I’m taking an online class from Helen Hiebert called Paper Illuminated. This past week I made a wraparound lampshade. I didn’t have a lamp the right size so the photo shows a bit of the bulb base. Still, I do like how the lamp looks when it’s lit.
Wrap around lampshade I made from paper.
When I signed up for the class, I thought I’d be home during the time of the class. I was for the first two weeks. Now, however, I’m traveling again. I packed the remainder of the supplies and have them with me. I am hoping I can make the rest of the projects while I’m gone.
Wrap around lampshade made from paper.
The Value of Color Studies.
Greetings! I am going to give you a short introduction about why I do color studies, then outline how I devised my own color study project. Finally, I’ll share with you some of the lessons I learned by doing the studies.
And, I might add, it is the “doing” that is critical! Some lessons are best learned by doing them for ourselves.
Example of color study set one.
A couple of months ago, I was chatting with a fellow local watercolor artist. She was taking beginning watercolor classes but thought she was ready for more advanced study. In particular, she would like to attend a class on color.
Oh, yes, you might imagine visions of being an instructor danced through my head. I could do this! And then I started imagining how I might teach a class on color. The question “what was useful for me, and how did I learn color” popped into my head.
Why Do Color Studies? To Learn.
I’m not certain that we ever stop learning about color. But, what has helped me gain knowledge about the properties of color is doing color studies. And, periodically I do lots of them.
Oh, and, they are fun. The studies are a great exercise for improving skills. Or, if going through a period of the dreaded “artist block”, try doing some color studies to get the proverbial creative juices flowing.
Example of color study set two.
How I Did My First Big Color Project.
I selected a drawing I had already done. This particular drawing was of a cat and I figured I’d like to do a finished painting or two (or twenty) using this particular cat pose. So I created a color study project for myself.
Here were the rules I used. And, I do believe setting “rules” helps the project stay focused and move along. Besides, since you set your own rules, they are subject to your goals.
- Set One: Use the same drawing as the starting point*. Vary the color: select color combinations like complimentary, monochrome, or triads that might be fun. See what happens, see how expression changes with color variation.
- Set Two: I varied line and shape quality in the design plus varied color. For example, red might appear more expressive if the lines were straight, geometric and angular. However, red might appear sweeter, more feminine if the line quality was curved, organic, and rounded.
- Do lots!
- Note: By the way, if you want to do color studies, you can also make up a simple, pleasing composition of geometric shapes. You don’t need a fancy drawing, just something to get the creative juices flowing.
And, thus, the “kittykitty” series was born.
Color studies: Example of Set Two
What I Discovered.
In other words, these are things I read about in art books but needed to see, feel and learn by trying on my own.
No Bad Color.
I think it is difficult to get a “bad” color combination, though some color schemes might appear more dissonant or discordant; they clash. Sometimes, clashing colors are just what’s needed!
Other color schemes appear more harmonious; they go together.
Color combinations can and do influence the mood of the painting. To clarify, think of blue and you might think of blue skies, or feeling blue, or true blue. How about red: red heart, seeing red, red skies. I think you get the picture: a color within the context of a painting can enhance mood.
Color brightness, or intensity, matters. Bright next to muted or grayed color is beautiful. Gray can be beautiful and colorful.
Color value matters too. I orchestrate color values for “carrying power” – that is you can see the painting from across the room.
- To illustrate, yellows read light and, with watercolor, have a hard time with carrying power. It is hard to see yellow from far away without a strong dark nearby. But, when you do, yellow sings!
- Reds are tricky because they tend to be in the mid range straight out of the tube. Mixed with its compliment, reds can make a beautiful, strong dark.
- Blues tend to be in the darker value range when used full strength. But, it is not always the case. A cobalt blue, for example, never gets as dark as a comparable ultramarine blue. Cobalt blue tends to stay in the mid range
Trying to compose a painting with every color on your palette can be a challenge. One painting almost made me dizzy! Having one color dominant helps clarify and strengthen the painting.
Limiting color combinations, such as working with color combinations, makes the painting life ever so much “easier”; OK, relatively easier. You can use small touches of other colors to spice up the painting. But, simplifying color does help.
Next? How About You?
OK, I could probably go on for the next while on lessons learned. Let’s do this instead. I have shared several of my color studies on this page. Now, if you are interested, how about you? I would like to encourage you to do some for yourself and feel free to share.
OR, those of you who have been painting a long time and have done color studies, feel free to share your own comments and maybe an image!
