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Watercolor & Ink Studies – Just For Fun

Introduction.

Hi!  I’d like to simply share a couple of watercolor studies.  

Watercolor Studies: A Pear and its shadow

Why Do Studies.

There are several reasons why I like doing these studies.  Here are a few reasons that come immediately to mind.

  • Focus:  One has to pay attention when working with watercolor.  The paint moves and I like to take advantage of the paint’s nature.  However, it can get away from me if I’m not paying attention!
  • Fun:  Its watercolor, for the same reason you have to focus: it moves.  
  • Muscle memory.  These studies help develop the skills of observation and brush control.  Doing them often enables me to remember what to do when faced with paper, paint and water.
  • Draw & Paint.  I get to work on both drawing and painting skill sets!  What could be better?

About the Subject Matter.

The subject matter was inspired by the October list of prompts by the website “Doodlewash®”.   There is a list for every day in October, just as a prompt in case you are grappling with what to draw.  

For October 20th, the prompt was “pears”; no problem, I have some pears ripening so I drew and painted one.  

But, the prompt for October 21st was “corn”.  My husband and I already ate up the candy corn.  And, we don’t have any ears of corn in the refrigerator.  What to do?

Aha!  I have a bottle of “Corn Huskers Lotion” sitting on my kitchen sink counter!  Sounds like “corn” to me.

So, tomorrow’s prompt is “barn”; I don’t live in a barn or have one.  So, what to do?  My thinking cap is on; I like this sort of thing.

watercolor studies : Corn Huskers Lotion

Adding Ink.

Oh, by the way, this month is also “Inktober™“.  I thought it would be fun to add some ink today, hence the inking around my “Corn Huskers Lotion” bottle.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the watercolor sketches.  Thanks!

#WorldWatercolorGroup #Inktober2017

 

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The post Watercolor & Ink Studies – Just For Fun appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

For those of you who have been eyeing these particular prints,…

For those of you who have been eyeing these particular prints, here’s a heads up that there are only a few left in my limited edition run. Five of the beetle and three of the Passion flower. I won’t be making more so get em while you can! 💜
www.michelleanderstshop.com

Grand Jury prize finalist

Breakfast With Golden Raspberries, oil on linen, 22″ x 46″

I was humbly surprised to be informed recently that I’m a finalist for the Manifest Grand Jury Prize, with a cash award of $2,500, which will be bestowed on the best single work exhibited in the entire 13th season at Manifest Gallery. This means the organization’s panel picked Breakfast with Golden Raspberries as the best work in its particular exhibit earlier this year. The final award will involve the contribution of as many as 20 jurors and the few dozen works under consideration will have been culled from more than 15,000 entries to all of the Manifest shows throughout the past season.

Here’s a summary of the process from the notification:

I’m writing to notify you that, now that our 13th season has concluded (and we’ve gotten #14 off to a good start) we’re launching the final stage of the Manifest Grand Jury Prize for your exhibition season, and your work is among the finalists to be considered.
Since we announced the MGJP partway through the season you may or may not be aware of all it entails. Rest assured, there is little you will have to do, although we hope you’ll chat about it in your networks, share your success to this stage, and, if you win, shout it from the rooftops. If you would like further information and background, rather than belabor it  here, I’ll ask that you read up on the prize at http://www.manifestgallery.org/about/awards/grand_jury_prize.
In short, your works were scored the highest by our jury (either alone or tied with others) in the exhibition in which you participated. The entire pool of works, out of many hundred we exhibited across 30 exhibits during the season, are those which did likewise. This pool comprises approximately 40 works.
I’m delighted to have gotten this recognition for a painting that won awards in two other shows last year, including a best in show at Marin MOCA.
I recently told Jim Hall, at Oxford Gallery, that I loved this painting. He laughed and said, “If you do say so yourself.” I laughed along with him, because what I really meant is that there is nothing in this painting that bugs me. To say I love it is, in my lexicon, essentially to say it doesn’t trouble me. (It’s a little more than that, but not much.) Normally, in almost every painting I complete, something continues to bother me about it, something I am at a loss for how to fix–or too cowardly to risk messing up the painting by attempting to fix it. In this painting there is nothing that needs fixing, and that’s a very rare quality in one of my paintings. In a painting I’m finishing now, another small still life with a patterned bowl–I keep going back to them–I’m very happy and surprised by much of the canvas, but one particular area of the background continues to bother me. It doesn’t look wrong or bad, but something in it just subliminally nags at me as not quite right. It’s fine, and few other people would see anything amiss, but something about those distant kitchen cabinets keeps asking for adjustment. I went after it this morning but even as I completed the amendment, I was wondering how to neutralize, just slightly, the color of that sector. As Sam Kinison said so immortally, it never ends.
Sometimes it does end, though–as with this award winner. No matter how often I look at it, I know it’s done. And nothing about it bugs me.

