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Painting in Watercolor Society of Oregon Spring Exhibition

An invitation to see painting “Three Minute Egg #12” as one of 80 water-media paintings in the WSO Spring 2019 Experimental Exhibition!

About the Exhibition.

Greetings!  I am happy to say that my painting “Three Minute Egg #12” is showing in the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring 2019 Experimental Exhibition.   My painting is one of 80 stunning water-media works accepted by Juror Jean Pederson.

What makes this show particularly special is that the rules accept works from a variety of watermedia and supports.  That is to say, artists can include acrylic paint or use clayboard panels, for example.  There might be a bit of pastel or colored pencil worked in too, as long as the painting is primarily watercolor.

WSO Spring Water-media Exhibition: Three Minute Egg #12

Location and Hours.

The WSO Exhibition will held at the Oregon Society of Artists (OSA), 2185 SW Park Ave, Portland OR from April 8th to 30th. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 1 – 4 pm.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 6th from 4 to 5 pm.

About the Painting.

Some of my favorite things: egg cups, espresso cups, a timer and a spoon.  I am reminded of special family breakfasts we had when I was young.  It just seemed exotic to have an egg served in an egg cup.  I loved dunking my toast in the egg yolk.  The design of the painting perhaps emphasizes the idea of remembering the past.  The items are simplified and expressive rather than realistic.  It is about experimenting with shape and color to create something joyful.

The colors of the painting refer to an early morning, perhaps.  In other words, dawn; the time of day when the sun is just starting to peak into the breakfast room.  The darks of night have yet to disappear for the day.

This is one of 13 paintings created to date in my “Three Minute Egg” series of paintings.

If you would like, I wrote an article about creating the design for this painting and published almost a year ago.  You might enjoy the extra insight about the painting.

Invitation.

If you are in the area, I invite you to stop by and enjoy the show!

The post Painting in Watercolor Society of Oregon Spring Exhibition appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Busy But Still Drawing My Favorite Things

It has been a busy year so far!  I have been doing some volunteer work with the Watercolor Society of Oregon, for example.  Plus, I took artist Sarah F. Burns‘ “Anatomy for Artists” drawing class.  The class was intense, challenge and wonderful; a good learning experience.

Busy But Still Drawing: Coffee Cup With Broken Seashells

But, no matter how busy I get, I keep drawing.  You see, it’s absolutely essential for me to continue to do so.  In part, drawing keeps my skills honed and improving. Also, I draw for the fun of it.  And, I get grumpy if I don’t draw.

So, out come my favorite items, like these broken seashells, coffee cups, brandy snifters.  It is interesting that I never tire of them and I continue to learn.

Busy but still drawing: Brandy Snifter

So, I may be busy, but I can still find time to draw.  Thank you and please enjoy!

 

 

 

The post Busy But Still Drawing My Favorite Things appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Celtic Art Show 2019 and Irish Breakfast Tea #2

Celtic: Referring to Northwest Europe where Celtic culture and language survive.

Annual Celtic Celebration.

Greetings!

It is that time again.  That is, it is almost time for the Rogue Gallery and Art Center’s Celtic Celebration’s Art Show in Medford, OR.  Not surprisingly, the Celtic Celebration coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.  The Celtic Celebration is also a fund raising event for the gallery.

Celtic Celebration Art Show: Irish Breakfast Tea 2, Watercolor

I have participated before in the celebration’s art show and thought I would do a painting once again.  You see, it is fun trying to figure out how to fit a theme.  Plus, I thoroughly enjoy seeing what other artists create.

Previous Entries.

Back to the previous entries, one was the first “Irish Breakfast Tea” and the other was “Irish Maiden”.  Since I have continued to work with coffee and tea themed compositions, I figured I would try another tea cup version.  This time, I added a milk pitcher because it is my understanding that “Irish Breakfast Tea” is often served with milk.  Plus, the milk pitcher is a fun shape.  One more thing, you might notice a little bit of symbolism too.  Look for the shamrock and triskele.  And, so we have “Irish Breakfast Tea 2”.

