Friday, November 28, 2008

November in the Studio Red Line

Red Line
(These should appear horizontally instead of vertically but I cannot figure out how to make it work!)

Triptych each panel is 28 in x 28 in

mixed media on paper


Cathy Hegman

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now Christmas is near. Holidays are busy days with life and taking care of all the things it entails. I have been doing a bit more drawing and painting lately but mostly studies for later work. I have just finished a triptych that is about the connections of humanity. I am particularly interested in our ability to resolve our differences and be more homogenous with each other, I believe this is one of the highest forms of love we have for our neighbors. I think as I age I have become much more open to the views of others and I think it is directly connected to love and the desire for life to be more copesetic and pleasant. I believe one of the strongest problems is our ignorance of what others are experiencing in their lives and our ability to give support and love to them. I am trying to put my experience with this subject down in paint as a way of forgiving myself for my polarized views on different issues and people in the past and in hopes it will reinforce me to think things through before forming opinions. This first attempt is about how humans have the ability to have strong issues with each other but still manage to find a way to co exist in this world. We exist in a united front as humans, yet we all come to the line with our own problems and differing lifestyles both physical and mental. I have chosen to abstract the figures in this painting in order to give the viewer the chance to see themselves as a part of this line. I also find that in the abstraction the figures look like a line of trees and this represents support and stability in my mind. I chose to paint mostly earth colors even in the red hues to connect the whole idea to the earth in which we dwell. As far as the technique and use of media, all three begain as a loose drawing that mainly divided the surface of the paper, the I painted each with watercolor and gouache, you will note I scratched into the surface of the paint for added texture and to symbolize our differences. I let all of them dry thoroughly then I used water soluble oil pastels and colored pencil to add the accents and enhance the paintings. My goal was to keep this as abstract as possible but still retain the feeling of a unified line of figures that were connected by their shape and color. I have several more sketches in my sketch book for this series and I want to paint some of them on canvas and board as well. I hope I have inspired you to paint something in a series or as a triptych. Till next time!
Thank you for reading my blog and have a great week!
Cathy Hegman NWS, SAA, MSWS, MoWs, SW
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and are not meanyt to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Blind Hope" October 25,2008

Blind Hope


Cathy Hegman

72 x 48

acrylic on canvas

The painting above is entitled "Blind Hope". I painted this a couple of weeks ago and it is a very accurate depiction of where my life is right now. It is probably the largest painting I have ever painted. The canvas came to me when one of my best friends,Tina Bradford, passed away earlier this year. I was blessed to have been given all of her art supplies, and this huge canvas was in the mix. I might add that the size of a painting can really enhance the impact. The life sized figure commands your attention, this is something to think about when you are deciding on the size of your paintings. Large paintings give a feeling of importance just with their size, and in exhibitions they will gather the most attention. A small painting can be more intimate but a large one will get the attention first .

We all face tough emotional times and I have had some really troubled times lately and it has manifested in my art, as an emotionally charged painting. I have heard the expression,"just give it over the Lord" so many times and as of late I have dealt with some problems in which I have had to do just that. There are times and problems that we are simply not equipped to deal with on our own and we must have a higher power to turn to for help. This is where the title emanated, Blind Hope, as I have a deep hope that the Lord will work my problems out in a way that will glorify Him and make life feel in sync for again for me. The figure shape in the painting is Hope she is blindfolded with what appears as a bandage to express that she is wounded and blind and not simply born blind, life has done this to her. The egg is in her right hand balancing on an open palm, showing the balance that we seek in life that makes us feel in sync with our world. The egg is symbolic of the hope for an answer to be born to lift the problem. The other hand is in a postion to grasp or hold the egg but the hand is empty, showing that we cannot control some aspects of our lives, that only the Lord and our hope in Him can resolve the problems for us. The figure stands alone as all of problems are ours alone and we are responsible for how we handle them and how we allow them to affect us.

I used the light areas behind the figure to signify that there is light around us even if we cannot see it with our eyes. The light is in an circular shape that connects to the figure and completes behind the background unseen by the viewer. (One of my children saw it as an angel's wing). I chose to paint the figure in a gesture of submission instead of standing tall and strong, as that is how we appear when we are emotionally wrought with problems, and we are submitting and praying to God. The abstract background is used as a metaphor for life and the many things that go on in our daily lives that surround, touch, and support us both clear and unclear in appearance. The background is painted with warm hues of red and gold with blue used as a contrasting hue. The contrast of the colors keeps the background interesting and somewhat electrically charged. I often email my paintings to my family and friends and get their feedback before I send them out into the world. This painting was one that garnered alot of comments from my family and that is why I chose to blog about it. I hope you will comment on it and give me your thoughts on the painting too.

