Celebration of Creativity and Nature Perceived

Celebration of Creativity and Nature Perceived

I have two shows coming up: Celebration of Creativity and Nature Perceived.

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”

-Ansel Adams

Celebration of Creativity – March 1 – 4, 2018

2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Celebration of Creativity. This showcase of local and regional artists is held at Southminster Presbyterian Church: 12250 SW Denney Rd., Beaverton, OR 97008. Especially noteworthy: the show features more than 80 established and emerging Northwest artists.

Click here for a video preview of some of the work I’ll have featured and a peek at my nice clean studio!

I’ll be there as the show opens with a First Look Gala from 7-9 pm on Thursday, March 1, 2018. $10 at the door includes hors d’oeuvres and music by pianist Matthew Thompson-Aue. I hope to see you there! All other times are free admission.

Friday, March 2, 10 am – 5 pm Exhibit and Sale – 7-9 pm Meet the Artists

Saturday, March 3, 10-5 Exhibit and sale

Sunday, March 4, 10-11 am – Worship in the Art Gallery – 11:30 – 3:00 Exhibit & Sale

Nature Perceived – February 23 – March 30, 2018

Randall David Tipton, Ruth Armitage & Don Gray

Nature Perceived Postcard

229 SW G Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526 – 541-479-3290 – www.gpmuseum.com

I am thrilled to be included with these two master artists for this show. Each of us brings our own sensibilities to our interpretation of the landscape. We are good friends, too, which helps! We all plan to be at the Artist’s Reception: Friday, March 2, 5-9 pm. I hope you can join us, and if you’re in the area, spread the word!

Renewed Goals

One thing getting these two shows together has shown me is that I have a lot of available work. While I sent 12 award-winning pieces to Grants Pass for Nature Perceived, I still have lots of work for the Celebration of Creativity. My flat file is getting full of work that is ready to frame, including a painting that was just accepted into the Watercolor Society of Oregon Spring show in Florence, coming up in April.

This tells me that I probably need to focus more on sales, because the work doesn’t do anyone much good when it is all alone in my studio. It needs viewers to enjoy it – and furthermore, I need to make room for more paintings! Now I have a renewed goal of getting more work listed for sale online.

If you already own one of my paintings, I’ll be offering a special birthday sale just for collectors in April. That’s one way to use your tax refund! Watch this space for details, and look around your home for empty walls or places that could use a refresh.

 

 

 

Are You Saying All New Things?

Are You Saying All New Things?

When I teach repeat students, I’m often asked if I’m saying all new things from previous workshops. Often I’m repeating something that I’ve said earlier, but the student did not internalize the information. It’s always surprising how we don’t hear advice until we are ready to implement it. We often don’t even take our own advice! I think this proves the value of repeating classes or workshops. As we grow in our artwork, we become more ready to absorb information or put it into practice.

“Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it.”

– David Hockney

"Summerfall" ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 30"x22"

“Summerfall” ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 30″x22″

Inspiration

I filmed a time-lapse of my process for “Summerfall.” I didn’t talk during the filming. My inspiration for the painting was the farming term Summerfall. It means to plant in late spring in preparation for a late fall harvest. Planting this way is unusual and farmers sometimes resort to it because a fall planting failed. As I worked, I thought about colors for summer like blues & violets and colors for fall like reds and golds. If you’re receiving this post via email, click over to the website to view the video here!

Design

The early parts of the video show the painting with the top on the right, to better fit the video format. I tried to lay in the layers in a sort of x-shaped movement, falling from the high horizon line. You can see this in the earlier parts of the video best. As sometimes happens, I felt that mid-way through the process my values got a bit too dark. My solution in this case was to add metallic silver and opaque blue and yellows to lighten up areas of the work.

My repeated Mantra

One thing students who are listening hear me say over and over is to paint your own personal experience. I must say this multiple times in each workshop. It’s always amazing to me how much inspiration I can still find in this series about my rural upbringing and the farm.

