Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday's art article: All About Picture Framing - How to Pick the Right Glass for a Picture Frame

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There are so many considerations when deciding how to frame a piece of two dimensional art. One such thing to think about is what type of glass to use with your frame. This brief video gives examples of three glass choices and price estimates.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oil and watercolor painter Julia Swartz

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Cow Art and More was excited to feature oil and watercolor painter Julia Swartz in August 2009. Julia paints and maintains her own art gallery in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is best known locally for her ability to capture the local Amish community in art form.

Why do you paint?

Because I love to. It's fulfilling to me. I have to paint. It is who I am. I have to be creating one way or another. Right now it is painting on canvas.

How did you get started?

I always drew or painted as a child. I can remember as a child using my Mom's oil paints, she was an artist and painted at home for fun. After I got married, I took painting classes with Jay McVey, a local oil painter. When I had my children, I would draw and paint them as babies and toddlers. When my youngest child went to kindergarten, I started studying more seriously. I joined the local art association and took classes to learn watercolor. I started winning prizes right away so we jumped in the business. We bought some framing equipment, got some prints of my work and started framing and selling my art. We started by going to several local juried art shows and eventually were doing 18 to 20 shows a summer from NY to VA and MI to NJ. After several years of juried art shows we decided to join the arts movement in Lancaster PA and opened a gallery on Gallery Row. See more information at www.lancasterarts.com. It's been two and one half years in the gallery I am having more fun then ever.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspired by everything around me. My kids, grand kids, my flowers, the countryside, animals, etc. Also looking through art magazines, and art galleries and museums.

What is your technique?

My main technique right now is thick textured oil paint on canvas. I use the palette knife to apply the paint and get the texture but I do use paint brushes a little. I say right now because my techniques change as I explore different ways to capture the feeling.

Where did you learn your technique?

I see styles or techniques that I like and I just experiment and try different things till I get it the way I want it.

How do you decide what to paint?


Everywhere I go, I see painting ideas. I keep a list of ideas and always carry a camera to capture ideas. I like to paint a series of paintings , usually ten, that have a theme so every two months I have a new show for my gallery. I'm always thinking what my next few series will be and gathering ideas as I see them.


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


It varies a lot, depending on the detail and size of the painting. There are quick ones that I've done in a day and others that have taken a month. I often tell people " All my life" because it is an accumulation of all the things I've learned since I started painting that go into every painting.

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

Sure, once in a while it just doesn't turn out the way I like.

What advice to you have for aspiring painters?

Don't worry about your style. I hear young artist say I've got to find my style. I would recommend that you just keep painting and painting and try different things and eventually your style will emerge. Never throw a painting away. As an artist you tend to be very critical of your own work. You may not like something very much when your done, but just put it in a drawer or put it away somewhere. Months or years later you may get it out and say "Oh, that's not so bad." I really treasure some of my first paintings and am glad I never threw them out.

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


I would like to travel more to places like Europe, Italy and etc. to collect more reference material to paint. I would also like to travel to a third world country and paint that culture. So travel would be high on my priority list.

What else do you do besides painting?

Not much, laughing out loud. I love to play with my grand kids and spend time with my kids. I love to ride motorcycle with my husband, always taking my camera along. I love to take care of my flower gardens and decorate my house and redecorate and redecorate.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Become acquainted with painter and pastel artist Robin Maria Pedrero

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Cow Art and More featured pastel drawing artist and painter Robin Maria Pedrero in September 2009. Robin is a well-known central Florida artist that both paints and draws with pastels. She has been published in several magazines and has won numerous awards from art shows and art societies across the southeast. Robin is also an elected member of the Pastel Society of America, which is reflected by the PSA designation behind the signature on her work. Robin will participate in an exhibit in Berlin, Germany, in May 2011.

Why do you paint/draw?

There are various reasons as to why I paint and draw. I could say it is a compulsion where I am able to capture a fleeting experience or emotion, a visual form of homage to creation.

What is your technique?

I work in several mediums and the techniques vary for each. At times when I am immersed in the creative process I cover the studio with 7 – 20 pieces in progress strewn on tables, easels, the wall and floor. In pastel, I start at the farthest point in the distance and build layers towards what is closer and more detailed. In acrylics and mixed media I capture life and simple pleasures applying rhythmic patterns and geometrics in translucent layers. In all mediums, I personify nature through color and movement evoking moods of transition, strength, joy and serenity. I use a symbolic visual language exploring the visible and invisible creating a commentary on relationships and thoughts. As I work the images can be unexpected flowing from gathered memories. Within the placed pigment I enhance my perceptions of faces, animals, cities or fauna to share them with viewers. Then I let the work be and come back to it with fresh eyes and work some more until finished. Repeat

Where did you learn your technique?

My technique is a culmination of years of working, creating, building habits and trying new things. I have enjoyed a few workshops through the years and have a foundation of study with master artists.

How do you decide what to paint/draw?

I create what attracts me. The decision of specifics is part of the artistic judgments made throughout the creative process. Unless it is a commission and then the subject is usually their choice via my hand.

How long does it take you to get an average piece of art?


Sometimes I plan or see the piece in my head for days, weeks, even months. Other pieces form by just coming before a blank page and placing marks or color until the piece evolves. It varies with subject matter and medium. An average piece of art might take one hour, two hours perhaps three hours to even seventy two hours over a period of a few weeks or months. Oils can take longer. Part of the process is also having distance and coming back to work on the piece with a fresh perspective.

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

Yes. One advantage of making art is that it is usually a solitary environment, so the less favorable pieces can go unseen, covered up, tossed or used as a teaching tool.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Influences and inspiration are daily occurrences, experienced through all of the senses. My visual journey encompasses my life; family, friends, travel, nature, meals, introspection, books, art, music and worship. The work begins internally and then is brought to the surface, literally.

What else do you do besides your art?

