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Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

You know that magical sliver of time after New Year’s where it seems like exercise, creativity, weight loss, financial and wellness goals are not only possible, but they are bright and shiny beacons you can’t wait to swim across frigid water to? Me neither.

I know I have experienced it, the writing down of goals, the crisp new day planner, the unused white soles of my sneakers. I have used this time wisely before. I remember that includes a sense of anticipation for the upcoming year and a knowing that this is “your best year yet”! Words like badass, ninja, rockstar and equally hideous cliches are thrown around in every well-meaning spam email I receive. I call bullshit. This might be my best year ever (please God, I’ll take it!) but today, this past week, the first of 2018, this magical sliver that I used to love so much, has me in bed with a crap cold/flu and post-apocolyptic travel fatigue (worst, and I mean WORST trip back from Canada. Delta. Bad. Very bad.) And work to do. And another plane to get on this week. I might abuse my own no cliche rule. No rest for the wicked?

So you want to know what I’m doing while the parking lot at the YMCA is full to capacity and Ashland citizens are turning green from all their healthy juicing? I am systemically eating a box of See’s Candy from bed. And other nourishing things like pizza and toast but mostly the See’s. I am so tired. Perhaps tired from the sugar, you healthy shiny people suggest? You’re probably right! But today, these past few days, my body says lay the hell down and don’t get up.

I’ve received dozens of newsletters from 12:01am January 1st on how to be better, feel better, look better, spend better, dress better, meditate better ,write better and not care what people think better. And I’ve deleted them all. I just can’t. I can’t be better this week. I had a rockstar, ninja, kickass time on my vacation up in Canada and now, this first week of 2018, my body needs to rest. I declare the first inspirational week of the year some other week in January. Or maybe February at this rate. It will come. I will get up. The chocolate will turn into an apple, the running shoes will get dirty.

Happy New Year. Wherever you are in your Best Year Yet journey. If this is a debbie downer, please delete. Or file under How to Sloth Better or How to Chuck Half Eaten Candies Back in the Box with No Guilt. I haven’t seen that newsletter yet. I might be on to something. Here’s to us, the tired ones, the one who got a cold, the flu, who work from home, who answer emails on vacation and aren’t always influenced by the calendar and how we’re supposed to rocket out of the previous year blasting into the next. I’ll see you at the gym next month. xo

P.S. Yes, big picture, I’m ok. I enjoy writing when I’m grumpy. And the not getting out of bed part lends itself to blogging. xo
PPS. Nuts & Chews.

Day Four: Tea Bag With Lemon; Strada Easel January 31 Day Challenge

Add Lemon.

Greetings!  Lemon and tea just go together like pepper and salt.  So, on day 4 of Strada Easel’s  challenge, I added a wedge to my tea bag still life.  

Day 4: Tea Bag With Lemon

I rarely have a fresh lemon in the refrigerator, but today I did.  So, it was inevitable that a wedge or slice would wind up in the picture.  And, I liked the lemon wedge.

Thought for Today.

I figure that one of the real issues of this challenge is dealing with a lack of confidence.  So, each day that I paint through the cloud of doubt is a victory.

Next.

I hope you enjoy my tea bag with lemon.  I imagine my next piece might have a tea bag or a lemon.  But, since I haven’t started yet, we’ll see!  ‘Til day five then!  

#stradaeasel #acrylic #stilllife #fromlife #mstermercox

 

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Strada Easel Day Three: Two Tea Bags. What To Do With A Problem Painting

Problem? 

I’d like to talk about problem paintings.  To explain, today’s study for the Strada Easel January 31 Day Challenge almost works; but not quite.  

Problem? Day 3 Strada Easel 31 Day From Life Challenge

Tea Bag Two (Too).

Speaking of today’s work, like yesterday’s, its another tea bag study.  I’d like to explain why I do several paintings of a subject before I discus my problem painting. Or, if it really is a problem.

Multiples.

