Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pastel artist wins award

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Cow Art and More artist John Plishka won the 3rd place award for excellence at "The Farm:Images from the Heartland" juried show. The show was open to artists from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. John won for his work "Counting People." The exhibit is at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois.

Picture credit: "Counting People", pastel on paper

Click here to learn more about this sheep art painting

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: AGCHAT FOUNDATION

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Today, I am at the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 training conference. This is a repost of the entry from April, when the foundation was first announced.

I am excited to share today's agriculture related website with everyone, the Agchat Foundation. This foundation was formed to help farmers and ranchers use social media to tell their stories to the 98.5 percent of the population not engaged in the production of food, feed, fuel and fiber. I am proud to say that I have been a part of the weekly #agchat discussion group on twitter that discusses issues facing agriculture on a wide range of topics since its inception one year ago. I have made many friends as a result and feel empowered to help agriculture at more than just my local level.

I am also proud to say that I was asked and accepted a position to be on the Agchat Foundation board of directors. I am looking forward to helping farmers get their story in front of consumers. I invite everyone to view the Agchat Foundation website and join us in the conversation on twitter, Tuesday evenings, from 8 to 10 PM ET. (Follow @agchat to learn the details of the topics and how to join in.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 12

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What else do you do besides your art?

I like to play table tennis (my girlfriend used to play for her country when she was younger so shes been teaching me a few things), as well as proper tennis, football, and ten pin bowling. I guess I find playing sports a good way to release any tension or stress I may get from working on frustrating exhibition pieces or commissions.

Picture credit: "The Hidden Lane"

(notice the Holstein cow at the far left)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday's art themed article: Learning how to appreciate art

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Perhaps you've gone to a gallery or art museum, looked at the artwork displayed and said to yourself, "What the heck is that? I can't understand it! Why is this here in a gallery?"

Or, maybe you've gone to a gallery or art museum and your reactions was, "Wow! Great stuff! I like this! I don't know why, but I do!"

Or, maybe you've gone to a gallery or art museum, and, after viewing the exhibits, you walk away feeling bored and disinterested. You may have said to yourself, " Why do I bother with looking at art? I never understand it. It's beyond me."

Like any other discipline, art requires the viewer to be knowledgeable about the information it presents. Sometimes we think we should just automatically understand art. After all, there it is, just hanging there on the wall and all we have to do, we think, is just look at it. But do we really SEE it? Often, our response may be, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."
That is just another way of saying, "What I like is really just based on my ignorance."

Liking a certain artwork is a pleasure. You have communicated with visual phenomena and really enjoyed the experience. It can be a very enriching, rewarding experience to know how and why an art form developed or have some knowledge of how and why an artist works in a particular way. More than likely, your perspective is quite limited if you have never studied art or know how it has developed in not only, our Western culture but all over the world.

What if you could gain information on the many forms of art that have been produced since humanity began, and how it developed over time to the present day? What would this kind of study mean to you? It would mean that, equipped with that knowledge, you would be able to enjoy a lot more art! Here's why.

The more you know about art and its development, the more you can enjoy looking at art! You will see much more and understand the context, content and style of the art form. And this is the basis of Art Appreciation-a study of how to expand your knowledge of the art world, past, present and future and, with that perspective, be able to communicate with the rich visual/creative world!

So, how do your start gaining knowledge of this vast art world? Where do you begin?

Begin by dipping your toe into Art History. With a basic Art History 101 knowledge you will be able to see how art, as we know it, was not really a term until the science of Art History was developed in our western culture. And, when it was developed, as you can read in many art history books in the library, art has existed as long as humans have been able to pick up a stick, brush or chisel and record their lives and experiences.

There are several ways of learning how to appreciate art:

ONE -- Learn about the basics of art history. How art developed, from the Lascaux cave paintings to modern art today. Older art history books deal primarily with artistic development in Western culture. Newer books add developments in Asia, China, Russia and the mid-East. The study of Art History has, over time, become global. In learning the time lines and factors that produce new perspectives and styles in art, you will not only gain a new historical perspective, but also become acquainted with the various art forms produced over the past centuries.

TWO--Choose a certain period or style in art history and learn about it. Perhaps Impressionism interests you. Or maybe you've always wanted to know the difference between Op Art and Pop Art. Through studying the cultural impact of a certain style on a specific period in time, you can understand why that particular art form developed and appreciate the artwork in a broader context.

THREE--Take a tour of your local art museum. Museums offer a wide variety of art educational programs and tours of their exhibits. Or travel and see the actual art in its setting. There are many websites on the Internet listing global art tours and travel, often by geographical location or specific art and architectural styles. On site art tours offer a unique and interesting way to travel and can give you an intimate, one on one perspective with the historical art and culture of the area. Tour groups are generally small in number and conducted by very knowledgeable guides delighted to respond to all of your questions and comments.