I hope you’ll enjoy watching this peek into my process. There was so much idle time toward the end stages of the process while I agonized over what to do. Those finishing touches require so much courage and contemplation that I don’t think I could do them while worrying about a camera!

In other news, I’m preparing for upcoming workshops.  My good friend, Ruth Ellen Hoag, will be here teaching at the beginning of February. I always enjoy painting with her and learning how her mind works! After that, we are expecting new lambs here on the farm. Then I’m headed south to Santa Barbara to study with Skip Lawrence and to teach a workshop of my own. It’s going to be a busy spring when you throw in all the shows I’m doing… I hope you can join me!

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The Seduction of Praise

The Seduction of Praise

Praise and success are a tricky thing for the artist. While everyone wants to be successful and praise is seductive, the nature of art is so subjective that there are many definitions of success. During the creative process, we run the risk of becoming perfectionistic if we allow thoughts of success to overpower the idea at hand. We all know that perfectionism is fear, and bold creations cannot thrive in an atmosphere of fear.

“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

I have been re-reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I find it difficult to maintain a regular studio routine during the holidays. Well, let’s be honest here. I always find it hard to maintain a regular studio routine. That’s what the book is about. I’ve been trying to balance making time for artwork with preparing for the Christmas holidays. At times like this I’m thankful to have a dedicated studio space where I can retreat, even for short periods.

Another reason that praise or success can be a fickle mistress is that it breeds pride. Pride is different than self-confidence. Hubris, or pride, is the most serious of the 7 Deadly Sins. I’m not talking about feeling the humble joy of success. Hubris is more about egoism, or undeserved self-aggrandizment. I have seen many artists hamper their own creative growth because of pride. Pride demands that we ‘save face’ and avoid failure. The creative process demands that we risk failure to grow and change.

“Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride. Failure leads to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.” – David Brooks, The Road to Character

Artists must always monitor the evaluation of their own work. One must be unflinchingly honest – we have to maintain a healthy amount of self-esteem to even attempt self-expression. But we must avoid hubris or false pride in order to maintain humility and openess to the creative process.

Avoiding Seduction – Keeping it in perspective

Everyone loves to hear that their work touched someone. Sales tell me that someone loved my work enough to live with it. I also receive positive feedback from social media and from juried shows. But by the same token, I know that I need to remember:

  • Moma probably won’t be calling me next week
  • Most juried shows contain one or more paintings that don’t impress me
  • Most people are happy with hanging wall decor from Target or any other Big Box Store

All this is to preface the announcement that I will have work in another upcoming juried show:

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

Ratindra Das has accepted “Jump” for the 9th Annual Signature American Watermedia Exhibition in Fallbrook, CA. I’m honored to be in great company. Artists must be a signature member of a Watercolor Society or Group to enter this show. So, the competition is tougher to get in. Standards for achieving signature membership vary.  Generally it means your work has been accepted into more than one exhibition or has passed a review board.

The show will run February 4 – April 15, 2018

Open Daily February 4 through April 15, 2018 | Mon – Sat 10 am – 4 pm | Sun Noon – 3 pm

The Janice Griffiths Gallery @ The Fallbrook Art Center
103 S. Main Ave, Fallbrook, CA 92028

Don’t Miss This Weekend’s Local 14 Art Show

Don’t Miss This Weekend’s Local 14 Art Show

This weekend I’m participating as a guest of the Local14 Art Show! Tonight is the gala 50th Anniversary Opening reception, from 6-9 pm. $10 admission gets you a great night out with catering by Elephant’s Deliand first access to the bounty of wonderful art presented. The show is open September 28 – October 1 at the Left Bank Annex in NE Portland.

Location & Hours

Left Bank Annex, 101 N. Weidler St., Portland OR 97227 Click Here for a Map

Hours during the weekend are:

Friday, September 29, 2017, 10-7 p.m.

Saturday, September 30, 2017, 10-5 p.m.

