Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Benefits Of Working From Home


Welcome to the Cooper studio in Jefferson, Iowa. Today, we are having a blizzard. Lovely. Maybe our recent move from Spencer, Iowa to Jefferson, Iowa was just not quite far enough south? :) The weather guy on the radio just said that if you are crazy enough to try to go anywhere, you will quite likely encounter 14 to 16 foot tall drifts across the highway. And they are talking US highway 30, which is a fairly major east/west travel route. As I said before, lovely!

But back to the title of this post, The Benefits Of Working From Home, my studio is warm, I have a good supply of paint, and I have a painting that needs to be done in time to deliver for Christmas. Oh, and did I mention that I can go there in my jammies? Perfect! Time to go grab a brush.
Later, Cooper

Monday, November 2, 2009


Welcome to the Cooper studio, where the question has been posed: What is art?

Is it easier to define what art ISN’T? Perhaps. Actually, probably.

1. Art isn’t the thing you hang on your wall to match your sofa.
2. Art isn’t the thing you hang on your wall because you know your friends will approve
of it, because they all have a copy hanging on their walls.
3. And on that note, art isn’t a copy or reproduction of an original piece of art.
4. Art isn’t something featuring the year’s top five “decorator colors”
5. Art isn’t something made because you think somebody will buy it.

Actually, this is one of those times when I wish I was one of those people who made a file of all the inspirational quotes from great artists of the past and what they’ve said art is. You know they knew because of what they left behind: ART

And THAT makes me think of the time I saw VanGogh’s Starry Night at the Art Institute in Chicago. The place was packed with other people all trying to see the paintings as well. You were supposed to be polite, look at the painting, and move on. Nope. I was rude and I stopped. For a long time I stopped, because the painting required me to look at it for a long time. Art, Starry Night, most definitely is. It makes your eyes not want to leave. It makes you not want to leave.

But realistically, it doesn’t have to be Starry Night, or Luncheon Of The Boating Party, or Young Girl Writing to be art. Feature this: even you or I can make something “art”. But it has to have at least a smidgeon of something that all three of those paintings I just mentioned have---it has to be INTERESTING.

Sure, maybe it matches your sofa and if it’s interesting then you can call it art. It makes your eyes want to look because it’s interesting, not because it matches your sofa.

And maybe it does have five of the year’s top decorator colors, but it’s so interesting that you want to look at it all the time. You walk out of your way to go see it, again, because it's so interesting. Yea! You get to call it art!

Sorry, I can’t stop without one more qualifier: to be interesting, it’s got to be real. And that’s two kinds of real to you. Real as in honest-created-from-the-heart-real. Something must inspire. Yup, that rules out #5 on the list. AND real as in original, not-a-copy, not-a-reproduction. A poster of Starry Night I can leave. Starry Night, the original made me want to stay. And look some more. Now that’s art.

Later, Cooper

Monday, October 26, 2009

Painting Wisdom


Welcome to the Cooper studio, on a semi-sunny day in Jefferson, Iowa. I suppose an official meteorologist would classify that as "partly sunny", eh? Either way, it seems to be a good day to share some painting wisdom with you. Especially as it's someone else's wisdom, and it just came to my inbox. How convenient!

First, we need to flash back to September, when I exhibited at the Octagon Art Fair, in Ames, Iowa. While at that event, I was one of the artist's interviewed for an online art mag called "Painter's Hub". Here is the link for the article, BUT before you go there, I get to put in my defense for the really nasty photo accompanying the article. It was one of those September days when the air was really cool and the sun was really strong, so logically you sit in the sun to stay warm, and put on the sunscreen and hat and glasses to avoid the UV overdose. Please, next time somebody warn me to take off the hat and glasses before the photo! Thanks :)

Later, Cooper

Thursday, October 1, 2009



Welcome to the Cooper studio. Did you see that title? I made that word up, at least I don't think it's a real word already.

