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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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Art Reception at the Rogue Gallery on October 20, 2017

Art Reception at the Rogue Gallery on October 20, 2017

Alx Fox Sunrise Through the Mist Abstract Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 36"

Alx Fox Sunrise Through the Mist

Main Gallery exhibit:

Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Eleanor Erskine, Alx Fox, Zelpha Hutton, Keith Johnson, and Dan Tilden

Exhibit date: September 29 – November 10, 2017

 Artists in this exhibit explore the classical idea of the elements: earth, water, fire, and wind. Described as the simplest essential parts of all things, the four elements have fascinated artists throughout history. Printmaker Eleanor Erskine, sculptor Dan Tilden, and abstract painters Alx Fox, Zelpha Hutton, and Keith Johnson uniquely create artwork reflecting this concept of the natural world.

Eleanor H.  Erskine received a BFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA in Printmaking with special focus in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  She has taught at Maine College of Art, Kansas City Art Institute, Chautauqua Institute, Penland School of Crafts, and Portland State University.

Medford artist, Alx Fox is an abstract expressionist painter who is driven by her passion for self-expression through bold blended colors and distinctive textures. She studied photography, art history and design at Barat College, Lake Forest, Ill.

Zelpha Hutton was an art teacher for twenty nine years and owned Paisley Yarn Shop in Ashland for twenty three years. Her paintings are a reflection of her personal experiences, the spirit of a landscape or imaginary narration. She resides in Central Point.

Keith Johnson received a Bachelor’s of Art and a Masters of Art from the California College of Arts and Crafts. He has been an active painter and printmaker for over five decades. His painting process he describes as “letting go and allowing the paint to develop its own life and its own voice”. Keith lives in Jacksonville.

Ashland artist, Dan Tilden has a passion for woodworking. Using the natural features from the tree, he turns hollow vessels, pots, and bowls on a wood lathe to create an elegant shape while keeping the piece in the most natural state possible. Using a natural edge opening, drying wet wood to warp and move, and using a knot or void in the shape adds character to the piece and lets the piece “speak for itself”.

 

Elm Burl by Dan Tilden

Dan Tilden’s Elm Burl

 

Community Gallery Exhibit

In the Community Gallery

A Moment in Time: Paintings by Trisha Stricklin

 October 13 – November 17, 2017

Ashland artist Trisha Stricklin’s still life, landscape and figurative paintings are rendered sensitively and accurately in high contrast, vibrant colors.

Trisha Stricklin was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree the California College of Arts and Crafts. For twenty five years, she worked in San Francisco as a designer/art director and illustrator with companies such as the Sharper Image, Smith and Hawken, Gumps, and Williams Sonoma. She moved to the Rogue Valley in 2004 and continued her commercial work. She now devotes most of her time to painting. She describes her oil paintings as “impressionistic realism.” She states, “I strive to produce an accurate rendering of my subject, but not every detail needs to be presented.  There is a place for full detail, and there is a place for space and simplicity.”

Refreshments by Harry and David will be served at the reception on October 20, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

 Call the Rogue Gallery & Art Center for more info: (541) 772-8118

Check out more fun activities at: www.roguegallery.org
The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is the Rogue Valley’s premier non-profit community art center founded in 1960 to promote and nurture the visual arts in the Rogue Valley. The Art Center showcases emerging and established artists, presents fine crafts by area artisans, and offers a broad range of visual art classes and workshops for all ages.

Rogue Gallery & Art Center is located in downtown Medford at 40 South Bartlett Street. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We are open every third Friday until 8:00pm.

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

Deliberate Practice Applied To Drawing Better

Purpose.

This article is about practicing smarter using strategic, or deliberate practice, as it applies to the skill of realistic drawing. I will introduce the idea of deliberate (or strategic) practice then share my views on two articles on how to draw and sketch better.  The articles are from the website “Jen Reviews”.

Clarifying Terms.

Please note that Jen Reviews uses the term strategic practice.  From what I’ve read and understand, strategic practice is the same thing as deliberate practice.  Therefore, I’ll use them interchangeably.  

Self Taught; How Do I Improve?

To explain, I am a “self taught” artist.  That is to say I am not a classically trained artist; I did not study at an art academy, school or atelier.  Instead, I read books, attended workshops and then tried to figure things out on my own.  

