Monday, April 16, 2018

My favorite Architecture Student

I am so inspired by the work that a freshman Architecture student is making...

 ....its true the freshman architecture student  is my son  and I might be wearing my bias on my sleeve but his models and drawings are really lovely!   Proud mama!

Madonna of the Snow

 About two weeks ago I started a painting ‘Madonna of the tipped basket’.... I thought I would go back out today to continue but we had a beautiful snowstorm.    So I began a new painting ‘Madonna of the Snow’....  if I can remember the beauty of today I will count myself very fortunate.   Such a magical day...thank you Pat for coming out to take a photos; you looked beautiful in the snow!

My Pal Windzy!

Accumulations on Windzy and on me...its like the sky is painting us white and I am painting my panel white!   Metaphysical moment!
 I went inside to let my hands thaw a bit and to get the melted water off my palette.... I kept trying to clear it of snow.  You can see the bottom of the "Madonna of the Tipped Basket" just above the palette.
Back outside with some grey layers...snow stopped for a while but then became ice balls... 

I went back out for one more session after this ...I am hoping to go back out tomorrow after school...but if not I think I can finish from memory...I made some notes on falling snow...I am excited to put it in!  (Yes, the composition is a golden rectangle...some of my early armature will become more subtle as I finish the painting...the light is so ambient...color very low chroma...lots to do).

Windzy is such good company!   I wish the snow could continue for a while... but I guess its April and the plants and birds are ready for Spring!

In class

 I started a quick demo for students the other day of our model Joseph .   Green paper with conte.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Ander's Stick Cantata"

A friend asked me for images of my painting "Ander's Stick Cantata" from 2013 so I thought I would just post them here...little blast from the past!

This photo is a little dark but this is the jist of the painting.  My neighbor "built" the stick beautiful.  I loved the potential energy of it... 60x40" oil on canvas
The wonderful poet Pat Moran helped me carry the painting out each day... we walked from our house down the block and then down the yard.  You can see the stick pile down by the river...It is super hot out but I am wearing my long clothes to prevent being bit up!
Detail...  Milwaukee Art Museum has the "Woodcutter" and even when I was painting abstractly I would go in and look at that painting and my heart would say to me ..."if only you could paint like that".  It is so gratifying to try.

Little tiny pre study I did about 6x8 inches and I did one post study...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Wonderful Students!

I am very moved to have been nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award...I have been nominated a couple of times before but this year I won the College Award.  It makes me feel great!  Here a couple of pictures of my students because without them, I am not a teacher.
Working on our Drawing Awareness Project

Drawing in the studio...drapery and contemporary cast diptychs

Diptychs in the hallway.

Lovely crown!

Look at the skeleton reflected in the silver tray!

Wonderful painting 1 student with her painting of her dog!

The Nick Cave Posse!

The other Nick Cave Posse 

Best audience yet: my work is presented to young children in underserved schools.

I sent this print of my painting (from the La Napoule Residency) to the US foundation and they are going to share it with some of the young students from underserved schools.  The foundation is working to give children greater access to the arts!  I feel 'over the moon happy' that my work has found this audience.  Another way in which this residency just keeps on giving!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Composition and Momento Mori

The great momento mori paintings of the past are wonderful at reminding us of our mortality.  My painting "The Country of Sunlight, The Village of Milkweed" 48x30" oil on panel is in part a momento mori painting composed within a golden rectangle.  I have been talking with my students about composition so I thought I would post a bit about the basic compositional ideas in this one.  
 A beam of light or a partially covered window in the momento mori tradition suggests the sublime light of the heavens.  The window in my painting reflects the trees and sky and is placed at the top of the arc.  The top arc in the golden rectangle was also a signifier for divinity and the heavens.  I simplified the information of the wall of the house in that top arc and as it moves toward the upper corners of the painting to be atmospheric and not quite concrete like a wall... light and air itself instead of something receiving light.
 The composition was intentional in its design and in what it meant.  I placed the hose in the lower left right on the rule of thirds just inside the shadow, like a snake.  How much water we use to suit our pleasure instead of our basic needs.  The pot is empty. Instead the plants are the natural self seeders of our area.  The girl and the milkweed share a relationship.  The girl is intended to be a guardian, holding the milkweed, still planted, like a staff.

 In momento mori paintings there is typically a skull to remind us of the finite corporal reality of our bodies...our mortality.  In my painting I used the top abstract arc to be the "dome of the heavens" and the top of a suggested skull.  The lower window is the eye socket and the plants coming up through the cracks, the teeth.

I have slightly darkened the image:  Can you see the skull as you simultaneously see the life?  With the milkweed plant pointing toward the window with the reflection of sky and trees and the girl standing with the beauty of nature; a guardian for what is good and true and beautiful.

 I attempted to make the girls face communicate an expression that was at once innocent and knowing...Joy is what I was after...not the fleeting expression of happiness but an expression that communicates that even in the midst of difficulty I am loved and have the capability to love.

It is hard to see the surface details in these images.  One area I need to get better at is photographing my work.  For my students who occasionally look at my blog I hope this encourages you to think through your compositions.  By the way this is the third time I was nominated for the teaching excellence award for the College of Communication and the Arts ... a big thank you to the students who wrote letters of support!    I am so grateful to all the young people I have had the pleasure to work with!  Life may end but while we live it there is so much to be grateful for!