But. Iowathermalflux. I'm using it as an excuse, and yet another answer to that burning question "what makes artists paint the way they do". Iowathermalflux. Break it down Delbert: Iowa -thermal (as in temperature) -flux (as in fluctuating) Other wise know as change of season. Temperatures falling in Iowa. Next up, autumn. Time to turn the furnace on maybe. Bring in those geraniums that you don't want to freeze out on the patio. It was all part of the buildup effect today and resulted in a new still life painting. What on earth will happen next? Who knows. But re: the still life painting-- a good time was had by all.

Window Ledge Still Life 10 1 09, an acrylic painting on paper, available in my portfolio.

Later, Cooper

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mapping The Exhibit

Good morning,

Welcome to the Cooper studio.

Sometimes it takes a long time for the light bulb to turn on. I have been exhibiting at art fairs for 18 (?) years, and just now happened on a really great time saver. Let me share.

Being a 2D artist, painting, I am very determined to have a cohesive, well organized display. In the past, I would hang a couple of paintings, and then experiment to fill in around them. I could easily spend an hour moving paintings from one side of the exhibit to the other, before I was satisfied with the results.

The light bulb turned on (yea!) and now my average "hang" time is fifteen minutes. How, you say? A day or two prior to the event, while still at home, I make a map. How simple is that? All it takes is a sheet of white paper, in scale to my propanels, with correspondingly scaled images of the paintings I intend to display. Do you know how much easier it is to move paintings around when they are 3 x 3 INCHES and hung with double stick tape, than when they are 3 x 3 FEET and hung with metal hooks stuck into propanel fabric?

Once I get the "map" du jour completed to my satisfaction, I roll it up and stow it. Once at the exhibit, I set up the propanels, get the map out, and hang the paintings. Piece o'cake, right? Absolutely. Why-oh-why didn't I think of this sooner? But I've got it now, and it's a gem. Try it for yourself.

Later, Cooper

Monday, September 21, 2009

Artist Relocation


Welcome to the Cooper studio, in it's new location! Yup, we are painting in Jefferson, Iowa, now. Jefferson is a nice little central Iowa town, of about 5000 people, on US highway 30, just west of Ames, Iowa and Iowa State University. If you were born in Huskerland, that's not quite so relevant. Ha!

Regarding packing up a household with studio, and moving it, I have this advice to share: moving and child birth have something in common. There comes a certain age in a person's life when you just shouldn't do it anymore. I know we've reached it for the latter, and I'm beginning to wonder about the former! We have experience with moving the household---this has to be our slowest un-pack ever. In defense, I did leave a block of time open midsummer, which the housing market did not cooperate with. Rather we hit midAugust and September, when the schedule was packed to the gills. We'll survive, and I'm sure it will be much more interesting than if it had gone according to plan!

However. The studio is set up, and even though needing some new flooring, that's not stopping me from painting. I have a really fine painting coming along on the easel as we speak. And if you haven't been to my website lately, here's a painting that you might not have seen yet. It's currently hanging out at the Wine Bar Art Gallery in Arnolds Park, Iowa.

So, Which One Is Your Favorite? is an acrylic painting on a 40 x 40 inch canvas. A larger image can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Later, Cooper

Friday, July 31, 2009


What a beautiful morning in Spencer, Iowa! It was a little bit warm for the morning run, but then I was a little bit late. (two smacks to the snooze button) Oh well, the sweat has already dried :)

This morning I want to brag up my friend, Mary, and here's the link to show why! Wow!

I could not make that link go to her website, but go over to the sidebar of my links on this page, click on Mary Connealy, and you'll get there. And trust me, it's worth the trip.

Later, Cooper

Monday, July 27, 2009


Here is where I am all week:

Pearson Lakes Art Center Workshop
Figurative and Perspective Drawing
Instructor: Dr. Danuta Zamojska Hutchins

And it could be good for the messy artist in me. Today learning exactness was emphasized, not because it's great, but because you can't be convincingly loose until AFTER you learn to be exactly correct. And if you are messy, it's hard to tell which you are :)

Later, Cooper

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Good morning,

Welcome to the Cooper studio on play day (Saturday!) I want to talk about stretch, stretching and stretchers, today. Curious words, eh? Let me explain.

