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 Hegman
Detail of Casting Lines by Cathy Hegman


On Fathers Day, with both boys far away, I spent the day fishing with my husband. The boys 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?

Parallax

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, Cliff, 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 http://www.cathyhegman.com/, 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 son'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.

Cliff Hegman email hegpetz@gmail.com

Nicholas Johnson email fujcycle13@gmail.com
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 http://www.novapaints.com/. 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.
1.
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.

2.
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.

3.
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.

4.
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.