Cathy Hegman

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Art Colony

Some of the Colony Members painting at the Upper Pavilion

Well once again Mississippi Art Colony has come and gone. We had a great time and as usual I learned and gleaned ideas and thoughts from all of the other attending artists. I just love the immersion into art that happens when you go to an islolated place with other artists. There are some pretty stimulating conversations and the work that evolves is so provocative.
I was voted in as a full member this time and I was thrilled about that. It is a great group of artists and I am proud to be in the number. I also got two pieces accepted for the travel show,(Isaac's Ram and Secrets), and that was just icing on the cake for me, especially since one was a drawing that I had done that was so close to my heart at this time in my life. The drawing has been in my head for a number of years, it is the ram in the Bible passage Genesis: 22. Abraham is told to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God and at the last moment the Lord sends him a ram with his horns caught in a thicket as a substitute for Isaac. This is such a powerful story of faith and the belief that God will never leave your side if you have faith in Him and it has a special meaning in my heart at this particular time in my life for many reasons. I think when you feel a strong connection with your work it resonates in your life as you paint or draw the art, and then it will retain that power when it is viewed by others. The journey of life is one that compells us to reach out to others and find ourselves in them and them in us. My art is my way of accomplishing this task on a visual level. I hope, my piece, "Isaac's Ram", will serve to touch and encourage others while it is traveling in the Mississippi Art Colony Travel Show. You can view the show online
As always have a great week !
All text and contents of this blog are copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and are meant solely for the purpose of sharing her thoughts and ideas on art and the making of art.

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 12, 2008 Opening Closed Doors

I had the opportunity to jury an art exhibit at the Federal Corrections Facility Medium Security Unit this month . I passed my NCIC check with no problem then was told all the list of things that I could not bring with me to the prison on the day I was to be the juror of the show. Already the oppression of censorship is welling up in me, I am sure this will be a duty rather than an experience to remember. The day comes and I drive up and the building looms ominously into view, it is huge, gray,stark, almost windowless and immediately I feel claustrophobia setting into my mind. It looks oppressive but at the same time rather intriquing. I was scanned, ID checked, wanded and then stamped on the arm like a piece of Grade A meat.

We then entered through what can best be described as a chamber with floor to ceiling steel gates forward and aft, we are told to relinquish our ID's to a lady behind a thick glass wall ( I am apprehensive to do this but do so just the same) and then we are scanned again and the gates open. We walk across the courtyard which is nothing more than the large open air space between the buildings there are not many windows here either, but the buildings do have numbers on them which is interesting to see against this cold gray exterior.

Most everything here is about anonymity and I am thinking how in the world does art flourish here. I am now feeling sure the art I will see in the exhibit will be dominated by emotions of entrapment, sadness, aloneness, etc. I tell myself, you will have to just look for the honest emotion in the work and juror on the design, emotion and skill level of technique of each piece. When we enter the room, I am met with work that is astounding, then I realize I have seen most of it before. I turn to the inmates and ask them how they came up with the subject matter that they painted. I have to say there were some really amazing copies of other artists' work. They told me they have no access to the world of art other than through art magazines and books that they acquire and that they have no instruction or guidance other than what they read, so they copy the photos of the art in the magazines. Wow, I am thinking how do you jury a show of predominately great designs, because they are all with the exception of maybe three pieces very accurate copies from art magazines. I come the conclusion everything can be a learning experience and this should be no exception. I ask each of them to stand by their work and give me the opportunity to talk with them about their work. I ask simple questions such as why were you drawn to this artist's work, or what part of the process did you enjoy the most or the least. I then tried to take each piece and discuss the underlying design of the piece and how it could be used in something that would be more original to the inmates themselves. They could use objects in their limited surroundings to create paintings that would express their world and their thoughts. I gave them some ideas of ways to use everyday objects in creative ways and also to paint each other. I also cautioned them about the copyright that an artist has on their original work and that you cannot reproduce an artist's work and sell it or enter it in shows without the artist's permission etc. In the end the overall feeling from this group of artists was an overwhelming gratefulness to talk with someone about not just their art but art in general and get some honest feedback and discussion. I was told they are allowed to paint most of the day without much interruption. I told them this is the dream of most artists, to be able to paint all day and not have to deal with the interruptions of everyday life. There were two artists that did create work that was not copied but done from their minds and their hearts; and in the end, I and the panel of jurors all agreed theirs was special and deserved the awards. The other artists were very supportive of the winners and seemed genuinely thrilled for them. The two awards were nice new wooden boxed sets of paints. I believe we all got rewarded just from the experience itself.