Irish Breakfast Tea

The Details.

The Celtic Celebration Art Show is on display currently on display through March 22nd at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center, 40 South Bartlett in downtown Medford OR.  The public art reception is this Friday, March 15th from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

The Celtic Celebration Event is held on Sunday, March 17, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, also at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center.  It includes music, food, a singing competition and the art show.  For more information about the event and tickets, please see their website, www.roguegallery.org.

In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy “Irish Breakfast Tea 2”.  One more thing, yes, I do enjoy the flavor of Irish breakfast tea.

Celtic Celebration Irish Maiden

 

 

The post Celtic Art Show 2019 and Irish Breakfast Tea #2 appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Fun: It is About Drawing For The Joy Of It

Fun:  Something that brings pleasure, enjoyment or entertainment (noun).

Happy New Year!

Hi!  I realized a couple of days ago that I had yet to post to my blog this 2019!  Goodness gracious and happy new year!  And, why am I so slow?

Drawing Just For Fun: Ink and watercolor

Drawing Too Important To Be Fun?

I also had a thought that one of the reasons I’ve slowed down is that everything seems to be so important.  Or rather, I attach such a sense of importance to things like writing, drawing and painting, that I rarely allow myself a moment of fun.

Drawing For Fun: Three Characters

Doodle For The Fun Of It.

And, then, I thought, why not just doodle around for fun.  You know, like I did as a child.  How about you, did you ever just spend an afternoon drawing or painting just for the sheer pleasure?

Draw Like You Did When You Were 10 Years Old!

You see, when I was a kid, I used to draw for fun.  It was one of my main things to do.  That includes weekends, summers and whenever, I was usually drawing.  Even in school, from grade school on to college, I always drew in my notebooks.

Just For Fun: Well Now, Dude!

Give Yourself Five Minutes or Five Hours!

So, why not just doodle sometimes?  That is, take five minutes and play with a pencil on paper.  I am often delighted at the funny characters that dance across the page.

You Might Be Surprised!

And, then, go back to doing the hard work of developing skills and vision.  Now, the harder work of drawing and painting is more enjoyable.  My mind and heart are happy and ready to go!

Drawings From My Sketchbooks.

I thought I’d share some of my recent little doodle type drawings from a couple of my sketchbooks.  So, I selected a few of my favorites and posted them here.  Thanks!

It is about having fun: A page from my sketchbook, hands and yoga poses.

 

The post Fun: It is About Drawing For The Joy Of It appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Fun: It is About Drawing For The Joy Of It

Fun:  Something that brings pleasure, enjoyment or entertainment (noun).

Happy New Year!

Hi!  I realized a couple of days ago that I had yet to post to my blog this 2019!  Goodness gracious and happy new year!  And, why am I so slow?

Drawing Just For Fun: Ink and watercolor

Drawing Too Important To Be Fun?

I also had a thought that one of the reasons I’ve slowed down is that everything seems to be so important.  Or rather, I attach such a sense of importance to things like writing, drawing and painting, that I rarely allow myself a moment of fun.

Drawing For Fun: Three Characters

Doodle For The Fun Of It.

And, then, I thought, why not just doodle around for fun.  You know, like I did as a child.  How about you, did you ever just spend an afternoon drawing or painting just for the sheer pleasure?

Draw Like You Did When You Were 10 Years Old!

You see, when I was a kid, I used to draw for fun.  It was one of my main things to do.  That includes weekends, summers and whenever, I was usually drawing.  Even in school, from grade school on to college, I always drew in my notebooks.

Just For Fun: Well Now, Dude!

Give Yourself Five Minutes or Five Hours!

So, why not just doodle sometimes?  That is, take five minutes and play with a pencil on paper.  I am often delighted at the funny characters that dance across the page.

You Might Be Surprised!

