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Meaning in Painting? Regarding Still Life With Rabbit and Egg

The “Meaning” Question.

A fellow artist, Sandra Neary, asked me about the meaning of this still life composition.  In particular, why is the egg larger than the rabbit?

Meaning: Drawing with Rabbit and Egg

Dinosaur Egg & Pygmy Rabbit?

Well, all sorts of silly responses bounced around my head.  For instance, what if the egg were a dinosaur egg and the rabbit was a pygmy rabbit?  All birds are dinosaurs so it could be true.  Alright; it is a chicken egg and a replica of a rabbit netsuke.

Short Term Answer.

However, the question was put forward. And, I thought I’d quote part of the answer I gave.

“I chose them because they were all white objects..I was studying light and form. But, the incongruity of the rabbit and egg amused me. However, the narrative is sending me places I don’t want to go. It was the form that I was after. Sometimes you can’t escape narrative. Though, I like the ambiguity.”

Margaret Stermer-Cox Fine Art Facebook Page, 1 November 2018

And, What About Meaning?

However, I did start thinking about the meaning of this composition and, perhaps two dimensional art in general.

And, I came to the conclusion that it is reasonable to ask about the meaning of a painting or drawing.  After all, the arts, including the visual arts, are a means of communication.  Therefore, it would be natural to want to understand a piece of art.

Meaning: Painting of Rabbit and Egg

How I Select Items For This Still Life.

That being said, this artist, (ahem, yes, I mean me), is prone to selecting subjects for reasons other than symbolic or iconic meaning.

Shape and Value.  For example, when I selected items for this particular still life set up, I chose them for their shapes and tonal value. To explain, I was interested in studying form free from the distracting influence of color. So, I selected the items because they were a neutral, light or white color.

Geometry.  Furthermore, I was interested in the basic geometric shapes depicted here.  The egg cup, for example, is a modified column.  The egg is like an elongated sphere.  The rabbit has similar rounded forms.

Personal Interest.  And, I liked each of the items.  They’re from my personal collection of knick-knacks.

Still Life Set Up.

So, once I selected the items for my still life study, I had to arrange them.  Keeping in mind composition, I set about placing my knick-knacks.  You will notice that clustered the three together in a sort of triangular shape.  It is like they are in huddle over to the left.

By clustering the items to the left, I set up a problem of how to balance the right side.  My response was to see if line and small shifts in tone will be enough to achieve balance.

Meaning: Still Life with Rabbit & Egg. Reference Photo
I am including a photo of the still life set up so that you may get an idea of what I was studying. However, I drew and painted from the life; not the photo.

Academic; No Spontaneity?

Hmmm, you might think, this all sounds academic.  Well, I think it is at this stage of the process.  That is to say, I am purposeful in my set up; not spontaneous.  In other words, I’m experimenting and teaching myself by doing.  I take the rules and principles of composition, apply them and then see what happens.  The process is like an informed trial and error.

Learn By Studying & Doing.

You see, one reads the books, studies the demos, and takes the workshops, in an effort  to learn how to draw and paint. But, along the way, one needs to do the work.  So, I start with the principles and then go about the process of learning how to use them.

That is, I need to try out ideas using pencil or brush on paper.  At such times, I feel compelled to ask the “what if” questions and see what happens.  In other words, I’m studying the art of drawing and painting by doing.

The Concept of “Meaning” Deserves More Study.

So, let us go back to this idea of meaning in drawing and painting.   As I am writing and considering this question, I realize that meaning might need to be studied just as form, value or color.  So, with that, I think I will close with the thought that this ought to be the beginning of a series of articles about meaning in paintings.

What Does It Mean To You?

And, a final word about this particular still life.  Could it mean more than my intentions?  Well, as the viewer or receiver of the visual message, you bring your own experience to the conversation.  So, yes, it could mean something entirely different to you.  And, that is just fine with me!

PS.  Note with the variation below, I changed a couple of things.  Does meaning change as well?  What do you think?

Meaning: Drawing of Rabbit and Egg

The post Meaning in Painting? Regarding Still Life With Rabbit and Egg appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Learning To Paint You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

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.

The post Learning To Paint You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Research: Links to Articles On How to Simplify

Research, that is to say my investigation and study into what it means to “simplify” a design in drawing and painting.

Building A Knowledge Base.

Hi!  Over the past few months, I’ve been looking for articles on the topic of simplification.  That is, I’ve been trying to find out what simplification is all about.  You see, I figure that if I am to lead a class or workshop on the subject, I ought to have a solid foundation of knowledge.

Research on How to Simplify: Cool Kitty - Variation On A Theme

Article Search.

It hasn’t been easy finding articles.  Rather, the research process has been slow, especially at first.  Sometimes, though, one article leads to another relevant article and, eventually, another.  So, the idea, then, is to plod through and keep looking.

