Monthly Tip

How to Resolve a Work of Art by Kathryn Nobbe
Artists often take months - even years - to create a single work of art only to find when it is finally framed, exhibited, or documented (via slides/photographs) that something in the piece is just not quite right.  Many painters have been known to sneak into their exhibition space with paintbrush in hand to tone-down a color or add another mark or two.  We wonder... how could I have missed that? 
Putting your work in a different context-be it an exhibition space, a frame, lighting, or the confines of a 3 x 2" slide or print-forces you to see your work anew.  A change in context shifts your way of seeing and comprehending your artwork, providing alternate viewpoints through which to analyze and revise it. This combination of right brain intuition with left-brain analysis is both distinctive and essential to art making.
Over ten years ago, I added a new step in my artistic process.  I started taking digital photos of my artwork at different stages in its' development. This was especially helpful when I was having problems resolving a formal compositional issue-or even when the piece was (for all intents and purposes) "finished". 
This process was a revelation for me. Condensing the piece to a smaller scale shifted my perception by minimizing details, helping me to focus on the entirety of the composition. I would sometimes print multiple images on paper and painted or drew on the thumbnails-making subtle changes, at times changing major elements of the piece.  Not only was this process helpful in resolving problems particular to the piece, but it also fortuitously lead to a larger series of paintings. 
Later, I began to download the files and manipulate them on my computer.  Simple photo software will allow you to duplicate the file and change it to black and white so you can see tonal relationships more clearly.  You can try any number of filters on it: blur it, turn it upside down, reverse the image, etc.  Depending on your software you can add or alter shapes, texture, or color relationships on screen.  Ultimately, you may be satisfied with what you are seeing, or you may decide to make some changes.  This process allows you explore and discover things about your work that you may never have noticed.
You don't have to have fancy equipment or software to do this. Remember, it doesn't need to be a high-resolution image-a photo taken with your cell phone will suffice.  An "old fashioned", film camera will work, too-it'll just take a bit longer to get your images back from the photo lab.  This all might seem like a lot of extra work, but I can say with assurance it has made my artwork better.  As I grow and face new challenges as an artist, I often think of these words by writer Norman MacLean: All good things come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy.

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What's Happening in the Art Leagues and Societies...
See what events are going on in Art Leagues and Societies for this month. If you don't see your Art League or Society below, be sure to email us and we'll do our best to get your event in next month. For more information on the following events, click on the links:
American Society of Marine Artist'  30th Anniversary traveling exhibit will be at the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, N.J. from Nov. 13 - Feb. 22, 2009. Following New Jersey, the exhibit will travel to Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, S.C. March 3 - May 2, 2009 then the New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, MA from June 7 - September 5, 2009.  You can also visit for more information.

Art League of Ocean City is having their "Best of the Best"
event Deceber 2-28 from 5-7 p.m. Twenty award-winning artists will display their work. This event is free and open to the public. 

Lexington Art League has the answer for presenting your holiday presents. During two weekends in December, bring your holiday presents and have them wrapped to their fullest potential by the most creative wrappers of all - ARTISTS.
Happy Holidays to you from Watermen Art
Issue: 3
Mahl Bridge and Clamps

Kathryn Nobbe
Kathryn Nobbe
Saint Paul, MN
Kathryn Nobbe is a painter and mixed media installation artist based in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  She earned her MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota and has created a number of public artworks, including a large-scale outdoor mural for the Pillsbury House in Minneapolis
For more of Kathryn's work, you can visit her website at

Product(s) Kathryn uses:
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