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CCC Visiting Artist Workshop: “Design and Figure Drawing”

Grace Benedict, originally from Canada, and now residing on the Gulf Coast, will visit Clatsop Community College to present a workshop entitled “Design and Figure Drawing” on March 7, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Clatsop Community College Art Center Drawing and Painting Studio, Room 112, 1799 Lexington in Astoria, OR. The workshop will overlap the timeframe of the Winter Term life drawing class, but limited spaces are available to the public for a fee of $25.  Please contact Kristin Shauck at 503-338-2472 for registration information and a materials list.

Selected by juror Clint Brown to exhibit in the 2013 Au Naturel exhibit, Benedict was chosen for a special workshop award. In addition to this workshop, RiverSea Gallery will exhibit recent drawings based on the figure that showcase Benedict’s color and design sensibility. Please join the artist for the gallery reception on Saturday March 8, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Grace Benedict, Self-Portrait with Ginkgo

Grace Benedict, Self-Portrait with Ginkgo

“Design and the Figure Drawing” will emphasize design principles which can be applied to understanding the underlying energy, structure and vision of any composition. Initial drawing exercises with the live model will lead into a sustained drawing which will explore and build a conception of space: observing, measuring and processing, making visual connections and generating a personal vision. Increasing creative awareness, which includes planning, is a key component to the workshop.  After the morning session, Benedict will share a brief presentation of drawings of figures within design frameworks and discuss how her work has evolved, both unconsciously and intentionally. During the final session of the hands-on workshop, participants will introduce a surprise element, yet continue to use the power of observation and interpretation to add new meaning to their original drawing. Benedict will challenge and encourage each person’s design strategies toward a successful integration and harmony of elements.  A variety of papers, drawing materials, both dry and wet, including color, are encouraged.
Grace Benedict has taught drawing for 35 years and is currently working as an artist in Ocean Springs, MS.  From 2002 to 2013 she served as the Foundations Drawing Coordinator in the Department of Art & Design in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  She holds a BFA degree from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada and an MFA from Tulane University, LA. As an emerging realist artist in the 80s she was a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth T. Greenshields grant. Her life drawings are spontaneous and undisguised, yet hold very conscious conceptions of the figure, the portrait and other thematic constructions.  In addition, she works on highly developed colored pencil drawings.  A focus on historical cemetery figures and statues was supported by an Individual Artist Grant (2005) from the Indiana Arts Commission. Benedict’s drawings have been juried into contemporary figurative national and international exhibitions. As a member of the co-operative gallery Artists Own in Lafayette, IN since 2003 Benedict’s work is widely collected.

Through her work, Grace will show how something that is commonplace can become part of a narrative incorporating new meaning. Ambiguous space as a modern concept – how the surface and the illusion work to create tension – holds the imagery together in a way that makes an impact in the viewer’s mind. “The creative process for me is grounded in realism working from direct observation.   Imagery includes the figure, life in the garden and landscape, pattern and references to myth.  A composition tends to grow, move in a different direction and knit itself together from some point: at the very beginning, in the middle or closer to the end. The history, tension, energy and play between the actual recorded image and what I impose from the repertoire of motifs in my imagination will gravitate toward a final “design” that provokes a response and impacts the viewer.” These combined ideas allow me to express myself as an individual artist in today’s world. Harmonic connections of drawing the figure and drawing from the natural world can be interpreted as an embodiment of self.

Drawing Ovals

Study, Still Life with Swedish Candleholder and Espresso CupIn my head, I think about being able to draw what I want to.  I see the difference in the line between when I draw from life and when I draw from imagination.

In my minds eye, I see a painting of a figure and I want to paint like that.

Its like wanting to hold on to magic.

My reality is different.

I sweat over drawing ovals because, curses, I will learn to draw an oval with ease.  So I can draw cups, candlesticks and oval things.  And, the oval won’t be distorted.

Or, if it is distorted, it will still look elegant; and graceful; and I’m back to dreaming again.

Scowl at the oval.

Curse the oval.

Draw the oval.

Be the oval.

Or, is it an ellipse?


The post Drawing Ovals appeared first on Dancing Clouds Gallery -The Artistry of Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Drawing Ponies

Study, HorseDrawing

My creative process begins with drawing.  Because it is how I develop ideas, I feel that it is important for me to draw often.  I work at it daily, though I don’t always complete a drawing.

