Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE! reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

Talent OR and Remembering On September 11th

Greetings! On this the 11th day of September, I am thinking about my family, friends and colleagues who live in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley.  The Rogue Valley is our former home. To explain, eleven months ago my husband and I left the Rogue Valley and moved to the Washington coast. I point that out because […]

The post Talent OR and Remembering On September 11th appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Zoom Inspired !

My friend and fellow Artist, Pam Hounschild and I have been teaching a Water Media Textures Workshop via Zoom. Pam is a more linear thinker than I am which was essential in pulling this off. Our first online class was through the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, CA. We will teach the class again  October  5,8,12,15 with them also. . In the meantime we are also teaching September 14,17,21, and 24.through the Emerald Art Center in Springfield OR.

Its a quite different experience for all of us to not be in the same space but we are finding our way and everyone had fun and produced some great pieces.

Leading up to this new zoom life, I had decided I was tired of cutting mats, handling heavy glass and framing my work: too labor intensive and the glass made it difficult  to view the work because of the glare. So I have been working smaller and experimenting with adhering images on paper to wood substrates and layering on acrylic medium to seal them and applying a final couple of layers  of UV varnish to make them lightfast. I really like the immediacy of images and the detail preserved.  

Here are some examples of the current works.

Focal Point Vs. Center of Interest

Focal Point Vs. Center of Interest

Stefan Baumann at a demo in Mt Shasta The Grand View Artist Retreat

Stefan Baumann at a demo in Mt Shasta The Grand View Artist Retreat

July 11, 2020, Grand View Ranch

It’s amazing that it is July at The Grand View Ranch and Artist Retreat and half of a year has gone by in 2020 and now we are staring down the barrel in the last half of the year. Here at the ranch, we are finishing up the project that we started during the Corona lock-down. It is amazing how many things one starts when staying at home with some forced free time on 10 acres and a shovel. The GV Ranch has many interesting elevations and several major vistas that can be seen from every vantage point from the ranch. With so many possibilities of having painting workshops here at the ranch once we get out of this quagmire that is the Coronavirus, I have opened so many projects that need to be completed before my next workshop can take place this fall. Maybe we will see you there, Click here to find out more
Meanwhile at The Grand View Ranch
With some of the restrictions lifted my fellow artists are once again making their weekly pilgrimage to The Grand View Ranch for a bit of some social contact (with the proper social distance apart, of course) and as always there are great topics discussed on the creation of grand Paintings by the artist that is passionate about painting. This week one of my artist friends asked, “In all of your coaching and your videos on a painting you always reference focal points and having a great center of interest, is there a difference?”
Center of Interest
What I coach is not only improving your painting skills but how to use those skills to communicate to the viewer what is it that you want them to experience. We as humans have certain traits baked in because of evolution. Throughout our evolution, we have learned that certain visual cues allowed us to survive. For example, when a lion was at the cave opening you would read through eye contact whether it was interested in you for dinner. Likewise, a bear running was either a threat or not a threat by the direction that the bear was running. So, therefore, there are automatic centers of interest that are always going to trigger the viewer’s eye and will cause the viewer to react regardless of where they appear on the canvas. These things are eyes, movement, human figures, animals, letters, faces, valuables, numbers, symbols, etc. When we scan an image for the first time, our attention is naturally drawn to these items.
Focal Point “Martha, I see the light”
A focal point, on the other hand, acts as a kind of “eye magnet” regardless of the subject. Strong tonal value contrast (light vs. dark) is the most powerful visual magnet. The viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to areas where light and dark are in stark juxtaposition. Bright colors, fine detail, sharp edges, anomalies, patterns, and any arrow-like “pointers” also attract the eye. Any part of a picture that exhibits these features will make the viewer focus his gaze upon it. The best way to create a focal point is by creating effects, mainly lighting effects! The best secret weapon that an artist has in his toolbox is creating an effect by using light and shadow to attract the viewer and keep the viewer constantly captivated. Artists that master light commands the art world’s attention. That’s why it is also a focus of my coaching. It surprises me that few artists and art teachers have ever been taught how to create a focal point by the use of light and it is by far the greatest secret (if there was a secret) to mastering painting. It is the sole reason that my coaching students’ paintings win awards consistently.
Therein Lies a Potential Problem
For a picture to be successful, the center of interest should also be a focal point. In other words, there should be one area that attracts both the eye and mind. To have an area in a picture that attracts your mind and another that attracts your eye is confusing and distracting to the viewer. In a composition, the center of interest and the focal point should be in the middle third of the canvas. Both demand the viewer’s attention and should occupy the viewer’s line of sight. To create a great composition, the artist should include three focal points and employ a good understanding of how the viewer’s eye sees. But we will leave that for another blog.
Conclusion “Finally”
In conclusion, understanding the focal points and the center of interest is a life long journey that will take your painting to a whole new level. Mastering these tools will guarantee that your work will get better and will overpower your competition in a gallery or show; it will change everything about your painting and will change the way you look at other artists’ works. Many of my art students have experienced amazing reactions from collectors once they implemented these techniques. If you are interested in coaching and learning more about the focal point or center of interest just give me a call. 415-606-9074
That’s all I have to say about that!
Till our next artist “Campfire art Chat” always remember to do good work and paint with passion!
Stefan Baumann-
Currently artist in residence @ The Grand View Ranch
For reservations to be included in our campfire art chats please call 415 -606-9074
Space is limited
“Hey, Get Over Here and Give Me Some Advice!”
Information about coaching is located under the heading Coaching on my website
If you are interested in coaching, give me a call at 415-606-9074 (my personal cell number) and we can talk more about how coaching will enhance your knowledge, capabilities, and growth as an artist.
The eyes of the world are waiting to see what you have to say.”
I have coached many students over the years. My goal as a coach is to help students discover their own style by instructing them with a method that allows them to grow as they are. If you want to increase your knowledge and skill to bring your art to the next level, I invite you to watch my YouTube videos, consider phone coaching with me, or attend a workshop in Mt. Shasta where we discuss art, passion, and life with other artists around the campfire. All the information is on my website,
Stefan Baumann on his trusted steed

