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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Starting off Basel art fair week with home grown student show

 For one night only, we hosted a pop up event! One hundred works of art, juried by visiting RISD scholar. We had a couple violin musicians in the corner...
 A poetry reading...

plenty of Art fans and good food!


(wow, my feet hurt.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

This is not a peaceful protest

Wall map from History classroom AFTER water added

added the Great Lakes
 I started the holiday week by staying late after school to "fix" the wall mural that had been installed in a History classroom. The map was frustratingly inaccurate, featuring Iceland as large as Africa, and eliminating all the major water sources that civilization (and wars) have depended on! The professor had asked me to correct the map as much as possible, without totally repainting it. Researching the lakes and river shapes beforehand I noticed how the sizes and shapes have changed over time. For example, it was hard to get a good idea of the coastline of the Aral Sea because it is drying up so fast, and I only hope that the lakes in north Africa are accurate today. The professor and I decided not to add the rivers as they would be too small in scale.
But imagine a world without rivers!!!
That's what the Native Americans are doing as they protest the Energy Transfer Partners oil pipeline along the shores of the longest river in the USA. The Native Americans, calling themselves "water protectors" have been protesting the pipeline as a risk hazard since April in courts and now on the ground when the pipeline was first moved further from the city (because of risk!) to the edges of the reservation. They contend that the quick permits did not allow for complete environmental hazard evaluation. The pipeline, (that is to move frack-sourced oil), crosses the Missouri river twice and is laid on top of the worlds biggest aquifer! Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200 and leave your thoughts at this site about the importance of untainted water access for the future of us and this planet.
This protest is not a peaceful protest... the Indians have 5 different state police forces, the national guard, Oil Transfer Partners' private militia, and the injustice of all of history to face. Stand with them or look away, but there is nothing peaceful about this assault on our common and most basic resource.


Flaming Blue Heart descending from Clouds

I am calling the Whitehouse 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 to ask Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers permit. You can also call Lee Hanse and Glenn Emory both Executive VP of Energy Transfer Partners  210-403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com or 210-403-6762 Glenn.emery@energytransfer.com

Friday, November 25, 2016

Some Holiday Decorating

My prayer flags

I always feel a little crafty around this time of year! The season of winter feasts, where we clean up the house and fill the kitchen with goodies, inspires me to bring out the tissue, ribbons and sewing needles.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Healing Power of Art

It's important for me to share what I can, and use my work to help others make sense of the (mostly) senseless. With this week off from teaching, I am in the studio inviting others to drop by and throw color at the wall. No experience necessary! I even have a collection of symbols that can speak for the voiceless.

Let your inner child out!
ALSO BIG NEWS!!!: I've just been accepted onto the Healing Power of Art online gallery http://www.healing-power-of-art.org/tilly-strauss/ run by Renee Phillips through the Manhattan Arts International. She fuels her website and newsletter by focusing on the positive aspects of creative mark-making and the joy of building communities.

I am thrilled to have my work out in a larger circle, and to gain exposure to other artists working to heal ourselves and this planet.


Please check it out and forward to your friends.
Lots of Love,
Tilly


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Table Blessings


It's time for us to gather and break bread together, reaching across distances, perhaps, that are greater than the width of the table. This was a set of blessings and instructions I made years ago in an attempt to educate and inspire my own children.
I hope everyone's Thanksgiving week is filled with awareness of our blessings.
Love you- Tilly

Thursday, November 17, 2016

40 minute Selfie, a Demo for the Drawing Class

serious and blown (up) (away)(bad hair day)
 We are finishing the semester with self portraits on cheap brown paper. I love the addition of drippy black and white paint for the negative space and shirts. The idea came from an art school catalogue.
We proceed with gridded photographs like we did for the staff appreciation drawings. This self portrait took me 20 minutes the first day in just gridding and mapping out the face, and another 20 minutes today adding the dark charcoal, the white chalk highlights and then the quick liquid background!
Thank goodness for my job, it gets me outside of my morose mood since the election.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The world seems like a meaner place

A jarring reality
I'm trying to figure my place, as I shuttle a commuter path between the classroom and the apartment.

The soundtrack switches from NPR, to Opera, to Right wing talk radio, to silence.

Staring into headlights, I foolishly wish to know a purpose.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Colors! I am thankful for color.