I travel. I spend time with my family and Shui tzu Max, we swim, walk, garden, and explore. I listen to music and dance while making art! I mentor and teach (just a little). I twitter, facebook and blog. I am an active member of several women's, business and art groups. I would be glad to share more on any of them with those who are interested. Presently I am reading "de Kooning". I go to art events...and hope you do too!

What advice to you have for aspiring painters?

There is a preciousness, unpredictability,and endurance to art so have integrity, balance, keep learning, follow positive examples, become a role mode, take courage, thicken your skin for reviews and critiques, and breathe. Don’t be too desperate for the sale. Protect your health, making art can be hazardous. It is a gift to make art, stay well so you can share it.

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

I believe that my art makes a difference in people’s lives and I will continue to make art. In my future I want my work in more Museums, galleries, corporations, institutions and collected worldwide.

What else would you like people to know about your art that they may not know already?


My collectors are precious, they receive my new art news, postcards, gifts and special invites shows and my sacred studio space. They are part of a bigger picture as one of my collectors, they make a difference as I donate a percentage of proceeds to select charities, like the International Justice Mission, Make a Wish, The Golden Rule Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and more.

If you see PSA after my signature that signifies that I am an elected Signature member of the Pastel Society of America.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet painter Jon Ellis

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Cow Art and More was honored to feature acrylic paintings and mixed media creations from Florida artist Jon Ellis in April 2009. Over the years, Ellis’ fanciful work has graced the cover of many popular books, advertisements and periodicals, including the cover of Time and National Geographic. His work has been exhibited at such prestigious galleries as the ‘Helander Gallery’ on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, as well as, maintained in permanent archival collections at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Such notable private collectors as Attorney Robert Shapiro have also enjoyed ownership of his work.

Why do you paint?

I paint because it pleases me. It pleases me to free something into this world that was once confined only to my imagination. I love putting out my palette and unleashing all those fresh pure colors from their tubes. I love running the tip of my brush through fifteen or more dollops of paint and mixing the perfect color of my choosing. From the beginning to the end of my creative process, I have complete control. Painting and creating art is the 'only' thing in life I am able to control. Whether it took a month, six months or a year to create, when it is done I step back and take a deep breath. With a tremendous sense of satisfaction I stare at what I have brought into the world and feel like I have achieved something wonderful, something which feels nearly 'perfect', even if it is just a feeling.

How did you get started?

When I was a child and my mother placed a crayon, a pencil, or a Bic pen in my hand I began to doodle. As time passed it became a compulsion,which I admit, probably even affecting my grades. While my first serious and failed attempt at painting didn't take place till I was a senior in high school, drawing was always a passion.

What is your technique?

So many people are looking for short-cuts these days to make it look good without all the hard work. My technique is slow and laborious. I developed my techniques on my own over a long period of time. While I have a bachelor of fine arts from the Philadelphia College of Art, and had many amazing teachers, no one actually taught me to paint the way I do. My friend in college did turn me on to the best brushes in the world, which I still use today, particularly the 'triple zero' Windsor NewtonI series '7'. It is the ultimate brush for control! I use acrylic paint and layer my work utilizing dry brushing, feathering, glazing, and sometimes a touch of airbrush, if it is called for. By the time a work is completed there are between twenty and thirty layers of paint. It is incredibly hard to describe my technique as I don't think about how I do it anymore...I just do it.

How do you decide what to paint?

I constantly have millions of cool ideas popping in and out of my brain/mind; Some not so cool. It is difficult to decide which ones to run with. I know I will be spending many nights and hundreds of hours with the painting, so I just make sure before we get started that we will be good friends for the duration and enjoy each others company.

How long does it take you do get an average painting?


As an illustrator for years I had horrific deadlines. Night after night I would burn my candles at both ends to get my work in on time. After twenty years I had only been late once. Now that I am not concerned with other peoples deadlines my paintings take much longer. Anywhere from two and three months to a year max. A year is way too long...sigh.

Where did you get your inspiration?

I originally got my inspiration when I was about ten years old after I opened a pack of gum with illustrated 'Wacky Stickers'. The gum was hard and inedible, but I bought pack after pack! I was immediately consumed and addicted to the colorful crazy 'sick' art.

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

Besides writing Novels and making movies, I just want to keep painting. I plan to die some day when I am very very old with a very used up triple zero Windsor Newton in my hand. I wouldn't want to waste a perfectly good brush.

What else do you do besides painting?

I am a passionate writer and love to write, though unpublished as of yet! I love martial arts and Karate. I used to run my own school with my wife! I love playing my classical guitar, even though I only perform for my family! I love to Garden and grow things from seeds! I love taking care of my five doggies! I enjoy fish and coral and I maintain a 155 gallon reef tank in my living room! And I enjoy people, that's why I love doing the art shows!

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


No

What advice do you have for aspiring painters?

Be passionate with your art and with your life. Love both with all your heart. Have lots of experiences and adventures. Please yourself, paint for yourself...and have a back up job for money

Meet Montana acrylic painter Wendy Marquis

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Acrylic painter Wendy Marquis was the featured artist on Cow Art and More for November 2010. Wendy's decision to relocate to Montana a few years ago allowed her to focus painting her favorite subjects: antique vehicles and the rustic countryside. As Wendy explains, "I invite people to savor the distinct time and place that my trucks evoke…a romantic, simpler time of unspoiled landscapes that so many of us long for and long to hold on to."

How did you get started?

I got started by being born into a family where I was exposed to wonderful art. My mother was a gallery owner and an artist. Our house was filled with a variety of art from pottery to lithographs to paintings. In art class in middle school, I remember how intrigued I was with every project we did. My art teacher encouraged me which make me very happy as a child.

Why do you paint/do art?

I paint because nothing makes me happier. It calms me when I am anxious and I am still fascinated by the magic of what comes out of my paintbrush.

How do you decide what to paint?

When I see something that inspires me it just hits me…something clicks inside my heart and I instantaneously see the painting in my head…

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am inspired by the natural world around me here in Montana. I am blessed to live in a place of beautiful light and spaciousness. I also am inspired by many of the artists around me and on the internet.

