Friday, August 18, 2017

Composition is King

© Robin Edmundson, 'Rusty Roof', watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 inches [Sold]


In all my art reading lately, I've been getting one message, loud and clear.

Composition is King


I've been collecting a few reminders to tack up on my studio board to help me think through things as I start a new piece.   Here they are in no particular order.  I'll keep adding to this list as I think of things.  

  • Composition is more important than technique.
  • What's your focal point?  Decide that first.
  • In every painting try to have a Master [focal point], Guest [secondary focal point], and Servant [other point of interest].
  • Simplify the shapes.
  • Make all the shapes interesting - even the negative space.   Especially the negative space.  
  • VALUE helps lead the eye around.   Make sure you've got good lights and darks.  

If Composition is King, then Value is Queen.   More on that later.

[If you liked this post, here's another list of things I remind myself when I paint.]


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Work In Progress - Bean Harvest

© Robin Edmundson, 'Bean Harvest', watercolor.  18 x 24 inches.  

This is a current work in progress.   It might be done, but I want to let it simmer for a bit.   I got the idea from a photo I took of a bean harvest last year on the highway near Worthington, Indiana.   I had a big wide view.   Two combines and a tractor with a trailer full of beans.   And lots of dust in the air.

I did an initial draft and got some expert feedback from someone who had actually driven one of those things.   He approves of this version.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Reversal of Fortune



These two beehives are the smallest in the beeyard this year.   They each have an interesting story.

The pink hive is a split from a larger hive [the blue and orange one in the back] that was bearding heavily and just decided to start building comb under the hive boxes.   Bearding is when you get a collection of bees hanging from the front entrance or sides during hot, humid days.  It's normal.

Bearding all night long, and then for days, and then weeks and building comb UNDER the boxes is not normal.   It meant a lot of pissy bees outside and a lot of extra pings for the beekeeper this season.

Eric and I decided enough was enough and we spent a miserable couple of hours removing the bees and their comb from under that hive and putting them in their own box to make themselves a new queen and new colony.    They did not come gently.

Every week for 4 weeks, I put a new comb of brood and eggs from another colony in there for them to make a new queen from.   They finally did.   And then that blasted queen refused to mate.   I checked on them week after week and finally 2 weeks ago decided to just write them off.   I couldn't find the new queen and was tired of stealing brood for them.

The green hive is a swarm we caught this year from our own hives.   It was small.   We put them in the box and they started doing what they do.  The queen was doing great, laying fine, drawing comb, etc.  Only thing was - they weren't storing any honey.   I figured they'd get the hang of it since they were increasing in size.  We are still in a flow.  There's time.

And then I walked out last week in time to see another swarm 30 feet up in a tree, very much out of reach.   Eric and I threw together a swarm trap and waiting.  The next day they came down to the trap but wouldn't go in.   They flew off again.   Then they flew back to it again.   I'd had enough watching and just put them in there.

They didn't act happy.   So I put in a frame of brood from another hive to anchor them until they got happy and then I noticed that that little green hive was awfully quiet.    Sure enough, this new swarm was that old swarm, which had absconded leaving three perfectly good frames of brood.

This is not good.   So I fed them a lot of sugar syrup and waited to see what they'd do.

Reversal of fortune.  I checked both hives today and wouldn't you know they've done a complete reversal.

The pink hive has a laying queen!   She's fat and beautiful and doing a great job.  Multiple frames of brood. They're storing plenty of honey and pollen.  This queen came from my favorite hive.  I'm hoping to see her build up and make it through the winter.

The green hive is languishing.   The queen is there, but laying multiple eggs in a cell, which the bees will take care of, but it's weird.   I put their old comb back in the hive so the could focus on laying and raising brood instead of building comb.   I'm still feeding them a lot of syrup.   I don't expect them to make it to fall, much less through the winter.

It's funny how things change.   In spite of my predictions, the bees will do what they will do.  They don't read the books or pay attention to the experts, or me.   They'll likely surprise me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 Watercolor Society of Indiana Juried Show

© Robin Edmundson, 'White Roofs',  watercolor, 10 x 14 inches.   Framed, 18 x 22 inches.  

This piece was just juried into this year's Watercolor Society of Indiana's member show.   The juror this year was Barbara Nechis.  I'm pretty excited!   I have now achieved signature status in the Watercolor Society of Indiana.  [This means I can sign the letters, WSI after my signature on my paintings.]

The WSI show will hang at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from October 8 - December 3, 2017 in the gallery across the hall from the gift shop.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Opening Night Party Report

My exhibit, 'This is my Indiana' started off with a wonderful opening night party on August 4th.   The opening coincided with the local First Friday Gallery Walk that happens every month.   We had a nice large crowd during the evening.  It was awesome!  

I owe a huge thank you to everyone who helped out at the opening:  Sally, John, Jen, Mary Beth, Eric, Claire, Lily, Sharon, Amy, Kimb. Juliann and others who stepped in to lend a hand when necessary.   Best friends and family ever.

I also want to thank the many people who stopped in to say hello and look at the art.  Artists can't continue to make art unless people  make an effort to come see it and to purchase it.  In addition, it is great to get feedback.  It's great to see how people felt about the pieces and the collection and the space.   I have many new friends who stopped in as part of the gallery walk.

Let's just start with the food, shall we?   John and Jen from the gallery provided savory snacks [the pork was fantastic!] and my friend Sally provided five different desserts, all of which disappeared during the party.  It was fabulous!


I invited pretty much everyone that I know to the party and many were able to come.  It's so much fun spending the night talking to your friends.   I had a couple of surprise visitors, too!   My sister drove down from Michigan to surprise me and my friends John and Joan came all the way from West Virginia to surprise me, too!    I have the best friends and family ever.

Here I am chatting with John and Teresa about one of the pieces.  [That's me in the purple vest.]






This area of the gallery looked so bright and cheery.   Another friend sent those gorgeous flowers on the table as a surprise.  They were the perfect colors to go with the tree studies on that wall.



Nothing makes me happier than to see people actively engaged in looking at the art.   It was interesting to see who gravitated toward which pieces.




The larger piece here, 'The mailman always brings treats', got a lot of attention and was the first piece to sell.





As the evening progressed, the place got busier and busier.   This was early on.   At one point there were more than fifty people in this area.  





People were very happy that I had brought prints and notecards featuring my art as well.    It was great seeing people carrying the prints around with them.




I think my favorite times of the night were when I saw parents looking at the art with their kids.  This dad spent a lot of time with two of his daughters looking at the pieces.

All in all, it was a very successful night and we had a terrific time! Thanks to all of you for your support!

Here are the details for the rest of the exhibit if you'd like to go see it.

Robin Edmundson:  This is my Indiana
August 4 - September 29, 2017

The Vault at Gallery Mortgage
121 E 6th St.   Bloomington, Indiana
Hours:  Monday - Friday,  9:00 am - 5:00 pm

There will be another First Friday Gallery Walk with light refreshments from 5-8pm on September 1st.   The show comes down on September 29th.    Please let me know if you have questions or are interested in a piece that you don't see on the walls.   We'll make it happen.

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