Why another study of tea bags?  Generally, this is how I work.  I’ll do multiple still life drawings or paintings using similar objects in a set up.  Even such small changes as adding a second tea bag presents new opportunities.

In other words, this is how I do research and learn about a subject or subjects.

Not Happy.  Expectation Issue?

So, here’s the deal with today’s study.  It’s a problem and I’m not happy with it.  It seems like I fought the painting from start to finish.  Perhaps its just a case of skills not matching expectations.  However, what to do?

Work.

First of all, when faced with a piece I don’t like, the best thing to do is work.  

Let It Rest.

Second, if I get to a point where it could be finished, or  am ready to destroy the painting, I put it away.  Oddly enough, after some time, like a week or a month, the painting looks better.  Or, I see something I liked.  

More Work, Or Paint Over.

And, then, sometimes, its still as unsatisfactory as it was the day I “finished” it.  Still, I have options.  I can work on the painting some more and see if I can resolve the short comings.  Lastly, I can wipe the picture with a fresh coat of paint or two and start all over.

Situation Normal.

In summary, its normal, I think, for an artist to have an unsatisfactory piece.  And, my two tea bags fit in this category for me.  At the end of the month, I’ll look at it again and figure out what I want to do, or not.  

Prequel.

I’d like to close with one of my “prequel” studies.  In preparation for the challenge, I did several small studies.  The idea was to rehearse my daily painting concept.  I will let you know at the end of the month if it worked!  

Espresso and Time, Still Life Study

Please enjoy!

#fromlife #stradaeasel #acrylicpainting #mstermercox

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Two: Tea Bag, Strada Easel 31 in January Challenge

Greetings!  

Yes, I’m tea bag-ging it for Day 2 of the #stradaeasel challenge.

Tea Bag: Day Two Strada Easel Challenge

I think its too early to say anything profound about the challenge.  Rather, I will just acknowledge day two and move on to the next.

Nix Perfection.

That being said, note to self: don’t get too picky about the details.  Big shapes!  Its funny, I have a tendency toward perfection.  But, drawing and painting doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough to convey the message.

Anyway, on to day three.  Will it be another tea bag, or…?  

For more about the challenge, please see Day One. Thanks!

 

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31 Day #StradaEasel Challenge; Draw Or Paint From Life (Day One)

Challenge Time.

Hi!  I’m joining in the #StradaEasel January 31 Day Challenge!  The idea is to draw or paint from life every day then post the work to a personal facebook page.  Then, at the end of the month, those artists who have completed the challenge are entered in a drawing for a Strada easel.

Day 1 #StradaEasel.

#StradaEasel Challenge Day 1: Buddhist Prayer Ring & Box

 

Goal.

However, my goal is to complete the 31 days.  I figure that’s tough enough!  Though, naturally, a Strada easel would be nice!  Either way, I win!

Inspiration.

Artist and friend Kay Driver was the person who brought this challenge to my attention.  She has participated in Strada Easel’s September Plein Air Challenge.  Doesn’t that sound fun and amazing?

I have wanted to complete something like this ever since I saw artist and friend Karen Knutson complete a similar challenge.  I was inspired and impressed by the work Karen did.

Getting Ready.

Over the past week or so I’ve been practicing, testing what will work for me and getting myself in the right mindset.  You see, I figure one of the biggest hurdles for me is confidence.  

Three Step “Plan”.

So, step one is to get to the easel!  Once started, I have a great time.  Step two is keeping things simple.  Step three is to not get to fussy.  This is not the time for perfection.

I’m sure there are other steps, but I’ll keep it to three for a start.

Naturally, I’ll want to post many of the paintings and drawings here, either daily or in a batch.  The idea, though, is to keep things simple so I can achieve my goal:  make it through 31 days!

About The Paintings.

Yesterday (December 31st, 2017), I did a painting of an empty espresso cup.  As I was finishing, a thought occurred to me.  The empty cup could be a metaphor for a year as it winds down.  The espresso has been consumed like the year has been used up; all is done.