And, then, go back to doing the hard work of developing skills and vision.  Now, the harder work of drawing and painting is more enjoyable.  My mind and heart are happy and ready to go!

Drawings From My Sketchbooks.

I thought I’d share some of my recent little doodle type drawings from a couple of my sketchbooks.  So, I selected a few of my favorites and posted them here.  Thanks!

It is about having fun: A page from my sketchbook, hands and yoga poses.

 

The post Fun: It is About Drawing For The Joy Of It appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9”

Pattern: it is about repeating lines, colors, shapes, values and sizes in a painting.

Reviewing Work For A Portfolio.

I have been preparing a portfolio of my work for submission to the online literary magazine Cascadia Subduction Zone.  In the process, I was looking at some of my works that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

It’s Like Looking At Pictures Of Friends.

Take, for instance, the watercolor Lighthouse D9 (or Design 9).  I am delighted to reacquaint myself with this painting.  The Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Point Chehalis, West Port, WA, inspired me to create this series of work.  You see, for a time I lived nearby and have always loved lighthouses.

Pattern: As Used in Lighthouse D9; Watercolor

Playing With Pattern.

When I created the design for Lighthouse D9 I was interested in exploring pattern.  When I say pattern, I am referring to a specific use of the term.  That is, I repeated and clustered smaller shapes in such a way that they “read” visually as one larger shape.

Examples:  Grass & Clouds.

Take, for example, the cloud shapes or the “v” grass clump shapes. Together, the smaller “v” shapes and the greenish color add up visually to tell you that I’m describing a grassy area.  The same goes for cloud shapes against a blue background on the upper portions of the painting.  I’m signaling “sky”.

OH!  A Way To Simplify!

Put another way, I’m using pattern to simplify my design.  Plus, add meaning.  And, it was fun!

What About Meaning?

The meaning?  For me, I’ve always liked lighthouses.  I grew up looking at lighthouse paintings by my father, artist John Stermer.  My feelings were pretty simple; I liked them.  They looked like remote places, but also beacons to the traveler.

This painting, with its festive colors and simple patterns, alludes to the brighter side of lighthouse symbolism.  That is the beacon that guides the navigator through rough seas.

Enjoy!

In closing, I hope that you enjoy my Lighthouse, D9.  Furthermore, you might want to keep a look out for pattern next time you go to an art show.

Thank you!

The post Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9” appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9”

Pattern: it is about repeating lines, colors, shapes, values and sizes in a painting.

Reviewing Work For A Portfolio.

I have been preparing a portfolio of my work for submission to the print literary magazine Cascadia Subduction Zone.  In the process, I was looking at some of my works that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

It’s Like Looking At Pictures Of Friends.

Take, for instance, the watercolor Lighthouse D9 (or Design 9).  I am delighted to reacquaint myself with this painting.  The Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Point Chehalis, West Port, WA, inspired me to create this series of work.  You see, for a time I lived nearby and have always loved lighthouses.

Pattern: As Used in Lighthouse D9; Watercolor

Playing With Pattern.

When I created the design for Lighthouse D9 I was interested in exploring pattern.  When I say pattern, I am referring to a specific use of the term.  That is, I repeated and clustered smaller shapes in such a way that they “read” visually as one larger shape.

Examples:  Grass & Clouds.

Take, for example, the cloud shapes or the “v” grass clump shapes. Together, the smaller “v” shapes and the greenish color add up visually to tell you that I’m describing a grassy area.  The same goes for cloud shapes against a blue background on the upper portions of the painting.  I’m signaling “sky”.

OH!  A Way To Simplify!

Put another way, I’m using pattern to simplify my design.  Plus, add meaning.  And, it was fun!

What About Meaning?

The meaning?  For me, I’ve always liked lighthouses.  I grew up looking at lighthouse paintings by my father, artist John Stermer.  My feelings were pretty simple; I liked them.  They looked like remote places, but also beacons to the traveler.