No, I haven’t started teaching a watercolor class on color. The idea still dances around my head. And, that is why I’m doing this post, to start getting my own “creative juices” flowing for teaching.
More of Set One
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NEW TOYS for ARTISTS!
The Southern Oregon Society of Artists March 27 Meeting will be at the Medford Public Library at 6:30 pm. We are excited to have Central Art owner Anne Ebert and employees Laura Strazdas and Adam Bunch for our March program again this year. The fact that they have been in business here in Medford for the past thirty-six years is a testament to their importance to local artists. There will be a demo on the use of colored pencil which has recently come into favor. New products will be shown and there will be time to chat with them regarding all the various products. The world is quickly changing, and the new products for artists are changing, too. New Toys for Artists!! Come find out about it.
For more information call BJ at 541 414-4993 or Judy Grillo at 661-609-5837
I made this shamrock some time ago and shared the instructions last year. See the link below to make your own.
See the link below for the instructions to make your own paper shamrock.
DIY Paper Shamrock
After the two months of traveling I did recently, I’ve decided I want to travel more, a lot more. I’ve been home less than a month and I’m itching to get traveling again.
Paper lamp shade I made from Helen Hiebert’s Paper Illuminated online class.
The only real paper art I’ve done since I got back home is the paper lampshade from week 1 of Helen Hiebert’s online class, Paper Illuminated. (Filling out 1040 forms for my dad’s and my taxes don’t qualify as paper art.) This is a six week class, and I’ll keep you posted with the projects I make. Since I’ll be taking off soon for the southwest, I will be taking the supplies with me so I can keep working on the class projects as I travel.
I love how the light shows through the paper on this lamp shade.
I used the paper for this lamp shade that was included in Helen’s kit. It almost matches perfectly the switch plates I covered with paper a few years back. You can see my switch plate in the above two photos. Here’s the link to my blog post about covering them: Paper Covered Switch Plates.
Great instructions from Helen Hiebert for making this lamp shade in her online Paper Illuminated class.
I am sure this traveling is going to have an effect on my art. I just don’t know what it will be right now. I’m sorting through my art supplies and trying to figure out which ones I’ll want to travel with. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m happy to say my painting Irish Breakfast Tea is currently on display at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, Medford OR, for their Celtic Celebration. This painting is one of four that I have showing at the gallery. My other three paintings are from my Still Life With Toy Pony collection and I’ll share them with you below.
First, The Celtic Celebration.
Art Show. I’d like to highlight that the Rogue Gallery’s special Celtic inspired art show went on display March 9th, and will run through March 18th. This special show features works by local artists using a variety of media, from acrylic, collage, oil, gouache, mixed media, photography, and (my favorite) watercolor.
Celebration. The art show is part of the Gallery’s Celtic Celebration which culminates in a special fun filled evening, including singing (!) on, you guessed it, St Patrick’s Day. By the way, if you’re local, they are having a singing contest, so go for it!
Celebration Time. This unique celebration takes place on March 17th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. For more information, and they do have more information, please see their website. Lets see…art, music, food, friends, what could be better?
Business Hours. The Rogue Gallery and Art Center is located at 40 S. Barlett St. in Medford, OR. Their hours are as follows:
10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Friday
11am – 3pm, Saturday
5pm – 8pm, every third Friday
Thank You. Here’s an extra special personal THANKS to the Rogue Gallery and Art Center. They have selected the image of Irish Breakfast Tea to use for their publicity. Its a thrill to see my painting used as the gallery’s post card! Thanks!
Artists. I’d like to share with you the list of participating local artists. They are Jennifer Bagwell, Rachel Barrett, Lynette Elita, Christina Cannon, Ashley E. Clasby, Carol Cochran, Suzanne Etienne, Joyce Feigner, Cynthia Flowers, Kim Hearon, Mary Hoskins, Jennifer Ivey, Mary Ann Macey, Claudia Marchini, Anna May, Susan Murphey, Richard Newman, Jody Palzer, Terri Regotti, Patrick Ryan, Red Thompson, Greg Thweatt, Doug Wallace, Karen Wallace and yours truly.
On a personal note, I think we are fortunate to have such a wonderful gallery in our community.
I am thrilled to say that “Irish Breakfast Tea” won two awards: People’s Choice and Staff Pick. The Gallery selected my painting to announce the Celtic Celebration in the local newspaper. I am so pleased! Thank you!
Then, About Irish Breakfast Tea.