I am one of those artists who actually enjoys stretching their own canvases.

I had been ordering stretcher bars from the same company for a long time, whenever I needed new, I mindlessly went to their website and ordered. A year ago, something happened, and their quality slipped. But I needed some more and ordered again. A bigger slip. I called the company. They sent me a duplicate order with the promise that they would be better. They were, sort of.

But it was time to stretch out of the routine. I tried a new company. I just got a new order of stretchers from the fedex guy yesterday. Amazing. I think something that is functional, solid and well made can be called beautiful. These definitely fit the parameters.

My only question now is why did it take me so long to stretch from the routine of ordering from the same company? Does routine seem more logical in non-creative tasks? Ha! Are routine and non-creative tasks synonymous?

Later, Cooper

Oh, and if you like to stretch your canvases as well, the really nice ones came from Dick Blick.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spencer, Iowa, Parks


My goal here is to write about "what makes artists paint the way they do". Hopefully, I won't pick up a paint brush yet today. Let me explain.

Spencer, Iowa is a pretty darn great town to live in. Right at the top of the pretty darn great list is the wealth of city parks the town holds in it's proper.

A few years ago, the Spencer Park system, specifically "East Leach Park" gained a beautiful in-ground (concrete) skate park. Note the word "skate". That means the rules board bolted to the post says ONLY skate board or inline skates. No BMX bikes allowed. We've heard various reasons/excuses/rumors as to the logic of this ruling, trust me, they're all weak.

Today, my husband and I were on a bike ride through East Leach Park. We stopped to watch the kids at the skate park. There was one skate boarder present, there aren't many skate boarders in Spencer. Ironic, hm? Several people on bmx bikes are present, there always are. Out of the corner of my eye I see the car with the lights on top. People yell, "Cop"! One kid wasn't quick enough. It cost him $63 dollars. Yup, that's the price of a ticket for riding your bike in the park.

So a multi-thousand dollar park facility, restricted to the majority of the people wanting to use it. Just doesn't make sense, does it?

Sometimes don't you just want to take somebody by the head and give'em a good shake? And we are so glad I'd already decided not to pick up a paint brush yet today!

Later, Cooper

Monday, June 15, 2009

Omaha Summer Arts Festival


The Omaha Summer Arts Festival is just around the corner. In fact, let me give you the dates:

Friday June 26th, 11am-8pm

Saturday June 27th, 11am-8pm

Sunday June 28th, 11am-5pm

And even more importantly, let me tell you where I'll be :)
I am artist/exhibitor #82, which means in front of the library, vaguely the intersection of 14th and Farnam, in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

I have been fielding a few questions regarding which paintings I will be bringing :), and yes, as many as possible, but the trusty van does have it's limitations. If you have connected with a specific painting at my website and are needing to see it up close and personal, please let me know. I will make sure it has reserved accomodations for the trip!

As this post is appearing to need a bit of color, I will show you what is currently on the easel, and will hopefully reach completion by the above mentioned dates!

Later, Cooper

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Iowa City Arts Festival, It Happened Downtown


The Iowa City Arts Festival is happening soon. In fact, very soon. The dates are June 6th and 7th. And I have a painting to show you that's related in an unrelated sort of way. "How does that work" you ask? Ha! Here's the title: It Happened Downtown.

Yup, the Iowa City Arts Festival happens in downtown Iowa City, Iowa. The streets of Dubuque, Iowa, Washington and Linn, are all involved, and yours truely will be location #104 on Linn Street.

AND. The aforementioned painting, at the moment not quite ready, but almost, will make the trip with me. So debut performance on this painting, but there will be others in the 'fresh off the easel' category as well. It Happened Downtown is an acrylic painting on a 30 x 30 inch canvas. If you are desperate for a downtown Iowa City scene, we can pretend this is one, but in reality downtown Minneapolis was the inspiration location. But. Like I said, we allow big imaginations in the world of art :) so you just go for it!