This painting, with its festive colors and simple patterns, alludes to the brighter side of lighthouse symbolism.  That is the beacon that guides the navigator through rough seas.

Enjoy!

In closing, I hope that you enjoy my Lighthouse, D9.  Furthermore, you might want to keep a look out for pattern next time you go to an art show.

Thank you!

The post Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9” appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Meaning in Painting? Regarding Still Life With Rabbit and Egg

The “Meaning” Question.

A fellow artist, Sandra Neary, asked me about the meaning of this still life composition.  In particular, why is the egg larger than the rabbit?

Meaning: Drawing with Rabbit and Egg

Dinosaur Egg & Pygmy Rabbit?

Well, all sorts of silly responses bounced around my head.  For instance, what if the egg were a dinosaur egg and the rabbit was a pygmy rabbit?  All birds are dinosaurs so it could be true.  Alright; it is a chicken egg and a replica of a rabbit netsuke.

Short Term Answer.

However, the question was put forward. And, I thought I’d quote part of the answer I gave.

“I chose them because they were all white objects..I was studying light and form. But, the incongruity of the rabbit and egg amused me. However, the narrative is sending me places I don’t want to go. It was the form that I was after. Sometimes you can’t escape narrative. Though, I like the ambiguity.”

Margaret Stermer-Cox Fine Art Facebook Page, 1 November 2018

And, What About Meaning?

However, I did start thinking about the meaning of this composition and, perhaps two dimensional art in general.

And, I came to the conclusion that it is reasonable to ask about the meaning of a painting or drawing.  After all, the arts, including the visual arts, are a means of communication.  Therefore, it would be natural to want to understand a piece of art.

Meaning: Painting of Rabbit and Egg

How I Select Items For This Still Life.

That being said, this artist, (ahem, yes, I mean me), is prone to selecting subjects for reasons other than symbolic or iconic meaning.

Shape and Value.  For example, when I selected items for this particular still life set up, I chose them for their shapes and tonal value. To explain, I was interested in studying form free from the distracting influence of color. So, I selected the items because they were a neutral, light or white color.

Geometry.  Furthermore, I was interested in the basic geometric shapes depicted here.  The egg cup, for example, is a modified column.  The egg is like an elongated sphere.  The rabbit has similar rounded forms.

Personal Interest.  And, I liked each of the items.  They’re from my personal collection of knick-knacks.

Still Life Set Up.

So, once I selected the items for my still life study, I had to arrange them.  Keeping in mind composition, I set about placing my knick-knacks.  You will notice that clustered the three together in a sort of triangular shape.  It is like they are in huddle over to the left.

By clustering the items to the left, I set up a problem of how to balance the right side.  My response was to see if line and small shifts in tone will be enough to achieve balance.

Meaning: Still Life with Rabbit & Egg. Reference Photo
I am including a photo of the still life set up so that you may get an idea of what I was studying. However, I drew and painted from the life; not the photo.

Academic; No Spontaneity?

Hmmm, you might think, this all sounds academic.  Well, I think it is at this stage of the process.  That is to say, I am purposeful in my set up; not spontaneous.  In other words, I’m experimenting and teaching myself by doing.  I take the rules and principles of composition, apply them and then see what happens.  The process is like an informed trial and error.

Learn By Studying & Doing.

You see, one reads the books, studies the demos, and takes the workshops, in an effort  to learn how to draw and paint. But, along the way, one needs to do the work.  So, I start with the principles and then go about the process of learning how to use them.

That is, I need to try out ideas using pencil or brush on paper.  At such times, I feel compelled to ask the “what if” questions and see what happens.  In other words, I’m studying the art of drawing and painting by doing.

The Concept of “Meaning” Deserves More Study.

So, let us go back to this idea of meaning in drawing and painting.   As I am writing and considering this question, I realize that meaning might need to be studied just as form, value or color.  So, with that, I think I will close with the thought that this ought to be the beginning of a series of articles about meaning in paintings.

