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An Afternoon with Stefan Baumann

Art Du Jour Gallery Presents "An Afternoon with Stefan Baumann", Friday, June 23rd, 2017!  Enjoy an afternoon lecture/demo by renowned artist Stefan Baumann of The Grand View (PBS/SOPTV) at the Medford Library, from 1:30 – 3:30pm. There will be a reception immediately to follow, with a chance to meet Stefan!  Art Du Jour Gallery  213 E. Main Street Medford, OR 97501  Hours: 10-4, Tues.-Sat. and 3rd Friday 5-8.    For information, call (541) 770-3190.

Art Du Jour Gallery and Central Art Supply Present “An Afternoon with Stefan Baumann”

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Enjoy an afternoon lecture/demo by renowned artist Stefan Baumann of The Grand View (PBS/SOPTV) at the Medford Library, from 1:30 – 3:30pm. There will be a reception immediately to follow, with a chance to meet Stefan!

For information, call (541) 770-3190.

Tangents – What Are They and Why Care?

Off On A Tangent.

Tangents – what are they and so what?

Tangents - just me thinking

Purpose.  My intention in writing this article is to explore and perhaps shed some light on how the word “tangent(s)” is used in drawing, illustrating, painting and photography.  I would like to share with you how this topic came up in conversation.  Then, I’ll talk about the definition of tangent as it applies to artwork.

To illustrate the issue, I will include some examples of tangents in my own work and suggest some possible remedies. Finally, I will list some references and links for further study.

Summary.  Tangents come into play when designing two dimensional artwork such as drawings and paintings.  They are created when two objects, such as a line or shape, touch but do not overlap.  Because they can be visually awkward or ambiguous, tangents tend to draw the viewers attention.  By learning how to identify tangents, the artist can either avoid them altogether, or use them to advantage.

Tangents As A Topic Of Conversation.

Banquet Discussion. The topic of “tangents” came up over dinner while I was attending the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring Convention. I can’t remember who brought up the topic but the gist of the story was that a fellow artist missed out on the top prize of a juried competition because of a tangent in her painting.

What? My little brain cells clicked into alert mode. But, what if the tangent was supposed to be there? And, what is a tangent?

I Know or I Think I Know.  I thought I knew what a tangent was and so did my table mate. However, she described a tangent that wasn’t anything like what I thought a tangent was. Could there be more than one tangent, perhaps two tangents, at least? We discussed the problem for a while and, failing to resolve the issue, went on to discuss other matters.

Gray Matter Spinning.  Well, you might imagine my little brain cells would not let the matter rest. What was the definition and who was right? Did I know what I was talking about?

Ignorance Is Not Bliss.  In a way, no; I did not have a clear idea of what I was talking about when it came to tangents.  Too many vagaries, from not being able to see the painting, to not knowing the definition of tangent as it applies to art.  Time for researching definitions and looking for examples.


In geometry, a tangent is a line that touches a curved surface but does not intersect it.

Lets put this another way: tangents are two things, (lines or shapes) that are touching but not overlapping.  They are pretty much the same in artwork as they are in geometry.

Why Do We Care?  When it comes to looking at realistic images, we seem to like a visual order to things.  And, in the case of tangents, we like to know which shape or line is in front and which one is in back.  We like our spatial arrangement to be established and recognizable.

When the spatial arrangement is not clear, we have visual ambiguity; space collapses and the image looks flat.

The Fix?  Creating space by either shifting the line or shape or “pushing back” one of the elements by using aerial perspective (softening edges, muting tone, or moving color toward blue).  I will elaborate about spatial relationships and fixes below.

Examples of Tangents

Note, the bottom two examples are supposed to be of a simplified shape of a person (head, neck shoulders) and a shape of a tree. Just to clarify; thanks!


A Bit More Discussion And Elaboration.

Issue For Realism.  As I understand it, where this “touching but not overlapping” becomes a problem is in composing representational two dimensional art pieces.  That is to say, if I want to paint a realistic picture, tangents are something to be aware of and concerned about.   Because, you see, the tangents imply that the two shapes or lines are on the same plane.

Space!  Put another way, its all about spatial relationships. The issue with two dimensional works of art is that we are trying to depict a three dimensional world on the picture plane.  If the two objects are on the same plane in life, then the tangent may not be an issue.  But, what if they’re not on the same plane; what if one apple is deeper in shape than the other?  If they’re touching, but not overlapping, it creates an ambiguity.  The illusion of three dimensional space collapses and the image looks flat (as mentioned earlier).