You never know what doors you might open or close, if you never grab the door knob. I am glad I got this opportunity to share my art knowledge and thoughts with this group of artists and that they shared theirs with me. I was inspired by their commitment, knowledge, and skill level and I look forward to seeing their work in the future. I could only think as left the prison that day, it is true cool grays do bring out and intensify the colors in life.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you have a great week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

September 4, 2008

Violet Fracture

Mixed Media on Paper



Mixed Media on paper



Mixed Media on paper


I am cleaning the studio and making room for a new cabinet. I have found things I had forgotten I had including paintings that I have painted and never framed and such. It is amazing how many small studies I have done as prelims for larger works. I will post a few every so often along with the price and anyone interested can purchase them if they are so inclined. I think this is a great way to share my art with others and give them a preview of what I have in the galleries etc. You can email me if you are interested in purchasing one of paintings that I offer for sale on my blog. My email is, please note in the subject line that you are interested in one of the paintings, so I will know to open the email.

Great news!One of my paintings was juried into the National Watercolor Society International Exhibition in Los Angeles, it was a one of the Women and Birds series and I was so excited to have it accepted in the show. Another painting was also juried into the Mississippi Watercolor Society's Grand National Watercolor Exhibition this month,this painting was another of my women and bird paintings from the same series. My article for Watercolor Artist is out this month, describing my technique for painting on alternative surfaces in watercolor and gouache. The article has several of my paintings included in it and turned out well.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

August 9, 2008 Oil and Water

Here a few of the "starts" from the portrait painting workshop this week.

Well I have not blogged lately as there have been too many distractions going on to be able to update my blog. I have been doing my duties as the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National Slide Chairman for the past month. The show has been selected by our juror Ratindra Das ( it appears it will be really a great event. The opening reception will be at the beautiful Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson on Pascagoula Street. I still have some paperwork to attend to on that project but otherwise my job is done. I have been attending this week an oil paint portrait workshop, and it is taxing my brain, not to mention there is not enough botox and restylane in the world to correct these squint lines I am forming. I don't do portraits in my artwork as a general rule but I thought this would help me with my figurative work and in seeing values more clearly. I have not painted in oils in probably fifteen years and it has been an experience. One thing I learned is the oil paints do not go bad, most of my paint is at least fifteen years old and older and it has performed very well for me.

I must admit it was daunting to try oils again and especially a portrait workshop at that. It was quite a challenge to try and reproduce the model precisely, after so many years of painting in a more abstracted realism. I felt a confinement that I cannot quite put into words, it was almost a censorship type of feeling. I was terribly uncomfortable with it until the third day of the workshop, and for some reason at that point I began to understand the internal struggle I was having was counterproductive to me learning anything from the workshop. The lesson here is to try to enjoy the moment, whether you are struggling or whether you are painting as if it is second nature to you, it is all gain if you can let yourself see it as exercise for the mind. I did enjoy painting in oil for its tremendous attributes, although I could not help but wish for at least one nice liquid brush stroke on the canvas just to make it feel more normal to my hand. I have posted the "starts" I got in the workshop as that is all there was time to produce. I must add we had some great models, we had a young white female , an older asian man, a middle aged black man, an older white female, and older white male, and a young black female, which gave us the opportunity to study the variety of skin tones and textures in paint. I believe I learned a lot from the workshop and I am glad I took a week off to take the workshop. My point here to others is don't get stagnant in your work and a good way to avoid the stagnancy is to branch out and take a workshop or study some medium you do not normally use. I went to our life drawing group today and it was like a new beginning for me to draw the model, as I now had another arsenal of thought to flow through my mind as I drew the model. Variety is truly the spice of life.
Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 22, 2008, Art in Exhibitions

Whew!.. I have been really busy this past month or so cataloging and preparing the entries for the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National Exhibition. I am and have been the slide chairman for many years. It has been an honor to do the job and I have enjoyed the work, as it is exciting to see what the artists from across the nation and some foreign countries send each year. This year the MSWS Board decided to go all digital with our entries. I believe it was a good move for our exhibition. I think it makes the job for the juror much simpler as he or she does not have to get out a projector and screen to view the entries, they simply turn on the computer and study the entries. They select the show and jury for awards after the paintings have arrived at the Mississippi Museum of Art. I do believe most if not all shows will eventually end up with digital format as the slide industry is getting smaller and smaller.