If you have visited with me about my paintings before and are on my mailing list, you should have received (or will shortly) a post card mentioning a 10% discount for a painting purchased during the Iowa City Arts Festival. I would like to extend that to my online fans as well, so make sure you mention reading this, and we will make it happen for you too!

Later, Cooper

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome to the Cooper studio on this fine, albeit galeforcewindy day, in Spencer, Iowa. It is delightfully warm, and you can't argue with that!

Have I whined lately about keeping this house spotless? Yes, we are trying to sell, and I am getting close to wearing out the vacuum cleaner. The day is so magnificent that of course the windows are wide open. Couple that with the aforementioned gfwinds, and now I get to dust everything, along with the vacuuming. Another showing tomorrow at noon, so no morning painting. And let me tell you, with that going on till mid-day, it will be mentally hard to paint in the afternoon as well. The whole process does mess with the mind. It's amazing that I get any painting done at all. But I did today. This one is on a 20 x 16 inch heavy paper, still a little rough around the edges in places. We'll see, maybe getting a house ready for showing will zap my thoughts a different direction, and this one will finish up tomorrow. Who knows?

---no title yet, but who wants to bet that it will include "red"?!
Later, Cooper

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Artists Paint The Way They Do

And a big YEA!

Now, we've got to get him through college! Ha, I'd better get back to the studio.

Later, Cooper

Saturday, April 25, 2009

At The Cooper Studio


A goal organized in 2008 is the quarterly sending of a studio newsletter. Only 25 days late on the quarter :), here's a copy of said newsletter that went out to subscribers earlier this week. If you are desirous of joining the group, here's the link.

What's new at the Cooper studio ? We'll attempt for one-liners in an effort to keep it minimal!

My husband picked up a book a few years back, Keep Your Brain Alive, by Katz and Rubin. My favorite subtitle from the book is "routines can be brain deadening". Wouldn't the alternative then be change is good? My brain ought to be like that of a twenty year old. Allow me to share a mere 14 months of change:
1. March 2008 daughter Lindsey and son-in-law Chris decided it was time for me to change to Grandma status. Plural. Girls. Yup, count to two.
2. September 2008 son Brian and daughter-in-law Lynn decided to do it their way. Boy, but they kept it singular :)
3. Son Brent decided he needed to add to the excitement last fall, so he arranged for me to meet him at the emergency room. Do you know what the bottom of a leg looks like when the foot is over and to the left a bunch? I don't recommend that you find out.
4. Because we have four children and all four of them like to keep our brains fit with change, daughter Abbie decided last November was a great time to get married. In Florida . It was perfect, and now we have a Jim in the family!
5. And did I mention our house is on the market? We are planning to move south. Well, a little. Still in Iowa , but closer to my husband's work. This has actually been in the plans for a year and a half while we wait for #6
6. The youngest Cooper (the one who did the premium trash job on his ankle) graduates this May! High school that is. Yes, that means we are also doing all the onward to college stuff. Dios Mio.
Now, after that, aren't we all amazed that I am still mentally capable of creating paintings? But I have been! Let me share a few.

During the November journey to Florida, we came across the coolest of little (emphasis little) cafes.

This cafe, the Heavenly Biscuit, Fort Myers Beach, inspired the painting of the same name, At The Heavenly Biscuit, currently on display at the Wine Bar Art Gallery in Arnolds Park, Iowa. It's an acrylic painting on a gallery wrapped canvas (finished edges) and measures 30 x 30 inches.