Creative Intent.  So, what if I like to collapse the illusion of three dimensional space?  Well, then, that’s me and part of creative intent.  And, when I create then collapse space, the result is not particularly realistic; its expressive, stylized or stylized.

A Word Of Caution.  I would suggest being clear in your design that your intention is something other than traditional realism.  Why?  We are still concerned with communicating to our viewer and we want to invite the viewer into our world; include them in on the joke, so to speak.  And, back to tangents, they can confuse your viewer.

Back From My Tangent!  Sometimes writing about issues we face while drawing or painting feels like waving in the air; its hard to articulate and communicate what I mean.  Naturally, this is where examples come in handy!

Example One:  Man With Hat.

It didn’t take me long to find some examples.  I just had to look at my “works in progress” and recent painting.  So, lets take a look at some examples from my “Man with the Hat” Series.

Yes, I have some “tangent” issues.  Consider my first example.  I had an idea to add a tree behind my “Man with the Hat”, insert a few leaves and title it “Last Leaves of Autumn”.  Seriously, it was my intention to have one leaf practically touch the face of my gentleman with a hat.

Oh, just to explain, I composed this design BEFORE the WSO convention, the discussion and research on tangents.

Still, I noticed something was awkward.  When I transferred the design to the painting, I added some space between the leaf and the shape.

Tangent, Example 1

Sidebar:  Watch Adding New Things At The End!

Trouble! Which brings me to my next insight.  I get into trouble when I add things to compositions AFTER being finished.  Its an “upsetting the apple cart” type situation.  When something new is added to a picture, its like adding a new subject at the end of the story; its jarring.  Then, you have to start “fixing” the composition.  It might have been better to start a new drawing altogether.

Multiple Tangents!  And, that’s why this next variation on the “Man With The Hat” has at least three tangents that have to be dealt with.  This is a “work in progress”, so I have room yet to adjust before I complete the painting.

Tangent Example Two:  Man With Hat and Dog.

Here goes example two.  First I decided to extend the tree branches behind the man.  Second, I had an idea to add a dog.  I’d seen a man with a dog at a bus stop and was inspired.

Nice ideas, but the composition was already fairly well developed so now I have tangent problems to fix.

More tangents

Isn’t composing fun?  Its all about problem solving!


I found some interesting sites on the web that have more articles on tangents.  Cartoonists who rely on line work have a particular problem with tangents.

Empty Easel: Avoiding Tangents:  9 Visual Blunders Every Artist Should Watch Out For.

Schweizer Comics:  The Schweizer Guide To Spotting Tangents.

Monkey Lunch:  Tangent Slide Show.

Control  Avoid Visual Tangents, (video).


Remember back near the beginning of this article and the dinner conversation I talked about?  Well, my friend and I were both correct.  Tangents crop up in pictures in many different ways.  However, once you understand what they are, you can identify them and use them to serve your own pictorial purposes.  Isn’t that wonderful?

I hope you have enjoyed this article on tangents as they apply to two dimensional artworks.  My intention was to shed some light on the subject, provide some useful information and share examples.  If you were like me and were not certain about the usage of tangents, now you know a bit more!

Please enjoy the next wonderful piece of art you come by, and, maybe, see if you can find a tangent or not!








The post Tangents – What Are They and Why Care? appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Its About Egg – Broken And Otherwise

Potato Salad Friday – With Egg

Hi and Good Friday To You!

I was making a potato salad this morning, with hard-boiled egg, and was thinking about the paintings I’ve been doing lately with eggs and egg cups. What is so special about eggs? I don’t really like eating just plain old eggs, though I do add them to food, such as potato salad and cake batter (yum!).

Broken Egg

Eggs On The Brain – Just Thinking

Do you have a “thing” about eggs? Or, better yet, have you ever thought about it?

Well, yes, I’ve thought about eggs a bit.

Breakfast With Mom:  Eggs

To explain, when I was growing up, eggs were a regular part of our breakfast. Three or four times a week Mom would serve us eggs and I didn’t like them.   But, I didn’t say a word because when breakfast was ready, it was eaten without complaint. I do come from a family of six kids and Mom didn’t have room for picky eaters.

Mom would poach, scramble, fry or three-minute soft boiled eggs. Three-minute cooking was among my preferred method for eating because then I could dunk my toast in the eggs. Remember soft, white “Wonder” bread? That type of bread was excellent for dunking toast.

