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Decade In Review: Final Four 2016 to 2019

Decade In Review: Considering Kandinsky, Detail

Happy New Year and New Decade!

I’d like to finish out my micro mini “decade in review” by showing you four watercolor paintings.  The paintings represent years 2016 to 2019.

2016.

Decade In Review: 2016 Irish Breakfast Tea

This painting was an experiment in adding Celtic symbols to help tell the visual story.  You might notice the shamrock, Celtic knot and modified triskele.  The triskele is on the tea bag’s tab.  I used a green dominant color scheme to further support the meaning of “Irish”.   As is my frequent practice, I played with different aspects of the cup, hence the enlarged cup handle.

This painting was shown in Rogue Gallery and Art Center’s “Celtic Celebration Art Show” (Medford, OR) and earned two awards: People’s Choice and  Staff’s pick.  I felt so honored!

2017.

Decade In Review: 2017 Considering Kandinsky

“Considering Kandinsky” was another experiment.  Truthfully, most if not all of my work is an experiment.  At the time, I was preparing to participate in a watercolor demonstration featuring the figure for the Watercolor Society of Oregon.  There were three of us artists and we had agreed on a particular reference photo of a man on a bench.  So, as is my usual practice, I played around with some ideas.  One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was thinking of the artist Wassily Kandinsky.   This was a fun painting for me.

2018.

Decade In Review: 2018 Three Minute Egg #11

I started the “Three Minute Egg” series when I was taking a class with artist Gabriel Lipper.  I’d like to say that it was a wonderful class on “deconstruction”, working in a series, and going from life to abstraction.  So, the first seven paintings I did in his class.  However, starting with number eight and onward, I did in my studio.  This particular painting earned a Fourth Place award in the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring 2018 Experimental Exhibition.

2019.

Decade In Review 2019. Three Minute Egg #14

And, here we are continuing on with the theme of an egg cup and timer.  However, this time I added an espresso cup because I like espresso.

Previous Decade In Review Posts.

2010-2011

2012-2013

2014-2015

In closing, I hope you that you have enjoyed this mini decade in review.  And, I hope you have a great 2020!

The post Decade In Review: Final Four 2016 to 2019 appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Decade In Review: Cell Phone Conversations 2014 & 2015

Cell Phone Conversations: Hang Up & Pet Me

Hi!  By the time the decade hit the middle years, cell phones and smart phones where everywhere.  And, today’s paintings for my mini review are all about cell phone conversations.

Cell Phone Conversations And The Cat.

Starting off with “Hang Up And Pet Me” from 2014, we have a woman sitting on a couch in the middle of a phone conversation.  Sitting next to her is the cat.  Naturally, the cat thinks this talking out loud into a little box is kind of weird.  Nuts even.  Better yet, the person needs to be petting the cat.  Yes indeed.

Inspiration Hits!

This particular painting was inspired by a phone conversation I had with one of my sisters.  You see, while she was talking on the phone, I could hear her cat in the background.  And, as you might expect, the cat was being vocal and participating in the conversation.  It was one of those “aha!” moments; I had a spark of inspiration.

Cell Phone Conversations: Hang Up & Read Me A Story

More Conversations

Speaking of inspiration, in the summer of 2014, my husband Robert and I took a trip across the country. Imagine driving from west coast to east coast and back again.  It was fun.

While in Georgia, we stopped to visit a niece for a couple of days.  She showed us a good time, including introducing us to some excellent cafes and coffee shops.

A Group Of Four & Their Cell Phones.

At one such coffee shop, we watched as two young couples walked in and sat down.  Almost instantly, and in unison, they all whipped out their smart phones and started using them!  We watched in amusement.  And, we wondered, were they texting each other as they sat at the table?  And, come to think of it, there were potentially eight people at the table.  That is to say, the four who were seated in front of us and the four on the other end of the phone.

Another Flash of Inspiration.

Once again, I had an “aha” moment and was inspired!  I had the makings of a new series of paintings involving coffee shops and cell phone conversations.  As it turned out, this moment gave me plenty of ideas and I would work on this series for the next 18 months.  Happily, 2015’s “Old School, New School” was one of the paintings in the series.

Cell Phone Conversations: Old School, New School

Cell Phone Conversations Everywhere!

As I was writing this article, it occurred to me that there has been a change since 2014 and 2015.  Back then, it seemed that it was mainly the younger people who were constantly using their cell phones.  Now, it’s all ages.  Ahem; that includes me and people my age!  We are just as likely to whip out the smart phone as any young person in the coffee shop.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the paintings about cell phone conversations.  And, the short trip back to 2014 and 2015.