What is your technique?

My technique starts off with observation of the rural views around me. I look for farms, old trucks, animals, and vintage buildings. Then, I photograph the subject when the light is falling on it just right…when the shadows describe the shape and dimensions. Then I come home, print out my pictures, and start drawing. Sometimes I combine elements from the different scenes that I have found. So I kind of create a puzzle for myself to solve. Then I lay down a colored wash and draw out the images with a watered down sienna color. Then I start painting in the darks and the lights in acrylics, using glazes and layers of colors…

Where did you learn your technique?

I was an art major in college. I majored in graphic design and studio art. Then later on, I took faux finishing classes. My paintings are a combination of these three influences. I combined what I learned from each one and created my own style.

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

A couple of weeks. I get the main composition down in a few days…I need to leave it alone for few days and then I come back and work on it some more till I am satisfied.

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

I am in love with the rural landscape. Farms fascinate me. The machinery intrigues me. The animals make me smile and lend a humorous vibe to the whole scene.

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

Large paintings of farms, buildings, trucks and herds of horses, sheep, goats, or cows and beautiful skies.

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

Oh definitely. I just repainted a new painting over an old one that I was not happy with.

What else do you do besides your art?

I love to hike with my dogs. I love to be creative in the kitchen. Entertain. Practice yoga. Play with plants…Listen to beautiful music..Spend time with my daughters and go for scenic drives with my husband.

What advice to you have for aspiring artists?

Get ready to work really hard but don’t forget that you have to learn to be a good business person as well.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Meet painter and veterinary pathologist Lynn Bishop

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Painter and photographer Lynn Bishop was the featured artist for May 2009 on Cow Art and More. Lynn received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California and originally pursued a career in veterinary pathology. She found the call to pursue art was too great and began painting full time in 1985. Currently, Lynn lives in Colorado and enjoys capturing the realism of animals in many forms.

Why do you paint?

Each of us has some form of creative energy that longs for expression. My emotional responses to life are varied, but when it comes to outwardly expressing my response to something I've experienced, creating a realistic image, through painting or photography, seems most natural.

How did you get started?

I drew a lot as a kid and my mother, who I suspect wanted to be an artist, encouraged and supported me as best she could, even somehow finding the money for some art lessons when I was in high school in the late 1950's. Unfortunately the teacher wanted to teach abstract painting and I wanted to learn realistic painting, so that experience was somewhat disappointing. Later, when I was an art major in a small college, someone told me I couldn't be "a real artist" and focus on equine art. So I showed them...I quit art and became a veterinarian instead! But the art muse wouldn't leave me alone so nearly two decades later I turned back to art.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Life! Something I see - usually animals or people - grabs me emotionally and creates the urge to capture and express that emotion in a painting.

Where did you learn your technique?

Well, I'm not so sure I have a consistent technique. It seems I never approach two paintings in a row in exactly the same way. I've learned a lot by taking classes and workshops in university and art school settings and by studying books about art. The single most important influence, however, was a six-week stint with Charles Cecil at his academy in Florence, Italy, where he teaches classical techniques of drawing and painting. He taught me the sight-size method of working - positioning the drawing surface such that the image observed is the same size as the drawn image - and that helped me solve some major problems I'd had with my drawing. All that aside, it's the innumerable hours at the easel that have taught me the most.

How do you decide what to paint?

The subject seems to choose me...that is, something about the subject strikes a chord in my heart and I simply have to express what I feel through painting.

What is your technique?

My paintings are realistic/representational, done in oil paints, often mixed with Winsor & Newton Liquin, which dries overnight, facilitating reworking. I have a poor visual memory, I love detail, and I love to portray an "instant in time" so my paintings are based on photos I've taken. For most of my career I used a non-electric slide viewer to look at slides of the subject as I painted, but I've now entered the digital age and view images on a laptop computer set up near my canvas. Although I rely on photographs as the basis of my paintings, I freely move subjects around and combine images from multiple photographs. In one large triptych of horses, I combined images from more than 2 dozen slides.

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

I've completed a 3' x 4' painting in 4 days while some 16" x 20" paintings have taken a month or more, so there is no "average" time. The length of time it takes depends a lot on the complexity of the subject, how well I'm focusing on the process, what else is going on in my life, and, sometimes, a lot of luck in having fallen in love with a subject that just has all the right elements in it that make a good painting.

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

Oh, yes! I'm impatient by nature, so I tend to tackle a painting without doing a detailed underdrawing or underpainting. Often a fast simple sketch on the canvas is sufficient, but sometimes I get part of the way through a painting and find I need to change the composition or make other corrections. Fortunately oil paint is a rather forgiving medium so it's generally possible to scrape off mistakes, but it would be much better to start with an accurate foundation so as not to waste time and effort. And, yes, sometimes I've abandoned a painting entirely because I can't make it work.

What else do you do besides painting?

Recently I decided to take photography more seriously as an art form in itself rather than just as an aide memoir for places I've visited or as reference material for my paintings. I love taking photographs of birds, especially the larger wetlands birds such as egrets and herons, but am looking forward to photographing many different subjects. Another exciting canvas is our garden, which my husband I have been rescuing from years of neglect by previous owners. After 8 years of organic attention, it's finally providing more pleasure than exhaustion, although there's still plenty of work yet to do, but it's worth it to be able to eat fresh tomatoes and apples and enjoy cut flowers out of our own garden.

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

More animal drawings, paintings, and photographs. And poetry, another "natural" form of expression for me, but one I've never developed.

What advice do you have for aspiring painters?

Learn to draw. Learning facility with drawing materials is the fundamental skill in painting, regardless of whether you want to do realistic or impressionistic or abstract painting - take a look at Picasso's magnificent early drawings. By learning to manipulate the fundamentals of form - line, edges, and values - in gray scale, without having to deal with color, makes the whole process of learning to draw not easy, but a bit easier.