Egg Cups

The other thing I particularly liked about three minute eggs was the cup it was served in. Mom and Dad purchased wooden egg cups when they were living in Spain. The cups were simple but they had a nice shape.  And, they were from Spain!

So, every time I draw or paint my egg shells and egg cups, I pay homage, just a little, to Mom and her three-minute eggs.

Oh, this egg cup is not one of my Mom’s Spanish ones.  I purchased it at one of the local grocery stores.  Still, I like it.

About the Painting

“Broken Egg” is an acrylic painting done on heavy weight watercolor paper. Its size is 6”(h) x 6.5”(w). The painting is available for purchase for the price of $175 (unframed) plus shipping and handling. Should you like to collect the painting, please contact me.


The post Its About Egg – Broken And Otherwise appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Downsizing My Art & Art Supplies

The past three weeks have been jam packed with packing, reduction and letting go of ever so many things I never imagined I could give up. But, it’s for a good cause. I’ll be renting my house out for a few years and traveling. I have a place to stay for the winter months in Arizona. I’ll come back to Ashland for the summer. And in between, I plan to travel the U.S.

It was even hard to let go of this failed necklace made from circles punched from Sunday comics. It failed because the newsprint rubbed off on my skin.

I’ve sold most of my furniture. Letting go of it was hard, but not as hard as it’s been to let go of paper and art supplies. I gave many car loads of art supplies to my friend, Cynthia, who has promised to find good homes for all of it. My two drafting tables went to be sold at a shop whose profits go to our local Hospice.

I gave the framed original for these Happy Valentine’s Day cards to our clubhouse to be used for Valentine’s Day decoration.

On Friday I hope to head out for Arizona and Kansas for a month. I realize this is the wrong time of year for that, but Paul has a couple of family reunions in Kansas and I want to drop off some of my art supplies in Arizona where we will be spending some time this winter.

Paper flowers with some of my vintage buttons didn’t make the cut. I figured it would be easy to make more at a later date.

So, no art has been done lately. My home studio looks barren. My display shelves are empty. I still have my studio at the Ashland Art Center. I will be working there when I’m in Ashland and I’ve added a couple of other artists who will work there while I’m traveling.

I spent untold hours punching and stringing circles from the Sunday comics. My intent was to make a necklace. Now I’ve let them go, which I should have done long ago since the newsprint stains skin.

It will be interesting to see what paper art I do and what paper art I find on my travels.

Happy trails, Candy

Figure Demo, WSO Convention (Part Two)

The Demo:  Three Artists, Three Approaches, One Figure

Having introduced the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s (WSO) Spring Convention in my previous post, I’d like to talk about the “Three Artists, Three Approaches, One Figure” watercolor demonstration (demo). Let me say that it was quite a privelege to be asked to participate.  I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with two fine artists from Oregon:  Deborah Marble and Chris Stubbs.

Demo In Progress

First I would like to give you an introduction to the demo concept plus some of the wonderful people who contributed to our success. Then, I would like to present some “lessons learned” about doing a demo.  Finally, I will share with you a brief video clip.  Hopefully by the end, you will be able to get an idea of the set up, the fun, and what a special event it this “Three Artists, Three Approaches, One Figure” was!


Mary Burgess, “Presenter Liaison”, Starts It All.

For this convention Mary Burgess was the “Presenter Liaison”.  That is to say that she was responsible for coordinating the break out sessions and the mini workshop committee.  It was Mary who asked me to participate in one of the art demonstrations.  As you might imagine, it didn’t take me but two seconds to say “YES!”.  Thank you Mary!

Demo: Reference Photo Man With Hat

The Figure Demo Concept.

So, the idea behind the demonstration was to have three artists each do a watercolor painting using the same model or figure. In this way, we would be able to show three different approaches to figure painting.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  I am grateful that Mary contacted us early because there was much in the way of coordination that had to be done.  But, it did come together and we were ready.

Chris Stubbs & Deborah Marble:  Working With Professionals.

Another thing I was grateful for was the professionalism of my fellow artists.  Both Chris Stubbs and Deborah Marble are experienced artists.  Plus, they have given several demonstrations  before.  Chris’s signature style includes lovely, lush skin tones.  Deborah’s particular skills include being fast and focused enough to be a court sketch artist.

For my part, I wanted to make sure I was on my “A” game.

Decisions, Decisions!