That being said, I have found several references that I like.  In other cases, with books, for example, I can see “simplify” in the index.  But, I have yet to read the all documents.

I Like Research!

And, the fun thing?  Yes, research can be fun.  One gets to expand one’s horizons and meet interesting people through their writings.  Also, the artists represented include realism to abstraction; photography, drawing and painting!

Research Into How To Simplify: Spice Kitty - Variation on a Theme

Links To Articles.

One additional note.  Several of these links have books, online classes, etc.  The purpose is not to advocate or promote the books or classes.  Rather, to share bits of insight on simplification.

So, in not any particular order, here are some links and references to articles on how to simplify.

1.  Mitchell Albala.

Mr. Albala is an artist and instructor working in the Pacific Northwest.

From Mitchell Albala’s blog:  “Any good landscape painting I’ve ever done was also simple”, https://blog.mitchalbala.com/the-not-so-simple-art-of-simplification/

Quote:  The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hoffman

From Mitchell Albala’s book, Landscape Painting.  Simplification and Massing: Learn to reduce nature’s complexity by looking beneath the surface of a subject to discover the form’s basic masses and shapes.

Research: How To Simplify: KittyKitty Simplified Pattern

2.  Website:  Composition Study.

Though the purpose of this website is to be a resource for photographers, I think that the information is relevant to any visual artist.  There is one article specifically on simplification: http://compositionstudy.com/simplification/

The author includes a wonderful example of simplification in a black and white photograph.

3.  Johannes Vloothuis.

Via Artistnetwork.com, “5 Art Composition Tips:  How to Simplify a Busy Painting”; useful tips and examples!

4.  The Virtual Instructor.

This short article and video focusing on simplifying by seeing the underlying shape and form of the subject.

Drawing 101 – Simplify For Success.

5.  John Burton: Organizing Chaos.

From Tucson Art Academy On Line, a short video from artist John Burton.   He discusses how he organizes a complex scene.  Its all about seeing shapes; working large to small, and leaving the details to last.  I recommend this short video:  Three Key Steps to Simplifying A Complex Scene.

6.  Keene Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s article “Design and Composition: Practical Advice for the Advanced Artist” is compilation of notes from the artist on design and composition.  Embedded in the many of the notes are tips on how to enhance and simplify your design.  And, you are rewarded as you read down the page where you find an entire paragraph titled “Simplify”.  This might be an article you want to book mark and come back to!

Research: Variation On A Theme

7.  Miles G. Batts.

One of my favorite artists is Miles G. Batts.  He has a paragraph specifically on simplification on page 68 of  his book “The Complete Guide to Creative Watercolor”.

8.  Linda Kemp.

Another favorite artist, Linda Kemp has a book available titled “Simplifying Design & Color for Artists”.

9.  Tom Hoffman.

An artist I admire from the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Hoffman has a book out plus teaches.  I have not read his book, but I frequent a blog he uses for some of his watercolor classes.  It seems to me that simplification and how to do it are topics imbedded in his instructions.  I find the blog useful.

10.  Frank Eber.

Artist Frank Eber, another fine artist whose work I admire has a blog with several excellent articles that include the subject of simplification.  All are worthy reads and provide insight to the painting process and simplification in particular.

Research on How To Simplify: Variations On A Theme, KittyKitty Red Alert

11.  Mark Alan Anderson, “Just Sketching” Blog.

I like Mr. Anderson’s articles.  To elaborate, I find the practical, accessible and useful.  Its about the practice of drawing and sketching.  So, I’ll list a couple of articles that apply directly to the topic of simplification.

12.  Stephen Berry.

Tip:  Try smaller reference photos, such as from a cell phone. Helps you see the big shapes!  From “10 Tips to Help You Improve On Your Own”.

13.  Me!

Some of my other articles about simplifying:

About The Paintings.

The paintings shown in this article are part of my “KittyKitty” series started in 2009.  One of my favorite ways of doing research, whether or not I want to simplify, is to do a “variation on a theme”.  Put another way, working in series gives the artist an opportunity to see first hand how changes influence design.  Plus, its great fun!

Research Variation On Theme: Totally Modern Kitty

 

#simplify #simplifyyourpainting #watercolorpainting

The post Research: Links to Articles On How to Simplify appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Southern Oregon Society of Artists News September 2018

SOSA Sept News 2018

Ashland Open Studio Tour October 13-14, 2018

5th Annual Ashland Open Studio Tour

5th Annual Ashland Open Studio Tour Come Into Our Studios… October 13th & 14th,2018 Free to public

Come Into Our Studios…

October 13th & 14th,2018 Free to public

The Ashland Gallery Association sponsors the Ashland Open Studio Tour. On the weekend of October 13th and 14th  from 11-5pm both days, the public is invited to tour the studios of the visual artists of this region including Ashland, Phoenix and Talent. On this studio tour, you will find exceptional artwork and are invited to see working studios and artworks in progress. A great chance to engage with the artists and ask question about their work and individual creative processes.

