4 Stages of an Artist

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

This is an interesting concept regarding how an artist can grow and mature into their individual style.

Stage 1.  Realism: Initially the goal is to learn eye-hand coordination. At this beginning stage, the artist transcribes exactly what he sees. Values and lines are transposed with precise control and accuracy. 

Yes, those are my sons! I drew them in Drawing 101 when I returned to college in my thirties. Art has been in my life ever since!

Stage 2.  Motion: Add the next phase of developing as an artist is to capture movement. One way movement can be illustrated is through ‘line quality’ –  the changing characteristics of a line. Picture a thick, heavy line, strong and dynamic. In your mind’s eye, shrink it into a thin and delicate shape. Next, make it wavy. You have just captured the movement of a line. 

Notice how the curves and wiggles in my pen and ink Christmas Card drawing has intriguing movement.

Stage 3.  Suggestion: At this stage the artist subjectively focuses on creating a feeling or idea, rather than an exact transcription of visual reality. This entails abstracting or composing hints of the original subject. Texture, lines, and color created illusions of familiar objects. The term “impressionistic” sums up this stage. Think about Monet’s water lilies. Another example is my landscape below. Not every tree branch is painted, not every flower detail in the foreground is illustrated. This painting of mine is an impression of trees on the horzion.
Stage 4.  Suggestive: Lastly, is ‘non-objective’ where realistic images are avoided. Only 5 basic design elements (weight, direction, texture, discord, color) are projected. This style can be enjoyable to view when you are willing to let yourself get involved in design. It allows you to appreciate an individual’s unique response. 

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Accepting Imperfections - In Art, In Yourself

Posted on April 28, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Do you cockle?

In Art: Although "cockle" sounds like something a rooster crows about, it is actually a watercolor term. When water and paint are applied to watercolor paper moisture absorbs into the fibers causing it to expand and ripple, or more commonly known as cockle. Even a high-quality, thick watercolor paper can buckle unless the artist stretches the paper prior to painting.

Often the cockling of the paper is more pronounced when the piece is framed. You may notice the watercolor paper ripple along the straight edge of the mat board. The shadow on the left, along the edge of the white mat board, in the painting below is from the natural cockling in the watercolor paper.

 Although the mat board may draw attention to the cockling, the mat has an important feature which is to keep the art from touching the glass. When art is placed directly against glass there is a risk of moisture, and even mold, collecting on the painting.

To me, the cockling of the watercolor paper is its beauty. I have learned to appreciate the natural elements of paper and embrace it.

In nature: Embracing imperfections goes beyond art. In nature I am inspired by the birch tree whose craggy bark is filled with imperfections. Also in nature are the raw elements of marble and granite, whose one-of-a-kind beauty is found in the pits and fissures. These imperfections enhance the interest in the surface, yet they don’t impair its durability or functionality. Each piece  is valuable because of its different patterns and textures. 

In yourself: What is more natural than you? Welcome imperfections, we all have them, so embrace your individuality and uniqueness. lf you embrace them, others will smile at them, too.

As the laugh lines grow deeper on my aging face, I make sure to look in the mirror when the lights on low. In the dim light, my husband chuckles at me when I respond: “Doesn’t everyone look younger in a darken room?”

Then I laugh, too, because like the imperfections in the birch tree bark and the cockle of watercolor paper, I’ve earned every one of these “natural” wrinkles loving life. Haven’t you?

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About the Artsy Shopkeeper

Hi, I'm Kate Moynihan. Yes, I am a baby boomer, and my professional life has taken a few interesting twists and turns. The journey began as a registered nurse. After thirteen years of caring for others, however, I got the creative itch. At the time, I was a single mom living in North Dakota; that’s when I caught this bug to paint pictures. Now, twenty-seven years later, I have some stories to tell about my artistic journey. Read more...

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