Previous Posts:

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Decade In Review: People As Subject in 2012 and 2013

Decade In Review: 2012 and 2013

Hi!  Continuing on in this mini review of the current decade, I’ll touch on 2012 and 2013 today.

Since yesterday I featured works from the Toy Pony collection, I thought we would switch subjects.  In 2012 and 2013 I began working with people as subject.

People as subject: "Just Sayin'...V8b. Six

The first painting is from my “Just Sayin’…” series of paintings.  My inspiration for this series was our cell and now smart phone culture.  Ummm, and yes, I’m one of those people who use one of these mobile phones.

Also, during 2012 and 2013, I was toying with the idea of working fictional or mythical characters.  And, eventually, I developed a design for a mermaid that I liked.  And, just for fun, I thought of her at night and in the moon light.

People As Subject: Mermaid With Net At Night

 

Short and, hopefully, sweet today.  I hope you enjoy the two paintings!  Thank you!

 

The post Decade In Review: People As Subject in 2012 and 2013 appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Decade In Review: Toy Pony From 2010 and 2011

Decade In Review: 2010-2011; Still Life With Toy Pony, Stermer-Cox

Hi!  Just for fun, I thought I would do a mini review of the 2010 to 2019 decade.  My idea is to share two paintings a day representing a year each.  This is an exercise in contemplation, not so much one of critique.  In other words “here is where I was then”.

Decade in Review: "Still Life With Toy Pony D54", 2011 SCx

Today, I’ll start the decade review with two from my “Still Life With Toy Pony” series.  In case you are not familiar with the series, it is based on a still life I set up that included  a toy pony.  Hence the name.

The purpose of the work in series was to explore and experiment the elements of composition.  Put more simply, I ask myself questions like “what if I do this…?”

So, “Still Life with Toy Pony, #D54” is the 10th painting in the series.  And, the 2011 painting “Still Life with Toy Pony #D41” was the 12th in the series.

And, just to clarify, the “D” in the title refers to a design number.  So, “D54 refers to a painting based on my 54th design.   I did a LOT of drawings, almost 80.  But, only about 20 have been been included in the series.

Decade In Review "Still Life with Toy Pony D41; M.Stermer-Cox

The plan, then, is to share two more paintings tomorrow.

PS.  If you’d like to see three more from the Toy Pony series, click on this post:

https://stermer-cox.com/2015/01/19/still-life-toy-p…ercolors-drawing/

The post Decade In Review: Toy Pony From 2010 and 2011 appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Your Approach – Draw Or Paint First?

Approach: Painted Intuitively

What Is Your Approach?

One of my nieces recently asked me the following question (and I paraphrase): “Do you draw the subject first or rather, do you paint first?”  The question was addressing how one approaches watercolor painting in particular.

Easy Answer, Or Is It?

My immediate answer was that my approach is to draw first.  And, that is what I usually do because it suits my way of working with watercolor.

Approach: Draw First
An example of drawing first.

It Is About How You Solve Composition Problems.

To clarify, what we are talking about here is drawing out the composition on your watercolor paper, then painting over top of the drawing.  Or, the other option, painting first and working out the composition as you go.

And, to reiterate, it is generally my practice to draw out major portions of my design before I start painting.

Trying A Different Start Can Enhance Skills.

However, that doesn’t mean that I am against the “just go for it” approach.  That is, painting without an under-drawing or plan.  Besides being fun and challenging, you see, sometimes one needs to do things differently.  Painting first and composing as you go can stretch your skills.  For one thing, you might have to focus intently on what you’re doing in order for the composition to work.

So, from time to time, I have experimented with the more intuitive, un-planned approach to watercolor painting.

Risk Of Failure.

However, I discovered that I have to be prepared for the “failures”.  That is, the paintings that I can not resolve and therefore never finish.   And that is because transparent watercolor paint offers few options for corrections.  So, at least for me, a successful intuitive painting is a challenge.  To put it another way, the difference between the sublime success and stunning not-so-good painting can be a small mis-judgement.

Example Of Artist Who Paints First.

I once took a workshop with the artist and experimental watercolor painter Barbara Nechis.  To explain, I was and still am intrigued by her paintings.  Her approach seems intuitive and natural.  But, and this is the big point for me, she has had years of experience.  And, it was she who helped me understand that you need to be prepared for the failures.

Approach: Paint First
Example of a “just go for it” watercolor painting.

“Bad Paintings” Are Part Of Learning.

On the other hand, one could state that failures are how we learn and a regular part of painting.  As such, I like to remind myself that one has to get through the “bad” ones to get to the successful paintings.   And, that is true for those of us who pre-plan and draw as well as for those of us who just go for it with the paint.

The Answer?  Yes.