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Choose the Right Picture Hangers or Wall Fasteners: Home Repair & Maintenance Tips | eHow.com

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Today's art related article gives some examples of the different types of picture hangers available to hang artwork. This two minute video briefly explains and gives examples of different hangers and when they might be appropriate to use.


How to Choose the Right Picture Hangers or Wall Fasteners -- powered by eHow.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Painter, pastel artist and veterinarian John Plishka

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Dr. John Plishka was the featured artist for October 2009 on Cow Art and More. Dr. Plishka's art has been featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He enjoys both painting and drawing with pastels portraits of the animals he sees on a regular basis, whether they are patients or not.

Why do you paint and draw?

It's hard to describe but it's a really strong internal drive to express my ideas about what I find beautiful or interesting.It's also a great way to escape from the realities of the world-I can totally immerse myself in the painting and probably like most artists, once you're painting, all time seems to stand still.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I have limited time to work, so I try to take a lot of photos when I'm out, and try to work on my paintings later. My inspiration mostly comes from trying to see subjects which should be ordinary, in an extraordinary way. So, I try to find beauty in subjects that are often overlooked. Hence a lot of my paintings are of simple everyday things or situations.

How do you decide what to paint and draw?

I work from photographs mostly, so I try to take my camera almost everywhere. I try to find one or two photos from an experience, scene, or subject, that inspire me. I can often in my mind see the painting before it is on the paper. Often the beauty or power of my subjects is what ultimately drives me to start a painting.

What is your technique?

Now I work mostly in pastels. In the past I also painted in oils and acrylics. Pastels allow me to work quickly, and for me they are easier to correct mistakes than other media. In my paintings I use a lot of pastel pencils. This allows me to get the fine detail I need when depicting hair, feathers, etc.

Where did you learn your technique?

Since I haven't had much formal art training, I've learned mostly from reading, trial and error, and following some of my favorite artists. Over the last few years, I've taken some pastel classes which have helped immensely in elevating my art. However there is still so much to learn- I wish I had access to more class time!

How long does it take you to get an average piece of art?

Smaller pieces will take me about 2-4 hours, but larger pieces may take 10-15 hours. Considering I may only have 4-5 hours a week for my art means that a larger painting may take me 2-4 weeks to complete!

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


Sure I have goof ups like everyone else. For myself, If a painting isn't working after about an hour, I usually scrap the whole thing. Sometimes I come back to it, sometimes not. After that though, I'm pretty stubborn and won't give up on a painting after I've invested alot of time and work into it. I'll see it through to the end. There is a point in most of my paintings that I doubt whether it will work or not, but after I get past that point, I know the final result will have been worth the effort.

What advice do you have for aspiring painters?

I still consider myself at this point to be an aspiring painter. I want to improve my art in many facets still, and am a firm believer in that you can never know too much about a subject. But if I had any advice to give to people it would be to try to learn as much as you can about your chosen art direction and dive right in. Have a thick skin about your work as art is so subjective that a lot of people will not care for your work while others love it! Try to get yourself noticed as much as you can, and have the belief in yourself that your art is good and is worth creating! Lastly, try to get to know a lot of artists with similar interests- they will help you in your work and give encouragement which is so important when you are starting out!

What else do you do besides your art?

My plate is pretty full! I'm a full time veterinarian in Antioch, Illinois. My wife and 2 children are the loves of my life and I try to spend as much time as I can with the kids now: especially while they're little. I love and play sports too, especially hockey, soccer and baseball. I play the drums and piano, and I dabble in banjo. Lastly, I enjoy fishing and the outdoors. At the end of the day is usually when I can get some art work done!

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

I guess I would just like to get the opportunity to paint a lot more. Perhaps try different techniques. I'm interested in sculpting, so maybe one day I could try that. I would like to do more art shows and get myself out there more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An interview with digital artist Michael Murray

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Photographer and digital artist Michael Murray was the featured artist on Cow Art and More for August 2010. 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

What advice to you have for aspiring artists?

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Airbrush painter Jerry Gadamus

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June 2009's featured artist was airbrush painter, Jerry Gadamus. Jerry has been painting for over thirty years and loves capturing farm animals and wildlife in their natural environments. Jerry uses his airbrush completely "freehanded"; he uses no stencils or brushes to complete his work.

Why do you paint?

I enjoy it and find I need to do it to maintain sanity.

How did you get started?

I was 10 or 11 years old and painting on a piece of plywood. I didn’t have brushes so I used a 16 penny nail instead. The painting had a religious theme and it hung over my mom’s washing machine.

How do you decide what to paint?

Sometimes I paint what I want and sometimes it’s something the public or publisher wants. I don’t’ do commission work. Sometimes if I’ve had an experience lately with something or even if it’s been 30 years, but it’s been on my mind, I‘ll do it.

What is your technique?

I use freehand airbrush. The way I do it compared with other people is that others combine it with a hand brush. I use the airbrush freehand. I don’t use any masking, taping or hand brushing. Everything is freehand. Hard brushes or stencils can give a hard edge. I’m only a ¼ inch away from the board at all times with my airbrush. Everything you see on that painting is airbrushed.

Where did you learn your technique?


I was in the service for 3 years on the GI bill. When I got back, I went to college for fine arts. My roommate asked me if I wanted an airbrush to try while he was going to get one for himself. Most people my age can remember “Vargas”, and airbrush artist who always did work with a nice gradation of color. I started using an airbrush in 1969. I began with a combination of airbrush and hand brush and practiced to be all airbrush. The company I purchased my airbrush from commissioned me back in the 1970’s to do a piece for them. This was only the second time they had commissioned a piece. The first time was from Vargas himself!

How long does it take to get a painting done?

As little as 2 weeks for the more popular sizes (10” x 24”) and the major pieces (24” x 36”) take 2 months.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Nature! At one time I wanted to be involved with natural resources, but it involved too much math. Being an artist was my second choice. I’m outside with nature all the time.

How did you get started with the cow pieces?

