I Dream of Art Supplies

I Dream of Art Supplies

Art supplies are magic. They can make even the most unimaginative artist want to pull up the nearest easel and start creating. Like the smell of a new box of crayons at the beginning of the school year, new art supplies really stir my soul. If I’m in an artistic slump, visiting an art store or a trade show gets my creative juices flowing.

At our convention for the Watercolor Society of Oregon we had a fabulous trade show this month. I was able to learn from representatives for Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, DaVinci, Strathmore and many more. I tried new colors, learned about old ones, and sampled brushes and papers to my heart’s content.

I even brought home some new things to try!

There was only a slight danger that I would fall in love with something totally new, and switch the course of my artwork forever. After all, the supplies only get you started on your art journey. What keeps you coming back for more is the content or essence, the meaning in the art.

Art Supplies Aren’t the Only Answer

Read more about this subject: Don’t Dilute Your Aesthetic Urge. I enjoy demonstrating my techniques in watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media. But, what really gets me excited in teaching is to see students take risks of expression. These brave souls challenge themselves to make a statement that is truly personal. They often find a way to express themselves that is unique and new. That is the ultimate goal of working with new materials.

I’ll be sharing my process for painting with Oil & Cold Wax medium this Saturday at Art Extravaganza!  Read all about it in this earlier post. The event is another opportunity to learn about materials, experiment, and network with other artists.

Six Reasons to Stop By:

  • Product Demonstrations
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Door Prizes
  • Pop-Up Store by Merri Artist
  • Panel Discussion by CERF

I hope you’ll find yourself dreaming of new creations and Art Supplies after this fun event. Bring a friend and Join me!

Can’t make it, but want to learn more?

Think about joining one of my upcoming classes: Click here for a full listing. Here’s another fun post from the archives about taking art classes. Or Sign up for my email list to read about other opportunities.

 

Pour it On! WFWS42 and WSO

Pour it On! WFWS42 and WSO

WFWS42 and WSO’s 52nd Annual Spring Exhibition

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art hosts “Pour It On! Watercolors from the West.” This exhibition features work from the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies and the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

On view from April 8 to June 19, 2017, “Pour It On!” is three shows combined into one. 

Work on view explores the range of water-based media, including acrylic, casein, collage, gouache, tempera, and translucent and opaque watercolors. Here is a link to one of the paintings I’ll have in the show.

The exhibition will open with a free, public reception on Friday, April 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. I hope to see you there! Invite a friend and share this post on your favorite social media. On Sunday, April 9, at 2 p.m., McGuire will lead a tour of the exhibition. 

“Rust” ©Jeannie McGuire

This project has occupied my time for the last five years or so.  I’m thrilled to see it coming together in such a fantastic way. Each year, a different regional member society hosts the Western Federation of Watercolor Society’s annual juried exhibition. This is the first time that the Watercolor Society of Oregon will serve as the host and we are excited to help bring this show to life.

About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

We are grateful to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art for its support of the exhibition. The University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, the Americas, and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  Additionally, the JSMA is one of seven museums in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Location

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.

Watercolor Society of Oregon

To top it all off, WSO also sponsors their bi-annual Watercolor Convention in Eugene, April 7 – 9, including watercolor workshops, lectures, paint-outs and more. Ms. McGuire leads a 5 day workshop March 27th – 31st. Finally, more information is available on the WSO website: www.watercolorsocietyoforegon.com or on the WFWS website: www.wfws.org.

Art Extravaganza 2017 Sponsored by Clackamas Art Alliance

Art Extravaganza 2017 Sponsored by Clackamas Art Alliance

If you’ve never experienced Art Extravaganza, you’re in for a treat! Sponsored by the Clackamas Art Alliance, this vendor trade show is an opportunity for artists, educators, students and all art enthusiasts to test, try and buy new and favorite art supplies and tools.

