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“Torsten On Bass” Watermedia Painting Series

Challenge

Welcome to Day Four of the 3-paintings-per-day-for-five-day (3-4-5) FB challenge!  Today I'm featuring my "Torsten on Bass" series, and for a blog bonus, I'm adding a fourth piece.  (Thank you Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in the challenge).  

 

Inspiration

The paintings in the series "Torsten on Bass" were inspired by photographs my husband took of some of our musician friends from Germany.  We lived in Germany during the 1990's.  We met and became friend with a local rock and roll band.  They called themselves the "Lunatics United".  I would say they were not "lunatics" but they were a fun, hard rock band.  They had a vocalist, two guitarists, a bassist and drummer.  Torsten played bass.  

Lesson Learned

These paintings were done in 2008.  I learned a lesson during the process of developing the designs that has served me well.  I started by drawing from the photograph.  I became frustrated because the drawing from the photograph did not express what I felt about the band or music.

After a few drawings, I put the photographs away.  I created new drawings from memory, imagination and as a response to how music makes me feel.  Oddly enough, the first "Torsten on Bass" has as much to do with the blues as it does with rock and roll.  I liked the resulting figure and the muted colors.

After successful design number one, I naturally had to do some more.  In designs II (Rock and Roll), III & IV, I thought about going to rock and roll concerts, the heat of the lights, the sound of the music and how it made me feel.  Plus, I took more liberties with the figure.

What did I learn?  By drawing from life or photographs first, I get the feel of the subject.  Then, I let myself loose with memories, imagination and emotion.  I create something that says what I feel about the subject.  Plus, I have a great time.

Exhibiting

I have rarely shown these works, although "Torsten on Bass" was exhibited in a juried show in Springfield, OR.  In looking back at the images, I am pleased with the work.  I wonder why I stopped!  

Two of the pieces are in private collections:  "Torsten on Bass – Rock and Roll" and "Torsten on Bass III".  "Torsten on Bass IV" has never been shown, oddly enough.  I did more drawings, but all of them are in sketchbooks put away in storage.

Its wonderful to be able to pull these paintings out and share them with you.  I hope you enjoy them!  Thanks!

 

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I Heart Kinesiology!

Back to School with Kinesiology at Ashland Institute of Massage!

My ongoing obsession with knowing specifically the origin, insertion, action and shape of muscles has led me to take a rather in-depth kinesiology class.  Over 100 class hours, plus out of class study time will keep me busy til April.  And, of course I’m translating a lot of this stuff from massage application to artist application.  I feel so fantastic when I’m in a class I love.

 

Filed under: Drawing, figure Tagged: 2015, anatomy, art, figurative, figure, fine art, kinesiology, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, sketch, work of sarah f burns

Still Life With Toy Pony – Three Watercolors & A Drawing

Toy Pony Series

On day three, its three paintings and a drawing from my "Still Life With Toy Pony" series.  Day three refers to the "three paintings a day for five days" challenge being carried out on Facebook.  Artist and friend Myrna Wacknov invited me to join in on the fun.

I chose "Still Life with Toy Pony" because I have worked on this particular series of paintings since 2009.  It has been a major part of my artistic growth.

The series followed the "KittyKitty" series.  This series is a creativity and design problem.  I borrowed the idea from artist Mike Bailey, who I discovered through Mryna Wacknov's blog.  

Here's the problem. 

Pick three things that are alike and one thing that is different.  Set up a still life.  Develop 20 designs.  Develop 20 more.  If you're really into the problem, draw 40 more.  I think Mr. Bailey is over 100.  

What you learn.  

By doing the same subject 20 times, you force yourself to start being creative.  To use a phrase from Mr. Bailey, you go beyond the obvious.  You start being experimental.  Simplying, stylizing, embellishing, reorganizing: these are the types of approaches that went through my head.  

What I Did.