Although nothing is finer than to smoosh the paint around on a nice big canvas, I have been playing around with a smaller size canvas as well. A quick peek at a few:

Everybody Need A Little Treat Now And Then, also an acrylic painting on canvas, this one measuring 12 x 12 inches. available here
Maybe I Would Like Some Of That, 12 x 12 inch canvas, available here
I was in Evanston, Illinois last summer. This painting and the following are scenes of some of the people that needed painting outside the "Unicorn Cafe" in downtown Evanston.
Saturday Morning, Nothing Much To Do, acrylic painting on canvas, this one is back to a larger size. Ha! Can't get that much fun on a small canvas. This canvas is 32.5 x 36 inches. It's framed in a narrow black canvas floater frame.
Tea And A Book At The Unicorn, again, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

Icecream Line, 30 x 30 inch canvas, framed in a narrow black strip frame also from the Evanston sojourn, picturing a scene just one block south of the Unicorn Cafe. And there are others. You may hop on over to my website portfolio to enjoy those. Here's a link

Some of these paintings will be traveling this summer. As follows:

June 5-7, Iowa Arts Festival, downtown Iowa City, Iowa their website is

June 26-28, the 35th Annual Omaha Summer Arts Festival, downtown Omaha, Nebraska their website is

September 6-7, the 55th Annual Art Fair On The Square, downtown Lake Forest, Illinois their website is

I am considering a few additions to the list, and promise to keep you informed.Surely that is enough for you to mull over for now! If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call 712 580 5315 or an email I would love to hear from you.

Later, Cooper

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Art Fair Director Woes?

How much do you know about summer art fairs? You know, the white tents in the park?

I have actually written two articles on the subject lately, and it looks like number three is joining the crowd. Farmers And Artists And The Job investigates the aforementioned job descriptions in a (ahem) bouyant sort of manner. Should I Stay Or Should I Go-oh, The Summer Art Fair 2009, gives my top ten reasons to do just that---actually go to a show, or bash it, and stay home.

And here we are again, writing yet another summer art fair article. Sheesh. I'm acting like I know it all! Ha! I know some. But first let me give you the behind-the-scenes.

Most art fairs operate with a jury system. The artist submits their images (of their artwork) AND their jury fee check to the show they'd like to exhibit at. Yes Dorothy, we have to pay to even be considered. Jury fees range from $10 to $40. I haven't seen any higher than that, and I don't want to either. The jury sits and looks at artist's images at the rate of approximately one artist every ten seconds and then decides who they want to exhibit at their event. Notification is sent out to the winners and losers. The winners then get to send in their exhibit fee which is hardly ever less than $100, and I personally chose to ignore those that are over $500. And this win/win situation gives you the opportunity to drive a long ways and spend a weekend in a park hoping you'll meet someone who loves your paintings as much as your mother does :)

There is also a category known as "the wait-list artist". "And what in tarnation is that?" you might ask. Let me explain. Because all the jurying-limbo is done early in the year, and nobody knows where they are going to get accepted, many artists apply for several events, and ironically get accepted to fairs that happen on the same weekend. That means they have to cancel at one, leaving a blank spot in that art fair lineup. Heavens, we can't have a blank spot in the lineup, rather we develop the wait-list. So comes the list of ten to twenty artists who weren't quite favored enough to be winners, but weren't tossed out as complete losers either. One of those lucky souls then gets the call to send in their exhibit fee check and join in the fun.

Heads up: here comes the part that caused me to think it important to write this article. Today in my inbox I found an email from an art fair director announcing they had "openings" for their wait-list. What? Are they rebels and not following the art fair testament? OR is this a sign of things to come in the art fair world this summer? Inquiring minds want to know how many of their normal applicants did they not get this time around? And they need to round up a few more to keep in waiting, just in case? Wow. Several directors have also sent emails announcing their extended deadlines for application submission. (read: we haven't gotten enough yet either!)

Personally, I have picked and chosen with a significant amount of discerning care regarding potential art fairs for my summer calendar. I sent about 1/5 of the number of applications this year versus the previous. Gone is the desire to gamble on a "maybe" art fair.

Let's refer back to paragraph #3, where I insinuated I might know it all. Maybe, and here's some advice: If you are thinking starting up an art fair this year, would be a great fundraiser for your organization, you might want to reconsider. Times they are a changin'.