FOUR-Visit your local art galleries often. Galleries are supportive of their artists and gallery owners and attendants are usually quite pleased at your interest in their exhibits. They will be glad to give you information on the artists, such as whether they are local, where they have shown their work, what awards they have won, and who has purchased their artwork. Keep informed of present and future exhibits. This hands on approach, connects you closely with affordable art that is available where you live and often created by artists who live in or near your area.

Art Appreciation is as big or small a study as you want to do. Whether you want to make it an occasional outing or a serious study, whatever you choose, learning how art forms have historically developed and understanding what is on the walls in your local gallery will definitely change your perspective.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to discuss a painting on the wall in a gallery, instead of shrugging and muttering, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."
Think of it. Perhaps your response would be more like, "I like the way this artist uses color in an Expressionistic style. The brushwork is so vigorous! There is a lot of energy in the composition. Also, the use of thick paint produces an interesting texture."

Through Art Appreciation you can discover a rich visual/creative world that will inspire you and beckon you to learn more.

Lois's website offering free online art classes and many art resources, includes a gallery of her own paintings and pastels, as well as her videos demonstrating a wide variety of skills and techniques in the lessons: http://www.free-online-art-classes.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lois_Dewitt

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 11

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What advice to you have for aspiring artists?

Try to work on subjects you're passionate about rather than focusing on trends.

Photo credit: "Football Pigs", digital art on Kodak photo paper

Click here to learn more about this pig photograph

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome new watercolor painter, Jo Lynch

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Cow Art and More is pleased to welcome Jo Lynch into its cow painters family. Jo calls her paintings "Whimzicals"(tm), as she designs each piece individually. No two are alike! All Original Whimzicals(tm) are painted in watercolor. Her cow paintings are created from photographs taken while traveling through the rural roads of West Virginia. Through the years, she has have taken many, many photos of cows. As Jo puts it, "They come in so many interesting shapes and sizes." You may view Jo's pieces in our new products or watercolor paintings sections.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 10

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What would you like to do more of in the future?

I'm really trying to focus on doing highly complex aerial scenes combining 3D modeling and photography. These may be based on actual areas in the world or completely made up. Either way you can bet there will be some animals in there somewhere. I tend to feel far more satisfied with my art If I manage to complete a huge impressive piece which has many different elements to it, along with some subtle symbolism. These pieces are especially great for commissions in bars, restaurants or offices as they create great talking points. I just love watching people trying to work out the various elements. I'm also planning on working on non-aerial work such as a series of animal idioms, which should be a lot of fun.

Picture credit: "Golfing Cows", digital art printed on Kodak paper

Click here to learn more about this cow photograph

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: AGPROUD

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Are you involved in some way with agriculture and farming? Are you "agproud"? Today's agriculture website of interest to share with readers is the Agriculture Proud site, sharing the story of all people who help produce food.

Being Agriculture Proud simply involves telling your agriculture story. The site encourages farmers to explain why are you proud to be a part of agriculture. A few key points of emphasis are:

  • Be real and authentic about your passion for Agriculture
  • Show the enthusiasm for your passion
  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Make it a candid point of view (everything in life is not flowers and sunshine)
  • Stick to your experience. You can’t defend everyone
The site is maintained by Ryan Goodman, a Texas cattleman with a desire to make agriculture's voice heard. You can find Ryan as @AR_Ranchhand on Twitter.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 9

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Do you ever have goof ups or work you don't like?

Absolutely. I guess that's what I like about digital work, there's an undo button!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday's art themed website: QUESTIONS TO ASK ARTISTS

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So you're going to an art show or big art opening to meet your favorite artist. Are you at a loss about what questions to ask? Worried that you're going to ask the wrong thing? Based on my experience in the art world and art show circuit, these are my suggestions on how to get a conversation going with most any artist.

Don't start by asking "Did you make this?". I realize that may seem like a perfectly innocent question on your part, but it's one that artists are asked MULTIPLE times during an art show or opening. Artists tend to take that question as "Of course! As opposed to my little gnomes or slave labor?" A better question would be, "Are you the artist?" if you are unsure if the person you are talking to actually created the art.

Ask the artist about their particular technique. Artists love to talk about what they do! This can move into a question about why their art is different from other artists.

Ask the artist about their art training and inspiration. Artists have varied backgrounds from formal art training at colleges and universities to natural talent to learning it as a second career. You can even talk about what they would like to learn more about in the future.

Ask if the artist teaches anywhere. If they do, trust me, they will want to tell you. Maybe you can even take their class and pick up a new hobby.

