We are thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with our featured artist, Ms. Margaret Owen. Ms. Owen has graciously offered to spend some time via email, videos and possibly even Skype to share her artistic knowledge with our students. Over the weekend Ms. Owen took the time to answer some questions that our kindergarteners and sixth graders posed. Below you will find her answers!
Children were shown the piece "Oranges and Limes" and then asked questions to Ms. Owen.
-It’s so pretty!
-Did you do this all on your own?
Yes I did, all of it.
-How did you get to be an artist?
I likes painting pictures and studied it in school from grade school, the way you are taking art classes now, to high school and in college too.
-How did you learn to do good art?
I learned to make good art by keeping at it. I kept making art even when it didn't look good to me.
-How did you learn to paint and draw?
I took classes in school and practiced painting and drawing from my favorite art work.
-Did you blend colors?
I blend lots of colors together. (I will send you a picture of my palette so you can see!)
-How did you paint that picture?
Three steps: First , I set up the still life by choosing some of my favorite pieces of cloth, a bowl from France that I bought with a good friend of mine and those oranges -I just love that big pile of oranges-then I sketched in the drawing of the shapes and then I painted it.
-Did someone help you?
No one helped me with this painting.
-How did you get so famous?
I try to paint every single day weather I feel like it or not. In order to have time to paint and not need to go to another job I have to sell my paintings. In order to sell my paintings I put them on the internet so people can see them and buy them. Thats how your teacher could find out about my artwork all the way across the country-through the internet.
-Can you teach me how to draw?
Yes! And so can your art teacher. The best way to learn to draw is to draw something every day and keep trying it. It is just like learning to write letters of the alphabet: practice, practice, practice.
1)Where were you when you painted that?
I painted this in my studio. My studio is in the basement of my house. Thats important because I do not have to commute and I can get a little work done at a time even after dinner or in the early morning, also I have a ten year old son, I can work in my studio while he is working on his homework or playing with legos. Having a studio at home was especially important when he was younger.
2) Why did you choose fruit to paint?
I like the bright color s of fruit.
3) What style of painting is that (with it's blurry look)?
You might call this style post impressionist because of those choppy brushstrokes and all the bright colors.
4) Why did you pick oranges instead of another fruit?
I like the color and the shape. same with the limes, the roundish shape and the color really make me want to paint them. I don't like painting the shape of apples or bananas as much (but I would like to expand my repertoire)
5) What inspired you to do this painting?
I love pattern, color and some three demential forms (the fruit and bowl) to show it off with. I wanted to make a painting that had all of those patterns in it. But I also like the solid forms of the oranges and limes which provide a contrast with the patterned cloth. Something that you might not notice with all the bright pattern and color, however, is the fact that in other ways the painting is actually kind of simple. The space, for example, isn't very deep, its only a couple of feet deep, un-like the space in a picture of a landscape or a picture of the inside of a room. Another thing: even though there are a lot of shapes and colors in the painting there are really only a few things, the tabletop, the bowl, the oranges, the limes and the background (which is a table cloth hanging on the wall of my studio). Because of this the composition is actually very simple. I like this contrast between a lot of pattern and a simple composition.
Thank you so much for your interest in my painting! The art projects that you are working on sound really creative and exciting. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are using my work as a catalyst for your own creativity.
Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach illustrations influenced the third grade students. They studied Ms. Ringgold's art and then read the book Tar Beach. Using glue and fabric they created their own quilt squares and used a quote from the book reading "in the third grade I can fly, that means I am free to go wherever I want for the rest of my life" to inspire a painting of where they would like to go. A photograph of them flying over that place finished off the piece.