Stefan Baumann on his trusted steed

The post Focal Point Vs. Center of Interest appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Five Minute Drawing And #21aweek

Five Minute Drawing – my new “fast and furious” exercise*. It’s About Drawing Skills. Hi!  Lately I’ve been working on my drawings skills.  I am wondering, does that sound familiar?  It seems to me that several of my posts have started out that way.  Though, I suppose that is not surprising given that drawing is […]

The post Five Minute Drawing And #21aweek appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

More Tangents, More Fun

These three Paintings are part of a series exploring a new painting surface as well as new ways to use the layered painting process . They are on wrapped canvas instead of watercolor paper which alters the way of the interactions of surface and paint. It also nudged me to follow the process with exciting new curiosity and awe; keeping the excitement fresh.


To Be Clear -12×24

Heavy Metal 18×18

Various Tangents

These 3 images are part of an experimental tangent of the serendipitous  following of random threads layered onto paper: layered onto underpainting or by creating a new and vibrant base for further exploration.


Thicketed Moon 24×30

Fog in Sunrise- 6×9

Cracked Foundation- 6×9

New Small Works

These images are just completed. I’m attempting to move away from cutting mats, dealing with heavy glass and framing my work. I’m too old to deal with it. These are lightweight! I like the immediacy of the images. All are acrylic on paper adhered to wood panels.They are sealed and UV treated for easy care. I’m all for easy these days and am loving the exploration.

New Small Works

“Earth Protectors” 15″X11″

New Small Works

“Red Flash” 15″X11″

New Small Works

“Coral Reef” 15″x11″

New small works

“Eb and Flow” 15″X1″

Online Painting Workshop

Please join us for our First online painting workshop Titled “Expressive Watermedia Textures.” This will surely be a fun adventure!

Montana Watercolor Society Online Exhibition & Award

Two “Three Minute Egg” Series Paintings On Display. Greetings!  I am pleased to say that I have two paintings showing in the Montana Watercolor Society‘s 2020 Annual Members Exhibition.  The paintings are “Three Minute Egg #11” and “Three Minute Egg #12”. Exhibition Details. You can see the exhibition online through the Wilkins Gallery of the […]

The post Montana Watercolor Society Online Exhibition & Award appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Stefan Baumann 2020-05-11 13:20:57

Baumann Coaching student Pam Yarborough

Baumann Coaching student Pam Yarborough

The post appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.