EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Maggie Stoller

Artist Maggie Stoller

Who and where are you?

Hi, I’m Maggie Stoller. I am a self-taught artist from a family of artists and musicians, and art has always been a part of my life. I have 3 brothers, and 2 sisters. I’m the fifth, with one younger brother. My early years were spent on a farm in Kansas, then we moved to Iowa where my parents still farm today. My father started teaching me to draw when I was around 4 years old. He was all about detail, and I learned a great deal from him growing up. I remember spending countless hours in my room sketching all kinds of animals on paper bags, typing paper, anything I could draw on, just trying to be as good as he was. Without his guidance in my early years, I would not be the artist I am today.

I was a graphic artist for a magazine for several years in Scottsdale, AZ. I have painted on a lot of canvas, and after 40 years of trial and error, painting in different mediums, I feel I have finally hit my stride in my art career. I paint animals on Arizona river rocks with great care, paying special attention to the eyes and fur.  Animals have always been my favorite choice to paint, but I will be expanding my horizons to paint other things in the future. There is just something so relaxing about using nature-made river rocks as my canvas. All the different shapes and sizes are endless, and the coolness and how smooth they feel in your hand is calming. The only thing I won’t paint is people, but other than that I will try anything, and basically paint on anything that doesn’t move.

I am married and we have lived in sunny Arizona for over 10 years and now live on 2 acres in the beautiful desert with surrounding mountains, far west of Phoenix. I get to enjoy the natural wildlife outside my studio window every day. Yesterday, I saw a roadrunner run right past my window. We have prairie dogs scampering around, horny toad lizards that squirt blood out their eyes if they feel threatened (frightening! lol), scorpions, and hummingbirds visiting our feeders daily. I am so blessed to look out on this beautiful scenery every day.

Eagle Rock by Maggie Stoller

How did you get started in blogging?

I got started blogging after I set up my website at weebly.com about 6 months ago. I had never had a website or blogged before and wasn’t sure if I could capture an audience with all of my daily babbling and posts, but saw quickly that people were interested. I figured if I was just myself…like talking to a bunch of good friends…invisible as they might be, that it would be a good approach to do my blog. Although, people don’t leave a lot of comments, I see that hundreds of people visit my site every week from my Google Analytics reports, plus I’m getting a lot of commissioned work.

Jaguar by Maggie Stoller

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

My advice to other people regarding blogging…is to just be yourself. Post photos of your work in progress, how you are feeling about your project, your favorite quotes, give some tips, what your cat or dog did today, be silly and don’t take yourself so seriously, etc. People love to see the process of art from start to finish and they want to know you as a real person that they can relate to. Don’t be stuffy, be approachable. I’m not a writer, and I’m sure my grammar and punctuation is not always correct on my blog. That’s the least of my worries. lol

If you don’t have a website, get one. Weebly.com is free and easy to use with thousands of templates to get you going. Get Google Analytics to see who visits your site every day. It doesn’t show names, but does show what pages are being looked at the most, and what city, state or continent your visitors are coming from, and how many people come to your site each day. This information is very useful and can show you which pages you may want to tweak a bit so more people hit on those pages. It also shows which pages your visitors like the most, which is also a good thing. I have had visitors from all over the world, and only have 7 more states in the U.S. to get to visit. Valuable information to have for your site.

I also have a Facebook business page. I have gotten so much commissioned work from networking every week than I ever got by going to art shows in my entire career. I know as artists that the business side can be daunting and we don’t think we are good at it. We just want to be left alone to paint because that’s what we do best. But, if you don’t get yourself out there and pound the pavement on the internet, people just aren’t going to find you or stay interested if you don’t remind them now and then that “Hey! Remember me? I’m that girl that paints on rocks!”

Get on Etsy, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and any networking site you can find. There are tons of blog networks on Facebook. I set aside time every day to network so people always know what I’m working on and new items in my online gallery. Also have a business card made and lay them out everywhere while you are out and about. I’ve left them in restaurants, my bank, at my Dr.’s office, handed them out to perfect strangers, and always throw a few in each package I ship out. I am relentless, but it’s working.