Later, Cooper

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Farmers And Artists And The Job


I have decided that for an artist, showing your work at the summer art fair is just a little bit, no, wait, A LOT like farming. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have experience at both, odd as it sounds. Regarding their similarity, let me count the ways:

1. The summer art fair artist and the farmer both pray continually for good weather.

2. The summer art fair artist and the farmer are both inveterate gamblers. Both put their work out there and hope something grows. Crops or interest, accordingly. The gambling part you ask? What are the odds if I put the seed in the ground that something will come of it? And what are the odds if I hang a painting up for the world to see, that something will come of THAT?

3. Both parties run their own schedule. Gotta love those 'no clocks to punch' jobs, eh?

4. Addendum to #3, if something goes wrong, no one to blame but yourself. (or the weather)

5. The general public lives under errant assumptions regarding both fields of endeavor. Let me explain:

5a. The farmer; a God fearing, clean living sort of person, always of rugged muscular physique, (in g.p.'s eyes/mind) always lives out on the open prairie where the air is fresh and clean, and wide green pastures are dotted with black and white cows and red hip-roofed barns circa 1950. Oh, and they grow food for everyone, often at a loss, because they are just doggone nice people.
5b. The summer art fair artist; a gypsy sort of character, wearing a beret and a paint splattered apron, rises at 11:30 am, sometimes noon, spends their time traveling from one art show to another, a different town each weekend. (they are all on that same show circuit, you know) They have an easy job, because there's really nothing to it actually, I mean all they do is hang up paintings, right? Oh, and they provide lots of people with entertainment, often at a loss, because they are just doggone nice people.

Who'd of thought it, farmers and artists, all in one blog post? And for even more insightful info regarding the summer art fair artist, you might enjoy reading Should I Stay Or Should I Go-oh? The Summer Art Fair 2009. If you want more insightful info as to farmers, I could give you some phone numbers---- :) !

Later, Cooper

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daily Painting, Acrylic Painting, "Saturday Morning, Nothing Much To Do"


I have been painting steadily for an upcoming show in April, at the Clear Lake Art Center. A gallery at Arnold's Park, The Wine Bar Art Gallery, is gathering art for the summer season and asked if I'd bring up some new. But of course! I took a good supply so they could pick and choose. The picked and chose all but one that I took up! Yea!

So that question we always ask at this blog "why do artists paint the way they do" ---well, "the way" just went from steadily to steadily with more speed. Yowza.

But some color for you:
I have several stages of this one posted at the daily painting blog, and with just a few (ahem) adjustments, this one will get the signature. At least that's the plan. Oh, and it's name: Saturday Morning, Nothing Much To Do

Later, Cooper

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thoughts On Readying For The Economic Upswing, And Painting To Match The Sofa

I am into a book, Vincent By Himself, edited by Bruce Bernard. Technically, it's written by VanGogh, as it's really a compilation of his letters, interspersed with his paintings. In one of his many letters to brother Theo, I found a gem of a paragraph, which I'd like to share with you.

But first I would like to set it in present day context, because it really seemed to me as current today as it must have been when he wrote it. There have been many blogs written lately by artists planning to stay home from shows this summer, work on their art, hone up on their skills, study, maybe even create a new body of work, written as constructive, positive-outlook letters, by artists whose paintings aren't selling well in the current economy. Situations assessed, plans made for moving forward. Here's the paragraph:

"As to the the money value of my work, I do not pretend to anything less than that it would greatly astonish me if in time my work did not become just as saleable as that of others. (somebody's paintings aren't selling?) Of course I cannot tell whether that will happen now or later, but I think the surest way, which cannot fail, is to work from nature faithfully and energetically. (study?) Sooner or later feeling and love for nature meet a response from people who are interested in art. (prepare for the time when people are ready to buy art?) It is the painter's duty to be entirely absorbed by nature and to use all his intelligence to express sentiment in his work so that it becomes intelligible to other people. In my opinion working for the market is not exactly the right way: on the contrary, it means fooling art lovers. The true painters have not done this".-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I love how he added in that 'not working for the market' phrase in a letter regarding paintings not selling. Do you suppose by that we can assume he really didn't care what the decorator colors were for the coming season? Ha! No painting to match the sofa concerns at the VanGogh studio, I would say.

