenthistory.org/forms/2010_2.pdf.

Talent Stats

Oh! Yes, there is a sign on the railroad depot with some stats. Talent’s elevation is 1635 feet. We are 336 miles from Portland, OR and 436 from San Francisco, CA.

Tomorrow:  Day Five of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

 

 

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Day Two of 30 Paintings in 30 Days: Wavy Hair

Day Two:  Lady With Wavy Hair

Hair; aren’t our attitudes about it interesting?  This lady’s hair reminds me of 1950 styles.  Plus, for those of us who lived through it, the 60s saw quite the experimentation in hair for men.  What are your thoughts?

Lady with Wavy Hair

We link thoughts about who we are to our hair.  For example:

  • Hair gives an indication of our overall health, fitness and age
  • We hint at our personality through our hair style
  • We have cultural stereotypes based on hair, for example intelligence and blonde hair
  • We cut, curl and color it, though I keep mine long, natural and braided

I have wavy hair, maybe this is a self portrait?  In this portrait, I think the curves of the hair emphasize her femininity and soften the angles of the portrait.

Personal Story Time

When I was in the military, I remember having a discussion with my Sergeant Major.  The sergeant major had been in the Army many years and I had only been in two or three.  He mentioned women’s hair length and said that one day I would understand why military women wear their hair short.

Sergeant Major was usually right about things, but on this he failed.  I never quite figured out what he was talking about.  Military women wear their hair various lengths, but in a traditional, conservative manner.

On to day three of thirty paintings in thirty days!

 

 

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Day One – Thirty Watercolor Paintings in 30 Days

Its About Production

I’m embarking on a watercolor painting adventure for the month of September.  Who knows, maybe it will become a habit? I’ve signed up to participate in Leslie Saeta’s “Thirty Paintings in 30 Days” and today is day one.  Why accept the challenge?

  • Production – its a numbers game; the more you produce, the better you get.  Certainly, this is the case with watercolor paintings
  • Overcoming “fear”, or at least learning to deal with it.  What kind of fear?  The fear of getting started, the fear of not being good enough.  You get the point!  I can excel at fear if I let myself
  • Because I like watercolor painting challenges
  • My artist friend Karen Knutson participated last January and it seemed like fun

Lady in Red

Three Series.

I’m toying with some ideas about themes for my month of watercolor paintings.  Can’t seem to settle on just one yet.

  • Drawing Talent.  I have already started this idea.  Several times a week I go out and do watercolor sketches of my town of Talent, OR
  • Portrait of a Lady Series.  These are variations on a theme of a portrait of a lady done in a modern, somewhat Cubist style
  • Still Life.  I like to paint still life set ups to practice and learn.

Today’s Watercolor Painting – Lady in Red

My Lady in Red was an improvisation.  I had a great time and was able to keep things simple.  I think this one shows the value of “less is more” sometimes.  The portrait hints but doesn’t tell you everything.

Goal

Produce more; get into a rhythm of doing!  More watercolor paintings!

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Drawing Talent: Joe Dunbar Designs & Talent Cafe

Dunbar Designs & Total Picture

Draw quick, before they go!

Yes, while researching this blog post, I found out that Joe Dunbar Designs & The Total Picture are leaving Talent to set up shop in nearby Medford, OR. Mr. Dunbar has a good following for his custom designed, one of a kind garments.

Total Picture & Joe Dunbar Designs, a Watercolor Sketch by Artist Margaret Stermer-Cox

Mr. Dunbar & Talent

Mr. Dunbar has donated much of his time to our community by serving on the Talent Public Arts Committee.  Both he and his mother are visual artists as well.  They run a framing business along side of the dress making and art creating businesses.

Come to think of it, the title “Total Picture” applies.  Fashion design, framing and painting all under one roof ; it works!

I’m happy that I drew this building while Mr. Dunbar’s business still resides in it.  You might see the suggestion of two dresses in the front right hand building.

The Building!

But, the building remains!  And, the building was there before Mr. Dunbar established his business.

The First Talent Cafe

Years ago, two women owned a cafe in the building, named the Talent Cafe*.  A third woman helped them run it. My husband remembers it well. As a boy living in this valley, he went with his parent to the cafe on occasion. One rule was that if you did not finish your dinner, you did not receive any desert. Funny; can you imagine a cafe having such a rule today?

Lila Parker & Marie Long

I am able to verify my husband’s memory on the Friends of Talent website. The ladies that owned the cafe were Lila Parker and Marie Long. My husband remembers their marble soda fountain.  He remembers the ladies and thought they were cool.  The dinners were homemade and good. He always cleaned his plate. One of the ladies used a crutch but still served.

Personal Connection

I have a recollection of going to the cafe with my husband and his parents in 1981. There was generally only one entrée on the menu.  For example, on Thursday night’s meatloaf was served with appropriate sides. I remember sitting at a table up front in a lovely, old fashioned cafe. It was a treat.

Note About Today’s Talent Cafe

* There is a “Talent Cafe” currently operating in Talent.  The building in which it resides is not the original building; its a couple of blocks away.  The owners and crew are different too.  I have had a cup of espresso there and found it tasted good.  Perhaps I will draw their place too one day.

Next Up:  30 Paintings in 30 Days

Starting tomorrow, September 1st, I plan to participate in the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta Fine Art.  More soon!

 

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