Sunday, October 1, 2017, 10-5 p.m

Ruth Armitage at Local 14

My Space on the Main Level

There are 2 levels to this great industrial space, so don’t miss exploring all the show has to offer. You can use the bucket style elevator or the stairs to move between levels. There is so much to see, you’ll want to spend some time here! I’ve created a special box set of 4×6″ notecards for this show and Portland Open Studios. Each set contains 2 each of 4 different designs. I can’t wait for you to see them! They’ll be on the small pedestal you see in the photo above.

50 Years of History

Local 14 began 50 years ago when 14 women artists decided to host a show in a garage in Lake Oswego. ‘Local’ is an acronym for Lake Oswego Crafts and Arts League, and 14 denotes the original 14 members. The group uses this show to raise funds for arts scholarships for deserving college students. This year, they have awarded $10,000 in scholarships to 4 deserving students. The scholarship winners will have work on display during the show.

What You’ll See:

I’m excited to be one of 15 former members participating in this show to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. This location is great for all the available space. It has allowed more art from more artists than ever before. You’ll find a juried selection of jewelry, paintings, ceramics, wearables, mixed media art, photography, basketry, printmaking, sculpture and garden art, glass and woodworkingl

Central Hearth – Abstract Oil and Wax Artwork

Central Hearth – Abstract Oil and Wax Artwork

One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.

-Vincent VanGogh

"Central Hearth" ©Ruth Armitage, Oil & Wax on Panel 12"x12"

“Central Hearth” ©Ruth Armitage, Oil & Wax on Panel 12″x12″

A new image in Oil & Wax… this one was inspired by the old oil heater that we used to have on the farm. It sat below the floor boards and the heat came up through a metal grate. I have memories of standing over it with warm rumbling oil-scented air filling the skirt of my flannel nightgown.

Years after the old beast was removed and replaced with an electric heat pump, I repeatedly found myself leaning against the doorway in an useless attempt to warm or comfort myself. Can you see the faint outline of a nightgown in the detail shot?

I love the Van Gogh quote… and I’m finding it especially poignant because I’ve just enjoyed a visit with my good friend and neighbor Judy Wise.

It was so encouraging to talk art and share works in process with her! I’ve been finishing quite a few smaller pieces for two upcoming shows, so mark your calendars! I think these shows function as a kind of hearth to warm ourselves in the early chill of autumn. The camaraderie and excitement are contagious.

1. Local 14 Art Show & Sale

September 28 – October 1, 2017 – At the Left Bank Annex, Portland, Oregon – Directions and more information here.

2. Portland Open Studios

October 14 & 15, 21 & 22, 2017 from 10am – 5pm each day

This is a self-guided tour. Over 100 artists welcome the public during the tour dates. You can download a mobile app, or buy a tour guide at the following retailers. New this year: a ‘teaching artist’ section, listing participating artists who offer classes and workshops!

I have 2 tour guides left to sell… let me know if you want one! Or pick one up at these locations:

New Seasons, Dick Blick, Artists and Craftsman Warehouse, Portland Art Museum, Madrona Hill Cafe, Guardino Gallery, Bullseye Glass, Copy Pilot

You can also get in on some local ‘action’ by signing up for PDX-CSA. Click to read about the projects from myself and 5 other curated artists. The pre-sales generated between now and September 17th will fun the creation of a limited number of artworks specially made for this project.

It’s like Patreon and your favorite Organic Farm had a love-child. You choose the artist or artist pair that you like, and follow the progress of the work from concept through completion. If you choose a pairing, you’ll receive a discount on the artwork. I’m paired with the fantastic Kirista Trask. I think our paintings will look magical together!

The artworks made for these projects are only available through PDX-CSA. Mine will incorporate found objects with abstract paintings in Oil & Cold Wax medium. They are designed to be affordable and collectible! Click here to get in while you can! I love receiving your comments and I’m honored when you share my posts with friends. Thanks!