Llama by Maggie Stoller

Do you have any rituals associated with your creative time?

My daily ritual is getting up, having a couple cups of coffee, then getting into the studio. I don’t listen to music oddly enough while I’m painting in my studio. I always have the TV on. My favorite channels are Discovery, History, NatGeo, and anything to do with nature and wildlife. I think because I grew up in such a large family I need to hear talking in the background. lol

Baby Rhino by Maggie Stoller

What can we expect next from you studio?

I’m always trying to come up with new ideas for the river rocks, so I’m always sketching things to try out. I have a 4-inch binder full of ideas and the possibilities are endless. Lately, I’ve had a lot of back-to-back commissions. The commission I finished last week was for a 9 pound dinosaur doorstop rock for a little boys room, which was a lot of fun to paint. I have 3 upcoming commissions. One is for a BMW cartoon race car rock, and the 2nd is for a hamster rock, and the 3rd is a portrait of a greyhound dog rock. I’m going to be pretty busy for awhile.

So to all of my EBSQ fellow artists…keep putting out your beautiful work. The world is a better place because of it, and thank you EBSQ for having such a wonderful site and art community for all of us to show our work!

http://www.riverrockart.net/

Thank you Maggie for being an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!

If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?

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EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Gretchen Del Rio

This week’s EBSQ Blogger of the Week creates some of the most memorable wildlife paintings in watercolor. Her gentle washes are soothing to soul. You won’t easily forget her powerful paintings.

Gretchen Del Rio

Who and where are you?

My name is Gretchen Del Rio. I live in Crestline, California which is about 70 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino  mountains.

Cat and a Poppy by Gretchen Del Rio

 

How did you get started art blogging?

A artist friend of mine interested me because of her art blog. For a year I just listed my paintings. Then I began to include my comments. I have met some very interesting people through my blog.

War Horse by Gretchen Del Rio

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

I consider myself a beginner blogger. I just discovered tags a few months ago. I always answer comments that other bloggers make about my uploads. I like to acknowledge their interest and the time that has been put into commenting about my artwork.

Midnight Snow by Gretchen Del Rio

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?

Enya is my favorite music to play when I paint. I like to ‘plug in’ so as not to hear anything else. It always ‘takes me away.’ I also like Andrea Bochelli, Cat Stevens, sound track of Frida, Jai Uttal, Wa. A friend of mine gave me some most valuable advice many years ago concerning painter’s block. “Always leave your work table with unfinished work on it.” The painting will drag you back and allow you to reinsert yourself into the creative process. It works. I have extended this process to music. When I can’t quite sit down to paint, I listen to the music that I played the day before while I was painting. It works.

Eggs by Gretchen Del Rio

What’s coming next from your easel?

Next painting I have planned is a coyote wearing a blanket. Probably an 8 x 10. I have the drawing and the painting is knocking around in my head pleading to be let out. I have been painting mostly aceos for awhile now and will continue to do so. It’s nice to finish  a little piece in a short amount of time. It is a challenge for me to change size. You know….it alters everything…brush size, amount of paint mixed and technique. However, I miss the stretching and tearing of paper that I don’t do when I paint the miniatures. And I need a challenge right about now. Everything is always changing. What I created a year ago doesn’t look like what I paint today. Involuntary evolution. Keeps things alive and fresh.

http://gretchendelrio.wordpress.com

Thank you Gretchen for being an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!

If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?

EBSQ Spotlight on Animal & Wildlife Art: Kerry Lynn Nelson

This month’s featured gallery is Animal & Wildlife Art, easily one of our most-populous galleries at EBSQ.  Throughout April, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our most popular animal artists:

Kerry Lynn Nelson

Stallion! - Kerry Lynn Nelson
Stallion! - Kerry Lynn Nelson

Painting animals has always been my passion. Since early childhood I’ve felt a very deep emotional, almost spiritual empathy for nature that I have always tried to convey in my artwork.