Since I have been entering shows for many years and have been both selected and rejected. I have found insight into both responses; there are always lessons to be learned. It is an exhilarating experience to have your current art work get selected to be in a National or International Exhibition. It is a validation of your endeavor, a way of getting feedback you would not normally receive. This is a nice part of the journey in art, and you should enjoy it for that moment. Add this honor to your biography this is your history and you should record it and learn lessons from the experience. I find these National and International Exhibitions are a great way to advertise your work and if it is possible for you to attend the shows you will meet the other artists and make great connections and friends. Life is after all about connecting and sharing with others.
The rejection can hurt when you receive the letter, but after you get over the initial sting; you can try to decide if the piece you sent really was your best work. I have often found that after the show catalog has been delivered, and I have perused it thoroughly, one reason my painting may not have been selected was that it was mediocre or there were too many that were similar etc. I like to then look at my piece and make decisions on where I think I could improve the painting, this is another great process of entering shows, it makes you take a more serious look at what you are painting and how your are presenting your work to the public. I believe you can turn every rejection into a positive experience for yourself.
Entering shows has always been an expensive endeavor and you should be warned it is getting much more pricey, especially the cost of shipping. Even still it is still a good way to get your work out in the public eye, especially if you from a rural area like me.

As of late, I have entered a few online competitions as well, and they are nice but there is no comparison to seeing art in person. In person the actuality of the work the size of the art itself comes into play as well as the application of the paint to the surface. Perhaps the difference is even in the museum or gallery or just the other people in the room. I have thought about this often and I think it is the experience in itself that makes the art seem superior to the computer screen, reality is everywhere today, we have reality TV, reality radio, reality videos…etc and I think we as humans like to be with other humans and experience their reactions and when we are in a museum or gallery viewing art we are enabled to do just that and it enhances the experience to a new level. I do think the digital competitions may have a place in our world as entering them will completely do away with shipping and handling which runs the gamut of prices and hinders many artists from entering shows today. The effect of the show for the artist entering is still there in the online competition so they do serve the purpose in their own way.
I would not give anything for the honor of being selected for the shows that I have been a part of in the past and the ones I hope to be a part of in the future. I know that they have been an integral part of my growth as an artist. We all need a pat on the back and the feeling of inclusion.
For some that have not entered here are a few tips I have learned along the way on entering shows.

1. Read the prospectus carefully and then go back and reread it. I sometimes think gnomes come in at night and rewrite it changing the instructions, as when I reread it I see things I missed the first time.
2. Prepare your slides or digital entry with care:
a. Make sure when you photograph your painting, the whole frame is your image and that you do not include your studio as a background or your cat’s tail in front of the painting as they are interesting but they are huge distractions to your work. It actually looks best if the painting’s frame and mat are not in the slide or digital, it should be nothing but the painting itself.
b. Make sure it is in focus as an out of focus painting simply looks out of focus to a juror and gives the appearance of an artist who did not care enough to make the shot a good one.
c. The rules for digital entry are different for every show, so carefully resize, and save your digital in the proper format. I do think their will begin to be a more universal approach to this in the future but until then read and follow their instructions.

d. If you are shooting a digital photo of an acrylic or oil painting that has a varnish on it be aware that the surface will be harder to get an accurate image, as the reflections will be hard to minimize. It is usually easier to take the shot before you varnish the piece.

e. If you are shooting a watercolor, pastel, or drawing, shoot it before you frame it under glass, as it is really hard to shoot photos of images after they are framed. My biggest tip is when you finish a painting, grab your camera and take a photo or two of it, this is for two reasons, you will have this for your portfolio and as a record of your work and it is there for you to enter into a competition should you choose to do so.

3. I crate my work using AirFloat Crates, I have found no better crates for shipping art work. They are not that expensive if you consider that you can reuse them for other shows. Here is a tip, I always tape a photograph of my painting with my name, address, phone, and email to the inside top of my AirFloat container, just as a help to the handlers in case there is any mix up etc.
AirFloat website

4. Pack your painting carefully. Assume it will be treated as airport luggage and take extra care with the cushioning. Under no circumstances send any painting with foam peanuts, most shows will not accept it. Do not send paintings under glass use only plexiglass or acrylic for your glazing. I do not know of any shows that will accept glass.

5. I use Fed Express to ship, I have had great experiences with them and their drivers have been so nice to work with. I am sure there are other shippers that are the same or even better, but this has been my personal experience and you have to gain confidence in your shipper. Who ever you choose to use, open an account with them, it gives you some perks and makes shipping much easier.