Two big decisions we three had to come up with were (1) do we use photo reference or have a model?  And, (2) what photo or model?  We ended up deciding on using a photo because that would give us time to become familiar with the model and prepare a demo pieces in stages, (see above).

WSO Three Figure Demo: Deborah Marble At Work

Del Moore and the Technical Support Team.

Well, let me assure you that having three artists on stage at the same time is not an easy accomplishment. I was so impressed and pleased with the support we received from WSO’s convention committee. As you might imagine, equipment was an issue. The committee’s technical team, headed by Del Moore, put together a set up where we had three cameras, projectors and screens. It was amazing! The audience was able to see each of us at work at the same time.

You might want to notice the set up in the photo at the top of the page and in the video (at the end).  Can you see that we each have a black “frame” on top of the table?  This frame had a light on each side to illuminate our work space plus it had a camera overhead.  The camera fed to projectors set up between us.  The entire set up was effective and un-obstrusive.  As a matter of fact, I thought the black of the work space was particularly nice!

Oh, the speed of this team in setting up and tearing down our demo equipment was impressive.  There wasn’t much time since our assigned room was in use before and after.  Del and his crew worked like seasoned roadies; my hat’s off (or a paint brush salute!).

Nancy Cheeseman, Professional Moderator.

The other thing that Mary did for us was to add a moderator for our session. Fellow WSO artist and professional moderator Nancy Cheeseman stepped up and did the job. And, what a superb job Nancy did indeed! I cannot imagine our session being such a success with out a moderator. She helped keep the audience engaged in what we were doing by asking each of us, in turn, a series of questions. Nancy also took questions from the audience. In the end, I think that the moderator helped us tell our art-making stories.

A Word About The Audience.

What demo could be complete without an audience?  And, we had a wonderful, supportive audience of artists from around the west.  While most attending were members of the Watercolor Society of Oregon, we did have several artists from the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies also present. Thank you all; you made it fun and extra special!

ChrisStubbs Man With Hat

For the Fun of Painting – The Demo!

So, with all this wonderful, professional support staff, what was left for us artists to do? Why, paint and have fun of course! It was a case of showing up with your work and getting our paint on…or going, or flowing!  😉

I think there are a few things that I would like to remember as a sort of “lesson learned” for the next time I do an art demonstration.

Demo: Three Artists

Lessons Learned.

Things that went well:

  • Detail Version. Artist Chris Stubbs brought multiple unfinished paintings, or “works in progress”. One in particular was an enlargement of the figure’s face. Chris is known for painting beautiful, colorful skin tones. By enlarging the face, it was easier for the audience to see how she achieves such wonderful glowing skin.
  • Special Equipment. Fellow artist Deborah Marble showed some improvised tools she uses for line work, for example.  It was not something you would expect to see and I think it added an extra dimension to her work process.  And, her tools were just so cool to see!
  • Different Speeds. The three of us had different styles and processes. Deborah, for example, can paint quickly (note her figure in the photo above).  Chris, though not as fast as Deborah, had almost finished her painting in the allotted 90 minutes.   On the other hand, I build my paintings slowly over time, applying thin layers of paint.  Mine was completed about four weeks after the fact.  We all had something interesting and different to offer our audience.
  • Multiple Versions of Demo Piece.  On a personal note, much like Chris, I brought four versions of my interpretation of the figure. Each version was in a different stage of completion. I found it helpful to have several stages to work on, (see examples above).

Demo: Stermer-Cox Version Man With Hat

Things to consider for next time.

  • Timing!  Because time is limited, I think it would be good to have a definite plan on how long to work on each stage.  And, time it during the demo.  This idea entered my head during the demonstration.  I had the feeling that I’d lingered too long on one stage.  Having to think fast, I quickly ended my painting mid wash in order to move on to the next phase.
  • Where’s The Watch?  I lost track of time altogether!  My small wrist watch is not so good for a quick glance.  Plus, the room was dark and I couldn’t see the wall clock.  Therefore, I suppose it might be a good idea for me to get a bigger watch, clock or timer.  The point I’m making to myself is:  you have to be able to see and keep track of time.
  • Task Per Stage.  For next time, I’d like each “stage” version of the painting to have a particular problem or task to demonstrate.  I had this idea in my head beforehand.  However, I ought to have defined the stages formally, which means on paper.  I am thinking that this would help me explain my process.  Therefore, note to self:  if its on paper, its a plan!