What Does It Mean To You?

And, a final word about this particular still life.  Could it mean more than my intentions?  Well, as the viewer or receiver of the visual message, you bring your own experience to the conversation.  So, yes, it could mean something entirely different to you.  And, that is just fine with me!

PS.  Note with the variation below, I changed a couple of things.  Does meaning change as well?  What do you think?

Meaning: Drawing of Rabbit and Egg

The post Meaning in Painting? Regarding Still Life With Rabbit and Egg appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Research: Links to Articles On How to Simplify

Research, that is to say my investigation and study into what it means to “simplify” a design in drawing and painting.

Building A Knowledge Base.

Hi!  Over the past few months, I’ve been looking for articles on the topic of simplification.  That is, I’ve been trying to find out what simplification is all about.  You see, I figure that if I am to lead a class or workshop on the subject, I ought to have a solid foundation of knowledge.

Research on How to Simplify: Cool Kitty - Variation On A Theme

Article Search.

It hasn’t been easy finding articles.  Rather, the research process has been slow, especially at first.  Sometimes, though, one article leads to another relevant article and, eventually, another.  So, the idea, then, is to plod through and keep looking.

That being said, I have found several references that I like.  In other cases, with books, for example, I can see “simplify” in the index.  But, I have yet to read the all documents.

I Like Research!

And, the fun thing?  Yes, research can be fun.  One gets to expand one’s horizons and meet interesting people through their writings.  Also, the artists represented include realism to abstraction; photography, drawing and painting!

Research Into How To Simplify: Spice Kitty - Variation on a Theme

Links To Articles.

One additional note.  Several of these links have books, online classes, etc.  The purpose is not to advocate or promote the books or classes.  Rather, to share bits of insight on simplification.

So, in not any particular order, here are some links and references to articles on how to simplify.

1.  Mitchell Albala.

Mr. Albala is an artist and instructor working in the Pacific Northwest.

From Mitchell Albala’s blog:  “Any good landscape painting I’ve ever done was also simple”, https://blog.mitchalbala.com/the-not-so-simple-art-of-simplification/

Quote:  The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hoffman

From Mitchell Albala’s book, Landscape Painting.  Simplification and Massing: Learn to reduce nature’s complexity by looking beneath the surface of a subject to discover the form’s basic masses and shapes.

Research: How To Simplify: KittyKitty Simplified Pattern

2.  Website:  Composition Study.

Though the purpose of this website is to be a resource for photographers, I think that the information is relevant to any visual artist.  There is one article specifically on simplification: http://compositionstudy.com/simplification/

The author includes a wonderful example of simplification in a black and white photograph.

3.  Johannes Vloothuis.

Via Artistnetwork.com, “5 Art Composition Tips:  How to Simplify a Busy Painting”; useful tips and examples!

4.  The Virtual Instructor.

This short article and video focusing on simplifying by seeing the underlying shape and form of the subject.

Drawing 101 – Simplify For Success.

5.  John Burton: Organizing Chaos.

From Tucson Art Academy On Line, a short video from artist John Burton.   He discusses how he organizes a complex scene.  Its all about seeing shapes; working large to small, and leaving the details to last.  I recommend this short video:  Three Key Steps to Simplifying A Complex Scene.

6.  Keene Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s article “Design and Composition: Practical Advice for the Advanced Artist” is compilation of notes from the artist on design and composition.  Embedded in the many of the notes are tips on how to enhance and simplify your design.  And, you are rewarded as you read down the page where you find an entire paragraph titled “Simplify”.  This might be an article you want to book mark and come back to!

Research: Variation On A Theme

7.  Miles G. Batts.

One of my favorite artists is Miles G. Batts.  He has a paragraph specifically on simplification on page 68 of  his book “The Complete Guide to Creative Watercolor”.

8.  Linda Kemp.

Another favorite artist, Linda Kemp has a book available titled “Simplifying Design & Color for Artists”.