But for those of you artists out there, working hard to prepare for the time when people will buy your paintings, I say "way to go!" It would seem to be an exceedingly good time to progress your skills. And about Vincent's remarks as to the ideals of a true painter, he's probably just as right now as he was then. Don't just paint to get by, paint to get THERE.

Later, Cooper

oh wait, do you need some color for this post? Ha, in lazy mode today, I entered this same writing on my daily painting blog. There, I decided everybody needed Knowledge Found In Quiet Places. Here, I am quite sure we need a bona fide student. So here you are then, Tea And A Book At The Unicorn.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daily Painting, Someone's Lunch

Hi there,

Welcome to daily painting at the Cooper studio. The paint du jour landed on one of my little 12 x 12 inch canvases. We are calling the painting, Someone's Lunch. As always lately, it's painted with acrylic paint.

I stretched a nice, big canvas this morning, and it's plan is another side walk cafe painting. The person from this little canvas will quite likely show up in the midst of all her patrons on the big canvas. Stay tuned. but for now, here's the image:

Someone's Lunch, acrylic painting on a gallery wrapped canvas, measuring a lovely 12 x 12 inches. You may find it, available at $125, in my portfolio. Enjoy.

Later, Cooper

Monday, February 9, 2009

Daily Painting And Why Do Artists Paint The Way They Do


Why DO artists paint they way they do? That would be a long list. Let's just mention one for today.

There's a show coming up midApril of my paintings. Yeah, about 20 of them, is what I'm shooting for. I have a friend who says "oh, boring" of exhibits titled "latest works of" and that every good exhibit needs to be focused on something. I'm thinking consumables. You know, food, drink, things that are tasty. In fact I'm thinking along the line of 'in pursuit of tasty'.

Today was a warmup day. Just a little canvas, 12 x 12 inches, and here it is:

'Taint it fun? It's available at my website if you'd like to bop over there :)

Now it's time to go paint with a really big brush, and a roller. Ha, we're talking the walls of the bathroom. Yup, there's always something that needs painted, one way or the other!

Later, Cooper

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reviewing "Sketching School" by Judy Martin

Good morning,

I was browsing the art shelves at a great little used book store, "The Used Book Emporium" in Longmont, Colorado. I was on a sketchbookbinge, and what should reveal itself on that shelf, but a copy of Sketching School by author Judy Martin.

It's dust jacket front promised 'complete with projects and a gallery of inspirational drawings. The back of the dust jacket followed up with 'let sketching school be your personal tutor, 40 specially designed projects, stepbystep instruction, sketching demonstrations by leading artists'. What's not to love about all that, right?

The book opens, and it's full of Stan Smith drawings (plus others) which is an auto-magnet. Of course, I purchase the book.

We return home to Iowa, perusing the visual content of the book on the way :). Back at home I decide I need to get into the text of the book as well. After all, it is a project book, designed to help me learn.

I've found the best way to do an instructional book is read the project and then DO IT, before moving on to the next. Hmmm. The problems begin. Where are those promised projects? Where is that stepbystep instruction? Ok, I did find a couple of 'sketching demonstrations by leading artists', but what about those '40 specially designed projects' the dust jacket print told me about? I tried to keep going, tried to find the 'meat' of the text, kept telling myself just keep working your way thorough it. The author's message will become clear shortly. Nope. Didn't happen.

If I were a betting woman (I'm not) I'd bet that this book was the result of a difference of opinion between author and editor. One of them thought it should be instructional, the other wanted it to be inspirational. So whoever wanted it to be inspirational kind of won. I will keep the book on my shelf because of the very inspirational Stan Smith sketches included in the book. Will I ever attempt to read the text again? Not any time soon.

