Monday, August 1, 2011

karen cooper paintings .com


Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa.

A change of address has been implemented! Would you please read here instead?

Yup, we've modified my address! When you get there, on the left menu bar (table of contents) is a little orange box with white lines through it. Don't ask me how or why, but that's called RSS feed. If you click on that, it will take you to a form where you can fill out the required info, and THEN my blog articles will come directly to your email, at your request. Saves a lot of mouse clicking, eh?!


KCooper (painting, painting)

Counting Waves, an acrylic painting on a perfect

little 12 x 12 inch canvas

available (so far) in my website portfolio

(feel free to click on the red text, which will take you there)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa.

I was going to stop at #2. Really.

And then, here's what happened: I had two paintings to deliver. We agreed to meet halfway, so neither of us would have too long of a drive. So, we met and were sitting at Panera, having a cup of coffee, talking about the fund raiser for the Linn Creek Arts Festival (Marshalltown, Iowa) which the two paintings will hopefully help with. After a good chat one of the committee members handed me my check for the paintings, and I prepared to leave. She stopped me with "oh, wait, I have to do a write-up for our newsletter, and I want to make sure I've got all the details correct." I'd already given the committee a copy of my artist statement and info about the paintings.

What she said next made me realize #3 had to be written. Here we go. She said "I know a little bit about art, but sometimes it can get confusing. these are real paintings, right? With all the things people to to paintings lately, sometimes it's hard to tell". Oh dear. So you see? I have to write this, take #3.

And then I remembered my recent visit with the computer tech. I'd taken the desk top beast in for help. We talked about a part that had three initials on the front and six or seven on the back of it's name. All Greek to me. I am not a computer tech, and I don't know their language. Every now and then, I try,but I'm pretty sure I'd have to spend a lot more time with it to get it. I am not a construction worker, and I don't know their industry lingo,either. Nor am I a doctor, and maybe that's why we have web md, the lay persons guide to should-I-go-see-my-doctor? We are artists and in our conversation cache are words like copies, reproductions, limited edition reproductions, giclees, enhanced giclees...

I wondered: if computer tech talk is Greek to me, then are limited edition reproductions and giclees just like Greek to the bus drivers of the world? The physical therapists? The gourmet chefs?

I went to an alternate website and asked people this: "I am working on a project and need opinions from normal people (not artists!) Do the words reproductions, prints, giclees and paintings all mean the same thing to you? Or are they separate and distinct? Couldn't care less?! :) No right or wrong answers, but I do need real people insight..."

Was this a numerically constructed and officially supervised survey? NO. It was a what-do-you-think inquiry. Nothing hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnells's back porch.

Interestingly, most of the responders were teachers, there was a mental health professional, an arts center staff member (theatre), a CPA, a gallery owner, and of course, artists. I didn't consider the gallery owner's personal views, because she is also an artist, but speaking for her clients she said "But in the industry it does make a huge difference how you list reproduced products", which I think echos the thoughts of an earlier commenter that educating patrons is important.

I'll list a few responses and please note that they are unedited ( and I mean that!) quotes:

1. I'm totally uneducated in art lingo, but as a normal consumer, to me painting means an original, prints and reproductions are copies, and a giclee means something highbrow enough that I probably couldn't afford it."

2. "I don't know about the "normal" part, and although I would love to be an artist, I am not, but here's my opinion on this. To me, the word reproduction or print, means "cheap", and painting means a one of a kind original that I would buy. Giclee? After googling it and finding out it's and inkjet print, I was disappointed. The name sounds much fancier thant that :)"

3. "Reproductions, prints and paintings all have a distinctive different meaning in my mind, not sure if they're the right meanings, but...I've never heard of giclees, but I love learning new words so I'll look it up and add it to my vocabulary!"

I was pleased to hear that these three commentors, as well as most of the rest, knew there was a difference between reproductions or copies, and paintings, and understood them somewhat. The word giclee, however, was a problem.

Early commentors to this discussion (take #1, and #2) mentioned that it was nice to have a reminder of an artist, and a reproduction can do that. It makes me think of VanGogh posters of Starry Night in the art center gift shop. Everybody knows they are copies, but they are reminders of time spent at the gallery viewing paintings. They often have a title and artist name listed in text, down at the bottom in the margin. We can all mentally image that, right? No doubt of what their purpose is. Does that bring us to the giclee?

Wait: maybe we need the dictionary:
1. Giclee
A giclee (zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclees are produced from digital scans of existing artwork, or a digital file.

Let's ask questions about the giclee--it seems to require it :) What is the purpose of the giclee? I've heard artists say patrons can't afford an original painting but they want a reminder. The poster style reproduction would cover that, right? So why the giclee? If your patrons just want a reminder of your painting, why go the extra bucks for a giclee? We've agreed a giclee costs quite a bit more than a poster, right? Still better yet,why computer print a painting on a piece of canvas, if we are just after a reminder of the original painting? And the enhanced giclee--why would we swipe a loaded varnish brush over the surface of a giclee, or dab on on a few spots of real paint , if we just want a reminder of the artist's painting?

To the art patrons of the world, I hope you ask questions. Many a teacher has told us the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked. So ask away. Sometimes what's put in front of you can be confusing.

Later, Cooper

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Forced To Go The Extra Mile. And Three Reasons Why It's Good For You.


Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa.

Several years back, I determined I could/would be a runner. Not marathons, nope, nothing like that. But I do try to go a couple of miles on three or four mornings of each week. Just the other week, Jefferson got yet another bunch of snow. Thankfully, it's March, and considering the city truck/plows got to it right away, the streets dried quickly. Free and clear of snow. Good for the morning run.