Such a situation is similar for lots of artists, I imagine.  We have an interest in drawing or painting and finally reach the point in our lives where we can focus our attention on learning.  We set up our drawing table or easel in get down to the business of learning and practicing.

After awhile, though, we figure out that there is more than just trying to draw something from life.  Practice, practice, practice and more practice helps, but  there is something we need to do to get to the next level.

Deliberate Practice Steps

Deliberate Practice.

Enter deliberate practice which is about targeting what you do.  A couple of years ago I read about deliberate practice, which sounded like a good idea.  To summarize, its a purposeful way of practicing.  Put another way, I figure out what skill I want to work on; identify particular exercises that improve my abilities in that area; develop a practice plan; practice; then evaluate performance.

However, how does one go about applying the idea of deliberate practice to the art and skill of drawing?

Reviewing Jens Review.

That is where Jen comes in. Who’s Jen? I am referring to the “Jen Reviews” website. The site publishes in-depth reviews of everything from how to grow blueberries to how to draw better.  While wandering around their site, I found an article on how to sketch too.

Contact With Jen Reviews.

Writers from the website “Jen Reviews” contacted me and suggested their article: “How To Draw Better”.  This was back in August.  I immediately liked the article.  There was one problem, though.  There is a ton of good information in this article backed up by science.  I am still wading through all of the good ideas!

Deliberate Practice Example

Motor Coordination Exercise.

To show you what I mean, have you ever had the problem of your eye, brain, hand and pencil not being in synch?  You think you are drawing a vertical, straight line but you look at it and its wavy.  If you get frustrated enough, you might pull out an extra sheet of paper and do some practice cross hatching.  But, do you really get better at making purposeful marks?  

Yes, this is something I struggle with and Jens Review article “How To Draw Better” explains the exercise of making deliberate, evenly spaced marks with your pencil or brush.  What I particularly like in the article is a discussion of why this exercise works.  

So, how do you to put this new knowledge into practice?  The exercise is simple and its best to practice regularly and at short intervals.  

For me, I decided that this would be an excellent thing to do with my new iPadPro and the iPencil.  Since the tools are new to me, I felt that practice would help.  What I do is practice on routinely as part of a drawing session.  You might see some marks up in the corner of a drawing.  The nice thing is that I can practice, then delete the file.  I am happy to say that I am adjusting to the iPadPro and iPencil just fine.

Lets recap:  if I were doing this exercise as a part of deliberate practice, I would have a plan.  Lets say I practice making a page of straight lines, once per day or session, for one week; two weeks and then a month.  At the end of the month interval, I would evaluate my progress.  Are my motor skills improving?

Blind Contour Drawing Example

15 Tips For Improving.

This is just one of 15 tips (and exercises) that Jen Reviews mentions.  Included is one of my favorites: blind contour drawing.  Several of the other tips have ideas that are new to me, hence the need to bookmark the article and work through the tips.  

And, this is just the article “How To Draw Better”.  Then there is the article titled: “How to Sketch – 15 Tips for Better Sketches That Come To Life”.

I would like to highlight some points.  

  • Many of the tips apply to realistic drawing.  However, several apply to any type of drawing.  The example of practicing making lines and marks is one such exercise.
  • The idea is to identify what you need to work on to improve; select an exercise to do that is appropriate; create a plan of action; do the exercise according to the plan; evaluate progress.
  • Jen Reviews contacted me and suggested that I might like the article “How to Draw Better”.  They also asked that if I liked the article, would I please mention it in a blog post. The blog post referred to was one titled “Toward Non-Objective Abstraction” dated December 20th, 2015.   And Jen Reviews will share an article I wrote that first attracted their attention.  

My Point of View.

I feel strongly that other artists may find these articles useful.  The tips may be just what you are looking for: targeted exercises that will help you develop the skills necessary to improve your drawing.

Plus, if I write about something in a blog post, I will remember it.  

Please Comment.

If you find this article useful or interesting, please leave a comment and share your thoughts.  I’d love to read what you say!  Thanks!

