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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.

 

The post Your Approach – Draw Or Paint First? appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

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

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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

The post Making Small Pictures of Seashells appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

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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Painting in Watercolor Society of Oregon Spring Exhibition

Three Minute Egg #12 Showing in WSO Spring Exhibition; Portland OR

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

Drawing of a coffee cup with four broken seashells

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.

 

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