You’ll enjoy:

  • Product Demonstrations
  • Artist Demonstrations and Lectures
  • Panel Discussion by CERF+
  • Workshops
  • Door Prizes
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Pop-Up Art Materials Store by Merri Artist

Some of the many exhibitors:

  • Alvin
  • Arches
  • Faber Castell
  • Gamblin Artists Colors
  • Mel’s Frame Shop
  • ReClaim It!
  • Strathmore Artist Papers
  • Winsor & Newton
  • Yasutomo

It’s free to attend, and the mini-workshops are very reasonable. Also, I’ll be giving a lecture and demo of my process using Oil & Cold Wax Medium on Panel from 10:30 – 12:30. Tuition is $10 and space is limited.

If you’ve been thinking about taking my workshop in June at Oregon Society of Artists, this would be a great preview of the class.

You can get tickets and pre-register for the free trade show by clicking below. The first 50 people to pre-register will be entered in a drawing for a reproduction of Susan Kuznitsky’s pastel painting, beautifully framed by Mel’s Frame Shop. Register Here

Here are some of the other artists who will be sharing demonstrations:

  • Shelly Caldwell – Mixed Media Assemblage
  • Renè Eisenbart – Watermedia Painting
  • Sheila Ford Richmond – Block Prints, Fabric Paints
  • Karen Hadley – Mixed Media, Acrylic, Collage
  • Susan Kuznitsky – Pastels
  • Cindy Lommasson – Chinese Brush Painting
  • Sarah Sedwick – Artgraf
  • Amanda Sweet – Watercolor

Finally, check out the event page for a full list of vendor exhibitors, classes and demonstrations.  I hope to see you there! And just in case you think winter will never end here in Western Oregon, I’ll leave you with nature’s own Art Extravaganza, directly from my soggy garden – Happy Spring!

Learn About The Artist’s Palette

Learn About The Artist’s Palette

Learn About the Artist’s Palette

"Summer Storm II" ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 22x30"

“Summer Storm II” ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 22×30″

Join me from 12-3pm on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery. You’ll have a chance to meet and visit with 4 artists: Chris Bibby, Chuck Bloom, Rachel Wolf and me.

You’ll also get to explore different wines by Chehalem Vineyards to excite your palate.

Two palettes or palates in one day! (*grins*)

I have decided to talk about my color palette… something that remains fairly consistent between the different mediums I work in: Oil, Watercolor and Acrylic. Each artists palette is as individual as a snowflake. I’ll discuss some of my favorite hues and how I use them.

One thing non-artists may not know is that in each medium, the relative properties of a pigment remain fairly consistent. For instance, Cadmium Red is an opaque (can’t see through it) pigment in watercolor, acrylic and in oil paint. Pigments can be classified as transparent, semi-transparent or opaque. They can also be synthetic or organic, staining or non-staining, pure or neutral… You’ll hear me throwing a lot of these terms around when I discuss the pigments.

I’ll also talk about choosing a mixing surface for each medium. Watercolorists often refer to this mixing surface as a palette, so it can get confusing! Throw in the palate you use to taste food and wine, and a person could get lost in the terminology. Fortunately, both color and wine provide subtle and unlimited variations of bliss.

I will bring some new work, too, so come downtown and check it out! I’m including a handy map, so you can easily navigate, and parking isn’t usually a problem in this area. I hope to see you there!

The gallery is located on SW 10th Ave at Jefferson Street, Portland, Oregon. 503-224-0674

Ice Crystal Painting for Texture

Ice Crystal Painting for Texture

Oregon has had its share of ice this winter, and I took advantage of this unusual weather to do a bit of ice crystal painting.

I wet a sheet of 300 lb. Fabriano soft press watercolor paper, took it outside into the freezing cold, and dropped fluid acrylics and acrylic inks onto the surface, allowing the ice crystals to form patterns on the paper as they solidified. Then I brought it inside and kind of forgot about it, until it was time to do a demonstration for a local watercolor group.

Here is what my ‘start’ looked like after it dried. It’s hard to see in this image, but the paint dried in a crystalized pattern in some of the thinner areas. I love the lacy texture it left in different areas of the work.

Lessons Learned:

1 – transparent colors work better

2 – the paint and ink need to be slightly watery.