Majestic big cats, or, small rodents and reptiles, deer and antelope, and of course, the horse! I can almost feel what it might be like to be them sometimes, in my imagination…like a cougar, perhaps;

Weaving silently through dark trees and the cover of rock and shrub, she moves gracefully towards a spring, cautious and methodically searching. Then, upon a first glimpse of possible prey, a visceral reaction of flowing saliva and dilating pupils and she freezes motionless and breathless so not to warn of her presence. With unrelenting focus, every movement calculated, and, every advantage of cover taken, she begins the stalk.

Or, it might be the wild horses;

They gallop for sheer joy with nostrils flaring red and eyes wild in mock fear, playing at dominance with a ferocious countenance and pounding hooves. Finding comfort in strength and speed, and, the closeness of their kind, the young stallions, with a fierceness of longing pounding in their hearts, and, surrounded with forage from horizon to horizon, still hunger at the scent of wild grass just over the next hill.

I can feel them as if I am one, living as they do. I use that fantasizing to come up with ideas for new paintings. Horses were always my favorite and are still my most beloved muse. I paint many, many horses, some portraits of someone’s beloved pet, but, most are just figments of my imagination that paused long enough in their wanderings through my grey matter for me to capture them in oils, or, graphite. I’m influenced by all I see about me, things I see, hear, or, read about, and, my inspirations may come from totally unrelated sources to the subject of my painting, but, they somehow spark an image that I may prod and work around in my mind until I have to put it to paper, and, maybe if it is strong enough, to paint.

Many of my paintings tell stories with little dramas in paint, and some express an emotion, a motion, or, a purity and beauty of form. Some paintings are exercises in painting whereby the subject is actually the process, and, the animals depicted are just vehicles for the study of color and values, composition, texture, and, line. Regardless of my painting intentions, however, animals, and especially horses, are nearly always a big part of the picture. I’ve tried painting other subject matter, and, even other styles including pure non-objective abstraction, but, I always found these uninspiring and cold. I always come back, without apology, to my true passion in art, the horse! – Kerry Lynn Nelson

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EBSQ Spotlight on Animal & Wildlife Art: Janelle Dixon

This month’s featured gallery is Animal & Wildlife Art, easily one of our most-populous galleries at EBSQ.  Throughout April, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our most popular animal artists:

Janelle Dixon

The Rabbit And The Moon - Janelle Dixon
The Rabbit And The Moon - Janelle Dixon

I have been able to draw animals ever since I could pick up a pencil. Everything I do, including painting, is self taught. I have never had an art lesson in my life. I am not exactly sure how I came to it, but I know it was natural. Its something I have been doing for most of my life. As a kid, I grew up on my grandparents farm, where I was constantly around them. I would draw some the animals that lived on the farm. Others, I would make up on my own.

As I got older I got involved with 4H. Where I was allowed to exhibit and show my artwork. I earned quite a few ribbons, honorable mentions, and even a couple of best in shows just by exhibiting at the fair every year. Now that I am out of 4H, I show animal art at three local county fairs in the fall in their open class exhibits. It’s a lot of fun, and helps me keep things new and interesting since a lot of my work is done to compete in their classes. I have also earned a couple of best in shows, and a best in division just by showing in the animal sections.

Getting involved with EBSQ and Ebay groups like Art for Critters, and Animal Loving Artists has also helped me keep things fresh and new. The weekly and monthly challenges are a lot of fun. Some of the proceeds from the art sales do help benefit the animals.

They are my favorite subject to draw and paint. I find them to be very challenging, unique and beautiful creatures to capture on canvas.

Janelle Dixon

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EBSQ Spotlight on Animal & Wildlife Art: Robert Wolverton Jr. & Evie Anderson

This month’s featured gallery is Animal & Wildlife Art, easily one of our most-populous galleries at EBSQ.  Throughout April, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our most popular animal artists:

Robert Wolverton Jr.

Red Fish - Robert Wolverton Jr
Red Fish - Robert Wolverton Jr.