Impetus & Inspiration. I think it is appropriate that the impetus for creating this painting happened to be the gallery’s “Celtic Celebration”. Though, I must admit, intention was to show this last year…but life happened and its this year instead. To explain, I had been toying with including symbols from different cultures in my artwork and the Celtic Celebration gave me the motivation to get my ideas down on paper.
The Tea Cup. Regarding the image, the tea cup is one that my Mother gifted to me. This happened to be one of my Father’s favorite cups, though he used if for coffee not tea. It is green, white and gold. Using shamrocks as decorative trim seemed natural and appropriate. I remember in grade school wearing the green leaf, or class made versions, on St. Patrick’s day. Since then, I’ve associated the shamrock with Ireland.
Celtic Knots. Wanting to include more Celtic symbology, I added my favorite Celtic knots. By doing a search on the internet, I learned how to draw a Celtic knot. Perhaps out of curiosity, I wanted to know how to draw my own design rather than trace or stencil the knots.
Triple Spiral. Adding a triple spiral, also known as a triskele, was natural; I love spirals. The triple spiral alludes to our spiritual nature. I liked the shape and found a nice place for it on the end of the tea bag.
The Title: Irish Breakfast Tea. I’d like to share with you the inspiration for the title. It was another gift from my Mom. She once sent me a sample of loose leaf tea and I found the Irish Breakfast Tea to be particularly pleasing. So, even though the title might seem obvious, it has special meaning to me. Plus, I think it just sounds good!
Still Life With Toy Pony At The Rogue Gallery
I’d like to highlight that I have other watercolor paintings showing at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center. You may see three versions of Still Life With Toy Pony in the member’s portion of the gallery through the end of April.
I recently talked memory drawing with examples from the Still Life With Toy Pony. I’d like to refer you to this blog post to see more about Toy Pony.
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I’ve been home for just over a week and the only paper I’ve been involved with is going through two months worth of mail and working on my and my dad’s taxes. Not the kind of paperwork I enjoy, but it needs to be done.
Mail I received while I was traveling for two months. Opening it will be my reward for finishing my dad’s and my taxes.
As an incentive to make sure I get it all done quickly, I’ve not allowed myself to open all the lovely mail art I received while I was traveling. I keep looking wistfully at all the wonderful envelopes and it does help me keep focused on getting the drudgery of paper work done. Actually, I’m almost finished. I’m thinking I will get to finally open my mail tomorrow or Friday.
I also received in the mail yesterday the supply kit for the online class: Paper Illuminated that I’m taking from Helen Hiebert. There’s still time to register for that. It starts March 8. See: Paper Illuminated Online Class for details.
I’m just back from traveling for two months. I enjoyed it, but things did not go as I anticipated. I’m not complaining. I met wonderful people, formed new friendships and enjoyed numerous activities. It’s been great!
Metal art found on an office wall. This is my inspiration for some paper art I am planning on making in the future.
I packed expecting one set of adventures, but fate had different plans. Everything went as planned until the second week in January. Then things got interesting. We stayed with new friends while waiting for multiple appointments for our van which developed a fuel leak. Since most of my art supplies were in the van, which was being worked on, I didn’t get all that much art done. My planned trip to a paper art exhibit Tucson, didn’t happen. Nor did I get to visit Sedona or Santa Fe or Taos.
Hiking in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona.
We did make it to the Superstition Mountains. Great hiking and wonderful views. Car trouble there, but wonderful strangers to help carry 5 of us out. Lots of wonderful experiences, but not what was planned.
A piece of calligraphy I did with a brush marker and black pen.
What did I learn from this experience? I packed too many art supplies of the wrong type. I was typing to do the same type of art that I would have done at home. Next time I’m going with a couple of journals with watercolor paper and drawing paper. I won’t plan on making boxes on my trip. I’ll keep it simple with watercolors and a few different types of pens and pencils.
Being serenaded by the bird on the top of the Saguaro Cactus.
As I do more traveling, I’m sure I’ll revise what I take on my travels. I’ll keep you posted as to what works for me as I travel.
Artists create! We create music, we write, we dance, and we create art for the purpose of self-discovery and self-expression. Our need to express is an inherit part of our being and is truly the essence of being human. Our need to communicate with others is the highest form of art. The process of sharing our creations, in exhibitions and art shows or selling them online or in galleries, all require a solid business approach to be successful.