My in laws, Margaret and Arnold, are dairy farmers. With my first cow piece I did, I always included the poem:

Margaret and Arnold are my in-laws you see

They own a dairy farm south of me

Where time is measured by what’s left to do

To provide a bounty for me and you

Do you ever make goof ups or work you don’t like?

It’s an ongoing thing! You’ll always struggle with composition. I used to finish a part before I moved to the next part. I’ve found that if you finish one part and move on to the next, it’s harder to change the entire image. I now work on the whole painting at the same time. I don’t finish anything until I know I like what I see. My wife is a big part in what I do. I’ll call her in to get her opinion. If she gives me the same idea that I’m thinking is a problem, then I usually know I have to change it. I’ll say that too for anyone looking at art. Somebody may not be able to paint something, but they can tell you when something is wrong.

What else do you do besides painting?

That seems to be about it

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

I would like to do more bronzes. Being in the upper Midwest, there’s not much of a market for them. It’s a nice escape from the painting end.

Is there anything else about your art you want people to know?

Some colleges and high schools are now teaching airbrush. You can’t teach it per se, but you have to get used to it. Practice! I suggest watercolors first. You can take a dab of paint and put it on a palette and it comes to life even after it dries out. It’s a great way to start without the frustration of the airbrush clogging.

What advice would you give aspiring painters?


Take classes in school in disciplines you may not like or are interested in. It allows you to experience things in school instead of having to buy a bunch of equipment later. I took my 4 to 5 years of college like most normal people, but a friend and I would continue to take 1 credit classes to be able to use the facilities. We were there in the evening enjoying it. I learned you’ll never make a living at it if you don’t enjoy it. Even if you’re good at it, but consider it a job, you’ll never make a living at it.

Watercolor artist Victoria Whorley

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Watercolor painter Victoria Whorley was the featured artist for June 2010 at Cow Art and More. Victoria enjoys painting beef and dairy cattle as a way to capture the beauty of her home area of southern Virginia. She mostly paints from pictures she takes on her travels around the rural countryside. Victoria's painting Heads or Tails was also featured on the April 15, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Why do you paint?

Painting fulfills the creative side of me. The feeling of accomplishment when an animal is accurately portrayed is a great motivator.

How did you get started?

My dad bought me art sets and pastels when I was really small. We used to watch art instruction television shows together in the 60s, and he would explain the techniques as we watched.

What is your technique?

I am a realistic watercolor artist. Each painting is layered from the lightest of colors, working toward darker layers.

Where did you learn your technique?

I learned my technique from a very knowledgeable teacher and from art instruction books.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from the life and animals around me. I love driving the back roads of Virginia looking for that inspiration.

How long, on average, does it take you to get a finished painting?

Time spent on a painting is based on the size of the painting as well as the amount of detail involved. Several hours are spent on what would seem the simplest of paintings.

How do you decide what to paint?

I look through my multitude of photographs. Several photos will 'jump' out at me and I choose one to paint from those photos.

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

Having grown up with dogs, cats, chickens, ponies, goats, a cow and ducks, I have always loved all types of animals . . . as an artist, painting them just seems the natural thing to do.

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

Goof-ups are a normal part of painting. Some can be fixed easily; some not so easily. Other paintings just aren't liked for any of several reasons; usually because I feel I didn't portray enough detail.

What else do you do besides your art?

I love to drive back roads taking lots of photographs; am also a scrapbooker and a collector of rocks and gemstones, colored glass bottles, and antiques.

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

Paint more animals and birds.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?


Paint what you love and don't be afraid to try new techniques.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Join us at foodchat tomorrow night

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Normally on Mondays, I share an agricultural website of interest with readers. Today, I am sharing the personal video invitation from Shaun Haney (@shaunhaney) to join the agriculture and foodie communities on twitter tomorrow night from 8 to 10 PM ET. Our topic of conversation is Christmas baking and should be a great evening to learn some new skills and pick up a recipe or two. Be sure to follow @foodchat and follow tweets with the #foodchat hashtag. (An even easier way to follow is to sign into tweetchat.com or twubs.com and enter foodchat as the hashtag you want to follow.) See you there!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Introducing oil painter Linda Blondheim

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Oil painter Linda Blondheim was the featured artist for March 2009 on Cow Art and More. Linda is well known throughout the southeast United States for her landscape paintings, including those of rural Florida farmland and cattle. Linda recently opened her own small gallery space and enjoys meeting with customers and art enthusiasts.

Why do you paint?

It's in my soul. I started painting at eight years old and never stopped.

How did you get started?

I started an art club for the neighborhood kids when I was nine. We painted together one day a week. I also had a horse club which crossed over into horse art. We were all horse crazy at that age.

What is your technique?

I paint with oils, acrylics and gouache. I am representational expressionist, in that I don't copy nature but rather invent it in my on style.

Where did you learn your technique?

I have a BFA (bachelor of fine arts) in Fine Art and advanced study. I studied with Joe Testa Secca in undergraduate school and with Bruce Marsh, in graduate school, both fine painters. After I finished school I self studied for many years and I still do.

How did you decide what to paint?

I became very interested in the Southern Landscape about 20 years ago. I started painting on location then and continue to work both on location with a small paint box and in the studio for larger format work. My fascination with the landscape goes on endlessly. I also enjoy Bovines and Canines as subjects.

How long does it take you to paint a painting?

Small paintings are done alla prima, from start to finish in one session, usually from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Large format paintings can take from 1-3 weeks.

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

All the time. Those are the most instructive. I consider painting to be an ongoing study, never a finished skill set.

What else would you like people to know about your work that they may not know already?

My work is thematic in approach. I will explore themes and subjects for long periods, because intense study of a subject reveals its soul. I also base many of my paintings on particular studies of technique. This is the way we grow as a painter.

I love the land, animals, people, cooking and culture of my beloved South. I am particularly indebted to the farmers, ranchers and land conservationists who allow me to paint on their private lands.

What advice to you have for aspiring painters?