So, I thought I’d do a box for today.  Inside it is full of hidden potential – the gifts of a new year.  I added my “Buddhist Prayer Ring”; it was a gift from one of my sister’s over 40 years ago.  At the time, she was an exchange student to Japan.  Perhaps, my personal prayer for this year is one for kindness. 

(Day Minus One).

Day Minus One: 31 Day Challenge, Empty Espresso Cup

 

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Going home

I’m going home on Wednesday. The home of the heart. The motherland, where I grew up, where I keep my passport, my memories. I didn’t purposely leave Victoria to not live there for 20 plus years. It was one travel decision after university that lead to another and another. And all of a sudden I had lived in San Francisco and Marin for fifteen years then Oregon for seven. And now what? I’m not exactly sure. End of year often causes me to pause and take stock. What was great this year, what wasn’t, what can I do more of or less of? Family, business, personal, travel. What lit me up? What drained me? Do more of the former, less of the latter.

First up. Get home. Get to my wonderful funny family, Willows Beach, Oak Bay Avenue, Mattick’s Farm, waterfront drive, the Marina, Cattle Point,  Cadboro Bay, the Breakwater, Dallas Road, Beacon Hill Park, Trounce Alley, Government Street and a cup of Murchie’s coffee and Roger’s chocolate. All on the first day.

(And not sure why this painting of the Oregon coast made me want to write about going home but there you go. Art, words, inspiration, muse, I don’t ask, just type. Or paint. Or get on a plane.)

 xoxo

“Pacific Coast” 24×30″ available at elizabethW Carmel

Going home

I’m going home on Wednesday. The home of the heart. The motherland, where I grew up, where I keep my passport, my memories. I didn’t purposely leave Victoria to not live there for 20 plus years. It was one travel decision after university that lead to another and another. And all of a sudden I had lived in San Francisco and Marin for fifteen years then Oregon for seven. And now what? I’m not exactly sure. End of year often causes me to pause and take stock. What was great this year, what wasn’t, what can I do more of or less of? Family, business, personal, travel. What lit me up? What drained me? Do more of the former, less of the latter.

First up. Get home. Get to my wonderful funny family, Willows Beach, Oak Bay Avenue, Mattick’s Farm, waterfront drive, the Marina, Cattle Point,  Cadboro Bay, the Breakwater, Dallas Road, Beacon Hill Park, Trounce Alley, Government Street and a cup of Murchie’s coffee and Roger’s chocolate. All on the first day.

(And not sure why this painting of the Oregon coast made me want to write about going home but there you go. Art, words, inspiration, muse, I don’t ask, just type. Or paint. Or get on a plane.)

 xoxo

“Pacific Coast” 24×30″ available at elizabethW Carmel

Pink Layer Cake

This blog post brought to you by time passing very quickly, a new website being built, many workshops, a social media and marketing overhaul, travel, and truth time, the fear and inability to log into  and navigate my new website on my own and forgetting my blogger password. Yup. Sometimes it’s something that little to derail several months of momentum. I’ve been BUSY. Not so busy I couldn’t take a deep breath and ask for help or god forbid reset google. But busy nonetheless. Since last post, I’ve rekindled my love of all things patisserie and cake like. Taught a painting and pie and oh my workshop. Fallen in love with doing sea and sky series. Traveled for said sea and sky series for a show. Taught another workshop. Painted more cakes. More ocean. More sky. More pie. And this past two weeks? I’ve been in Carmel and San Francisco, working and playing, reconnecting with my customers and clients and thrilled to report that I’m so excited to be get back to work! Can’t wait to paint tomorrow. Found the gumption to reset a silly password. Made the call. Sent the email. Mailed the check. Crossed “Procrastinate” off the list today. Celebrating with cake. Literal and figurative. xo

“Pink Layer Cake” 8×10″ SOLD

“Espresso Time-R” at Rogue Gallery’s Annual Member’s Exhibition

Greetings!   

I am pleased to say that my painting “Espresso Time-R” is in the 2017 Annual Member’s Exhibition at the Rogue Gallery.  
  