So, back to the original question, how ought one start a watercolor painting?  Should one draw first (preplan) or paint first?  Hmmm, the more I think about it, the more my answer is, “Yes!” And “if you want to and it depends on you”.  Also, why not try both approaches?

About the Paintings.

I selected to watercolor paintings that I created in the same year: 2007.  “Rocket Flowers” I pre-planned and drew the layout of the painting first.  Then, I continued with the watercolor paint.  However, the approach for “November Chapel” was done without a preplanning or an underdrawing.

 

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Remember Me – It’s About Blogging & Leaving Talent OR

Remember: Talent Railroad Depot

Yes, do you remember me?

Remember Me? From the blog login page

Remember Me.

As I logged into my website in preparation to write this blog post, I noticed the small remark at the bottom of the page.  It read “Remember Me”.   Though the statement was about my password, it made me wonder, will you remember me?

 

Blog Slow Down.

This past year has not been one of my better blogging years.  As I remember, things were slow to begin with and, then, I  practically stopped writing for the month of August and September.  Not surprising, these two months coincide with our move.  That is to say, my husband and I have left Talent, OR and moved to Ilwaco, WA.

Hard Getting Started Again.

I thought that when we moved into our new place, it would be easy to pick up the keyboard and start blogging again.  Silly me; there is a lot of work to setting up a household.  And, my studio space, for example, is only about a third of the way unpacked.  I do have my drawing table unpacked.  Pencil and paper are always at the ready, so things are looking up.

All that being said, I have wanted to start writing again.  Here we go then and, I do hope that you remember me.

Farewell Talent, Oregon.

So, I’d like to say a fond farewell to Talent, OR.  I thoroughly enjoyed our seven years there.  And, while there, I did some sketches of some of the places around town.  I have included a few just for fun.

Rail Depot.

One of my favorite buildings in town is the old rail depot.  I did a few sketches and here is my favorite watercolor and ink version.  The forward part of the building as space for a cafe.  Currently, it is the home of “Sweet Beet Station”.

Remembering Talent Rail Depot

“Funky Fashions”.

The old building that used to be the home of “Funky Fashions” is also a favorite.  “Funky Fashions” was owned by our neighbor when we moved in to Talent back in 2012.  Since then it has changed businesses a couple of times.  Now, it’s the home of “Biscuits and Vinyl”.

Remember Funky Fashions

“Downtowne Coffee”

One business that did not change while we were there was “Downtowne Coffee”.  It is situated in what was once a gasoline station.  I recommend the espresso at “Downtowne Coffee”; it tastes so good!

Remember Talent OR

Gas Station.

Come to think of it, I did do a sketch of one of the gas stations that is still a gas station.  The employees were nice and this is one of my favorites.

Remember Talent: 76 Gas Station

Fond Memories.

I will remember Talent and the people who live there with fondness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Remember Me – It’s About Blogging & Leaving Talent OR appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Print Rack and Shrink Wrap Machine For Sale

~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s been a pleasure meeting so many fine artists here in the Rogue Valley.  The community here is wonderful.

But, as happens from time to time, I’m moving out of the area.  And, that means time to sell stuff.  Check out the images, which outline what I have: a shrink wrap machine and a print rack.
If you’re interested or know someone who might be, please send Margaret (Peggy) Stermer-Cox an email.
Margaret (Peggy) Stermer-Cox

“Hang Up & Read Me A Story” at Rogue Valley Biennial Art Exhibit

Biennial: Hang Up & Read Me A Story

Greetings!  I’m pleased to say that my watercolor painting Hang Up & Read Me A Story was juried into the Rogue Valley Biennial Art Exhibit!

Biennial: Hang Up & Read Me A Story

Details About the Exhibit.

The exhibition is hosted by the Rogue Gallery and Art Center in Medford OR.  It opened Friday, June 28th and runs through to August 2nd, 2019.  There will be an artist’s reception on Friday, July 19th from 5:30 – 8:30 pm.  The art center is located at 40 South Bartlett St. in Medford.

The artworks are hung in the Main Gallery of the art center.  The exhibition is free to the public and all are invited to come view the works during gallery business hours.  Hours are as follows:

    • 10am to 5pm  Tuesday thru Friday
    • 11am to 3pm   Saturdays
    • 5pm to 8pm    Third Fridays

Show Statement for “A Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art”

Per the Gallery, “this biennial exhibit features juried artwork from local and regional artists in various media.  These new works present innovative, insightful and thoughtful expressions of current events, art movements or political issues”.

The Painting and Current Culture.