 

5 Criteria for Choosing Art Competitions to Enter – Risks vs. Rewards

5 Criteria for Choosing Art Competitions to Enter – Risks vs. Rewards

A friend recently asked me how I choose which art competitions to enter. I have a complicated set of criteria that I look at. In general I consider the Risks vs. Rewards. I believe that most of us are our own worst critics. Entering shows sometimes feels risky, yet competitive exhibitions are just another venue for sharing your art. James Clear writes about that risk:

“You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you.” – James Clear

First, my 5 Important Criteria for avoiding risk:

1. Do I respect the juror?

This is my most important question. I ask myself if I’ve:

  • met them
  • heard them speak
  • taken a workshop from them
  • seen a show that they have juried
  • been rejected by them in the past
  • watched them conduct a critique
  • read one of their articles or blog posts

Furthermore, I consider whether or not I find the juror’s work exciting. I usually enter competitions if I respect the juror. Conversely, I might also enter if I don’t know much about the judge. If I don’t respect the juror, I probably shouldn’t enter. Acceptance or rejection would mean less coming from someone I respect less.

2. Is the show very competitive?

While I want to enter a show that stretches my ability, I’m not interested in wasting my entry fee. However, this can change over time. As you enter more competitions, your name recognition increases and skills improve.  Also, because artists who enter generally attend or receive a catalog, a widely entered show can give you broader exposure.

3. Does the organization offer Signature Membership?

Non-artists often ask what a Signature Membership means. Simply put, Signature members of an art group can sign initials after their name. It is an acronym that stands for professional status, similar to that used by doctors or lawyers. Art groups have varying standards for achieving Signature Membership. Most groups include acceptance into more than one show or sending multiple paintings to demonstrate consistency. I just found out that I can add a new Signature Membership to my list: San Diego Watercolor Society!

4. How much will I invest?

Entry fees, shipping and handling can really add up. Do I think the fees are average? Do they seem reasonable? It depends on your goals for entering a show. One reason I enter quite a few shows is that I would like to do more jurying and workshops out of state. So, I often choose to enter shows in areas that I think might be fun to visit. I’m always hoping that artists in that area might be intrigued by my work and invite me to jury. Additionally, I must consider my investment of time in managing my inventory, delivering work, preparing the work for exhibit, etc.

5. What other benefits might I see?

Will I see my work published in a book or magazine or receive prize money? Although this is kind of crazy, I sort of weigh what my chances might be to win an award or gain publication. If I hit my head against a wall too many times, then I generally take a break from entering. I consider whether I’m not ready or if maybe my style is not a good fit. Am I likely to see sales from the show? Will more students be motivated to study with me? Will I win a purchase award?

The specifics:

I’ve listed below some of the shows I’ve entered in the past. Click to View my Resume and see which ones I’ve actually been in! This year I tried to stretch a bit and entered a show for works on paper at the Brand Museum in California. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in. In addition you can read my philosophy on rejection here: Rejected Again – Hooray!

  • American Watercolor Society
  • National Watercolor Society
  • Artist’s Magazine
  • Watermedia Showcase
  • Splash
  • Western Federation of Watercolor Societies
  • Northwest Watercolor Society
  • Louisiana Watercolor Society
  • Texas Watercolor Society
  • Rocky Mountain National Watermedia
  • Signature American Watermedia, Fallbrook, CA
  • Adirondacks National Exhibition
  • Pike’s Peak National Watermedia
  • California Watercolor Association
  • Watercolor West
  • San Diego International Watermedia
  • Georgia Watercolor Society
  • Watercolor Society of Oregon
  • Red River National Watermedia
  • Watercolor Society of Alabama
  • Hilton Head International Exhibition
  • National Watercolor Oklahoma
  • Taos Exhibition of American Watercolors
  • Kentucky Watercolor Society
  • Expressions West, Coos Art Museum

Finally, Thanks for sending me questions that might serve as possible blog post topics! I love to hear your comments on how YOU choose what shows to enter; join the conversation below!

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