Deliberate Practice: Gargoyle

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The Fine Art of Painting With Palette Knife with Stefan Baumann

The Fine Art of Painting With Palette Knife Inspiring Millions to paint outdoors This video is about Touch Move and Inspire. Get a free Book at his website www.StefanBaumann.com. The paintings of Stefan Baumann reveal the true spirit of nature by transporting the viewer to distant lands that have gone unseen and undisturbed. With the huge success of Baumann’s weekly PBS television series “The Grand View: America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist,” millions of people witness for themselves the magic Stefan portrays on canvas, his passion for nature and the American landscape. By distilling his love of nature into a luminous painting of brilliant, saturated color that transcends conventional landscape and wildlife art, Baumann has captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation. Each painting becomes an experience rather than merely a picture – a vivid manifestation of his special and personal union with nature and the outdoor world. Through his mastery of light, color and artful composition, Baumann invites you to experience nature in its purity. It is no wonder that for many years distinguished American collectors, including former presidents and financial icons, have sought out his work.

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New Work: Fawn’s Early Light

Stefan Baumann

Artist of the American Wilderness

“Fawns Early Light”

24 x 36 Oil on Panel By Stefan Baumann

Gallery in Mt. Shasta $9,000

-Journal Note June 13, 2017
 
“If you want to see the world for the first time, take a walk with an artist!”
I’m inspired every time I take walk in the forest located behind The Grand View Ranch and I’m always surprised at what I encounter. Often I see a family of Red Foxes running about. Once in a while I have come face to face with a black bear as he walked aimlessly through the woods, unaware of my presence until we see one another. It is an artist’s creed to live a life in harmony with the rest of the world including the animals in the forest and to experience the little effects and details that often get missed by the general public.
 
Artists are passionate about capturing insights within their soul as they ponder, digest, work through, and interpret a view that is different and often contrary to what the general public sees. Artists help others look at life differently and develop new ways of seeing what it is to be human. One can only see when the mind is open, and being present requires solitude, to travel slowly, and to absorb fully with all the senses. To see, listen, smell, and touch requires one to be comfortable with oneself. To be able to turn off the internal dialog and be one with nature requires continuous practice, and it is important to me that my paintings reflect the feelings that I feel when I go for a walk in nature.
 
After surviving a winter that kept sending us huge amounts of snow, I was impatient for spring to come and reveal the secrets hidden under the cloak of snow.  And, I’m always concerned to see the damage created by the heavy snows that weigh down the boughs of our Dogwood trees. Fallen bird’s nests remind me of the life that lived high in the branches last spring are now are scraps of straw at my feet. Spring brings renewed hope along with birds above that busily create new homes for their new families. Soon the cycle will start again.
 
Morning sunrises at The Grand View Ranch are magical. The sunlight makes its way through the fresh green leaves causing brilliant dappling effects on the forest floor. The light makes patterns that give me ideas for future paintings to create in my studio. My eyes dart over the forest floor searching for interesting natural objects to bring back to my studio to include in my wildlife paintings. I walk along a well-traveled deer path that loops around our ranch, when something catches my eye. I wander through the fallen snags of trees that could not survive the weight of the snows, stepping carefully while searching for clues that would explain what I saw.
 
Suddenly, I saw a young doe that had just given birth to twins. I watched as the mother cared for her new born fawns and played in our newly finished pasture made for our horses. It seemed that they enjoyed the new open space and I laughed as they raced from end to end playing a little game of Catch Me, Catch Me. Every year I see fawns but this is the first time that I found their lair.  Apparently the mother had ventured away to get some greens, and one of the fawns was left to hide from predators. Fawns have no sense of smell and can hold still even when confronted face to face. The dappled white spots that were on the fawn’s body mixed with the dappled light of the sun provided a great camouflage to hide in plain sight. Motionless, I stood there observing the fawn and her desperate fear for her survival while making mental notes of the setting so that I could recreate the scene on my canvas. In the distance I could hear that the mother was agitated because I was so near her fawn so I retreated into the forest. I hurried to my studio with my newly found treasures and inspiration and began this painting inspired by a baby fawn called “Fawns Early Light.”
-Stefan Baumann
Your questions and comments are always welcome!
For information on acquiring paintings, call 415-606-9074 or email: [email protected]
Purchase paintings directly through my secure website at www.StefanBaumann.com

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Pollinator Art Reception @ The Pollination Place

Pollinator Art Reception @ The Pollination Place

Ten local artists are displaying and selling their artwork to benefit Pollinator Project Rogue Valley’s Buzzway Corridor

Please join us for refreshments, art viewing and short talks from the artists about their work in our new offices at 107 W. First St. in Phoenix, Oregon

Wednesday September 27 from 6 to 8 pm

Pollinator Art Reception @ The Pollination Place

For more information call Catie Faryl at

Center for Creative Change  535-1854

October Art Show: Peggy’s People, Ponies and Kitties!