The Video

To sum up my experience, I’d like to say I had a great time.  Maybe I’m just a bit of a clown at heart, because I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of showing how I work.  To that end, please enjoy a short video clip of me as I introduce my process.

Now that I’ve introduced the key players, shared lessons learned, and shown a brief video of yours truly in action, I hope you can see what a special, fun event this was.

What’s Next?

I’m still working on the paintings and having a great time with the man with the hat.  The question now is, how creative can I be?

Thank you!



The post Figure Demo, WSO Convention (Part Two) appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

How to paint effects without getting muddy or chalky

How to paint effects without getting muddy or chalky

Inspiring Millions to paint outdoors This video is about Touch Move and Inspire. Get a free Book at his website 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 How to paint effects without getting muddy or chalky appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

WSO Spring Convention (Part One)


Hi!  This article is about the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring Convention as a precursor to an article about a watercolor figure demonstration.

Just to clarify, I wanted to talk to you about the lessons I learned while participating in a demo for the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s (WSO) Spring Convention.  However, as I started writing I found myself talking as much about the convention as I did about the demo.  Maybe I needed context for the demo, or maybe the larger effort was a story I wanted to talk about too.

Convention: Paintings At Museum

A Blog Posting In Two Parts.

As I was writing about the convention and found myself approaching 1000 words, I realized I still wasn’t finished.  Hmmm, perhaps it was time to make this a two part blog post.  And, this will be Part One: About the WSO Convention.  Then, my next posting will be “Part Two: About the Three Artists, Three Approaches, One Figure Demo”, which was a demonstration I participated in at the Convention.

Part One:  The Big Convention.

So, let’s start with the big picture first:  The Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Spring Convention 2017.

And, may I say that it was a big “to do” in the world of Oregon watercolor.

To elaborate, the reason for the bigger than usual convention was that the WSO hosted the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies’ (WFWS) Annual Exhibition. This was the first time that the Western Federation came to Oregon so, naturally, WSO’s committee worked hard to put on a first class, extra special convention. They selected a theme of “Pour It On”. Most appropriate, I think, because the committee did “pour it on” by putting together an excellent convention.

Convention: Ruth & Margaret At the Museum

About WSO Conventions.

To explain, the Watercolor Society of Oregon holds an exhibition together with a convention approximately every six months. That is to say, there are meetings, art demonstrations, vendors, and mini-workshops in addition to the awards ceremony for the artists at the banquet. It is quite an event. Add to the usual amount of work an additional exhibition of the paintings selected for the WFWS 42d juried show. You might imagine that there are lots of people involved.

Huge Congrats!

I pause here for a special “congratulations” to all who worked on the committee to bring Western Federation here. Oregon artists Ruth Armitage and Margaret Godfrey led the effort. This was a multi year project that involved lots of behind the scene work. It was a gift to all the artists who came to the convention or exhibition.

Three Shows; One Museum.

So, let’s consider this: three shows hung side by side in one museum!  I’m referring to the paintings in the WFWS juried exhibition; paintings in the WSO exhibition; and a special showing of the Juror Jeannie McGuire’s work.  The results?  Stunning!

The paintings are on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, OR. This exceptional show will be at the museum through June 19th, 2017. If you would like more information about location, hours and admission, please see their website.

Convention Volunteers

Wait!  There’s More!  Mini Demos and Workshops.

In addition to the exhibitions, the WSO convention includes mini demonstrations and workshops. In my opinion, these provide benefits to member attendees in two major ways: those who attend may learn something new or different; those who teach or demonstrate gain experience.

I went to some of the sessions and was particularly impressed by the amount of preparation done by the presenters. Remembering that we’re all volunteers, I was doubly impressed! Imagine, so much work just for the love of creating art, watercolor painting and our fellow artists!

A Word About The Vendors

Several vendors were present during the convention to talk about their products and generously share samples.  I would like to extend a special “THANK YOU” to Mr. Steve Gallisdorfer from ColArt Americas, Inc.  Mr. Gallisdorfer and ColArt represent many fine art brands, including d’Arches artists watercolor paper.  I received a block of 140lb watercolor paper (3.9″ x 9.8″), just perfect for outdoor painting!

I was pleased to meet Northwest Watercolor Society artist Ron Stocke who was doing a demo for Oregon owned M. Graham & Co paints.  Fun!

Thank you to all the vendors who gave so generously to WSO.

Convention, sampling of paintings at the museum


Sharing Ideas.