Don't be afraid to ask specific questions about things you don't understand. For example, it took me several years to figure out that when people asked what kind of metal I used in my jewelry (which had been colored with a special patina), the real question was how did the color get onto the metal. I found out that patrons assumed that I must have used a special kind of silver to get the unique blues, pinks, browns and blacks on my jewelry. Moral of the story, I finally figured out the real question when one art show booth visitor kept asking me about my technique.

Lastly, in case you need an artist question cheat sheet, here's a few you can print out and keep in your pocket for the next time you visit an art show.

What inspires you?
What is your technique?
How is your art different from other artists?
How did you get started?
Can you take me step by step through a piece?
Why do you do your art?
Why do you do this particular kind of art (or use this particular technique)?
Can you describe your creative process?

Hopefully, the artist you speak with can give you some thoughtful answers so you can better appreciate not only that artist's creations, but others as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 8

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How long does it take you to get an average creation?

It really just depends on the complexity of it, and how well it flows. I've made complex pictures before which have taken me three/four weeks, but I've also made images which have taken only a couple of hours or so. I'm currently working on a huge (2m x 1m) framed aerial art piece for a local bar/restaurant which will be based on the local area but filled with elements relevant to the bar as well a lot of humor, subtle symbolism, and puzzles, to intrigue the bar's customers. I'm expecting this, due to its scale and complexity, to take around 6 weeks.

Picture credit: "Basketballing Giraffes", digital art on Kodak photo paper

Click here to learn more about this exotic animal photograph

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Experience music as visual art

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Cow Art and More collage artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson has created a series of mixed media collage pieces to represent her interpretation of the musical symphony suite The Carnival of the Animals. Her work will be featured by the Maitland (a suburb of Orlando, Florida) Art and History Association. Her "Exquisite Harmony" exhibit will have an artist's reception, September 10, 2010, from 6 to 8 PM.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 7

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How did you get interested in creating art of farm animals?

I've always loved animals as well as art so It makes total sense to me to combine the two. My ideal job would be to work for a zoo/farm taking photographs and creating artwork and maps etc. As my final year project in Product Design I actually designed a cheetah enrichment device which was a system designed to exercise a cheetah within its enclosure, so there have always been animals involved in every stage of my life, and everywhere I go.

Photo credit: "Cricketing Sheep", digital image on photo paper

Click here to learn more about this sheep photograph

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: SXSW PANEL PICKER

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Today's website of interest to the agriculture community is the SXSW panel picker. SXSW is a Texas based company that puts on events for the entertainment, music and social media communities. Why is this important to agriculture? The voting is open for readers to suggest and vote for groups to include in next year's social media conference. The AgChat Foundation has submitted their application and looks to have the farming community's voice heard! I encourage readers to vote for AgChat's inclusion in the program. Full information can be found on the AgChat website. By presenting at this conference, farmers will have their vision in front of other leaders in social media from Google, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook just to name a few. Please vote soon as the polls close August 27.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 6

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How do you decide what to photograph?

It really depends if its a piece for an exhibition or a commission piece. I've recently been asked by a private client to design an aerial piece of her house and surrounding neighborhood and add in a family of foxes as they are quite famous in her area. I therefore would only need to take photographs of model foxes, and similar textures (pavement, bricks etc) to her actual street. For exhibitions I'll go though my wee book of ideas, built up over many years, and pick one which I fancy working on, and would fit in with the exhibition. I'll then photograph anything I need for that design.

Picture credit: Michael's work, "Soccer Cows" at a recent exhibition

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday's art themed article: PROTECTING ART FROM HEAT

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Is it hot enough for you? Is it too hot for your artwork? Today's art themed article discusses measures people can take to protect their art from hot weather. A few simple steps can prevent irreversible damage to that beloved piece of artwork.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 5

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Where do you get your inspiration?

I get a lot of inspiration from advertising, from watching movies, reading books, walking about the city, traveling to other cities and experiencing new surroundings. I also like to go to museums a lot and study works by past masters. Some DaVinci's are coming to Edinburgh next year which I'm really looking forward to. I learned a lot at school about how to interpret a painting, and knowing the techniques really enhances a museum or gallery experience, and also aids with designing my own compositions.

Picture credit: "Baseball Chickens", digitally enhanced photograph on Kodak paper

Click here to learn more about this piece of digital art

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New acrylic painter to Cow Art and More

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Cow Art and More announces a new acrylic painter to its ranks. Robert Saueressig has had an extensive career in advertising and graphic design. After retiring 10 years ago, he took up painting full time. He enjoys painting livestock and farm scenery from his studio in the midwest. Currently, Robert's work is available only as originals. Robert's work can be seen in the Cow Art and More new products section.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 4

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Where did you learn your technique?