I hope you will enter the some of the shows either at a regional, state, national or international level. It will help your growth as an artist and possibly your growth as a person in process. It will humble, honor and help you as you paint new works of art, as this has been my experience with entering exhibitions. If not, I hope you will be inspired to look at your work as if you are entering it in to show, lingering a bit longer when assessing your work. I think it will make you a stronger artist in the process. Thank you again for reading my blog. I hope you have a great week.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 7, 2008 Musing with My Brushes

Sometimes there just seems to be nothing inspiring around. These are the times to challenge yourself. My bird series began as a benign bird painting in 1994 and it has now grown into an ongoing series of bird paintings. The evolution has been one that is continual but somehow not complete. I tend to find the shape and symbolic meanings of birds so intriguing that even today I can still find ways to sneak one or more into a painting. Birds have become my "muse". Webster's II Dictionary defines the word muse- as to think about at length ;or a source of inspiration. I do believe both definitions come to mind when I paint bird shapes.

There are many ways to look at your subjects. What happens when there is no still life to paint, no model available, no photos that give you the urge to paint? I recommend looking around your studio and finding the objects that are familiar to you and using them as your subject. On this particular day of painting it was my brushes. Brushes in and of themselves are not that interesting, so the challenge was to paint the brushes and make them unique. Below there is a photo of how I began to design the layout with my brushes. You will notice I did this on my floor in my studio, probably not an orthodox method but if it works, go with the flow.

The second step after finding a design you like and that you believe is a good design, drawing it on paper or canvas. I used paper,watercolor and gouache for this painting. Step two illustrates the first coat of paint. I like to layer paint and I usually but not always begin with a yellow hue in watercolor as my first layer. Yellow is a good pigment to use as the first layer because it will blend or layer well under other pigments. This sets the stage for the rest of the painting. The yellow pigment will give harmony by being the underpainting for the layers that are to come.

Step 1

Have you noticed yet? I put birds in my design, this distinguishes these as my brushes by using the familiar bird shapes, and it gives the piece a bit of intrigue. One might wonder about why the birds are there and what they are doing etc. Now for the design, I don't paint the two bird shapes the same but actually I use somewhat complementary hues on them. I have at this point done probably 7 layers on each bird with more to come. I use the same technique and thought when painting the brushes.

Step 2

Now I will have to deal with the shape around the edges of the piece. I am thinking of something in a much deeper value to "pop" the layers of color on my birds and brushes. I take a digital photo of the painting at this stage and open it in photoshop to test out my idea before I commit it to the actual painting. The photoshop step will save you a lot of valuable time and paper. I am convinced the deeper value will definitely improve the painting. I will go forward with the plan.

Step 3

Here is the final painting,"Brush Pile". I went with the deeper value but I kept the color choice in the range of the rest of the painting. The deeper value was achieved by layering the hues found in the birds, brushes, and the brush bristles. I chose to use the same colors rather than a stark black to give the painting harmony. I hope this will inspire you to paint some familiar objects the next time you are out of subject matter to paint.

Final Step

" Brush Pile"

Cathy Hegman

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 28,2008 Fishing for Inspiration

Here is a photo of one of the bream we caught on Father's Day. Casting Lines
by Cathy HegmanDetail of Casting Lines by Cathy Hegman