First of all I like to get inspiration from the things I like to do, which is fishing, camping, mountain biking, etc. I like to observe all the animals that you see and watch just how funny and people like they are. When painting my fish I try to transport myself to that stream and hear the babble of the brook and the smell of honeysuckle and the chirping of the birds. When I paint my pet portraits (usually dogs) I try to get to meet the pup if possible and get to see them in action. Capturing their attitude and spirit is important, this can be done as well by the owner’s description. All animals are different, just like people, and I like to focus on the individuality of each animal. The best part of painting wildlife is actually not the painting itself but the time spent getting inspiration in the outdoors. – Robert Wolverton Jr.

p.s. take a kid fishing

Evie Anderson

Hello Sunshine - Evie Anderson
Hello Sunshine - Evie Anderson

Animals are pure. No inhibitions. No affectations. They communicate with their eyes and their bodies; no language needed. When we take the time to be still and watch, there is much to learn from these wonderfully intuitive creatures. – Evie Anderson

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EBSQ Spotlight on Animal & Wildlife Art: Valerie Brock & Cyra Cancel

This month’s featured gallery is Animal & Wildlife Art, easily one of our most-populous galleries at EBSQ.  Throughout April, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our most popular animal artists:

Valerie Brock

Pedal... Pedal... Pedal... - Valerie Brock
Pedal... Pedal... Pedal... - Valerie Brock

Animals have always been fascinating to me. As a little girl I wondered quite often what went on in the minds of my pets and often gave tea parties in the back yard in their honor, I remember several times trying to put my doll dresses on my kittens. The inspiration for much of my art comes from my adorable little corgi mix Tia Maria and my tuxedo cat Miss Kitty. Corgi’s are natural clowns and my Tia is no exception. I will always believe she is the friendliest dog on the planet. I love finding humor in everyday situations, and then pulling those humorous antidotes into my little Corgi paintings. With animals, I feel free to explore and create little worlds that apart from my brush and paper… do not exist. I have spent many happy hours creating the little Corgi world in my paintings. My subject matter ranges through various breeds of dogs and cats. While I occasionally branch out to other dog breeds, I always return to my favorite subjects The Old English Sheepdog and Welsh Pembroke Corgi. One as big as the other is small! An animal lover at heart, I seek to bring a slice of humor and joy into my art, that reflects the unmitigated happiness our pets bring into our lives. My paintings are like little slices of shaggy humor, a fun way to add a lighthearted touch to any day! – Valerie Brock

Cyra Cancel

BLACK CAT - FUCHSIA FLOWERS - Cyra Cancel
BLACK CAT - FUCHSIA FLOWERS - Cyra Cancel

I was raised with many animals. I always had cats and they are still my favorite subject. Now I am living in Arizona and have had the opportunity to see many birds and wild animals that I had only seen in pictures or on television in my beautiful Puerto Rico. – Cyra Cancel

Visit the Animal & Wildlife Art Gallery to see more great animal art

Like what you see here?  We hope you’ll consider leaving a comment or subscribing to one of our feeds. Never miss another cool post from EBSQ. Subscribe to EBSQ: Art Meets Blog v2.0 by Email today!

EBSQ Spotlight on Animal & Wildlife Art: Frankie Paquin

This month’s featured gallery is Animal & Wildlife Art, easily one of our most-populous galleries at EBSQ.  Throughout April, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our most popular animal artists:

Motherly Love - Grey Wolves - Frankie Paquin
"Motherly Love - Grey Wolves" - Frankie Paquin

Frankie has shared a connection with animals since growing up on her grandparents ranch as a kid and having many animal playmates. It is her love of animals that compels her to capture their beauty.

“The act of creating something beautiful makes me giddy, it makes me laugh, it makes me smile deeply, it delights my senses, from the original sketch to the final detail, every part is a joy. Seeing the happiness my artwork brings to others, however, is the reward, the affirmation, and brings real meaning to my life as an artist.” – Frankie Paquin

Visit the Animal & Wildlife Art Gallery to see more great animal art

Like what you see here?  We hope you’ll consider leaving a comment or subscribing to one of our feeds. Never miss another cool post from EBSQ. Subscribe to EBSQ: Art Meets Blog v2.0 by Email today!