When you are ready to sell your art, it is important to create a brand name for your company. A brand name is used to establish your identify so that the public will know who you are and will recognize your artwork when they see your paintings. Most artists use their name as their brand but I have adopted “The Grand View” as my primary company name and as the umbrella that I do my business under. I also use my name, “Stefan Baumann” as a second brand name along with “The Grand View.” This means that I have two brands that I work with when growing my business.
The first step in developing your brand identity is to define your artistic interests that you want market under your brand. Collectors appreciate consistency. If you are an artist who paints Abstract art one day and Plein Air the next, your collectors may not know what to expect from you. So ask yourself, “What is it that I want to create to sell?” A strong brand can positively influence collectors and create perceived value for your art. It can create an emotional attachment with the collector to your work while providing a consistent focus on what you’re marketing and will project credibility in the marketplace. It also creates “client loyalty” and “repeat buying” along with generating positive word of mouth advertising. Consistency in creating your style, your quality of artwork, and your marketing approach is extremely important. If your collectors associate positively with your brand, they learn to trust your ability to create quality work and experience fairness in your business practices. They are more likely to talk about your work and display it for others to see, which may result in new collectors who purchase your work. To change any aspect of your brand, your style or the quality of your work may create a situation where you could have to start your business over again.
The second question to address is do you want to create a small business or a big business? Are you going to be a person who sells a few paintings a year or are you going to be like Thomas Kinkade and paint large numbers of paintings? Most artists are happy to manage a small, personal business. Success in any business comes from presenting your business in well-defined terms by highlighting the attractive features of your artwork and your business practices to your customers and collectors. Your long-term growth is generated by building relationships that help your collectors connect with your name, brand and your artwork. Your collectors are the foundation for your art business. If your collectors have confidence in your brand, and know who you are and that you consistently introduce new artwork with familiar themes and subject matter, collector loyalty and repeat purchases will follow. Branding can influence clients’ purchasing decisions, especially if they want to become collectors and increase dollar value for your art business. Your brand needs to reflect your vision and what you love about creating art as an established artist, what you want to offer them, and what they will get from owning your art. Branding also helps your customers identify you and recognize you out of the crowd, and it tells your collectors what they can expect when your name pops up in conversation or in the news.
Branding your art business takes time and consistency. Finding new ways to promote your brand must be worked on everyday, every week and every month. Doing this takes follow-through, perseverance, and patience. It might take time, but remember, marketing your work and living your dream is better than working at a job you hate. Think long term, stay focused and you will have loyal clients for life and a business that generates cash all year.
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Thinking About Memory Drawing.
I have been thinking lately about memory drawing. The topic was sparked by one of the books I’ve been reading about drawing by the director of The Arts Student’s League of New York City. The book is “The Visual Language of Drawing” and is by James L. McElhinney and several of the instructors at the League.
“The Natural Way To Draw”, Kimon Nicolaides.
At one point in the book, Mr. McElhinney mentions the 1930s instructor Kimon Nicolaides and his approach to teaching drawing. As a point of reference, the book “The Natural Way To Draw” is derived from the teaching notes of Mr. Nicolaides. James McElhinney lists some of the exercises that Nicolaides had student do and it includes “memory drawings”.
Now then, my copy of “The Natural Way To Draw” is stuck away in storage. However, when I was starting out on my drawing and painting path, I read through Nicolaides book. At the time, I did not have access to a life drawing class and was struggling to find a way to start developing my artist’s skills. When I reached the memory drawing exercise I thought “Aha! This is something I can do anywhere, anytime!” And, so I did the exercises, or at least my version of Nicolaides memory drawing. I would say that memory drawing lead to my eventual “Peggy” style drawing which is a blend of memory and imagination.
The first “Still Life with Toy Pony Drawing, March 2009. I drew this version from life and imagination.
From time to time fellow artists have asked me how I come up with my designs, especially for series like “Still Life with Toy Pony”. Oddly enough, that is a hard question to answer. But, drawing from memory is a start toward explaining the process. If such a question interests you, please read on.
Other times, people just like and enjoy to see the drawings and paintings. In which case, the narrative about memory drawings may not be so relevant. Instead, I hope you will find the works shown here interesting and enlightening.
What Is Memory Drawing?
So, what is memory drawing? Its a way of drawing without direct observation; that is to say you are not looking at a model while drawing. So, this is what I learned and remembered from Kimon Nicolaides’ book.
Disclaimer time first, though! I ought to mention that this is how I interpreted the lesson. If I read the book today, I might interpret it differently.
Memory Drawing Exercise.
