I stopped by Strathmore to see what art show they had up a few weeks ago. Interestingly the exhibit was about home, which I have been thinking a lot about. There were so many artists represented and they all had different interpretations of the theme. There were all sorts of different art media and techniques: sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, abstract, representational, conceptual. It just showed how different everyone’s experience of home is.
Some topics involved with home were immigration, natural disaster, the suburbs, family, and familiar things like coffee. It was clear that there was a divide between artists. Some seemed more anxious about home while others gave the impression of it being a happy place. I think the idea of home can be complicated. There are so many things that happen when you’re growing up both inside and outside your control. I was happy to see such a diverse representation of the subject.
Moving clockwise from the top left image work is titled and made by: Sea Rise by George Lorio, Old Fashioned Letter by Stefanie Stark, Marla; At Home in America by Lulu Delacre, My Heart by Kimberley Bursic, Ritual by Kelly Bell, Bird Polyptic: Thrush, Mockingbird, Nuthatch, Wren by Liz Aukamp LaGarde, Trapped Inside This House by Emily Shepardson.
I went through my parent’s photo collection and painted a number of family portraits, the two below being the last ones. I was drawn to the light in the images and the expressions. I like that people were relaxed. Looking through family photos allowed me to see interesting moments and a lot of moments that I did not remember or had not experienced.
I think I’m at the end of my portrait spree for now and the use of my parent’s photo collection. I will have to see where inspiration takes me next.
“In Shadow” 2020
“Happy Moment” 2019
One of the great things about where I’m living is how close it is to DC and DC’s museums. I’ve been making a habit of visiting the National Gallery and the Smithsonian. Additionally I’ve been doing some reading on art history. Mostly, about the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
The National Gallery had exhibits on photography and on pastel drawing. The photos displayed were a little later then the daguerrotype, discovered in 1939. They were on paper, instead of silver plates. It’s still fun to see all those people in bowler hats and the landscapes that photographers were drawn to. Also interesting to note that several photographers in the show were painters.
The pastels displayed from the end of the 19th century (and a few from the 20th century) and some of the paintings from the museums permanent collection were fun to look at too. And Degas and Manet create such engaging subjects. I’m assuming they used photography. And of course it was fun to see the museum’s permanent collection as well.
I’m not sure how all of this is influencing my art except to say I feel less guilty about using so many photos. I think I will be sticking with portraiture for awhile.
“Mystery” acrylic on canvas
The end of 2019 has been really exciting for me. I had one solo art show in Brookland, DC and participated in a large group show in Silver Spring, MD. In keeping with this trend I am starting the new year with a group show in Annapolis, MD. It is a privilege and a thrill to have my painting, Mystery, accepted into Maryland Federation of Art’s Winter Member Show. There were 61 entries accepted out of 438. The reception will be January 12th from 3 to 5pm. The exhibit is up from January 4th through the 20th. The address of the gallery is Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis MD 21401.
I am looking forward to the new year and hope to pursue more art related activities. 🙂
In this past year I have been drawn to painting my friends and family. I paint from photos. I think I like them because they connect me to past moments. That is why I like the snap shot instead of an official looking portrait.
I am currently working on a double portrait of an aunt and cousin of mine. For me it’s nostalgic. It’s from a visit we had when I was a child. I found it looking through old photos. I don’t remember what was going on at the time but my connection to the people in the portrait draws me in.
Kristin’s Valentine to Life
I painted this portrait of my friend Kristin. I am constantly inspired by her and feel so fortunate to be her friend. Below is her description of her struggles but also, I hope, a testament to what she has overcome.
Was very ill and had several unsuccessful surgeries. Gradually lost ability to walk, developed cerebellum damage, and went into organ failure. After a final life-saving surgery in 2014, have been in recovery, relearning how to walk and function. Because was so ill, recovery included developing epilepsy. Very frequent seizures caused further damage in left temporal lobe, making it impossible to continue 12-year career in international development and so changed careers. Currently an LMT in WV.
For me, sometimes things are more beautiful in process than they are finished. It’s about their potential. When I’m working on something I don’t know how it is going to turn out in the end. Sure, I have an idea and I might even be trying to emulate something I see. But there are endless decisions in the process of making art, and painting and drawing allow a lot of spontaneity.
Eugene is my elephant. He has been with me since before college which says a lot because college was 12 years ago. It’s possible that he came in a happy meal. The print above was his first appearance in my work. It was an assignment for my printmaking class at Drew and I think I was having a very hard time deciding what to make images of in that class. That is the foundation of my relationship with this stuffed elephant. I draw him when I have no idea about what to draw…and squares sometimes.
Now Eugene has his own shelf in my studio. He sits right behind where I paint my pictures, quietly. He makes appearances on my instagram account on occasion too.
Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work with some private schools including my alma mater, Sandy Spring Friends School. I just did a couple of paintings for them. I’m hoping to capture the spirit of the school or at least the sense that I got of it while I was there. Below are the paintings.