I’d like to share with you some ideas I gathered from two of the presentations I attended.

  • Create a PowerPoint–style slide presentation of your paintings. From a presentation Jeannie McGuire, Juror.
    • The slide show helps you get a feel for where you are as an artist and where you’ve been
    • Can help you explain your process, vision, or passion to others.
    • You can do a “retrospective” of your work, or maybe create a slide show of your latest series. Either way, it’s like a portfolio in PowerPoint.
  • Select and review your paintings with the design principles in mind. From a presentation by Oregon artist Linda Rothchild-Ollis.
    • You might create a small slide show of some of your work.
    • Select some of the design principles to focus your evaluation.
    • Look at your own slide show and evaluate how you’re using the design principles.

A Special “Thanks”!

I would like to acknowledge and thank Lynda Hoffman-Snodgrass and Ruth Armitage for sharing photos.  Please note that several of the photos are courtesy of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, via Ms. Armitage.  Thank you!


So, now I’ve set the stage and given you a bit of context about the WSO Spring Convention and WFWS 42nd Show.  In my next posting, I’ll continue in Part 2 with a discussion about the demo I participated in along with Deborah Marble and Chris Stubbs.

Stay Tuned For Part Two.

WSO Convention Spring 2017 Three Artists




The post WSO Spring Convention (Part One) appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

How Painting What You See Will Change Your Art Forever!

How Painting What You See Will Change Your Art Forever!
Inspiring Millions to paint outdoors This video is about Touch Move and Inspire. Get a free Book at his website 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 How Painting What You See Will Change Your Art Forever! appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Puffy Pentagon Boxes and Chocolate Make Perfect Travel Gifts

I always like to have a bunch of gifts on hand when I travel as I never know when I may want to give a little “thank you” to someone. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for me when I’m traveling by car or in my van. There’s always a little space to pack my gifts.

These puffy pentagon boxes pack flat for packing. They’re the perfect size to hold a Dagoba Chocolate taster square.

But it becomes a little more difficult when I travel by air. And our current trip was even more difficult because because we flew back to Arizona where we had left our van. Our suitcases were full of clothes and supplies for six weeks of traveling. There wasn’t much “extra” room. I solved the problem with two of my favorite things, my puffy pentagon boxes and Dagoba chocolate taster squares.

It takes just moments for the puffy pentagon box to go from flat into a delightful little box.

The puffy pentagon box stores flat, making it a perfect choice for taking with me when traveling. And the taster squares don’t take up much space either. The only hard part has been not eating all the chocolate before I give it as a gift.

The perfect paring for a gift, chocolate and a handmade little puffy pentagon box.

Here’s a link to my DIY blog post that details how to make the clover fold box and the template so you can make your own.

Blog post: DIY – Puffy Pentagon Box

Template: Puffy Pentagon Box

Enjoy, Candy

Deconstructing A Realistic Painting Toward Abstraction

Lessons Learned From Gabriel Mark Lipper’s Deconstructing Class.

For most of February and March of this year, I have participated in art instructor Gabriel Mark Lipper’s “Deconstructing a Painting” Class. Hmmm, I don’t recall if he actually had a title for the course. In any case, seems to me that we called it the deconstructing class or deconstruction for short.

I thought it would be a good idea to capture what we did and what lessons I learned while the class is fresh in my mind.  I would like to share with you the work I did to illustrate the process.

My other hope is that perhaps this article will inspire those of you who are painters to try this on your own. That is, if you haven’t done so already.

Deconstructing: Three Minute Egg Series


Deconstructing as defined in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:  “to take apart or examine in order to reveal the basis of composition…”

I interpret deconstructing or deconstruction to mean to simplify, re-arrange and generally have a good time seeing what I can do with paint.

What We Did.

The idea was to go from realism toward abstraction in a series of paintings.

Deconstruct: Three Minute Egg Project

To explain, we were all tasked with coming up with a reference still life or photo to use as a starting point. If using a reference photo, it could be anything from a still life to a figure or landscape, for instance. The idea was that the source material be from life.  I ended up using a photo of a still life I set up on my breadboard.

Week One.

The assignment for the first week was to paint a realistic painting of our subject as accurately as possible. The idea behind the accuracy is that you are investigating and studying your subject through the painting. This was our start point.

Deconstructing: Three Minute Egg 3&4

Week Two.

For the second week, we put away your initial reference material and used only the first painting for reference.   We created a second painting of the same subject.

