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Friday, September 28, 2012

Carnival theater paint date

Oh, Thank God my friend Krisse showed up!She stood there looking at the start of my "Atlantic City Boardwalk" murals and kept saying she didn't get what she was looking at... then she pointed out how, for the rest of the play (Thorton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth),  Act II, the landscape was too far away, too pushed back... so together we brainstormed and re-did the whole thing! We did a little editing, used a bit of tape, squinted a lot, and mixed it up. And quickly too! We started at 4:30, got a burger from the 10th grade BBQ and a quick tour of the science department's reptile tagging holding pen at 6, and finished the painting by 7:30pm!
It's been a long time since I painted with Krisse and yet it felt like just yesterday. We move across the picture as if dancing. I grin ear to ear doing it and thinking about it.
This is yesterday's version...struggling with perspective... what a mess.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fun patterns behind the everyday

 Jazzing up the studio still life.
 Watercolor and marker as no-fail media are the best.
From the complex arrangement to the simple singular object, every painting worked.

The students got the still life to move, dance, and visually JUMP!

The goal was to have fun while distorting a pattern and placing it in the negative space of a still life. Here is a selection of the 15.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

walking the beach with Max

I can't express in paint how blissful it is to walk the beach with my son... looking for shells, admiring the birds, and wondering over the stingrays and fish in the surf. In addition a lot of LIFE stories surface along the sandy trail. It is one of the ways to find JOY... and I am going back to him and his beach home next weekend. 5 x 4 inches

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I miss the farm

Pondering Cow, an exotic here, is a lawn ornament there.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peacocks are nature's exuberant doodles

One of the things I love about this area of Miami, but find myself taking for granted, is the population of wild peacocks that roam the school campus. They walk across brick paths, hop down from the wide oak tree branches and roost on the patio awning outside my class. Their sturdy little legs remind me of the turkeys we used to raise up north. I see them as glittery turkeys. They shimmer even on the dullest days, and if I start to not be aware of them anymore, it would be a crime! A lot of things that stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away a year ago, are accepted as a visual normal for me now. (Isn't that something?!) Tomorrow I will salute the bird of paradise, the golden orb spiders in their silvery giant webs, the Bismark palms so blue grey against the other trees, the checkerd lizards and the iridescent turkeys.
This doodle was done in color pencil on a "print" lifted off the bottom of the art sink when the paint wasn't exactly draining well.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Do slugs get wings?

Just coming off of a week with terrible head cold...(or was it the flu?)... and trying to lift my spirit and not be so leaden in body. If I included this painting in the 50 Ways to Find Joy Series, I would have to say it is about looking for the moment(s) of transformation, big and small, that happen in the course of a lifetime. Collage on canvas, 4 x 5 inches.(Collection of Captain J.J. Buggle)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a subtle spotlight on the positive

 Drawings are made with graphite and charcoal. It's a sneak peak at letting the left brain into the drawing process. Leaning away from the total flat spacial requirements of past assignments, the right-brain-working students in my drawing class were asked to "spotlight" sections where they would explore shading and detail. I think the negative spaces are way more successful, and must try to convince them to leave their labeling left brains outside the classroom.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Akin Show opens to rave reviews