There is no substitute for easel time. Work hard, study hard. Do many practice paintings, Study areas of painting like values, color mixing,composition in small studies. That will improve your painting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Painter and pastel artist Gary Sauder

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The December 2009 featured Cow Art and More artist was pastel drawing and painter Gary Sauder. Gary grew up on a small farm in Sonoma County, California showing registered Jersey cows in the local 4-H club. Gary attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, for two years. After college, Gary took a position caring for and exhibiting the show cattle for then, Meadow Glen Farms of Orland, California. About that time he was introduced to colored pencils. Having always been an avid artist with a pencil, this produced an exciting jump into the realm of painting for Gary.

How did you get started?

I had always been drawing as long as I can remember and had been more or less apprehensive about painting because I didn’t quite know how. I had grown bored with drawing in graphite and hadn’t done it for a long time. Then one evening I saw a movie about a sketch artist for the police and he was using colored pencils and I decided to find out more about them. I got some books on the medium and I conquered my fear of color and shortly there after I graduated to pastel and even water color and oils. I enjoy them all but I prefer to paint in pastel.

Why do you paint?

I paint because of the unbelievable sense of accomplishment and expression that it gives me. I think that it gives me a chance to express how I view the world and the beauty of it. And I think that it gives me a chance to show other people the things that I find interesting.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from my own experiences and my love of the natural world. I think that every day that I get to paint is a good day and a day that I learn something about myself. I hope when you see one of my paints that you can feel my inspiration.

What is your technique?

I suppose my technique mostly depends on the surface that I paint on. I generally work from very loose to very tight by and by working darks to mid tones to light to highlights and follow that progression about four to five times until I feel that the painting is finished. And I suppose that you would call the technique would be called realism or super realism.

Where did you learn your technique?

For the most part I am self taught, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from other artists. I have taken workshops from other notable artists and have done several lessons in technique from master artist’s publications. And have viewed and studied the techniques of the artists that I admire the most. I also have taken to not hanging my own work on my walls at home and hang other artists work for me to see so that I don’t become too enamored with my own work.

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

For the most part I can do a painting in a week but I have done and average size (14 X 19) in a day it just depends on the subject and the complexity of the painting. I have also taken as long as three weeks to complete a painting.

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

I have made many goof ups and have done more than a few paintings that I don’t like. I also find that as the years go by some of the paintings I did ten years ago that I liked back then, I don’t like as much now and the opposite is also true.

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

I would like to do more of the same, but I would like to travel more and do more field work in many different places.

What else do you do besides painting?

Right now I distribute an amazing nutritional beverage called Mona Vie. It is a product that has wonderful health benefits.

What advice to you have for aspiring painters?

The only advice that I can give to aspiring painters is to paint often and treat it like a profession. I have found the more that I paint the better that I get at it and the more professional the result.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's art article: How to frame your art

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Why frame your art?

The main reasons to frame your art is (1) to enhance your work and compliment it and (2) to protect it from damage from elements like moisture and dust; and from physical damage from handling, touching and transporting. All works of art do not need to be framed. Often canvas paintings are gallery wrapped instead, which is where the canvas is wrapped around thick stretcher bars and secured to the back of the bars, leaving no visible attachment on the sides. While this may be good for some works art on canvas, works of art on paper and board will usually require framing for structure and protection.

How to Choose your art frame moulding

There are different schools of thought when choosing the style and color of moulding when framing your art. Most would agree though that a frame moulding should be selected that enhances and compliments the work of art first, and that the decor of the room is a secondary consideration. Then the art and frame combination may be chosen as one entity to compliment a particular decor. For example a traditional or classic style painting may best be suited by a wide gold leaf or wood tone moulding, whereas a contemporary or abstract piece may be better framed in a slim solid color moulding. A traditional or classic artwork and frame can also look very good in a modern decor and a modern artwork and frame can look good in a traditional decor.

Large works of art generally look better with wider mouldings, and smaller works of art generally look better with thinner mouldings, however this is not always the case. A large oversized frame can give a small size painting a look comparable to a diamond in a setting. If wall space is a limitation when framing a large work of art, then a floater frame may be used. A floater frame is a frame with a solid back to which the artwork is attached, so that the moulding does not touch the artwork itself, giving the illusion that the artwork is floating in the frame. A floater frame may add 1"- 4" to the height and width of the piece whereas a regular frame may add as much as 12".

More than one mouldings are often used to create a unique look. Oil paintings often use an inner frame called a linen liner that is covered in a white or neutral fabric and a fillet (pronounced 'fill-it'), a decorative moulding that fits inside the frame or underneath the mat. A fillet can be used with or without a linen liner. A frame moulding and it's linen liner should never be the same width, the frame is usually wider than the liner.

Choosing the color of the moulding is pretty much common sense, you want to choose a color that compliments and enhances the colors in the artwork, not something that is going to clash. You also wouldn't want a busy looking frame to go with a busy image.


Framing Works of Art on Paper

Special considerations must be made when framing works of art on paper due to the sensitivity to light, moisture, temperature, and restriction of movement. A practice called Conservation Mounting is used to protect the work not only from the elements, but also to avoid any damage to the work by the mounting method itself. You want to be able to remove the work from the framing without any visible indication that the artwork has ever been framed.

The artwork must be mounted on some type of support or mount board prior to being framed. The piece will be in direct contact with the mount board, so the choice of mount board is critical. It must be constructed of acid free material. Archival Foam Board is an excellent choice and will prevent moisture from entering through the back of the frame. All materials used when mounting the artwork should be acid free. Acid free adhesives and acid free corner pockets should be used to secure the artwork to the mount. Adhesives should be easy to remove, and should not stain or darken with age. An ideal adhesive is freshly made wheat or rice starch paste. Pressure sensitive tapes and masking tapes should never be used because they can permanently damage the picture and become difficult or even impossible to remove.

Framing works of art of paper usually requires framing under glass for protection. The glass or glazing as it called protects the picture from physical damage, moisture, pollutants, and damaging ultra-violet rays. There are several types of glazing used including regular glass, non-glare, museum, and acrylic (Plexiglass). Conservation glazing may be applied to glass which offers up to 97% UV protection.