I picked three "geometric" items hanging around my house.  The espresso cup – because I like espresso.  The candlestick was a wedding gift.  The vase was a little clay thing I picked up in Germany.  They have the "cup" type form in common.  They're variations on a column.  I added one "organic" shaped object – a small toy pony I picked up in San Francisco's China Town when visiting in the late 70's.  Its made of satin.

I started drawing and numbering each as I went.  After a few drawings were done, I enlarged my favorites and started painting.  (The first drawing is included at the bottom of the page).

Eventually, I started looking at design considerations to create variations.  I learned about formats, colors, values, shapes, repetition, lines, patterns.  I did 80 drawings of which 19 are paintings.  I used watercolor primarily, though there are a few mixed water media pieces.  If you'd like to see most of the collection, I invite you to see it on my website Dancing Clouds.

Three Paintings

Today's three paintings were chosen because they each have some personal significance.  I am also including drawing number one so you can see the starting point. 

The green variation is the first painting of the series and was based on drawing number four.  You can easily see the still life objects:  espresso cup, candlestick, vase and toy pony.  There is some stylization.  This paintings was done in 2009.

The next one I chose was design 53.  I painted this one in 2010; it pre-dates the painting of design 39, the third painting (2012).  The still life shapes in design 53 are flattened, but you still get a feeling of three dimensional objects.  With design 39, the objects are flattened and may be hard to recognize.

If you look at the three paintings, you will notice that I shifted from color schemes being dominant to value patterns being dominant.  ("Value" here refers to the relative lightness and darkness of shapes).

I chose the paintings specifically to illustrate the kind of artistic growth one can gain by studying in this manner.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

 

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Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings

The Challenge

Lighthouses are my theme for Day Two.  This is part of the art tag challenge on facebook:  Three Paintings a Day for Five Days.  (My thanks to artist Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in this challenge).  

Lighthouses & Childhood

I grew up in a house with lighthouse paintings.  My father had done several paintings of the subject and they lined the walls of our house.  I think some were of lighthouses in Maine and some in Spain.  In any case, I thought they were exotic, fascinating paintings.

My childhood home was in the desert Southwestern United States.  The ocean and lighthouses belonged to a different world and fired my imagination.  I wanted to visit lighthouses and own a painting or two myself.

Since childhood, I've seen and visited several lighthouses in this country and abroad.  

Grays Harbor Lighthouse

There are many along the Washington and Oregon coast, where I live these days.  Also, a friend gave me an ornament of the Grays Harbor (Washington) Lighthouse.  The lighthouse became my model, along with some broken sea shells from the beaches of Grays Harbor.

Naturally, a little Peggy-style Cubism creeps in to my design as does a lot of imagination.  There are more versions.  I think these three have a sense of the storms that visit the Northwest United States Coast.

A word about my naming system, "D" in the title refers to "design", as in "D10" means "Design 10".  Thanks!

The post Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings

The Challenge

Lighthouses are my theme for Day Two.  This is part of the art tag challenge on facebook:  Three Paintings a Day for Five Days.  (My thanks to artist Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in this challenge).  

Lighthouses & Childhood

I grew up in a house with lighthouse paintings.  My father had done several paintings of the subject and they lined the walls of our house.  I think some were of lighthouses in Maine and some in Spain.  In any case, I thought they were exotic, fascinating paintings.

My childhood home was in the desert Southwestern United States.  The ocean and lighthouses belonged to a different world and fired my imagination.  I wanted to visit lighthouses and own a painting or two myself.

Since childhood, I've seen and visited several lighthouses in this country and abroad.  

Grays Harbor Lighthouse

There are many along the Washington and Oregon coast, where I live these days.  Also, a friend gave me an ornament of the Grays Harbor (Washington) Lighthouse.  The lighthouse became my model, along with some broken sea shells from the beaches of Grays Harbor.

Naturally, a little Peggy-style Cubism creeps in to my design as does a lot of imagination.  There are more versions.  I think these three have a sense of the storms that visit the Northwest United States Coast.