The Akin Free Library on Quaker Hill is a historic eclectic late Victorian stone building in the hamlet of Quaker Hill, town of Pawling, Dutchess County, New York, USA, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a historic place of local significance since 1991. Bibiana Mattheis has just curated an exhibition of 49 artists that intends to creat a dialogue with the historic and anthropological collection that exists in the library/museum.
Exhibit Title: Meeting Past at the Akin Library and Museums – 49 contemporary artists find resonance between their work and the historic artifacts
Opening: Friday, September 14th – 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Exhibit Dates and Times: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 21 from 1PM to 4 PM
Location: 378 Old Quaker Hill Road in Pawling, NY 12564
Telephone: 845-855-5099
In 2011, the first “Meeting Past” exhibition featured sixteen artists at the Akin Library and Museums. The event drew an unprecedented 700 visitors to the Akin, making it one of the biggest fine-art exhibits in Pawling’s history. Once again, the Akin Library and Museums will host 49 contemporary artists to find resonance between their work and the historic artifacts and natural history objects. Participating artists from around the region, and the nation, will establish a connection with the important Pawling landmark and cultural site.
Curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis, a Pawling resident, the exhibit is focused directly on the special historical environment and content of the Akin Library and Museums. With the thematic “Meeting Past” the artists set out to either create artwork specifically to fit the place and subject, or they selected fitting artwork to harmonize with the environment, juxtaposing “new” to “old”. The effort was to combine art with the 19th Century natural history objects, furnishings and books of the Akin building.
The artwork includes all types of fine-art media including: paintings, photography, sculpture, drawings, and mixed media construction – encompassing many styles and directions, from traditional to modern, from realistic to conceptual. Visitors will be encouraged to discover the artists’ creations interspersed throughout the permanent museum collection.
The exhibit is dedicated to Amanda Akin Stearns, sister of Albert J. Akin and Civil War nurse at the Armory Square Hospital, Washington, DC, from April 1863 to July 1864.
The Akin Library & Museum on Quaker Hill is a historic late Victorian stone building in the hamlet of Quaker Hill, listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. The Akin Library was a gift from the Quaker Albert J. Akin (1803–1903), founder of the Bank of Pawling and the Mizzentop Hotel on Quaker Hill. The building was designed by the architect John A. Wood. The library is located on the first floor of the building. The Historical Society Museum occupies the second floor. Its collections include objects pertaining to the local history. The lower floor of the building houses the Olive Gunnison Natural History Museum, which displays birds, rocks and minerals.
For details see: For more information contact:
Bibiana Huang Matheis 845-855-9345

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Palm Brachea

Inspired by an extraordinary fallen branch that the librarian dragged to my classroom, it became the challenge I asked the kids to warm with, early in the day. Then I tried to paint it looking at both the negative and positive spaces. It was definitely an eye exercise!!! The small painting was gifted back to the librarian by evening.
7 x 11 inches acrylic on board (collection of Ms. Lois Chumbley)

Surface push and pull

 Trying to get the kids, through this painting assignment, to SEE the plasticity of acrylic paint and how shapes and colors can move by their own tension. If a still life is rendered as a flat as possible, how does it move?

 If they can accept the idea that two lines... two colors, can move... they can see that painting a canvas opens up a world, whether with realism or with an abstraction.
They can work in dialogue---I always ask, when they ask me a question o what the painting needs next--- if they ever hear voices in their head. Some do. Some say they don't.
Look harder then, and listen!
It's only paint!
 How mysterious the small places can become!... How playful the edges! I want to hear their brushstrokes and their breathing as they work with total absorption. The challenge for me, as their teacher, is to set the stage and get them in the zone with in a 40 minute class.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I love my classroom

I think I must have the best job on campus. I am sure the art department is more fun than any other department. I have staff help me clean the room, feed me lunch, and maintain the equipment. The kids are mostly happy to be there. Everyday I learn something new.
I have only one complaint. The walls are too small too hang all the great art. I don't have enough room to share all that the kids are doing. I have tried hanging work from the ceiling tiles, but they soon fall down. Outside, the walls are too damp and solid. Soon I will have to start curating and culling and not hanging every piece that is made.... and... I dread that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notan like light and dark!

 Given a five inch square black piece of paper, the students were asked to leave the corners intact but cut and mirror-flip sections to expand the square. It was all about balance, light and dark, and the eastern aesthetic of Notan.

 Aren't they wonderful?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

an apple an day

promotes physical health in the same way a daily painting can promote emotional well being. Collage of mixed media, 5 x 4 inches. One of the ways to joy is the discipline of routine. Either an apple a day, or a painting a day... both could keep me healthy.
# 28 in series of 50 ways to find Joy (Collection Ms. K. Pressman)

Friday, September 7, 2012

focusing on the negative

to get the positive... There is a time for everything... even looking for the negative space... to get over 30 artworks describing the tiniest mundane studio objects. Charcoal and pencil on paper, small...

Now I could get personal... but I'd rather stay positive.
So I will keep this short.
Have a good weekend.