You Are Invited!

Hi, its show time!  That is, I’m pleased to say that I am showing my several watercolor paintings at GoodBean Coffee Company in Jacksonville, OR during the month of October.  For those of you who are interested, GoodBean is located at 165 South Oregon St. in historic Jacksonville.  Let me say that you are wholeheartedly invited to see the paintings during business hours which are 6am to 6pm daily.  Please do stop by, have a cup of coffee and enjoy the paintings!

Stermer-Cox Show: People, Ponies and Kitties

About The Show.

I would like to tell you that I plan to feature watercolor paintings from my “Peggy’s People” as well as “Ms. Kitty and Toy Pony” collections.  I selected these paintings in particular because they are bright, colorful and cheerful; just perfect for the start of autumn!  As a way of explaining what I mean, I would like to give you some background on each of the collections.

“Peggy’s People” collection is about the people I see or meet.  Whether its a friend playing bass guitar, as in “Torsten on Bass”, or total strangers having a coffee break, there is a story or two to tell!

GoodBeanShow: Torsten On Bass

As an example, lately, I find the prevalence of cell phones and other electronic devises in our society fascinating.  So, five of the painting explore the theme of talking on a cell phone.

Regarding the “MsKitty and Toy Pony” collections, they are about people too.  However, in these paintings, I let MsKitty and Toy Pony tell the stories.  The kitty and pony play, pounce and visit strange lands.  Indirectly, these paintings are about our relationships with our families and friends.

Intentions.

I view painting as an act of optimism and joy.  Hopefully, I am able to convey these feelings to you in my work.

Details.

I am hanging approximately fifteen watercolor paintings of various sizes.  Each painting is an original and available for purchase.   Should you see paintings that you might like to collect, please contact me directly through my contact page.

Thank you!

Please do drop by if you are in the area.

Art Show: Peggy's People, Ponies and Kitties

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From My Easel: Two “Man With Hat Series” Paintings

New Series.

Hi!  I’d like to introduce my “Man With Hat” series.

The Beginning.

I started this series last spring as part of a demonstration for the Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO).  Because my painting process takes awhile I didn’t finish the painting during the allotted time.  Instead, I worked on several versions in different stages to show the audience how I build my paintings in layers.

Man With Hat Series: First, From Easel

From My Easel.

Well, its six months later and two of the versions are done.  I’d like to share the images with you “from my easel”.  I take a preliminary photograph of the paintings from the easel just to check the composition and decide if I like it.  Once the paintings are removed from the backing board, they go into the “ready for the official photo” pile.  After the official photo, they go into the inventory and are part of my portfolio.

What Took So Long?

I would like to explain the six months between start and finish.  I wanted to think of ways to modify and change the composition.  Four or five identical paintings would get boring for me and probably for you.  So, I let ideas incubate and figure out how to change them.  Coming soon (or not so soon), I have one that I’m calling “Irish Coffee”; another with a dog; and the third is different mainly in the handling of color and tone.  It may yet change too!  Just to give you something to look forward to!

Why A Series?

Idea Managing.  One of the problems with creating paintings is that you (I) sometimes want to put too many ideas into one painting.  And, when the creative juices get going, I tend to think “what if I did this or did that?  Would it work”?  Hence the beauty of working with a series of paintings.  You get to play with ideas and plumb the well of creativity.  They don’t all work out, but by allowing crazy ideas to bloom, something special just might happen.

Overcome Fear Of Starting.  The other really valuable lesson in working in series is that you embrace starting all over again.   I think this is a particularly critical mindset for watercolor painters.  Its easy to overwork a painting trying to get it perfect. In this way, I let go of the idea of perfection and move on to the next painting.

OK, that’s a little bit mis-leading…I always try to create the best painting I can.  But, perfection is not the end state.  Rather, I want to get to a unified state; no more strokes needed.

Ready To Come Off The Easel.

That being said, I just thought it would be fun to show you the series as the first two are ready!

New Series: Man With Hat; Contemplating Kandinsky

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Classically Trained Artist

What Is “Classically Trained”?