A matboard, (also called a mat, matte or matting) is a paper board or sheet with a cutout window that separates the artwork from the glass, and also serves as a border around the artwork. Matting also serves in the presentation of the artwork. A spacer may be used instead of a mat. The spacer is placed in the rabbet to keep the artwork from coming in contact with the frame or glass.


Fitting the Frame

When measuring your artwork for the frame there is more to consider than just the height and width of the work itself. The rabbet or rebate as it is sometimes called, is where everything must fit. The frame moulding is routed slightly larger than the measurement of your art work so there is allowance for expansion and a little play. The rabbet depth should be deep enough to accommodate the artwork, mount board, matting, spacers, glass etc. The exception to this is when you want the frame to appear to "float" on the wall, held off the wall slightly by the mount board or canvas stretcher bars.

For more information on framing art, photographs, crafts, or memorabilia; and a large selection of wood picture frame mouldings, visit Artist's Wholesale Framing today.

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mixed media artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

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The March 2010 featured artist was painter and mixed media collage creator, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Elizabeth makes her favorite images into paintings. From there, she layers them with papers, fabrics, feathers and anything else with texture, to create unique three-dimensional pieces. In addition to being an artist, Elizabeth maintains her own design firm, Nelson Creative, with her husband Doug. She lives with her husband and two children in central Florida.

Why do you create your art?

I have always been an artist. As I child I loved to paint and draw and excelled at it. I attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 1990. I paint because it is who I am and always have been, it makes me happy to take a little time just for myself and to go to my creative place.

How did you get started?

I have always been an artist. As I child I loved to paint and draw and excelled at it. I attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 1990.


What is your technique?


My technique is a figurative form of collage. I take bits of torn hand-made and hand-painted papers, glue them over an acrylic under-painting, to form a recognizable image. I call this "Paper Paintings" because from a distance my work very much resembles an impressionistic painting.

Where did you learn your technique?

My technique is something I evolved on my own. I was a talented painter and pastel artist, but there were many more talented people using those mediums here in Orlando. I wanted to find a way to set my work apart from everyone else's. I started adding paper in with my acrylic paintings as a pattern and texture in small areas. Eventually those areas became larger and larger until the paper overtook the paint entirely one day when I challenged myself to create an image without any paint. I liked the effect I got, I liked the fact that this piece "Looking in on Jane" (a portrait of my mother) won Best of Show at OVAL (Orlando Visual Artists League) and then again at the WCA (Women's Caucus for the Arts) Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit. I knew I was onto something, and so I ran with it.

Over the years my technique has continued to evolve. I used to use art store purchased colored papers. I found out the hard way that these papers fade. So I started hand-painting all my own collage papers. I experimented with color, texture, pattern and paper weight. I learned how to create my own palette of acrylic painted paper–it would not fade and I could create all the colors in the rainbow!

I feel my work is better now that I have such a variety of colors and textures of paper to choose from. I also use related material in my collages. I try to tie in some of the collage material to the subject matter. Some of my cow collages have nursery rhymes in them, "How Now Brown Cow" is an example of this. Some of my roosters have "Hickety Pickety My Fine Hen" intertwined with the Starbucks bags and painted maps, old checks and book pages.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I often get my inspiration from my papers. I find a paper that I think looks fuzzy, and I might use it for a sheep. I find a paper that is lumpy and bumpy and turquoise, and I might use it for the crown of a peacock's head. I find a paper that looks like lace, and I might use it for the fringe on a ballet skirt. I hand-paint a paper that is vibrant, textured, golden yellow, and I might use it on a small finch sitting on a branch.

Other times I am inspired by my frame maker. Owen Tomlin makes frames from reclaimed barn wood in Kentucky. I like to paint images that will work with is amazing hand crafted frames, so I might do an entire series on barnyard animals or botannicals because I know they will look great hanging together as a group, all framed in Owen's frames.

How do you decide what to paint, draw and model?

I like to work in a series of images so that this question is answered for me for a few paintings at a time! I am lucky enough to be represented by several art galleries who will help me with suggestions of images that they feel would sell or would work with a show or theme they are promoting. I also have a big solo show in September at the Maitland Art Center which they have asked me to create pieces related to music. I will be showing 35-40 collages in this exhibition. That's helped me decide what to paint for a while!

How does it take you to get the average creation?

My process is multistep. After finding imagery that I am inspired by, I take photos and manipulate them in Photoshop on my computer until I achieve a composition I am happy with. I might take one cow out of a group or combine her/him with another cow from a different photo, add a barn and drastically raise (or lower) the horizon line behind them. Once I get this worked out on my computer, I print a color image and this is my reference. I then sketch onto primed wood panel. After sketching I do a quick acrylic underpainting in order to work out my values and my colors. When the underpainting is dry, I then start collaging my hand-painted and hand-made papers over the top of the acrylic painting. Keep in mind that the hand-painting of the papers also takes time and I create all my own papers in advance of the collaging process. When the collage is complete, I coat it with two layers of acrylic UV protective varnish and then I do my own framing.

The time it takes in the collage process depends on how it's going, some days things are really working for me and it's coming together quickly, other days nothing is working and I end up going over the same area a few times before I am happy with it. Some subject matter is more complex than others. Some subjects I am good at and have worked out the challenges with practice, so I can really do roosters very efficiently, but dogs are more of a challenge since I have only ever done two. Peacocks take a long time because of all the eyes and detail in the tail feathers.

I guess I'd have to say, it varies!

How did you get interested in creating art of cattle?

I grew up in rural New England; we always had cows and roosters and sheep on farms which we would pass driving from one small town to another. When I was a kid, my parents took us to a lot of petting farms in our area. We would go and get a homemade ice cream at a small dairy and visit the cows, or go for pork sausage at a small farm and visit the sheep. I guess this was good family fun when I was a kid, these images give me a sense of warmth and a sense of family even today. My sister was married last summer in Amherst, MA, my family decided to stay at a bed and breakfast on the outskirts of town for the weekend. On the property, they had roosters and chickens and a goat or two, a very nice way for me to give my Orlando kids a taste of my childhood!


