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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The School's Annual Spring Art Walk

was a complete success!

The walls glistened with art. The students rushed around in a frenzy to point out their works to their friends. The room got packed. Everybody came. The headmaster picked one of the works for his collection! I'm exhausted but happy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Poignant brushwork portraits

I just told someone that I didn't paint people- and here I am finishing a series of portraits!
 This group was filled with personalities, all so different. Outside of the advisory they were not the best of friends with each other, but inside the room, they had each other's backs, they respected each other and ... we all learned from each other.
 I am grateful to my job for giving me the opportunity to get to know these kids, and through our Mosaic program we studied, discussed and learned about our ethnicity, our privilege, our inherent biases, our understanding of gender preferences and identification, as well as how to change a tire on a car, cook with an iron, balance a check book and make a monthly budget. We explored the UN's sustainable development goals and found the ones we were passionate about and made a plan, we painted murals, served dinner to the homeless, traveled to Universal studios, and spent a day on South Beach. I saw them elected homecoming king, Mr. Falcon, and into honor societies. We won contests for our decorations, our posters, scavenger hunts and more. I admired their work as editors of the yearbook, as creator of films, as Agents of Change, as soccer stars, as football running-back-record-breakers, as directors and actors, as potters, as poets, as musicians, and as painters.
  I also grieved as they were suspended, disciplined, failed, rejected and heartbroken. I applaud their courage and curiosities. I truly love these guys and will really miss them during fire drills next fall.
 I don't remember many of my own high school teachers. I know I had some good ones, but they've faded, and I never looked back.

These kids ARE my teachers and I must now buck up and look forward.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Headed to the library

Going to meet friends, and figure out what my workshop and talk will be about on May 21st! It is billed as promising to be "transformative"!!!! I will be there today from 10-noon.
How to Bury a Friend- Miami Dade Public Library- Hispanic branch, 1398 SW First St.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Something Else Show in Chelsea

ART LOVERS IN NY:  The Closing party is tomorrow night at the Painting Center at 6pm. Michael has a couple of his paintings there and the reviews so far have been wonderful. Wish we could be there. Let me know if you can.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Three cool gift ideas

Pillows starting at $24
Shower curtains for $65

and an impact resistant slim profile phone case for just $34.50 dollars!

All available and more through my Fine Art America website. Search for "Tilly Strauss"
or try this website I have 49 works of art uploaded for prints, and through FFA, there are 14 fullfilment centers around the world!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Starting portraits for closure

There are so many other things I should be doing instead of these ten difficult paintings! The list is long, and yet I wake in the night with an urgent need to capture Dylan's cheekbone, Adena's twinkle, and Leo's ambiguous future.
a gentle soul
For four years I have advised, coached and gotten to know my special set of 10 advisees. I've seen them grow from gangly, hyperactive or nervous and withdrawn ninth graders to the self confident and often self-less seniors they are today. They will be done with school in about 6 more days. Each one is very different, very special, and totally in my heart. It is so sad and yet so very exciting to see them move on and graduate.
an activist for social dignity
As I start coming to terms with saying good bye- I am designing their portraits in acrylic...not for them, but for me. At first I thought I'd give them the portraits as a gift, and then... it was a double whammy- "why say good bye and give the pictures away as well?" Besides, no one (in my experience as both painter and model) actually likes their portraits at first. We see ourselves much differently than the artist. So... these are for me. Maybe I will send them to them in five years.

brilliant francophile and poet
I really do not have time for this. I need to raise money to pay off my residency fees at the Vermont Studio center, first and foremost (the bill must be paid in full in 3 weeks!)
But... I know when you have the feeling you must paint something- it can't be ignored. It haunts you. You see it everywhere: in front of your eyes when you are awake and in your dreams when you sleep. To ignore the desire makes me ornery with everyone and mean with my calendar.
I have no choice... but to do this and hope it turns out the right thing to do.

some more crazy student masterpeices

Thursday, April 14, 2016

How to Bury a friend at Library

Oh joy!!! The show at the library is still--- open Tuesday through Saturdays 10-6, and Wednesdays noon to 8.
I have not had time, myself, to get there, other than right after the installation, but I plan on being there Saturday the 23rd in the morning.
I know how busy we all are... luckily the show is still up and I can sort of rest my laurels for another couple of months!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Assigning the Masterpiece as Selfie

Seniors at work on their final paintings

I have asked them to paint these life sized masterpieces in a way that they can fit themselves into the picture for a creative Selfie. They are working on large sheets of clean foam core I was able to retrieve from dumpsters near my studio complex.
It is the best end-of-year assignment I have ever asked in that every single one of the seniors, even those with acute senior-itus, have been engaged and working all the allotted time!
Some results are truly special...

I think this is my favorite- it fits the student well

Monday, April 11, 2016

From Doom to dawn

 Grad bash with 100 of my seniors at Universal Studios... an excellent time, though I am still recovering!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Rabbit was the rock star

Moose, named after Ben and Jerry's ice cream for his colors, was totally fawned over by the kids. they all had to paint his portrait before they could pet him... (I am cruel like that).

What is the disconnect here??!!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Betty the tortoise comes to class

I figured the students should start working from life. Not sure how fast they would be, I decided this 20 year old mother tortoise, a pet of the science teacher, would be a safe start.
It was not easy. We built and adjusted barricades on the screened porch because Betty turned out to be pretty fast. And she pooped which grossed out a lot of the kids who have never been on a farm or lived in an un-antiseptic environment. I wish I had more pictures- as 48 students took 20 minutes to paint (because their excitement over the animal took at least the first ten minutes of class to calm) and then they just wanted to look.
Looking is good. Isn't that what I am supposed to be teaching?

I had them start on a tinted ground and just use dark and light pigment.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Menerbes village streets

It's time to return home. I will miss the stone houses of Provence and the blue shutters...

Time flies quick like an airbus...
pulling into the gate in Miami

the twisted vine

The Luberon valley is criss-crossed with orchards and vineyards. At times I think the rows of extremely clipped vines look like black crows about to take flight, or even like small anguished crucifixes. There is a brutality to the forms that is yet to be masked by spring buds and blossoms.

Michael and I both spend hours looking at the forms and trying our hand at understanding what we see.
Michael's cherry tree