I was very lucky to have some very talented art teachers at school, who taught me a lot about composition, technique, and color, as well as many other things . I've also picked up many different techniques over the years though studying product design at University, working as a games artist in London, and from working on many different commissions. I've also learned a lot about photography from my father, who is a great photographer. There are always new methods and techniques to learn so I try keep-up and improve myself by doing tutorials every now and again.

Picture credit: Michael's digital art at a recent art fair

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: COOPERSVILLE FARM MUSEUM

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Today's agricultural website of interest belongs to the Coopersville Farm Museum. Built to honor the history of farming and dedicated to the memory of Peter Hanenburg, the museum serves as an anchor in the historic downtown area of the Coopersville, Michigan. The 12,000 square-foot facility displays rotating agricultural related exhibits, contrasting old versus new, and showcases the John Deere collection of Ed Hanenburg, the man behind the museum.The museum is open all year but hours vary by season.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 3

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What is your technique?

I use toy animals for most of my pictures, which I photograph outdoors to benefit from the natural light for more realistic shadows and contrast. I then chose the best one to use, and using Photoshop remove the ground, enhance the shadow, and adjust the contrast, levels and colors until I'm satisfied. I then arrange the image according to my design and add any extra elements such as sports equipment and textures.

For the more complex architectural scenes I use Google or Bing maps as reference material, 3D software to create the buildings and shadows, and then Photoshop to add textures, colors and animals. The initial stage of sketching the layout and design is paramount as it saves a lot of stress and decision making later on in the process.

Finished designs are then either printed on the highest quality Kodak paper and mounted to be sold as prints, or taken to the framers who are very experienced with framing contemporary photographic pieces. I generally chose large impressive frames for maximum impact.

Picture credit: "Soccer Cows", digital photography, printed on Kodak paper

Click here to learn more about this cow art photograph

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's art themed website: ART QUOTES

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*For those new to this blog, every Friday, blog writer Kathy Swift share an art themed article or website with readers.*

While you may have viewed and studied famous artists' paintings, have you ever given any thought to what they have said? Today's art themed website is Art Quotes. The site lists quotes from artists, and other entertainers, inspirational and religious people. The site aims to list quotes to inspire success, creativity, and knowledge. Readers can also find links to some well known artists and their work.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 2

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Why do you do photography?

I love the excitement/nervous energy I get from going to collect a large frame piece from the framers. The idea that the finished piece has grown from just a wee sketch in my pad is very satisfying. Even more so if it gets a great response from the general public at an exhibition or art event.

I've dabbled with a lot of art techniques over the years including oils and watercolors, but photography and digital work is the one which has really stuck and I find the most useful. I may even try mixing digital photography with painting and see where that takes me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cow art at the MIchigan state Brown Swiss show

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Cow Art and More was thrilled and honored to have been asked to produce the Grand Champion trophy for the 2010 Michigan Dairy Expo Brown Swiss State Show. Pictured at left is the Intermediate and Grand Champion of the open and junior show, exhibited by Taylor Bolinger. Her mother, Laura, is holding the stained glass box trophy, made by Mary McIntyre, which contains a print of the Ideal type Brown Swiss cow drawn by Gary Sauder.

Many thanks to Sara Long, (@rosamyst) for providing this photo.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Q & A with Michael Murray Part 1

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How did you get started?

I began to get frustrated with my job in London, constantly being told what to do, and not getting any recognition or appreciation for good work. I therefore decided to move back to Glasgow to create my own work for exhibitions, and work on commissions for people and companies. I do a lot of artwork as special gifts and it gives me great pleasure to know that my work has made someone's celebration a bit more special.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: FARMERS' MARKET COALITION

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*For those new to this blog, every Monday, blog writer Kathy Swift shares an agricultural website of interest with readers.*

In honor of National Farmers' Market week, today's agricultural website of interest is the Farmers' Market Coalition (FMC). The mission of the FMC is “to strengthen farmers' markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities.”

The specific goals of the Farmers' Market Coalition website are:

* To serve as an information center for farmers markets.
* To be a voice for North American farmers market advocacy.
* To foster strong state and regional farmers market associations.
* To bring private and public support to the table to sustain farmers markets in the long term, for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities.
* To promote farmers markets to the public.
* To develop and provide educational programming and networking opportunities for farmers market managers and farmers market vendors.

The site also has a link to multiple article resources, such as food safety, farm business and marketing and funding and grants.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Digital artist featured for August

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Photographer and digital artist Michael Murray is this month's featured artist on Cow Art and More. Michael lives in Scotland and enjoys taking photographs of animals and manipulating them into non-traditional scenes. He has exhibited at numerous galleries across Europe and also uses his skills as a graphic designer for magazines and catalogs.

Enjoy Michael's art in our specials section this month. Purchase any of his work during the month of August and receive free shipping.
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