A word about my naming system, "D" in the title refers to "design", as in "D10" means "Design 10".  Thanks!

The post Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Three Cats

Cats are one of my favorite subjects. I think it most appropriate that I start of my "FB Art Challenge" with some kitties.

I was tagged to do the challenge by artist and friend Myrna Wacknov.  The challenge is to post three paintings per day for five days.  I get to tag other artists each day.

I think it will be fun curating a micro show every day, going through my various collections.

Today's watercolor paintings are from my "kittykitty" series which features a cat.  The cat was my Aunt Mary's cat.  She was a quiet, elegant being who liked to lie around with an air of deep knowledge.  Or, perhaps she was just a cat staring out into space.

 

"Kitty Kit…" my new painting is unusual in that I added text.  I wanted to imply that the cat is being called by someone off painting.  The cat is sitting on a pillow, comfortable and will move if and when she desires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "KittyKitty" painting series has done well for me.  Both "Groovy Kitty" and "Seriously KittyKitty" have been accepted into juried exhibitions.   Just as important, the series became a good vehicle to study design and style.

I have done at least 30 paintings or watercolor studies.  They're fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More soon!

 

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Greetings! Christmas Bunny on a Box or Two

…Christmas Bunny?

Just a little holiday greeting!  To all my friends, I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday.

I’d like to share a couple of watercolor cards I created for my Mom and Aunt Mary.  Why a bunny?  It just popped in my head…sort of the Christmas Bunny of Happiness.

I was thinking that my little Christmas rabbit was about as real as elves, don’t you think?  Maybe the elves have bunny friends.

Perhaps the Easter Bunny needed to evolve or try a new direction.  Do you suppose it’ll be back in time for Easter?

About the Rabbit

My model is a “netsuke” replica.  Netsuke are Japanese miniature sculptures.   They were originally designed to be used as fastener or toggle.  Apparently, some were so ornately carved that they have become works of art.

Germany

I collected this small rabbit in Berlin, GE.  My husband and I were there in the 1990’s and visited one of the museums.  Though I did pick up an art book in the gift shop, I was also taken by this small figure.  The rabbit is about an inch tall.

 

 

 

 Japan

Oddly enough, I have been to Japan.  I went to Sendai, Japan, in 1990.  I have some souvenirs from that visit that I treasure, though none of them art “netsuke”.   I’ll save them for a later date.

Merry Christmas

May the Red Christmas Bunny of Happiness come your way.

 

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Watercolor: Pepper, No Salt

I’m doing watercolor studies of my pepper mills these days.  Pepper and salt seem to go together like peas in a pod.  When you see one, you see the other.  So where is the salt?  Off paper, in the cupboard.

While I was drawing and painting my pepper mill, I was reminded that pepper was one of my Dad’s favorite spices.  He used to use lots of pepper on his eggs, salads and steaks.  He liked it best freshly ground from the pepper mill.  We had one that he and my mother purchased while living in Europe in the 1950s.

So, why draw and paint a pepper mill? Pleasant memories and great shapes!  Aren’t the curves lovely?

The other reason to draw the pepper mill is because I like it.   I like it so much, I did it again and added some eggs.  Still no salt.  Yes, these are two different mills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking of participating in Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days“.  I love painting with watercolor and the more paintings the better!

Lets see, what next?

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Bridge Over Bear Creek, Drawing Talent

Draw Outside?

Out of doors drawing in winter time.  I wasn’t going to do it.  I was going to wait until the weather was better, as in the spring or summer time.

The Challenge

Then I read about some dedicated en plein aire painters that go out year round, regardless of most weather.  Dealing with weather is part of the experience and the only way to get the colors and feel correct.

Sigh.  Nothing like having the proverbial gauntlet thrown down.

I would not classify myself as a true en plein aire painter yet.  I’m still finding my way around a landscape.  But, imply that serious en plein aire artists paint year round, and I feel the challenge.