Hi! I have been thinking about what makes an artist classically trained. Have you seen that term on a biography of an artist or musician? And, what does that mean?

John Stermer: Classically Trained Artist

John Stermer, Classically Trained Artist

What a funny question, don’t you think? To explain, I have been helping my sister prepare for an upcoming showing of my Dad’s artwork (artist John Stermer of New Mexico). On Dad’s biography, he is described as a classically trained artist.

Story time!

I remember when I was about twelve years old telling one of my teachers that Dad was a “classically trained” artist.  The teacher asked me what does it mean to be a classically trained artist.  I had no idea, but, then, I thought I knew.  So, soldiering on, I promptly gave an answer, rather than say “I don’t know”.  As I recall I mentioned something about how Dad composed a painting.  I have a vague idea of referring to the Greeks, Romans and maybe even Leonardo da Vinci.  Well, Greek and Roman art is sometimes referred to as “classical”, isn’t it?

The point was that I did not know what I was talking about (oops).

No Repeat Performances, Please!

Well, if we are doing art shows and are going to be where interested people asking questions, I figure knowing terms is a good idea.  Remembering my past experience, I thought I would look up “classically trained” and see what it means.

Does Anyone Know The Answer?

Oddly enough, the best answer I could find was in an article about musicians on the website “Slate.com”. Here is what the author, Tony Green wrote (again, talking about music)

“Here’s the problem: Few people outside of music students know what that really means. To wit: extended study and mastery of a complete system of techniques, pedagogy, musical knowledge, and repertoire. In the piano field, according to O’Riley, it commonly includes beginning, intermediate, and advanced material by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Shostakovich, and other composers. It also implies a mastery of specialized techniques, performed from the easy to the most challenging tempos, as well as a thorough schooling in music theory, harmony, and composition.”

Apparently, there probably isn’t a definition of what a “classically trained artist” listed in your closest dictionary.  But, I think this one will do.  To summarize, I figure one needs to have been through a rigorous extended period of education to be classically trained.

Dad’s Case: Classical Training.

So, lets take the case of my Father, artist John Stermer. He had a formal and rigorous period of study at The Art Students League of New York in the late 40s and early 50s. For six years he lived the life of an art student totally immersed in art and art classes. He followed this period of training with an additional year in Paris, France at the Academie Le Grand Chaumiere.

Classically Trained Artist: After the Practice

When Dad left these art schools to work in his own studio, he had learned and mastered how to draw and paint.

Now, do understand that I am not meaning to imply that one ever learns all there is to know about drawing and painting. Rather, he had a robust set of skills that enabled him to create and work on his own terms. He knew everything from selecting materials (paint, canvas, boards); preparing the materials, like stretching and preparing canvas for paint; constructing and creating a painting; creating an appropriate frame for the painting; and how to show and market your artwork.

My Case: Self Taught.

Now, lets compare classically trained Dad with me. I am a “self taught” artist, which I think it a bit of a misnomer, but it’s the best we have.  What I mean is, that I learn from lots of artists, though mostly on an informal basis.

For example,  I take classes and workshops from time to time. I read books, blogs and magazines. And, from the information and examples I see, I create my own work. However, I feel like I learn from every artist whose work I see or study. In effect, they are “teaching” me; I don’t learn in a vacuum or dark studio with no outside influences. Put another way, I have silent teachers and mentors all around me; they just don’t know it!

Self Taught: Stermer-Cox

Which is Better, Classical or Self-taught?

After studying for over 15 years on my own, I’d say, it all depends on your circumstances.

The More Direct Path.  I am inclined to believe that the intensive education available through classical training, say at an art academy or atelier, is difficult to match on my own. It helps to have masters and fellow students to learn from; the community is invaluable! I would imagine that there is a synergy in learning when people who share your excitement about art surround you.

The More Indirect Path.  When you are on your own, you have to wrestle with the “how” and “why” by yourself.  The skill set of knowing materials and how to approach drawing and painting is learned almost by trial and error.  Therefore, I consider “self taught” to be a more indirect path. It will take awhile to learn how to solve the problems of creating art.

Its All Good!

In the end, though, I would hope we (classical and self taught artists) arrive at a similar place. That is to say, our own individual path of creating art that connects with other people is what we strive to achieve.

Just my thoughts; what do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2005/07/classically_lame.html

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