One of my most enjoyable types of drawings are these “simple” works done with watercolor and graphite.  These two pieces I did in one sitting while working at Art & Soul Gallery.  My desire is to develop my seeing ability and brush skills.

I have been reading and working through Juliette Aristides’ book “Lessons in Classical Drawing”.   I like her approach and am refining my sighting skills.  One thing she suggests is using something thin like a knitting needle or skewer to find the long lines in your subject.  I was surprised at how well it works; there is so much more to see!  And, it’s fun.

Study, Horse Running

Featured Artist

I’ve been thinking about my upcoming “Featured Artist” opportunity at Art & Soul Gallery this August.  Its six months away and I want to be prepared.  I will be showing my “Toy Pony” paintings.  Hmmm, I imagine I’ll be working ponies and horses often between now and then.

The post Drawing Ponies appeared first on Dancing Clouds Gallery -The Artistry of Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Gross Anatomy for Artists Workshop

The workshop I just attended was amazing – we drew a model every morning and in the afternoons we studied cadavers at Standford Medical School.  What an experience.  These photos are from the first day – you can see me in the pink sweater with the face mask – looking frightened.  First day was freaky, mostly because of the formaldehyde smell.  The next day was interesting and then each subsequent day was more and more and more interesting and I’m so glad to have had the experience.  Getting a sense of the physical nature of the  insertions, origins, actions, structure, function of the muscles was so valuable, although really just an intro, I have much to memorize to thoroughly benefit.  I’d like to go back again – hopefully this summer.

FYI – Michael Grimaldi, instructor, pointed out on the first day that these bodies were given by their former inhabitants very consciously – these aren’t coerced or unclaimed bodies or anything.  Dan pointed out that studying them really shows you how that what makes us human is the animating force, and it’s true; it was surprisingly undisturbing – I kept finding myself saying, “it’s so beautiful”.

My drawings from the workshop aren’t much to write home about, so I’ll just show the cell phone photos.  The real value was in the new understanding, the curiosity sparked, the ideas I plan to pursue.

drawings from gross anatomy workshop

Check out BACAA, Michael Grimaldi and Dan Thompson. BACAA – workshop host and location, Michael  and Dan, instructors.

Filed under: Drawing, figure, Inspiration, Uncategorized Tagged: 2014, anatomy, anatomy for artists, art, art workshop, artist, BACAA, Dan Thomson, drawing, figurative, figure, fine art, Gross Anatomy, gross anatomy for artists, Inspiration, life, life drawing, Michael Grimaldi, nude drawing, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, study, travel, work of sarah f burns, workshop

CCC Workshop – Gesture Drawing: The Essence of Figure

"Shadow Play: Yvette's Gloves" drawing of a nude woman by Ellen Soderquist

Shadow Play: Yvette’s Gloves
45″ x 36.5″

Ellen Soderquist of Dallas, Texas, selected to exhibit her large-scale graphite drawings in the 2014 Au Naturel exhibit, will lead a workshop entitled Gesture Drawing: The Essence of Figure on Friday, January 31, 2014 from 9 am – 12 pm at the Clatsop Community College Art Center Drawing and Painting Studio, Room 112, 1799 Lexington in Astoria, OR.  During this workshop, participants will concentrate on gesture drawing techniques designed to sharpen the artist’s ability to see, internalize and express the figure. In describing the process of gesture drawing, Soderquist explains, “A gesture drawing is not a collection of leisurely studied and exactly positioned body parts and details. To create a gesture drawing of the human figure that is captivating, the flurry of charcoal dust or the tangled lines of graphite must coalesce into a palpable being. In this workshop, we will concentrate on various gestural techniques that will sharpen your ability to see, internalize and represent what you see. Our goal: an essence of humanity…a moment frozen.”


The workshop will overlap the timeframe of the Winter Term life drawing class, but limited spaces are available to the public for a fee of $25.  Please contact Kristin Shauck at 503-338-2472 for registration information and a materials list. Space is limited.