In any case, here is the gist of the exercise: draw something you see during the day from memory; not from life. You might want to set aside say 20 minutes a day to do this type of drawing. Maybe you draw a car door handle, or a person opening the car door. Another idea might be to draw a person you meet on the street, in a coffee shop, or on a bench at a bus stop. And, the subject doesn’t have to be people. It might be a cat crossing the street; a horse in a field, or a plaster cast angel in your neighbor’s yard. Or, it could be a still life arrangement you find or set up.
This is drawing number 60 of the Still Life with Toy Pony series. By this time, I was drawing exclusively from memory and imagination.
How I Did It.
Back to my personal experience and perspective. My routine has been to go out and do a jog most mornings. I have been doing this for years. After reading Kimon Nicolaides book, I thought I might pay attention to the people I pass while jogging. I would look at someone then try to remember an impression of the person. Then, I would set aside 20 minutes after breakfast and get to work drawing the person I’d seen while jogging.
Results: What I Learned.
As you might imagine, at first the figures were stiff. The label “not very good” would have been appropriate. But, what I learned was that I became better at the memory drawing over time, especially if I saw the same person doing the same action – say walking down a beach.
I would like to share what happens. Each time you see someone doing the same action, you take better mental notes. You see “what the legs do”, in other words the shape legs create while they are walking. Another day, you notice how the arms swing naturally while a person is walking. Next, you might notice the tilt of a head or how a jacket bunches up at the elbow. Each little observation becomes a mental note that helps you with your next memory drawing.
Oh, and, yes, the first memory drawings I did are stuck in storage along with my Nicolaides book. But, the process took! I still do this type of drawing when I start a series.
Variations on a Theme: Drawing #22
Now, for those of you who like to draw from life, remember this is an exercise. And, life drawing is a form of memory drawing. Consider this, drawing from life is “look, remember, draw, look, remember, draw” and repeat. Unless you are doing a blind contour drawing, it might be said that you are doing “memory” drawing pretty much anytime you draw from life. In this case, you are holding a bit of information in your memory for a short time rather than the time I took to do my 20 minute memory drawing.
Since I mentioned life drawing, I thought I’d talk about abstract drawing for a paragraph. Drawing from memory is one way to “abstract” the essence of the subject. You simplify; you remember the main movement, gesture, color, or shape. That something that you remember can become a point of departure for a stylized, abstracted design. The memory of people, nature or things observed in life becomes the source of inspiration, improvisation and intuition.
How Memory Drawing Influenced My Artwork.
So, how did this memory drawing have an effect on my artwork? After awhile, I found that I saw interesting shapes while drawing. I gradually freed myself from trying to recreate my subject and started experimenting. Drawing became a type of dialogue between me, my memory, my drawing and my imagination. I can best describe the process as a “push and pull” type of drawing: pushing lines and shapes one way; then pulling them an opposite. I work this way until I gain traction and the drawing emerges on the paper.
Variations on a Theme.
This type of “seeing, remembering, exploring” drawing is perfect for variations on a theme. That is to say, you start from what you see in life, then draw variations, allowing memories and imagination to influence your drawing. If you get stuck, you might go back to drawing from life.
For me, this was a great way to get started on developing my drawing skills. All I needed was a sketchbook, a pencil, a kneadable eraser and off I went. OH, yes, you may erase. I did because it helps to push and pull the drawing into shape! And, another rule I employed for myself, don’t give up until you have given the drawing a serious try!
“Still Life With Toy Pony” Series.
OK, nice, all these words. But, how about results? I have attached some of the drawings and paintings from my “Still Life with Toy Pony” series. The series was started by a drawing from life. As I started working variations, I worked from memory, then I transitioned to imagination. Imagination, in this case, might be said to be a modified form of memory drawing too. I incorporated what I remembered from the original still life plus all sorts of other ideas that popped into my head while drawing.
The “Still Life with Toy Pony” series marks a leap forward in my drawing, composition and painting skills. I’ve worked on it periodically over a six year period. And, who knows, I may yet re-visit the theme!
How About You?
Do you do a form of memory drawing? What are your experiences? Please feel free to share and add a comment. Thanks!
Update, February 13, 2017.
I found more about drawing from memory on a website: Studio Rousar. Artist Darren Rousar has written a book titled “Memory Drawing”, plus he has several exercises and insights available for you. His exercises are different from mine and, incidentally, I thought I try a few out myself. Thanks!
The post Memory Drawing: An Essay on a Form of Memory Drawing With Examples appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.