This detail image shows part of the painting that has ice crystal formations

This detail image shows part of the painting that has ice crystal formations

I thought I’d share a few in process shots that my friend Liz Walker took during the demonstration. As I worked, I was thinking about my childhood experiences at the local swimming hole on our property. I added calligraphy using a water soluble crayon, and started putting in shapes and color variation. One of my goals was to keep the color changes fairly subtle.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight — but never stop fighting.” — e.e. cummings


Finally I started adding small detail using an acrylic marker.You can see some of the areas in the detail shots below.

And I started varying the color more! Jeez – This doesn’t look at all subtle!

more detail

Here is how the painting looked at the end of the demonstration.

When I took a look at it this week, I decided that the top 1/3 of the painting needed to be simplified and lightened. Here’s how it looks now! I hope you’ll try ice crystal painting next time you encounter some freezing weather! I’d love to hear your thoughts on seeing the process. Questions and comments are welcome.

ice crystal painting with acrylic

“Jump” ©Ruth Armitage, Acrylic on Paper 30×22″

 

Don’t Dilute Your Aesthetic Urge

Don’t Dilute Your Aesthetic Urge

The Artist’s Aesthetic Urge

Just after Christmas I enjoyed a woodsy walk with art buddy Randall Tipton. I casually mentioned that I hadn’t actually made art in over a month. I had been occupied with preparing for the holidays and for the big WFWS Exhibition coming up in April.

“How do you survive?” he asked. I understand the question. For artists, if we don’t get time to create, we become irritable, itchy and even sullen. Now it’s been even longer since I’ve spent time in the studio. I’ve been gathering inspiration… traveling, enjoying family and friends. My holiday hours were also spent in quasi creative pursuits: decorating the house and the tree, wrapping gifts, creating Christmas cards, writing, planning and cooking delicious meals, and crafting. At the time, these were quick, easy, attractive and even necessary things to keep my aesthetic urge at bay.

But last night I dreamed about creating. I am ready to return to the studio.

If you’re the type of artist that finds themselves constantly filling their time with quasi-creative occupations and you never actually get to the studio, perhaps you need to renew your focus. Creatives are often easily distracted from their main focus by the shiny object of a new medium, supplies, and other short-term projects. This may satisfy the creative itch temporarily, but it won’t bring lasting satisfaction. It dilutes the creative impulse.

The same sort of thing can happen with art collectors.

The Collector’s Aesthetic Urge

Art Collectors have the urge to make their spaces beautiful. That impulse can take many forms. They might rearrange the furniture, hang drapes or window coverings, or hire a decorator to beautify the space. Sometimes I see people hang anything that will fit, just to make a room complete. This often results in a visit to a big box store to purchase a print or decorative item. Once the space is filled, they sort of forget about that urge to fill it with a more meaningful piece. Yet, they are vaguely dissatisfied with their space.

The collector who acknowledges and accepts the importance of the aesthetic urge is much happier. They gradually fill their space by collecting art that is more meaningful, more personal and more original. Collectors often don’t know what they want until they see it. They don’t worry about making the room perfect. Instead, they focus only on their passion for the artwork. A room that is put together this way stands out and feels warm, unique and inviting.

“The art one chooses to collect becomes a self-portrait.”

(Dennis Heckler)

Overcoming Resistance

You see, artists and collectors often face a sort of resistance born out of the fear of making a mistake. If an artist makes a mistake, they lose time and costly materials. If a collector makes a mistake, they lose money and are ‘stuck’ with something that doesn’t fit.

Both situations are easy to remedy. In the case of the artist, we begin again with renewed focus. Mistakes can even help us to better understand what we are pursuing. With the collector, they may want to ask the gallery or artist for a trial period to ensure that the art object ‘works’ in their home or office. There is no logical reason to let resistance or perfectionism hold us back.

I really enjoyed the book Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It helped me to focus on the art I want to make, and learn how to get out of my own way. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is another book that gets to the meat of the matter of overcoming resistance to enhance creativity and aesthetics.

If you find yourself collecting or hoarding art supplies for the ‘perfect’ project, waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to begin, or trying to find the ‘perfect’ painting for that wall, get real. Perfection does not exist on this earth. Find something you love, and give in to the aesthetic urge.

How have you overcome resistance to creating or collecting? Leave me a comment below.

 

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