Thiebaud, part 2

Two Paint Cans, Wayne Thiebaud

More Thiebaud, on how he isn’t and was never a Pop artist, is self-taught, and doesn’t trust art that’s rooted in ideas, from another book published in the same year as the one in the last post, Realists at Work, John Arthur, Watson-Guptill, New York, 1983:

You’ve described yourself as a self-taught painter. Does that mean you didn’t study painting?

No. I started as a sign painter and did fashion illustration, furniture drawing, lettering, and cartooning without going to school. At twenty-eight or twenty-nine, when I went back to college, I got credit for most art courses by special examination by that time I had exhibits, Army experience, and so on. I have courses on my record showing I studied painting and drawing, but those were generally by challenge; they just gave me grades. I took art history, courses like the psychology of art, lots of art education courses, but no formal training.

I believe I saw your rows of pies in Life magazine in the early sixties. Your work kept getting linked with Pop Art at that time, which I thought was a bit of a distortion. Much of Pop Art relied on the look of mechanical processes and played down the effect of the hand.

If anything, my interest was the opposite, more out of the tradition of Velazquez, Manet, to Eakins, through people like Jasper John and Richard Diebenkorn, for whom the signature gesture is central.

When I painted the first row of pies, I can remember sitting and laughing—sort of a silly relief—“Now I have flipped out!” The one thing that allowed me to do that was having been a cartoonist. I did one and thought, “That’s really crazy, but no one is going to look at these things anyway, so what the heck.”

Some people have talked about the irony in my work and the idea terrifies me. That’s something I’m not interested in on a conscious level, and the reason I’m not is because that kind of explication of an idea vitiates its power. If I were using what intelligence I have to be ironic, I couldn’t be smart enough for myself. I would be disappointed, and I’m generally disappointed in irony for that very reason. It seems self-explanatory and anticipatory in a way that never interests me. The reason I don’t like classical surrealism if there is such a thing, is that it seems already to have arrived before you’ve seen it. Even a good painter like Magritte—his ideas put me off.

You may be opposed to irony, Wayne, but not to wit.

No, I think wit is a very high form of attainment. Any kind of wit is one of the toughest things to do. Also, it’s one of the things that’s missing in so much of the art world. When you lose the capacity for a sense of humor in an art form, you lose a sense of perspective.

I was just talking to Harry Rand, who wrote a book on Gorky, about how, when you get so you can do something, you don’t want to do it anymore, and he said, “Yeah, that’s very hard, but I think one of the things that painters have to learn is that it’s all right once in a while to shoot fish in a barrel.”

 

Yummy Alliteration: Poets & Painters & Pie at Pennington Farms!

We couldn’t resist! Join us for a fun afternoon of playing with words & paints & Pennington’s signature “cutie pies.” You’ll leave with a finished 8″ x 10″ painting, a poem, and a tummy full of goodness. $95 for all supplies & pie & instruction. Email me to register: [email protected]

Thiebaud, part 1

Art history in its essence is an organic, growing, and changing discipline. It’s more like a private game refuge, a treasure of exotic and wonderful rare Art Beasts. And our interests continue to change as we find out more and more. It’s hard for me to recognize something like progress or evolutionary development, say in a Darwinian sense, in the development of art. For instance, though I’ve conscientiously studied his paintings for many years, I just can’t find anything new, conceptually, in Paul Cezanne. For me he’s just a damn good painter, who’s using practically every device, convention, and trick in a painting, but he was so terrific, so bright, so careful in trying to be true to his relationships, that the painting is different, not because of any invention, despite his beliefs, but because of the composite structure and complexity of his perceptions translated into paintings. 