Rogue Gallery & Art Center (Medford)

Exhibition Details.

This is to let you know the where and when of the show.

  • Location:  Rogue Gallery and Art Center, 40S Bartlett St., Medford OR
  • Opening Reception:  Friday, November 17, from 5 to 8 pm.
  • Show Dates:  November 17th through December 21
  • View during business hours:  
    • Tuesday – Friday:  10am to 5pm
    • Saturday:        11am to 3pm 

About the Exhibition, From The Gallery’s Website.

“This exhibit gives Rogue Gallery members an opportunity to exhibit one piece of their work on the central theme of “Time”. Over 50 artists are participating in this non-juried exhibit. Artists’ submitted artwork that reflects their personal interpretation of the theme. The exhibit includes watercolors, acrylic, and oil paintings as well as sculptures, photography, and pastels”.

Participating Artists:

I would like to highlight that, per the gallery’s website, over 50 artists submitted work this year.  Included are the following artists:

Bruce Allen, Rachel Barrett, Betty Barss, Bruce Bayard, Linda Boutacoff, Robert Broadway, Susan Eileen Burnes, John Campbell, Jim Curtis, Julia Dahl, Ann Di Salvo, Linda Dixon, Phyllis Earls, Anna Elkins, Linda Elesiya Evans, Kim Faucher, Debby Fisher, Cynthia Flowers, Tom Glassman, Kelly Gratton, Phyllis Gustafson, Claudia Harlow, Nomeca Hartwell, Pam Haunschild, Anna Hinkle, Howard Hunt, Marilyn Hurst, Zelpha Hutton, Jennifer Ivey, Joan Kennedy, Judy Benson LaNier, Christina Madden, Dave Mathewson, Anna May, Linda Meerten, Vera Melnyk, Kathy Morawiec, Judy Ghetti Ommen, Tom Ommen, Cecilia Pestlin, June Shepard, Margaret Stermer-Cox, Leland Struebig, Cherri Van Syoc, Daniel Verner, Doug Wallace, Karen Wallace, Gerald Westgerdes, Marilyn Westgerdes, Charlotte L. Wirfs, Walter Wirfs, Eve Margo Withrow”.

Happily, many of the artists showing are personal friends; I look forward to seeing their work!

About My Painting.

Daily Espresso.  So, each morning I start my day with a couple of cups of espresso.  And, for those of you who have followed my work, you might have noticed that espresso and coffee cups appear in my paintings often.   One could say there is a life theme being expressed in my painting.  

Why Espresso Cups?  I’d like to explain that one of the reasons that the cups appear so often is that they are a good objects to teach oneself how to draw or paint.  Specifically, its the ovals of the cup’s mouth and the semi-circles of the cup’s handle that are challenging.  And, the shapes are fun to play with when I want to go abstract!

Time-R.  Back to the painting’s title:  “Espresso Time-R”, I added my favorite kitchen timer so the title would fit.  And, if the painting was about time, I could enter it into the Rogue Gallery’s “Time” show.   Furthermore, you guessed it, I like the shapes of the timer; so much so, I keep drawing and painting it!

Distorted By Design.  As is my style, I chose to play with the shapes of the timer and espresso.  I flatten them, distort them and paint them expressive colors.  Perhaps this is because its espresso time!  And, energy and I like espresso!

Acrylic.  This particular painting is done in acrylic.  Much of the work I have been doing this past year has been in acrylic, which is something different for me.  Most of my show work is in watercolor.  I thought it was time to show some of my new acrylic work.  

Invitation.

If you are in the area, please do stop by the Rogue Gallery & Art Center.  Please, take your time and feast your eyes on a wonderful collection of artworks.  

And, naturally, if you would please stop by my “Espresso Time-R” and have a look.  

Thank you!

 

 

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The post “Espresso Time-R” at Rogue Gallery’s Annual Member’s Exhibition appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

“Espresso Time-R” at Rogue Gallery’s Annual Member’s Exhibition

Greetings!   