I headed out on my normal route, which takes me to the bike trail on the east side of town, my usual halfway point. But wait, what's up with that? The bike trail; snow, ice, and melted/refrozen slush ruts. Everything a person trying to move faster than a crawl DOESN'T want. But here I am at the edge of town. Either I turn back and retrace my steps (how boring is that?) or I continue on. There's a black top road just ahead, and it won't be that much further. And besides, it's good for me, right?

Awesome. Going the extra mile. There's a saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", right? And then there's another "a job worth doing, is a job worth doing well". Now surely there's a lot of maneuvering room in between those two thoughts, but this morning I'm going to promote the concept that sometimes we have to lean harder one way, than the other. The middle of the road is not always the best place to be. The stack of "to do" has surpassed my comfort zone. I can see the extra mile in front of me. But I know the benefits:

1. Makes you work harder

2. It gets you closer to your goal

3. Feelings of a job well done, to the max

See you on the other side. Believe it or not, the warm up is varnishing a guitar, just recently painted, so it can get to the mail. Aah. Life at the Cooper studio. Never a dull moment.

Later, Cooper

Selection And Assumptions


Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa, where it is both a stunning and beautiful day. Ahhhh, spring. And I even have a spring painting for you here, in a minute.

First we need to talk about selections. Or assumptions about selections. Or something like that. -

After the youngest Cooper had been away at college long enough to get a firm grip on the realities of laundry, we ended up bequeathed with some of his new "go-to-college"towels. And they were the nicest ones of the bunch, thick and cushy and the epitome of absorbent. Why did we get them? He didn't like them because they took too long in the dryer. Hunh.

Yes, you are at an artist's painting blog and that bit of a story does have relevance. Like this: as artists we are constantly the recipients of well meaning advice. If we paint landscapes, then someone tells us we should be painting abstracts. If we paint abstracts, they tell us we should be painting landscapes. If we paint figures, they tell us we should be painting anything but! :)

We assimilate all that good advice and begin to assume(as in making an assumption) that we know, without a doubt, what it is that art patrons of the world will want to select, when they are out looking for a painting. We let our artistic vision take a road trip down to "I've-been-persuaded-land". Maybe it's just a day trip, and not too much harm done. But what if it turns out to be a major journey and one you shouldn't have let yourself get talked into?

Because in reality, not everybody chooses for the same reason. Are we better off trying to paint what we assume will please everyone, or painting what's right and then working to connect with the people who see things the way we do?

We could say "a rose by any other name is just as sweet" or "one man's trash is another man's treasure" or "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". We could even say "thick and cushy versus quick through the dryer".

It's not a matter of matching your painting to the person; it's a matter of finding the people who match your painting.

Thanks for stopping by.

Later, Cooper

Yup, you are right, I did promise a spring painting:

Ready For Spring, and acrylic painting on a nice little 12 inch canvas, and of course, available in my website portfolio. Click on the red text to get a better look!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sweating It


Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Please bear in mind that it's winter in Jefferson this morning. For all you fair weather readers, that means that at 9:27AM it was a snow-crunchy 14 degrees. So why you ask, are we talking about sweating it?

I believe I've mentioned in the past that I try to run (sort of) at least three times a week. Is it my personality type?--who know, but I can not handle even the thought of running (sort of) indoors. Treadmill, forget it. I prefer to go first thing in the morning when I'm not totally awake. With a sleep-fog hanging on, running seems a little less crazy. BUT! Even I have to draw the line somewhere, and at 6:30AM, Jefferson was in the balmy single digits range on the sad old thermometer.

So 9:30AM rolls around, the thermometer shows me 14 degrees, and I determined I could possibly survive it. I did. But here's the funny thing--sweating it! Yup, who'd of thought at 14 degrees with two tee shirts and a hoodie as the layers, I could possibly warm up that much?

Now I suppose you want to hear how this could all possibly relate to painting, right? But of course it does. Think about the commonalities here. It seems pretty logical to me. Look:

1. A schedule. Three times a week, works okay for my "running (ha) career" but I try to paint five days a week. And a schedule is worthless if you don't keep it. Paint on a schedule.

2. Persistence. My husband says mine comes more under the heading of stubbornness. Sometimes the odds seem to be against you. The air temperature for running is abysmal/you painted your best painting ever and it still got juried out, so why keep trying? And here we should enter in my favorite Gretsky quote, "you miss every shot you don't take". Paint with persistence.

3. Prepare to the best of your ability. So, the morning run part of that: is it a two tee-shirt kind of day or a three? Pretty simple preparedness there. But the painting side of the equation is harder. Study, study, study. Either way, some times you have to sweat it. Last night was the first night of this semester's life drawing group on campus at ISU (Iowa State University) Do you get to see the results of my sweating? No. If the garbage guys unroll the wad of paper, they might get to. But revert back to item #2. We meet again next Thursday and I'll be there. Surely it will go better. You can't prosper you art just be wanting. Prepare for it. Study.

And that brings us to:

4. Be an optimist. You can do it. It's possible. Where there's life, there's hope, right? If you can move your feet, you can run. If you can pick up a paint brush, you can paint. True, the quality of your endeavors will depend pretty heavily on how you deal with #1-3, but what's stopping you? Be an optimist.

Oh wait, this is beginning to sound like my last blog post , regarding "cup half full". Hmm, it must be the weather...time to go gain a little sweat equity at the easel. Thanks for stopping by.

Later, Cooper

Oh, and you should click on the red text up there (post) to see my last blog writing over at my website, and the cool new painting that goes with :) The link will take you right there, I promise!