This painting is one of a series of paintings our cell phone culture.  I attempt to make a gentle statement about how pervasive the cell phones are.  So much so, that we forget to do without the constant companion on the other end of the phone.  It’s like an extra person is invited to so many of our personal encounters.

As such, this particular painting was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my second cousins, Anne Shelton.  She happens to be a librarian.  Anne mentioned the distractions caused by the mobile phones in the libraries.  And, thus, an idea was born.  Within a short time, I had a concept drawing.

Biennial: Hang Up & Read Me A Story

 

On Experimentation.

For me, creating a painting it is a process of experimentation from start to finish.  And, the start point is the concept drawing.  This is one of two drawings I created using this idea of cell phones in the library.

In any case, the value of starting out with a concept drawing is that I start to realize my idea.  That being said, though, I give myself room to change.

As I start to build the painting, layer by layer, I allow myself to change the design.  This may be a risky approach.  However, I find that a small 5×7 inch drawing is quite a bit different from a 14×21 inch watercolor painting.  That is, what looks good in graphite might not work just right for me in watercolor.  Also, I like how the act of painting itself generates ideas.

I did say “risky approach”, though, you might notice.  Such practices can go so wrong.  But, it’s just a piece of paper with some paint on it.  At least, that is what I tell myself when I am creating the artworks!

So, to reiterate then, I see my approach as being “experimental” in that I allow myself to explore or experiment the “what if” ideas that pop into my head.

Invitation To See The Exhibition!

To summarize, then, I am pleased to announce that I have been included in the Rogue Valley Biennial Art Exhibit this summer.  If you are in the area, please do stop by and see the wonderful art works by my fellow local and regional artists!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post “Hang Up & Read Me A Story” at Rogue Valley Biennial Art Exhibit appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Making Small Pictures of Seashells

Making Small Pictures: Espresso Cup With Broken Seashells

Making pictures, as in to form, shape, bring about or create a picture. 

Small Studies.

It’s the season of “smalls” – that is drawing small studies on a regular basis.

MakingSmall Studies: Broken Seashell With Napkin

Though, truthfully, I am working on a medium size watercolor painting in my “Three Minute Egg” series.  However it is taking a while.  And, when it is drying between layers, I work on other things.

Back to the small studies.  I can get so much enjoyment out of doing the small studies.  Plus, although it may not look it, I do feel as though I’m getting somewhere.  Put a different way, I am making progress on my drawing skills and how I like to compose and think about my art.

Making Small Pictures: Broken Seashells in Ink

And, you might notice, I am using different media: ink on paper; colored pencil on toned paper; and Procreate App with my iPadPro.

The Beauty Of Making Something.

I was recently reminded that when you ask four year olds see things differently.  To explain, when you ask them what they’re doing when they are drawing or painting, more than likely they’ll say they are making something.

And, a child making a picture will probably not be worrying about whether or not their painting will get into a juried show, or sell, or be in a museum, or the myriad of other things grown up artists worry about.

Making Small Studies: Two Broken Seashells and a Box

Making Or Creating.

I think the distinction between “making something” and “creating art” is interesting and revealing.  Think about it.  Sometimes it is just nice to make a picture rather than worry about painting a piece of art.  “Art”, at least to me, is loaded with expectations of creativity, skill and meaning.  Oddly enough, it can be an onerous challenge.

Just making a picture of a broken seashell is more liberating.  I can investigate, play and stop when I want to.  It can come out good or terrible; who cares?  The time spent making the picture is a worthwhile and enjoyable endeavor.

Making Small Studies of broken seashells with ink

Patience And Practice.

Recently, I also remembered that getting good at making something takes practice and patience.  So, these small studies are my way of learning and practicing my craft.

In any case, I hope you enjoy my broken seashells.

Making Small Pictures: Espresso Cup with Broken Seashells

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Goats: Father & Daughter

Billy Goat, Watercolor, M. Stermer-Cox

Hi! Recently, my younger sister Dorothy sent me some images of artwork by my Dad, artist John Stermer.  And, the drawings and painting included goats.

Artist John Stermer: Barn with Dueling Goats

So, on my Father’s Facebook page (John Stermer Fine Art), I shared some of the goats.  They are so much fun to look at.  And, one of my friends thought it would be fun to see what I might do with goats.

John Stermer Goat Study

 

Well, lo and behold, I do have a “goat” painting and some drawings of goats.  Naturally, it occurred to me that I ought to do a “father and daughter” post and include some of these goats.

Billy Goat by M. Stermer-Cox

And, so, here we are: goats my Dad; and a goat by me.  Why goats?  They’re just fun.  And, they have attitude!

 

Drawing, Billy Goat by M. Stermer-Cox

PS.  I included a similar posting on my Father’s blog; just keeping it all in the family!

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