Do I recommend you buy a copy? Only if you think your checkbook owes you some eye candy! I regretfully report the text of the book as 'not helpful'.

Later, Cooper

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review, "Bodyworks, A Visual Guide To Drawing The Figure

Hello and welcome to my journal blog.

Always at the focus of this blog is the ongoing investigation of what makes artists paint the way they do! And always a major influence at this artist's studio, is a good book.

Is the "s" not the curviest letter in the alphabet? Of course it is. And that's where "Bodyworks, A Visual Guide To Drawing The Figure" begins, with, think like an "S"!

Marbury Hill Brown is the author of this not too thick book, a nice,managable 112 pages.

Brown, with a sideview look, visually traces that "s" from the base of the skull, down the spine to the pelvis, out to the front of the upper thigh and down to the arch of the foot.

Mr. Brown attributes a lot of human figurative qualitites to this posture note:

1. Balance
2. Flexability
3. Mobility
4. Grace
5. Resiliency

Likening the s-curve in the figure to a spring, he encourages the reader to think of it as a cushion against the impact of movement, as it counters the downward pull of gravity.

An especially agreeable writing skill Brown possesses is the ability to give the human figure motion, with words, that describe both the action and the reaction. Everything has a reason in the big picture, which is a definite bonus for all the right brain-ers of the world.

Oh, and did I mention the drawings? :) Yeah, I was just saving the best for last. The marvelous drawings are the absolute essence of this book. I've already told you Brown puts balance, mobility, flexability, grace, and resiliency right up front in his book, in word. And then he follows that with page after page of visual examples in the form of wonderfully descriptive drawings. It would be perfectly acceptable :) to buy this book for the drawings alone---you may consider the text as a bonus!

I recommend this book to any artist interested in drawing the human figure, but especially to those who are captivated by posture and using body language to inform.

And because no blog post should ever be without color, here's a newly completed painting for you: Morning News.

Nice s-curve, huh? Details of Morning News are on my daily painting blog and also my website portfolio. So, enjoy the painting and enjoy the book!

Later, Cooper

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On Family Gatherings

Good morning and happy new year!

My friend Mary (yup, that's her link over there on the side bar) wrote on her blog about her extended family (the Moore's) gathering at Christmas time. It's a delightful education for those of you who don't know about large families. When we lived in Nebraska, we had the privilege of knowing Jack (now in his heavenly home) and Dorothy Moore, so seeing that family photo was special.

It's kind of like the extended family on my side, the Andersons. We are a crazy group of people, pretty much hell-bent on getting to Grandma's house at Christmas, no-matter-what. This year, my brother Dennis and his tractor, accompanied by Dennis's son Eric, met each carload of crazyAndersons at the highway, to plow a trail in through the snow drifts. When we all left on Sunday night, he had to do the whole procedure in reverse. (Dennis, you are an amazing brother) Bear in mind, a quarter mile of this trail was actually in a corn field. We'll call it a field road. One of those kind normally reserved for farm equipment. But a good time was had by all.

My parents have nineteen granchildren, Seven are married. Four are not old enough to be married. (!) That leaves eight out there in 'available land' and they like to keep the aunts hopeful and guessing! So you never know who's going to show up at the door.

One memorable year at Grandma and Grandpa's house, which,when the youngest grandchild, Aaron, was about six, reigns in the history book as the true record of how it goes. First, you need to know about Aaron. Actually, you need to know Aaron. If you googled 'delightful humans' you'd probably find him in the number one spot. It only takes about a five minute chat with him and all of a sudden you're just feeling better about everything in general. Anyway, back to the year Aaron was six-ish or so. The Anderson house was packed to the seams with people. The doorbell rang. Aaron, (still intrigued with door bells) ran to answer. He opens the door with "Hi, I'm Taylor, welcome to our family!" We still aren't sure why he decided to be Taylor at that moment, but we all agree the message was true: add one more person, and you still never have too many.

And because our Christmas cards are still in the box, with only 4 or 5 of them addressed, Merry Christmas!

Later, Karen