Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Reading

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rasnay
a GREAT summer read!
It has been several years since I have experienced the extreme exhaustion associated with suffering through difficult circumstances. I fell into the month of June barely able to put one foot in front of the other and stumbling through my days. But alas, summer appeared, providing the opportunity to rest a bit. I am trying to be very intentional about the following things:
1. exercise
2. sleeping
3. eating healthy
4. making art
5. reading mindless fiction (aka beach reading)
6. solitude
7. praying
8. capturing precious moments with my daughters
9. spending time with authentic friends
10. taking inexpensive, quick trips out of town

It's a long list and reads much like "New Year's Resolutions." But maybe this summer is a "new year" for me! I hope so.

A Rich Week!

Here we are photographed as a class during the final crit of the week. I learned as much from my instructor as I did from classmates. It was hard to hug everyone good-bye on Saturday morning as we all departed for our returns to reality.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Experimental Drawing...Final Day

Truth be told, I worked non-stop on my portrait of Ginger to the point of overworking it by our final crit today. I think that I captured her gorgeous eyes, but didn't come close to portraying her nose and mouth. All in all, I was able to convey my love of her in this portrait.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Experimental Drawing...Day 4

sketchbook of initial drawings and proposed color palette

We remained in the studio today as the rain came tumbling down. Our assignment: a portrait in pastels. Our task was to create a portrait of a family member, close friend or self-portrait. The drawing was to be large (22" x 30") and was to include the image of the person plus an object which represented the person depicted. We were instructed to portray the face in subjective (expressive, emotional) rather than objective colors(based on observation).

In anticipation of drawing, we were asked to answer the following questions:
1. Who is the person? What is her relationship to you?

2. Is your knowledge first-hand, or is it based on information passed down through your family?
3. What characteristics of the person do you intend to express in your drawing? Are there aspects of your relationship to/with the person you would like to deal with in the drawing?
We were then asked to list 5 qualities, characteristics, or impressions of the person and/or your relationship to them. Next, we were to assign a color that we thought was associated with the characteristic.
Most of my classmates decided on a self-portrait, but for several years have not relished the idea of looking at myself in a mirror. Instead, I opted for a photo of Ginger, Amy, and me at a sorority formal in 1976. I had recently found the photo in a box of college memorabilia in my attic. I tucked the photo into my journal and carried it to Arrowmont. And so, I drew Ginger. She was breath-taking. I didn't capture her beauty, but I tried to tap into her essence. Pastels and portraits were an entirely new experience for me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 3...Emert's Cove

We left Arrowmont this morning and headed out to a private farm in Emert's Cove. A covered bridge, a babbling creek, barns, and mountain vistas made choosing a subject to focus on for a day of drawing very difficult. I chose babbling creek, barn, trees, and river rocks for my 22" x 30" charcoal. In hindsight, this was perhaps a bit too ambitious. I am cleaning it up and hope to have something presentable by Friday.

Day 2...Water Pitcher

charcoal, ink washes, pastels
We stayed in today and drew on site from gallery pieces submitted by faculty for a summer exhibition. I chose a ceramic pitcher to draw. The assigment was to draw the object and then repeat parts of the object to create a dynamic composition.

Childhood Revisited

Instructions for preparing paper for drawing:
1. Grab a handful of dirt
2. Scrub paper with dirt all over
3. Gather green leaves
4. Smear green leaves into paper
5. Gather small sticks
6. Make marks on paper with sticks
7. Find a wildflower
8. Rub petals into paper
9. Wash dirty hands in river
Oh to be a child again!

Experimental Drawing...Day 1

I don't believe that life gets any better than packing up art supplies and heading to the Great Smokies National Park to spend the day observing and drawing! Once in the park, we headed to Elkmont Trail and set up for the day. The forest was deliciously cool and damp. Our sketching assignment, however, was not your traditional assignment. We were instructed to prepare a piece of 22" x 30" paper with various grounds in light to medium values. The grounds were to be things found around us in nature: dirt, foliage, flowers, sticks, etc. What a blast! Charcoal sketches were made on top of the grounds. We returned to Arrowmont just in time for dinner and then headed to the studio to refine the drawings. Fourteen hours of art today. It doesn't get any better!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What's missing at Arrowmont?

Cheryl and Debbie! It is just not the same without you...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Packed up and ready to go!

Art materials packed. A week's worth of very casual clothes packed. Hat, hiking boots, sunscreen, and bug spray packed. Off to bed now and then on the road at 9:30 AM.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arrowmont School

Susan Davidoff
December Diary, Japanese Aralia No. 2, 2003

Early on Sunday morning, I will depart Durham on my annual pilgrimage to Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, TN. I make the trek to Arrowmont each year to take an art class that offers something new and different as a way of inspiring my own art. The class I've selected this year is an Experimental Drawing class taught by Susan Davidoff.

Susan Davidoff is a native El Pasoan who attended the University of Texas at El Paso (BFA) and New Mexico State University (MA & MFA). Her drawings, paintings and prints have been exhibited widely throughout the United States and Mexico and are included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Davidoff's work explores the intricate patterns of nature and the relationships of botanical shapes.

I will spend the week hiking and drawing in the mountains, collecting plants and mosses as subject matter. Susan will introduce us to the idea of using natural pigments from the materials gathered on the hikes, rubbing them into the surface of our drawings.

I can't wait!