Demonstrations are scheduled throughout the two-day tour.

Visit www.ashlandost.com for more information and a map of the participating studios.

Facebook : www.facebook.com/ashlandost

Instagram : www.instagram.com/ashlandopenstudiotour

For any questions about this press release please email [email protected]

The Golden Ratio in Art

The Golden Ratio in Art

Struggling to find balance in the composition of your artworks? Luckily for you, nature and the old masters show us a handy rule of thumb that can help you create visually stunning work.

Enter the golden ratio. Learn more about the formula in use for centuries, yet still unknown to many artists.

What is the Golden Ratio?

The golden ratio is a unique irrational number that can be found throughout nature and art. The golden ratio, also known as the golden mean or the Fibonacci ratio, is roughly 1 to 1.618.

Now, before I scare you off at the prospect of mathematics, let me explain why this number can be handy to your artworks.

This ratio is found in everything from shells to plants to human bone structure. Due to its prevalence in nature, designers and artists often use the golden ratio, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Use it to provide harmony, cohesion and stability in your art and design.

How Can You Use the Golden Ratio in Art?

The golden ratio is an excellent tool to help any budding artist create compelling pieces. It can take the guesswork out of subject placement, and proportions within your work.

Many people also use its geometry as the subject matter within their art.

So how is this done?

There are many ways to do this. One example is to use the ratio to design a compelling composition around which your artwork will evolve. The use of the golden rectangle or spiral can help you determine the layout and focal point of your artwork.

The Golden Ratio in Art, illustration showing how the Golden Ratio was used to establish the composition in a photograph

The golden rectangle, which is shown above alongside the golden spiral, is based on the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, …). These numbers make up the length of the sides of each square. As the squares get larger, you can place them beside the collection of smaller squares to create a rectangle. The ratio of the sides of this rectangle is equal to the golden ratio.

Use this rectangle to design your composition and also to highlight points of interest. For example, if you have visually appealing areas, like a landmark in a landscape or someone’s eye in a portrait, using the golden ratio in art can help you strategically place these landmarks to improve the overall composition and draw the viewers eye.

You can also use the ratio when designing the layout of your piece. Web and graphic designers will often use the golden ratio to divide up a web page or construct a logo. Thus, the proportions of the different elements are all related, based on the golden ratio.

The Golden Ratio in Art, illustrated in the design of the Twitter logo

How Will You Use the Golden Ratio in Art?

As you can see, there are many different ways to include the golden ratio in art. From composition and design to breaking down the proportions of the human body, the way you use it can be as simple or as complex as you want. Consequently, it is the perfect way to add an extra layer of balance and harmony to your composition.

Southern Oregon Artists Resource thanks Nathan Hughes of ArtIgnition.com for contributing this post! For an in-depth article with tips, tricks and tools,  please visit their post by Chelsea here: https://artignition.com/golden-ratio-in-art/

Light Garden Glass Celebrations in September 2018

1086 Washburn                            September 2018
Medford, OR                                   Tues-Fri 10-5pm
www.lightgarden.net                     Sat  10-1p
(541) 779-0272                                 Closed:  Sun & Mon.

 
I am the featured artist at
RoxyAnn Winery
all through the month of September!
Join us for an Artist’s Reception on
September 2nd from 3-5pm
There will be music, appetizers,
GREAT WINE and local art.
It would be great to see you there!

 
Flowers of Hope 2018  
 
  
Join us for a celebration
of our Flowers of Hope Program
at our
Artist’s Reception 2018
September 14th, 1-6pm
and
September 15, from 10-1pm
All of the panels will be on display,
there will be refreshments

                  and a great time shared by all!

Vote for your favorite panel.
The winner will get a
$50 Gift Certificate
from
LightGarden Glass Art
Tomorrow, August 31, is the last day to turn in your Flowers of Hope panels.
 
These projects can be done during our regularly scheduled workshops on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10 – 12n.  Please call or email ahead to reserve your space.
 
Painting With Frit
 
  
October 6th
10a-12pm
Lunch
1-4pm 

Learn to use frit, hand pulled stringers, 96 glass and glass enamels to quickly add dimension and a painterly quality to your fused glass art. 

We’ll explore different techniques through 3 small panels, focusing on clouds, trees, water and layering backgrounds. We’ll also address combining colors and picture composition. 

Find out how easy it is to develop your sketches from photos and other inspiration. These panels can be a great reference guide for future projects. 

All frit, stringers, glass, glass enamels and lunch are included. 

Glass fusing: Basics or equivalent is required. 