On Fathers Day, with both children far away, I spent the day fishing with my husband. The children called and it was good to hear their voices, it is funny how you take their voices for granted when your children are home, but you hang on every word when you don't see them very often. The day of fishing was fun and it conjured up new inspiration for my art that week. The main catch of the day was bream, a unique flat fish that can pull like a whale on the line and completely convince you that it weighs at least ten pounds when in reality it weighs only ounces. When the day was done and we came home and looked at the fish we had caught, I could not help but be inspired by their beauty, the symmetrical pattern of the scales the colors that cannot be described with words and the fluid movement they made as they swam through the water, the list goes on and on. Frank, on the other hand, saw supper.
I photographed them and printed them and tried to think of ways to use the fish in a painting. I chose to represent in paint the way fish and the act of fishing relate to my life. The above painting is the result of that inspiration. In the early stages of planning a painting, I try to think of ways that I relate to the subject. When I think of fish, the first thought that comes to mind is Jesus telling the disciples (mostly fishermen themselves) to be fishers of men. I then try to relate this thought to life today and I am drawn to how intimate it is to fish with someone, you talk and share the whole time and you are involved in each others catches and misses. Fishing forces you to go at a pace that the fish determine and the inevitable lulls between catches are filled with optimism, hope and lots of talking. I inserted symbolism throughout the painting to reflect my feelings about the act of fishing and the sharing of time between my husband and myself. I painted with a palette of hues very similar to the colors found in the fish and the lake water, predominantly cool colors. I felt the need to warm the painting up a bit so I glazed it with quinacradone gold acylic paint. It is a good idea in a predominantly cool painting to add some warm colors and vice versa. The contrast of warm and cool keeps the painting interesting and gives variety in the painting. I used a linen canvas and glued it to a board. I thought of using paper and watercolor but opted for the canvas and acrylic since I knew I wanted to add some texture to symbolize netting, and I felt the board would be a more stable than paper. I painted the background in a series of transparent layers of paint, I lost count after the eighth color layer, my aim was to try to emulate a background like the lake water appeared to me that day, deep, clear and mysterious. I placed my center of interest slightly off center. The fish is obvious and painted in a very factual manner (and symbolic as the fish is a symbol of Christ in Christian culture), so I decided to add the seven red circles or pearls (that symbolize the seven days of creation to me but could mean something entirely different to someone else),thus giving a bit of mystery to the piece. It is often good to insert something in your painting that creates an air of mystery or that could be interpreted in different ways to your painting this enables the viewer to interact with the painting. The shape of the arc of the pearls repeats the roundness seen in the eye of the fish and the three circles below it. Repetition is a good way to create harmony in your painting. The upper portion of the painting is a band that visually binds the painting and gives it stability. I added the netting to give a visual and physical texture the to painting.

I hope this will inspire you to look at the everyday occurences in your life and to find new ways to use them to communicate through your art. Thank you again for reading and have a wonderful week.
I would like to add I have an article in the current issue of Watercolor Artist Magazine that is a technique driven piece that describes in detail how I paint watercolor and gouache on alternative surfaces. I hope you will read it and try it for yourself.
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21, 2008 Do I need a website?


by Cathy Hegman

Yes, there is not doubt about it, I think it is the sign of the times that most artists today need websites. We are a global world and a global world needs communication and the internet is the communication line of choice in today's world.

I have had a website for the last 4 years and have used it to steer clients to the content and style of my work. I believe it is a great tool for artists, if you are willing to take the time to set it up and hire a website designer to handle the technical aspects of it. I would recommend you look at other artist's websites to find aspects that you would want for your site. I think one main aspect is to have it load fast. Time is a major factor in our lives and we simply will not wait over 10 seconds for a page to load.

My in house web designer/computer guru, Jasmine, scripted and set up my website for me and went a step further last year and rewrote it so that an internet neophyte such as myself could update it and change the appearance of the site without any assistance. I highly recommend this feature, as it makes it easy to add information to your website and keep it current. My website is, you can visit it and see if there are things you like or dislike about it when you get ready to design your site.

The next step after you get your website launched is to find as many places as possible to get it linked. This linkage ensures the main search engines will gather it and display it. A great way to get linked is if you are a member or signature member of most art societies or associations, they will gladly link your site to their sites and in turn you will be recognized and almost immediately picked up by the search engines. You will have to contact each of the societies and or associations and ask them them to add your website as a link and it is proper protocol to link them to your site in return. It is amazing how fast the internet works and I believe it is well worth the effort to have a website.

I look at my website as my main advertising tool. It is the best way to show a client what you have to offer. I recommend you include a biography of your art life and/or an artist statement of some kind on your website. These are informative to the viewer and let them know how you feel about your art. It gives them an indication of your dedication to art.

I am including my daughter's email and the email of his best friend they will be happy to work with you and design your website for you. If you decide to contact them please put webdesign info in the subject line to help them recognize your email.

Jasmine Hegman email

Nicholas Johnson email
I hope this will help you get a website up and running. It will give you a web presence and a sense of accomplishment to see your work online and have thousands get to enjoy it.

As always thank you for reading my blog and have a great week!

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14, 2008 Reference Photos

Flight Risks

by Cathy Hegman

Reference photos are good for generating ideas. I am fortunate enough to have a son that takes great photos. Reference material should be copyright free or if not you should obtain permission to use the photograph. More often than not I like to include animals in my work . My son, Thomas Hegman takes really nice photos of animals and has quite a few, so when I need one I call him and inquire about a particular animal that I need for reference. The bird series of paintings continues, but I am trying to incorporate different birds in the series so I decided on penguins.In the above painting the penguins are residents of the Memphis Zoo and Thomas had photographed them on a trip to the zoo last summer. I was particularly intrigued with the idea that my son, Thomas, is a pilot and the penguins are flightless birds, it gave me the perfect title of "Flight Risks". Thomas has photos online here is the link: Flickr: coolhand3011's Photostream, you can contact him if you would like to do so.