Week Three and Subsequent Weeks:

Same as week two, only using the previous week’s painting as your reference material.


  • Generally speaking, we kept our canvas or paper the same size and orientation (vertical or horizontal) throughout the class.
  • Honor among artists, we were encouraged not to consult previous paintings to find solutions to problems.
  • It was OK to change color or value patterns.
  • Simplification and abstracting encouraged.
  • Pushing your boundaries and abilities was the idea; take risks!

Deconstructing: V4&5 Three Min Egg

Let the Deconstructing Magic Begin.

As Gabriel pointed out, by the third painting, one starts to want to explore possibilities. I felt the urge to dive in though it was a bit scary. You might say “ well, its just a painting”, and that’s a great way to think about it. The trouble is that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. The magic of deconstruction starts to happen when you realize the sooner you take the plunge the better.

Being excited to jump in, I came to class with an idea and went for it. I will admit that I had been looking at one of my books on Cubism and it had sparked an idea. I added a rectangle around a couple of the items in my still life and that changed everything.

The other thing I did was not dither or dwell on having a fully conceived drawing before I started. Wow! Was that ever different! I gave myself time to quickly outline my subject then started working with a paintbrush. For week five, Gabriel even brought out palette and putty knives. The difference in paint application added another dimension, and risk!

Lessons Learned:

  • It is exciting to push your own limits and comfort zone in painting.  In this case, taking risk is good!
  • I found it interesting and completely engaging having to react to each mark on the paper.
  • Imposing limits, like a limited palette or value range, ends up being empowering. Or, maybe it was just easier because it freed me to consider the entire design elements.
  • This is a great way to approach learning about abstraction.
  • I think each of us has learned something about what we like and who we are as artists.
  • Deconstructing a painting is somewhat different from the theme and variation that I have done before.  The sequence of using your first painting as your source material for your second; second for third and so on helps reinforce the idea of getting to understand the construction of the subject through simplification and abstraction.

Deconstructing: v6&7


I was thinking that it is indeed easier to leap into the unknown when one is in a classroom environment. Gabriel was excellent in coaching us through the process. He encouraged us to try things. He guided us through design problems and considerations. Gabriel was as enthused about our work as we were.

Oddly enough, I think one of the interesting things that Gabriel did was not do a demo of deconstructing a painting during our class. The reason I thought it was a good idea (after the first week) was that we were forced to use our own resources to figure out how to deconstruct.

You see, during the first couple of weeks, I wanted to see what Gabriel was doing so I could get an idea about where to go. In other words, I wanted to see his solutions to the deconstruction problem. But, instead, I had to use my own mental resources. I had to struggle until I dove in to the work and tried things.

Just to clarify, Gabriel did a lot of instruction, especially one-on-one. He also inspired us to stretch ourselves and then work outside of our comfort zone.

Oh, and our fellow classmates.  Their work was equally as inspiring and insightful.  We  each solved our deconstruction problems in different ways.

Deconstructing: The Three Minute Egg Project


Now What?

Do this process on my own. I would imagine that this is a great process to use from time to time. The work encourages examining your own process, esthetic and limitations. Plus, its great fun to plunge in and do things you thought you might like to try and never got around to doing.

My other thought was that going through this kind of exercise periodically might keep an artist from getting stale. Also, you might find some of your own little quirks. For example, I tend to create shapes that are the same size, sort of like soldiers in a formation. By questioning the habit, I may better employ it when it’s useful. Otherwise, variety in shape sizes is something I might want to watch purposely.


Yes, I would wholeheartedly recommend to fellow artists to either take Gabriel’s deconstructing class should he do it again. His expertise, especially his knowledge of what makes a good painting, is invaluable.

For those of us who don’t live in southern Oregon, perhaps you might want to go through a deconstruction exercise on your own.   Or, maybe you have a friend that will do it along side of you so you can encourage each other.  I suggest that the lessons learned are well worth the time invested!

Gabriel Lipper & Dog Max Deconstructing

Update: Post Deconstructing Class.

I am continuing to work on my own. I have seen the benefits and find it exciting.  You might notice “Three Minute Egg v8”, its a work in progress.  I’m deconstructing on my own.

Invitation To Share.

I would love to hear from you; please feel free to leave a comment.  For those of you who have done a deconstruction series, I’d enjoy seeing a sample of your work!  Matter of fact, I’d love seeing a sample of your work regardless!

Thank you!


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