–Wayne Thiebaud, from Art of the Real, edit. Mark Strand, Robert Hughes forward, Clarkson N. Potter, New York, 1983

In the fewest possible words, and his typically humble voice, Wayne Thiebaud here says nearly everything an artist needs to know about his or her relevance at any given place or time in the world of art. To wit: the historical sense of place and time don’t matter now. Everything is permitted; but only a few things are worthwhile. Thiebaud came to this realization after Arthur Danto did, but before Danto started talking much about it in 1995. By the 60s, when Thiebaud emerged by being mistakenly classified as a Pop artist, it became possible to do anything and call it art. There were no longer any limitations on what could be considered a work of art, something Duchamp asserted decades before, but it was a cynical declaration of freedom that didn’t flourish until the Pop artists adopted that same philosophical stance and liberated artists to do whatever they wished. The ironies embedded in Pop’s appropriations struck Danto as an integral part of the game, I think, but irony isn’t required and if anything it cheapens much of Pop and makes it far less interesting than it ought to be. (Don’t forget that Pop gave us Jim Dine.) It’s now entirely possible to paint like an Old Master without a postmodern smirk (some of Richter for example)—because the work has the same power now as it did hundreds of years ago. What Thiebaud is trying to say, and which remains difficult to articulate clearly, is that an authentic individuality matters more than any other consideration in art—and this individuality is infused into a painting subconsciously, not by choice. It’s about style, not stylization, as Susan Sontag said. Style is involuntary. A painting needs to be an extension, a replication not necessarily of something seen but of the wholeness of a painter’s identity, “the composite structure and complexity of his perceptions translated into paintings.” It has nothing to do with conceptual justifications or ideas or meanings and messages. A painting is more like a sacrament, a host for the life of the painter, than an expression of something a painter simply thinks up. It isn’t about thought, and it isn’t about hewing to anything but what an individual’s need to paint requires, which is something to be learned anew with each painting, something felt rather than known, discovered through act and instinct and a physical struggle with the qualities of paint.

Taffy #1

Taffy #1, Oil on Linen, 46″ x 46″

Standing Taffy

This cairn of taffy squeezes
into shapes that Hammersley,
Stella, or Matisse
might have liked, loopy
curves of subtle tones,
color contained, simple as a tune
or cream uncoiling into a cup.

Stacked, unstable acrobats
lean, and come near
to teetering onto stone.
There’s a timid cheer
in their defeated smiles
that spiral through caramel,
raspberry and peach,
those fields of foggy color
wrapped in wax
and twist-tied into chipper bows.

Sweets, created to melt
into fleet flavors,
no one can respect,
nor put to use,
signifying nil but the need to please.
Dimpled, dented, crumpled,
they sag as if under more
than the punished bulk
of one (or two) of their own.
Those wings will never fly, guys,
but you’re serenely ready
in the purity of your hues
to stand for nothing but what you are.

Autumn Workshops

Autumn Writing Workshops

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Sunday, October 22 & 

Sunday, November 12

2 – 5 pm

Jacksonville  

Cost: $20/workshop

Join us for an afternoon of inspiring prompts and new exercises in a supportive, encouraging environment. 
All writers, experience levels and genres welcome.
Workshops are self-contained. Come to either or both!
To register reply to this email or visit https://writersroomworkshops.com/register-for-a-workshop/

 

Minot purchase award

Chevron Bowl, oil on linen, 12″ x 16″

I was pleased to learn that Minot State University purchased Chevron Bowl, which was included in Americas: All Media 2017. As a part of the school’s permanent collection it can be exhibited and also used as a teaching tool. It has always seemed that the school puts a special emphasis on printmaking exhibitions, so it seems appropriate that they wanted to hold onto this painting. It’s one of my best efforts in a more painterly approach to the process of making a picture, one in which I’m often thinking about the techniques of serigraphy. With all of my work now I apply a first layer of paint in discreet areas of uniform color, with an effort to establish the right value relationships between these flat shapes, so that the hue may be off here and there, but the image breaks down properly into lights and darks. Then I go to work within these sections of flat color, adding detail and tweaking color, both in my typical, painstakingly realistic work, and in less defined paintings like this one, where the effort is to work wet-on-wet, keeping the premier coup quality of the paint–and maintaining the sense of flat patterns established in the first application of paint.

In both processes I want to develop the painting in stages, keeping corrections to a minimum so that the color remains fresh and alive, yet with paintings like Chevron Bowl I want the ghost of flatness, as it were, to be an active element in the viewing experience. I want what the viewer sees in this work to waver just a bit between two and three dimensions. I want areas of color to remain as uniform as possible, which means I sacrifice precise, granular detail for the sake of preserving the evidence of my brush and hand. The execution becomes much simpler and the quality of light in a painting like this feels more delicate and resonant, the paint a bit less opaque. Because you’re not looking at something rendered with a sense of photographic accuracy, the mind is attending to both the paint itself and what the paint seduces your mind into seeing. In that conflict, the frisson of those two things–the image of the world I’m creating and the flat pattern of paint on cloth–I’m trying to bring a certain kind of life to the work different from what’s there in the verisimilitude of my more extremely realistic work.

UPDATED! 10 Reasons to Support the Arts

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