I used color to express the emotion I wanted in the painting. The emotion I was after was happy anticipation. I used warm hues of orange and yellow in the background to contrast with the normally cool climate of a penguin. You might have noticed by now that I love contrast in all aspects of my paintings, I find it gives the painting both cerebral and visual intrigue. I also challenged myself to paint these black and white birds using intense color and no black. The darkers values of the deep blues and purples form a solid connecting shape in the painting, giving is stability. The white that appears on the penguins is the lightest value and it works to lyrically lead your eye through the painting. The human eye will look for contrasts in values in a painting and will seek out like values. This is a good point to think about when you are planning your value study.

The use of color and value in the shapes that make up the painting can give your design the additive it needs to project the emotion you are after.

This painting, "Flight Risks" is watercolor and gouache on gatorboard. I have an article coming in the August issue of "Watercolor Artist" that explains this technique in detail.

Now, I am off to paint in my studio. I have had the urge to paint some canvas lately, so I am sure it will lead to new ideas and challenges. I just unpacked a shipment of wonderful acrylic paint from Nova Paint. I highly recommend them as they are very economical and extremely nice paints. If you would like to order some for yourself, the link for Nova paint is I am trying some new colors and I am anxious to see what they inspire! I will post the results next week!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6, 2008 Layers of Thoughts

"Cat Tales"
by Cathy Hegman
transparent watercolor

I am intrigued by layers of color. I think it adds depth to a painting both physically and visually. I don't always paint exclusively in layers but I do find I tend to layer some area of every painting. I paint with water media and it is most certainly more agreeable to layers since the drying time between layers is minimal. Layers just add a little something extra to a piece, by creating a depth of color that cannot be exactly named. The most interesting colors are the ones you cannot quite describe with words. They attain a mystery all their own.The layers are also the historical marks you leave on the painting; they are references to a time and place in the creation of the painting. I love to layer one area and have an adjacent area opaque. I find the contrast of the two gives a bit of a vibration to the eye and keeps the painting from being stagnant and dull.
In the above painting, "Cat Tales", layers were used throughout the painting to create not only interesting colors but also to give texture to the piece. I used transparent watercolor only and left the white of the paper as my contrasting opaque passages.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when layering in watercolor or acrylic.
Layer over a dry area. If you attempt to layer before the area is dry you will have not a layer but a mixture of color. It can be quite useful but I think the layers have more depth and brilliance.

Use only transparent or translucent pigments. These are usually marked either on the tube or in the description of the product. The transparency allows the under hue to show through, much like stained glass allows the light through. The translucent pigments give a milky, misty thin layer over the under layer and create a nice transition to the areas around it while still letting the under layer appear.

Keep in mind when you layer the colors opposite each other on the color wheel or the complementary colors they will create more neutralized layers.

When you layer a warm color with a cool color it will cool the painting down and vice versa. You can contrast warm and cool areas in the painting as well as the hues and create vibrancy an interest.
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30, 2008 Commissions

Cathy Hegman
acrylic on canvas

All artists at some point paint commissioned paintings. This is a different animal as compared to going to the studio and painting what is in your mind and heart. A commission can be used to express yourself and your client at the same time. Usually and hopefully, if not always, a client will be familiar with your work and your style and will want you to express that in the commissioned piece. In the majority of commissions that I have painted, the client simply wants it to be personal, this could mean in the hues, subject matter, size, or the content and thought behind the painting. It is exponentially harder to do a commissioned piece than one you are painting to place in a gallery. There is always the thought in your mind during the process that you have guidelines to follow. this can be very limiting if you permit it. The key is to maintain the guidelines but not allow that to cloud your artistic eye. I look at the guidelines as a challenge for my mind to create something that integrates what the client wants and what I feel the painting should express. This opens the door of creativity in your mind and gives you the freedom to paint. Art is all about challenges for your mind and hands, if it were not a challenge we would probably tire of painting all together.

The painting above,"RedBirds",is a recent commission I painted. My client wanted a large painting for her den, to be placed above the fireplace. I made the initial visit and measured the space and determined that we needed a 48 x 48 inch painting. She gave me her guidelines: it was to be somewhat abstract, she and her husband love birds and would like to express the feeling, and it needed to stay in the realm of hues that would complement her home which is predominantly earthtones. Since I have known the client for many years I knew her nickname growing up was "Red Bird", this was my inspiration for the piece. I sent her emails discussing the prospect of using the theme "Red Birds" and she was delighted because it tied her personally to the piece and the redbirds would reflect she and her husband's love of birds. The painting was a delight to paint, as the subject matter of birds is one of my favorite ones to paint.