Armed with Long Johns

So, this morning I pulled out the long johns, the wool sweater, the poly propylene gloves and my painting supplies.  It was 40 degrees and foggy.  I hoped I was prepared.  Out I went, down to Bear Creek.  Yes, my husband has seen a bear along Bear Creek; I have not.

About Bear Creek

Bear Creek runs along the eastern side of Talent.  There is greenway with a bike and walking path.  I walked south along the path to the bridge on Valley View Road.  This is part of my daily exercise route.  I have been looking at this bridge for quite some time, thinking I sure would like to draw it.  So, I plopped my stool down and set to work.

My husband and I routinely look for animals while we are out doing exercises.  We keep track of birds, cats, dogs, deer, and other local fauna.  Right by the bridge is a favorite place for the kingfishers.  While I was drawing, one came to visit.

About the bridge, it links west side with east side.  It goes over one of our major creeks.  It is the life line to many of our local wildlife and plant life.   Its modern and functional, built in 2005.

From an artistic point of view, I was attracted to the light and dark pattern and the shapes created by the bridge and water running below.

Not So Bad

All in all, a good experience.  I’ll have to go drawing in wintertime again!  And, guess what?  The sun came out before I was done.

PS.  I took the time to draw a value study first.  It helped me see and understand the shapes I saw be fore me.

 

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Color as Symbol: Red & Green Egg Cups

Easter Eggs Painted Christmas Colors Creates Visual Havoc

Sometimes we learn best from our mistakes.  To explain, take the color combination of red and green.  The colors are symbolically associated in Western cultures with Christmas.  I decided to test my abilities to compose with color by selecting a red and green scheme for a still life.  Oh, just to make it more challenging, I added a subject matter associated with spring and fertility: eggs.

My intention?  I wanted the painting to not make me feel like Christmas.

Hmmm, do you see the inherent problem with my intention statement?

Naturally, the resulting painting does make me feel like Christmas, almost.  The color scheme does not match the symbolism of the still life set up.  What I feel is confused.

Sometimes Technique Is Not Enough

Darn it!  I thought I did such an excellent job with the paint.  I put all my skills to the test (this was painted in 2006).

I liked the visual humor of the hens on the egg cups contrasting with the eggs themselves.  There are soft places and hard edges.  I really liked the painting.

But, the confusion caused by the clash of symbols is always there.  It might be resolved if we had a strong tradition of soft boiled eggs as breakfast for Christmas morning.  But, we don’t.  So, it remains one of my favorite, odd paintings.

Lessons Learn:  Color Symbolism & Dominance

One of the issues of color that artists talk about and use in design is dominance.  With my little study, the green and the red are nearly equal in dominance.  Oddly enough, that’s how we think of red and green as symbol.

Had I skewed the dominance radically either to green or to red, say 90:10, perhaps the painting would work.  We might see a red painting, (90% red: 10% green) instead of a Christmas painting.

By using a 50:50 split of colors, the mind goes back and forth between red and green.  It doesn’t rest.

Lessons Learned:  Symbolism

Consider the symbolism of the subject and the design elements.  They need to work together to communicate the same message.  We like a clear message.

On the other hand, if you want to be noticed, confusion might just work for you.

Consider…

Look at the color scheme of the next red or green painting you see.  How did the artist compose the colors?  Did the artist succeed?  Are the colors used symbolically or is there another intention?

As for me, I have not painted my eggs and egg cups for several years.  The egg cups are packed away.  Maybe one day I’ll break them out and re-try the still life.  Do you suppose I ought to do red and green again?

About the Egg Cups

I have a sentimental attachment to the eggs cups depicted in this still life.  They are from Sweden and were a gift from my good friend Ethel’s mother.   To explain the Swedish connection, Ethel was an exchange student from Sweden to my high school in New Mexico.  We became friends.  The next year I was an exchange student to Norway.  I took some time while I was in Scandinavia to visit Sweden and Ethel’s family.   Her mother made a particular impression since she was a creative tapestry weaver.  The entire family was generous; one of my best memories.

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