9.  Tom Hoffman.

An artist I admire from the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Hoffman has a book out plus teaches.  I have not read his book, but I frequent a blog he uses for some of his watercolor classes.  It seems to me that simplification and how to do it are topics imbedded in his instructions.  I find the blog useful.

10.  Frank Eber.

Artist Frank Eber, another fine artist whose work I admire has a blog with several excellent articles that include the subject of simplification.  All are worthy reads and provide insight to the painting process and simplification in particular.

Research on How To Simplify: Variations On A Theme, KittyKitty Red Alert

11.  Mark Alan Anderson, “Just Sketching” Blog.

I like Mr. Anderson’s articles.  To elaborate, I find the practical, accessible and useful.  Its about the practice of drawing and sketching.  So, I’ll list a couple of articles that apply directly to the topic of simplification.

12.  Stephen Berry.

Tip:  Try smaller reference photos, such as from a cell phone. Helps you see the big shapes!  From “10 Tips to Help You Improve On Your Own”.

13.  Me!

Some of my other articles about simplifying:

About The Paintings.

The paintings shown in this article are part of my “KittyKitty” series started in 2009.  One of my favorite ways of doing research, whether or not I want to simplify, is to do a “variation on a theme”.  Put another way, working in series gives the artist an opportunity to see first hand how changes influence design.  Plus, its great fun!

Research Variation On Theme: Totally Modern Kitty

 

#simplify #simplifyyourpainting #watercolorpainting

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Painting & WSO Traveling Exhibition In Carlton, OR

Wallow Gallery, Carlton OR

Greetings!  I am pleased to say that my watercolor painting “Three Minute Egg V11”, is now showing in the Wallow Gallery, Carlton, OR.

Carlton: Three Minute Egg V11

You see, it is one of the 20 award winning paintings from the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s (WSO) Spring 2018 Experimental Exhibition.  And, WSO has a traveling show consisting of their award winning paintings.  So, the award winning paintings get to travel to select galleries around Oregon.

Gallery Details.

I would like to invite you to see the Traveling Exhibition in Carlton.  Therefore, I’d like to share gallery information with you.  The paintings are showing at the Wallow Gallery, 125 W. Main St.  Business hours are Fri-Sun, 12-5pm. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 503-785-9951.  Furthermore, you may want to call the gallery first if you plan to see the exhibition.

The paintings will be on display through the end of September.

WSO 2018 Traveling Exhibition

WSO Experimental Exhibition.

What makes the experimental exhibition special is that artists are encouraged to explore different water-media and substrates.  Put another way, you see everything from a more traditional watercolor paint on paper to mixed water-media on aqua or clay-board.  And, the types of water-media include transparent watercolor, gouache and acrylic.

Still, the intentions of jurying the show are the same: recognizing paintings with technical and artistic achievement.

And, one further note about WSO art shows.  The fall exhibition includes only watercolor works on paper.  You can see, then, how it contrasts with the spring experimental show.

Photos By Liz Walker.

Carlton; Liz Walker's "On Solid Ground" used with permission

I’d like to give you some background regarding the photos.  To explain, most are from fellow Oregon artist, Ms. Liz Walker.  Thank you Liz for permission to use your photos!

Included are her photos from some of the previous stops on the traveling show’s journey.  Plus, I’m adding her own award winning painting.  I liked the feeling of her painting “On Solid Ground”.  You see, it has a degree of mystery that I particularly enjoy!

Thank you!

On a personal note, I would like to extend a “thank you” to Zsuzanna Wallow, Sandy and all the WSO members responsible for this wonderful show.  And, a HUGE thank you to Wallow Gallery for showing the art works!

Please Stop By!

In closing, I would like to invite you to stop by the Wallow Gallery if you are in the area!  Please, go see some wonderful experimental water-media paintings by my friends and fellow Oregon fine artists!  Thank you!

Carlton. Paintings from WSO Spring Exhibition

 

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