I am pleased to say that my painting “Espresso Time-R” is in the 2017 Annual Member’s Exhibition at the Rogue Gallery.  
  
Rogue Gallery & Art Center (Medford)

Exhibition Details.

This is to let you know the where and when of the show.

  • Location:  Rogue Gallery and Art Center, 40S Bartlett St., Medford OR
  • Opening Reception:  Friday, November 17, from 5 to 8 pm.
  • Show Dates:  November 17th through December 21
  • View during business hours:  
    • Tuesday – Friday:  10am to 5pm
    • Saturday:        11am to 3pm 

About the Exhibition, From The Gallery’s Website.

“This exhibit gives Rogue Gallery members an opportunity to exhibit one piece of their work on the central theme of “Time”. Over 50 artists are participating in this non-juried exhibit. Artists’ submitted artwork that reflects their personal interpretation of the theme. The exhibit includes watercolors, acrylic, and oil paintings as well as sculptures, photography, and pastels”.

Participating Artists:

I would like to highlight that, per the gallery’s website, over 50 artists submitted work this year.  Included are the following artists:

Bruce Allen, Rachel Barrett, Betty Barss, Bruce Bayard, Linda Boutacoff, Robert Broadway, Susan Eileen Burnes, John Campbell, Jim Curtis, Julia Dahl, Ann Di Salvo, Linda Dixon, Phyllis Earls, Anna Elkins, Linda Elesiya Evans, Kim Faucher, Debby Fisher, Cynthia Flowers, Tom Glassman, Kelly Gratton, Phyllis Gustafson, Claudia Harlow, Nomeca Hartwell, Pam Haunschild, Anna Hinkle, Howard Hunt, Marilyn Hurst, Zelpha Hutton, Jennifer Ivey, Joan Kennedy, Judy Benson LaNier, Christina Madden, Dave Mathewson, Anna May, Linda Meerten, Vera Melnyk, Kathy Morawiec, Judy Ghetti Ommen, Tom Ommen, Cecilia Pestlin, June Shepard, Margaret Stermer-Cox, Leland Struebig, Cherri Van Syoc, Daniel Verner, Doug Wallace, Karen Wallace, Gerald Westgerdes, Marilyn Westgerdes, Charlotte L. Wirfs, Walter Wirfs, Eve Margo Withrow”.

Happily, many of the artists showing are personal friends; I look forward to seeing their work!

About My Painting.

Daily Espresso.  So, each morning I start my day with a couple of cups of espresso.  And, for those of you who have followed my work, you might have noticed that espresso and coffee cups appear in my paintings often.   One could say there is a life theme being expressed in my painting.  

Why Espresso Cups?  I’d like to explain that one of the reasons that the cups appear so often is that they are a good objects to teach oneself how to draw or paint.  Specifically, its the ovals of the cup’s mouth and the semi-circles of the cup’s handle that are challenging.  And, the shapes are fun to play with when I want to go abstract!

Time-R.  Back to the painting’s title:  “Espresso Time-R”, I added my favorite kitchen timer so the title would fit.  And, if the painting was about time, I could enter it into the Rogue Gallery’s “Time” show.   Furthermore, you guessed it, I like the shapes of the timer; so much so, I keep drawing and painting it!

Distorted By Design.  As is my style, I chose to play with the shapes of the timer and espresso.  I flatten them, distort them and paint them expressive colors.  Perhaps this is because its espresso time!  And, energy and I like espresso!

Acrylic.  This particular painting is done in acrylic.  Much of the work I have been doing this past year has been in acrylic, which is something different for me.  Most of my show work is in watercolor.  I thought it was time to show some of my new acrylic work.  

Invitation.

If you are in the area, please do stop by the Rogue Gallery & Art Center.  Please, take your time and feast your eyes on a wonderful collection of artworks.  

And, naturally, if you would please stop by my “Espresso Time-R” and have a look.  

Thank you!

 

 

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