$145
 Morning Workshops:

Come join our morning workshops on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10a – Noon.  Use our tools and workshop space.  $10 for 2 hours!  Call to reserve your space.  You can do a Flowers of Hope panel during any of our workshops…or a “Try Fusing” panel to get you started in fusing.  You can also schedule bigger projects.  Contact us for more information.

LightGarden Glass Art, 1086 Washburn Lane, Medford, OR 97501-2000

Painting on Location in Yosemite With Stefan Baumann

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.

The post Painting on Location in Yosemite With Stefan Baumann appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Painting & WSO Traveling Exhibition In Carlton, OR

Wallow Gallery, Carlton OR

Greetings!  I am pleased to say that my watercolor painting “Three Minute Egg V11”, is now showing in the Wallow Gallery, Carlton, OR.

Carlton: Three Minute Egg V11

You see, it is one of the 20 award winning paintings from the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s (WSO) Spring 2018 Experimental Exhibition.  And, WSO has a traveling show consisting of their award winning paintings.  So, the award winning paintings get to travel to select galleries around Oregon.

Gallery Details.

I would like to invite you to see the Traveling Exhibition in Carlton.  Therefore, I’d like to share gallery information with you.  The paintings are showing at the Wallow Gallery, 125 W. Main St.  Business hours are Fri-Sun, 12-5pm. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 503-785-9951.  Furthermore, you may want to call the gallery first if you plan to see the exhibition.

The paintings will be on display through the end of September.

WSO 2018 Traveling Exhibition

WSO Experimental Exhibition.

What makes the experimental exhibition special is that artists are encouraged to explore different water-media and substrates.  Put another way, you see everything from a more traditional watercolor paint on paper to mixed water-media on aqua or clay-board.  And, the types of water-media include transparent watercolor, gouache and acrylic.

Still, the intentions of jurying the show are the same: recognizing paintings with technical and artistic achievement.

And, one further note about WSO art shows.  The fall exhibition includes only watercolor works on paper.  You can see, then, how it contrasts with the spring experimental show.

Photos By Liz Walker.

Carlton; Liz Walker's "On Solid Ground" used with permission

I’d like to give you some background regarding the photos.  To explain, most are from fellow Oregon artist, Ms. Liz Walker.  Thank you Liz for permission to use your photos!

Included are her photos from some of the previous stops on the traveling show’s journey.  Plus, I’m adding her own award winning painting.  I liked the feeling of her painting “On Solid Ground”.  You see, it has a degree of mystery that I particularly enjoy!

Thank you!

On a personal note, I would like to extend a “thank you” to Zsuzanna Wallow, Sandy and all the WSO members responsible for this wonderful show.  And, a HUGE thank you to Wallow Gallery for showing the art works!

Please Stop By!

In closing, I would like to invite you to stop by the Wallow Gallery if you are in the area!  Please, go see some wonderful experimental water-media paintings by my friends and fellow Oregon fine artists!  Thank you!

Carlton. Paintings from WSO Spring Exhibition

 

The post Painting & WSO Traveling Exhibition In Carlton, OR appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

A Clown: More Than A Smiling Face

But, still, a smiling clown can be good!

Clowns Popped In My Head.

Hi!  Lately, I’ve been doing some small studies of clowns.  Why clowns?  I don’t know.  They popped into my head this past May and I keep coming back to them.

Research Time.

So, after a few drawings, I thought it might be a good idea to research clowns.  I started with a search for famous clowns.  As you might expect, there were photos and mentions of some of the more recent famous comedic characters, both real and fictional.  Circus clowns like Emmett Kelly, American Tramp “Weary Willie” and Red Skelton, Freddie the Freeloader.

Clown With Daisies And Balloons

Traditional Types.

Then, I started finding articles about traditional circus clowns.  Did you know, that there were generally three types of circus clowns?  They are the white face, Auguste (red face),  character clowns.  The character clowns may include the more recent hobo or tramp, like Weary Willie.

Boss Clown.

There is a funny hierarchy too.  To over simplify, the white face clown is the top clown and serious (straight face) clown.  Whereas the red face or Auguste clown is the one that gets the pie in the face.  Naturally, the character clowns play characters.

Its About Meaning.

Now that I’ve shared with you my quick research on these circus characters, I’d like to relate my findings to drawings.  You see, it makes it much more interesting creating my clown characters now that I know a little bit about them.  And, its inspired me to create more!

Oddly enough, I drew a “white face” clown without knowing the significance.  Still, I think he is appropriate for the occasion.

Clown With Daisies & Balloons.

In any case, I hope you enjoy my clown with daisies and balloons.  Thank you!

PS.  You could say that this watercolor and ink study is a type of “drawing from memory and imagination”.  The emphasis is on imagination!

Twin Clowns.

Naturally, when you draw one clown, well, maybe you need to draw two!  Plus, I’m a fraternal twin.   Happiness!

Clown: Twins

 

The post A Clown: More Than A Smiling Face appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.