 Nothing better than pushing pigment around.
 It's how I cheer myself up.
Colors speak and sing. I put it on thin and thick. I use brushes and my fingers. Edges curve and carve. Light is manifest. The darkness in my psyche subsides.
This map cheers me up as it puts in perspective all the colors that seemed to slap the country.
I looked at the map and burned my own pallet of colors onto it.
If I was stranded on a desert island I would pray for access to three primary pigments.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Drawing attention to the staff

Student drawings
Another strategy to cheer myself up is through the development of my latest project for the drawing classes. I wanted the kids to actually SEE the people who keep the campus running everyday. And I want the staff to feel SEEN and appreciated. To see "the other" is a powerful phenomena. It can change lives. It certainly changes hearts. The students each wrote a letter to a member of the kitchen, maintenance or security staff, telling them a little about themselves and asking for permission to try rendering their likeness.

Our school is run by a real melting pot of Americans. Most are first or second generation immigrants. They had lives before coming to the school that are intriguing. Guess which one was a math teacher? Which one was a TV star? Who could be your next Uber driver?  The Spanish honors class is going to run interviews with the subjects that will be placed with the drawings when they go on display.



I abandoned the rule of drawing from life because of the limited time, the loss of class time due to a recent flu, and the distractions of the countries election. So we are working from photographs and using the grid transfer method.

 The kids took their own reference photos.

It is turning out much better than I thought. The semester and this course in black and white drawing ends in a couple weeks, and after next week we are on a holiday break. But looking at the work makes me proud of the kids. They are working hard and carefully in hopes of producing a respectful likeness. And, as an added benefit, we now know all the names of the day staff so walking the halls has become a much warmer experience because of it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Seeking Solace in Nature

Seeking strategies to cheer myself up, I had to get out of my own mind (TURBATIS CEREBRUM)  and into the woods. Luckily Fairchild Gardens is just down the road. Otherwise I feel trapped in the city. The Miami coastline is privatized, limiting the access to the ocean. I am not talking about South Beach, but the actual coastline of the state.
 There is power in the trees. I have always felt their energy buffeting me as I near them. Today I caressed the trunk of the ENTERLOBIUM CONTORTISILIQUUM. She was just what I needed.
A slowly circulating albino koi fish was mesmerizing and distractingly peaceful to watch.

 PACEM QUIA IN MINUTIS

Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's day


Our family farm since WW2
I've sprung in part from the union of two heroic soldiers. My grandfather wore a uniform, while my granny Z did her underground work in civilian garb. It's come to this. Home Farm was once the homestead for refugees of war,  a literal "new beginning" for a pair of young lover-fighters, my grandmother and grandfather, each idealistic and rebellious. After the war they faced the McCarthy era persecutions in their adopted country and my grandmother moved back to Europe. Later, the farm became the home of my step-grandmother, on her strange way down from rooted German aristocracy. Built on sacrifices and hard work, it's been my home farm.
love the flag
It's come to this. I'm terribly sad today that my grandpa, grandmothers and all the family members of Michael's who lived and fought in the last World War are all dead. Their stories live on, but the voices are gone. I fear that the silence of our war veterans will clear room for us to repeat big mistakes. Once again. Lessons (stories) today hail us to never forget that we have sprung from heroic Veterans.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Must remember...

Mixed media collage, 9 x 6 inches
We have future generations and the health of this planet to protect. It can't be all about business as usual, or profit above lives, or nature as our disposable resource. That has to be our gift to the future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

what to do with all the presidential shit

as hopes and dreams go up on smoke
I am a confirmed minority in this land. We have elected a man, a reality TV star, who denigrates anything other than white males and clearly fosters the rape culture. I am scared, and I feel this vote as intensely personal.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Match Light

The days are getting shorter- and much darker. Time to light a match and assess the painting progress of the year.
Found this small painting stashed in a suitcase under the chest in the living room. I left it there, for now. It's about the beginnings of the ending. Acrylic, gold leaf on wood panel, about 9 x 6 inches.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nuts in Florida

Nuts on the porch in NY
Erratic behaviors, short attention spans, and the constant hustling today what we may need for tomorrow. It's the Fall! Daylight savings time!
Nuts in Florida

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Paper bags

Maybe this was inspired by the sugary limbo we find ourselves in between the Trick-or-treating  behind us and the corporate black Friday Holy day ahead?



Student work- pastel on paper

Friday, November 4, 2016

Drawing what we believe we see

My student's work on rendering believable eyes in pencil and charcoal.

It's hard for me to focus on day to day stuff. I am feeling jittery and nervous about the presidential election, now only 4 days away. I can't believe we are even this stupidly close to having a Trumpocalypse. Why has that man not turned over his tax returns? He must be as crooked as he sees others to be. His world view is tragic and injurious. He and his band of paranoid followers have dragged this country through slimy spiteful mud, stirring up divisions, derision and encouraging delinquent behaviors. I want someone in the office who is a grown up, who can ensure the rights of diversity that make this country great and who understands and defends our inspired constitution!
I am with her

Everyone vote!