"Shadow Play: The Shade" drawing of a nude woman by Ellen Soderquist

Shadow Play: The Shade
36.5″ x 45″


Since 1979, Ellen Soderquist has been a studio artist, a teacher of life drawing and a proponent of the nude in contemporary art. As an artist, Ellen creates intelligent and sensuous graphite drawings of the nude human body. As a teacher of life drawing, she advocates that her students not only learn the techniques of life drawing but that they also understand the role of the nude in the history of art. As a lecturer and an author, Soderquist brings the complex relevance of the unclothed human body to the consciousness of contemporary culture.  In addition to leading her workshop, she will be present for the Au Naturel artist reception January 30th at 6:00 p.m. in the Art Center Gallery at 1799 Lexington in Astoria, OR, which is free and open to the public.   More information about Ellen Soderquist and her artwork can be found at the artist’s website,



Please direct inquiries to:  Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472; kshauckatclatsopccdotedu  (kshauckatclatsopccdotedu)  .

Goat, One




I live in a small town in southern Oregon.  The town is surrounded by farms, fields, vineyards and orchards.  Some of these agricultural hots spots have goats.  For some reason, goats always make me smile.


I have been looking for subjects as I see beyond my Toy Pony and MsKitty projects.  Animal themes seem to be a natural for me these days.  Goats are on the top of my list of themes, along with pigs and maybe dogs.  Today’s drawing is the first “Peggy-style” goat.  Peggy-style is my personal blend of realism and imagination, sometimes more of this or more of that.


I hope you enjoy the goat, and more soon!

The post Goat, One appeared first on Dancing Clouds Gallery -The Artistry of Margaret Stermer-Cox.

ACEO + miniature painting all in one – Savannah Swamp

Original art. 1.2″ x 2.35″ (approx.) miniature gouache (transparent watercolor) painting on illustration board mounted onto an ACEO (2.5 x 3.5″) with transparent photo corners. The ACEO has the swamp landscape continued onto the ACEO using ink.
ACEO (Art Cards, Editions & Originals), always
SFA – Small Format Art (nothing
over 14″)

“An experiment with ACEO creation. I combined

School Skull Study

I teach a class on Wednesdays and before/afterward I’ve been working on this skull as a demo for students.  Next step – transfer it to a panel and paint it.

Skull Drawing

Filed under: Drawing, Portrait, Still Life Tagged: 2013, anatomy, Ashland Art Center, class, drawing, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, skull, still life

Drawing Drapery

Study, Napkin on a Box

I find studying drapery, which usually means my favorite linen napkin, to be satisfying.  The folds create interesting shapes and patterns.  And, there is a bit of understatement.  I come back to drapery periodically because it is a challenge to draw.  One day, I may start painting the drapery.  Hmmm, I think I’ll put that idea on my list of “things to do”.

Update, 31 January 2013.  I’m going to participate in the “30 paintings in 30 days 2014″ challenge starting 1 January 2014.   For more, I invite you to see Leslie Saeta’s blog; she’s the hostess and idea person behind the challenge.

PS.  My website is being upgraded, so it may be down from time to time.  Thank you and happy 2014!


The post Drawing Drapery appeared first on Dancing Clouds Gallery -The Artistry of Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Life Drawing Class

Woman from Eugene  Beth

I will be teaching a ten-week life drawing class starting mid Feb 2014 on Wed evenings.  Hone your skills, learn what to do during long poses, learn to capture the weight, character, proportion, placement, structure, form, anatomy, volume, value, texture and expression of the human figure.  Ten weeks is enough time to sink your teeth in and make excellent progress.  Plus – it’s so much fun!  Male or female nude models are present during each session.  This is appropriate for beginners or intermediate art students.  We’ll start with gestures and work up to long poses that can prepare you for painting.  Advanced students may paint with instructor approval.  (I’m a tough bird, I believe drawing is vitally important – even to advanced painters-  but if you have experience and understand the principles well then you may paint in addition to drawing.)  Held at the Ashland Art Center – follow this link to a registration form.

  • Life Drawing with Sarah F Burns
  • Wednesdays 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Feb 12, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19, (skip the two weeks of Andy’s workshop), April 9, 16, 23, 30
  • Fee:  $270 for Art Center members, $320 General
  • Held at Ashland Art Center, 357 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520
  • Questions?  Contact me at sarahfburns {at} gmail {dot) com

Filed under: Classes, Drawing, figure, Uncategorized Tagged: Ashland Art Center, class, drawing, female nude drawing, figurative, figure, fine art, life drawing, nude drawing, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, sketch, southern oregon