As a caveat, I would like to mention that when you send emails of your art, you should remember all monitors may not represent the art as it truly appears. It would be wise to print out a copy of the artwork and mail the hardcopy. This will insure that you get a true representation to the client so that they can make any suggestions to you about the work that might warrant changing or tweaking.

At the completion of the painting, I delivered it. It was so rewarding to see the painting placed in its surroundings and to see the joy on the clients face. These are the moments that we are blessed to be able to share.

I believe if we strive to achieve a connection with others through our paintings then our art will have acheived the ultimate goal. Art is not just decoration, although it is great if it matches the sofa, rather it is a means of connectivity, it serves to please the eye and also to comfort the soul.

  1. Visit the Client

  2. Ask to see the area the painting will be placed

  3. Talk to the client about expectations: ask what the he or she would like the piece to communicate, if there are any special requests for subject matter or if they would like a non objective piece, determine the size and colors that they prefer. Get a general feel for the lifestyle and of the client by looking at their surroundings.

  4. The key to the interview is keep the lines of communication as clear as possible.

  5. Discuss price and delivery

  6. Stay in contact with the client while you work on the piece and let them know the progress of the painting, this serves to reassure them and to keep the connection to the painting strong. This can be by email, snail mail, or just phone calls.

  7. If at all possible be there to deliver it and help with the installation. It is very rewarding for you but the client will value your input and help. Afterall, they chose you to paint it for them and they will want to share the experience with you.

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How do I come up with subjects to paint?

Something Fishy IV
by Cathy Hegman

This is where the creativity begins. In order to find inspiration I just open my eyes. It is everywhere. Just as an example, take the photo of the river in the previous post. I moved back out to the farm 2 years ago when my youngest son left for college. This move stirs many emotions for me. I feel the isolation of the move from the city to the country, the unknown of what is ahead for me with no more children at home, the physical seperation from my children, etc. The list goes on and on. I look for things around me that can symbolize the emotion I am feeling. The river as a body of water is home to fish of all kinds and other creatures yet it moves constantly. That movement is metaphorical to my life always moving, discovering, growing never static. I like to use animals as symbols and metaphors for events in my life and to mimic my human emotions. The subject that comes to mind in this instance is fish. Aha! now we have the subject to paint, the door is wide open for our interpretation of the subject. When I lived in town I had two fish ponds in my back yard with Koi fish in them. I enjoyed them so much so now they represent joy to me, not to mention I loved drawing and painting them. Their colors were intense and seemed to have been painted on by an artist. I will use the Koi fish as my subject. I like to paint in a series. I usually try to vary some aspect of the painting to make it common to the others in the series yet stand on its own as a painting alone as well. I have a demo on my website ( of the technique I used on these paintings. The painting at the top is the latest in the series "Something Fishy IV",it is acrylic on canvas. I used warm colors to paint the cold blooded fish this is another way to use contrast in your paintings. I find contrast adds a great deal to the meaning behind your paintings. I use my work to communicate emotions and feelings. I very seldom paint totally in representationally or photographically. I admire the technique of the photo realists, but my goal is not to reproduce something I see but to interpret what I feel about the subject.Now to recap the lesson here on finding subject matter or inspiration.
1. look around you.
2. Relate your life to what you see around you at this point in time.
3. Study the emotions that come from this linkage of your surroundings to your emotions.
4. Paint the subject in the way you feel and don't get caught up in the subject itself, but dwell more on the emotion you feel. This will allow you to paint with your heart and hand.Thank you for reading and take care!
All artwork and photography on this blog is solely created and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and may not be reproduced or used without Cathy Hegman's written permission.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 22, 2008 Day One

Art Right outside my back door, the Big Sunflower River. The rivers here have been at flood stage for some time now. Even in adversity the river is beautiful.

Well a little introduction about my blog. I am an artist, who lives in a very rural area. The isolation is good for painting but bad for interaction with others. I decided to use cyberspace as a link to others. I hope I can give some helpful tips and pass on what I have discovered on my journey in art. I truly believe if we don't share our knowledge with others we have left no lasting mark on this earth. Art is meant to be shared. So please let me know what you think of the blogs I post and ask me questions about art and I will try to answer them to my best ability.