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

I always have goof ups that I don't like, but the best thing about collage is that it's a very forgiving medium. I can ALWAYS go right back over the top of any area that I don't like, and make it totally different. This freedom is why I love my medium so much. Even if I change my mind, I can go in and change a color by adding a new piece of paper on top. The ability to fix my mistakes takes a lot of stress out of my work and gives me the freedom to experiment.

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

In the future I'd like to do more portraits. I love doing people and I have gotten away from them for a while now. I have a whole series of swimmers in bathing caps that is really fun and colorful and I like it very much. I'd like to do a self portrait with birthday cards too.

What else do you do besides your art?

Besides my art, I am a self employed graphic artist. I spend my days working on layout and design of marketing materials for several clients. I also play the violin with the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, we rehearse once a week and I take violin lessons to help me keep up with the music. I enjoy exercise and I'm currently training for a triathlon and a half marathon. I have a family, my husband and two children, that also keep me busy. I volunteer at our elementary school to bring art to the students every month and I write the lesson plans for this program. I enjoy cooking and I make homemade dinner and breakfast for my family every day.

Lately I have been teaching collage workshops and I have found this to be very fulfilling! I never thought of myself as a teacher, but I enjoy sharing what I love with other artists and aspiring artists.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

I have a lot of advice for aspiring artists. I tell them to remember that art is a business, and so you cannot neglect the fact that you have to spend a serious amount of time marketing your own work. You have to get OUT of the studio and get in front of your computer and get out in front of people, network. I also stress how important it is to be reliable. You have to deliver the work when you said you would, you have to meet deadlines and bring work that is ready to hang, professional. You have to be reliable and be someone that galleries know they can count on to deliver. You have to be organized, keep a computer program of your inventory, your contacts, your mailing list, your galleries, and your work. Be prepared to sell yourself and your work, be organized and be original.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Meet photographer Meg Birnbaum

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Cow Art and More showcased photographer Meg Birnbaum fin April 2010. Meg enjoys capturing the American pastoral as a way to catalog rural American history. Meg recently returned from Japan, where some of the images from her "Corn Dogs and Blue Ribbons" collection were featured. She is shown here giving a slideshow talk about her photography while in Japan.

Why do you do photography?

I have been in love with visual stories since my sisters and I would fight over who got to read Life and Look magazine first when they arrived in the mail on Tuesdays. I spent many years as a magazine art director and loved finding photographic solutions for editorial content so I see the potential for narrative everywhere. But the simple answer to the question is that photography has connected me to a wonderful community of people and taken me to places I would never have imagined I could go. I simply think about making images all the time.

How did you get started?

My older sister set up a darkroom in the attic of our house when we were in our early teens and I joined in and quickly became addicted.

How do you decide what to photograph?

Often by accident or sometimes it finds me. I shoot a lot and then see what 'develops'. The way that my series on summer fairs started was totally a wonderful accident. A friend of mine and I went to a fair on a labor day weekend in Burlington, Vermont. I hadn't been to a fair since I was a kid but the tastes, smells and sounds brought happy memories rushing back. I only took a few shots but two of the back to back negatives turned out to be two of my best shots ever and they were very exciting to me. I did some research to see how other people had handled photographing the same material and I felt that I could say something unique and different by combining the timelessness of black and white film with the toy camera. Plus it gave me a great excuse to be around animals and eat french fries. The hard part was in having to wait 11 months until the fair season started again in New England.

One of my current projects came about after reading about a woman in a short item in a local newspaper. I couldn't stop thinking about her so I found out her email and wrote to see if she might be interested in being photographed. Luckily she said yes and that led me to other like-minded subjects.

What is your technique?


I'm currently in love with using "toy" cameras. There is a real cult following for them now. Not a disposable camera but one that is a reusable 120 film camera. The most readily available one is called a Holga. They are very basic with little control options and tend to create a soft-focused and timeless/retro appearance. Whenever possible I like printing in the darkroom on matte fiber paper and then I tone the prints sepia.

Where did you learn your technique?

Mostly from looking at the work of other photographers. I learned the basics from trial and error in the darkroom when I was young. I really didn't have any formal education in photography other than a basic darkroom refresher course 9 years ago.

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

There usually is one image per roll of film that is worth considering as a 'keeper' but that's a hard question to answer. Sometimes things work and sometimes not so much.



Where do you get your inspiration?

At the risk of sounding kind of flip.... there is inspiration everywhere... reading books, seeing movies, looking at other photographers work and the energy you can get from being around students.

How did you get interested in photographing cattle and other farm animals?

I love any excuse to be around any kind of animal. When I started going to summer fairs I was very attracted to the relationships that I witnessed between the cows and the 4H members. I became a confirmed vegetarian after that summer of being around the farm animals. I found cows to be so gentle, trusting and soulful.

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

Yes! Sometimes I have to throw out a roll or two of film. When I've been playing around with a more conceptual type of photography I can often see the image in my head before I shoot it or I try to sketch it first to see if it will work, but sometimes it just doesn't. It really is hard to give up on an idea and admit that it just isn't working.


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


I'd love to find a project that would allow me to spend more time around animals. I'd love to explore antique photo processes. I'd like to continue to work with people who enjoy being photographed.

What else do you do besides your art?

I'm a freelance graphic designer and the work comes in waves so there are long periods where I think about photography but can't act on it. I walk my dog, Ruby, in dog parks, by ponds and in the woods. She's not a big fan of the camera but tolerates me bringing it along. Promotion for my photography takes a good deal of time and I never have enough.

What advice to you have for aspiring artists?

Try to not over-think things... just keep shooting and often the thing that you should be doing becomes obvious to you. Don't worry too much about the quality of your camera right off the bat. Work on seeing first and craftsmanship later. It is really hard, but try to tune out any negativity from other people in your life and keep moving forward with doing what you enjoy.
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