The world is on lockdown thanks to COVID-19. In addition to "remote learning" I"m trying to keep focus and #practicewhatIteach by maintaining my painting practice. I've been focused on images of food I wish I had, from places I wish I could be with friends; and a few other things that moved me to paint.
I've been playing with watercolor at school. It's a nice challenge to take on while the kids are working. My classroom doesn't have ventilation so oils are not an option there.
During the week of June 25, I had the great pleasure of attending a class on portraiture at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia. The instructor was fantastic and I would highly recommend taking a class with Natalie Italiano if you have any interest in portraiture and figurative art. Each day featured two models. We worked with a very limited palette - day 1 and 2 featured only burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. One day 2, we added white to this mix - and a tiny bit of cadmium red deep. On day three, we switched to pure value studies, using burnt umber, ivory black and titanium white. Day four and five allow for more color, but still represented an extremely limited palette for my liking - add cadmium lemon, cadmium red medium, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson and a tiny little dab of dioxizine purple just because his shirt was IMPOSSIBLE with out it!
I learned a ton and feel much more comfortable teaching drawing skills after this experience. I am excited to apply this knowledge to my classes in the fall!
I must thank the Sisters of DKG, Alpha Zeta State, Gamma Chapter for the grant I received which funded this course. I could not have participated in this experience without your help and support. THANK YOU!
Being a teacher often brings awareness to strange dates and observances. Pi Day is one of those things - 3.14. Every year, I think about one of my favorite artists on Pi Day - Wayne Thiebaud. If you don't know his work, this video is a wonderful glimpse into his motivation, his work, and his success.
Here's my take on pie for pi day. My favorite, key lime, and Gary's favorite, pumpkin. Both are the same size - maybe 11"x11" - I'm honestly not sure, I just grabbed some spare board and went to work.
My friend, who shall remain un-named, visited for Thanksgiving. She and I are working on a presentation for the upcoming NAEA Convention in Seattle. The idea is to discuss how art educators stay current in their own artistic practice. The un-named friend had never painted with oils so I gave her some time to play with different approaches to the material. Below are her results.
Any opportunity I have to study under Kathleen Eastwood is a good day. It was great to reconnect with this group of supportive women to work on figurative painting for a full day. The results aren't my strongest but I know I am continuing to grow by taking on these challenges.
Art All Day is an amazing event in Trenton, NJ featuring the work of over 100 artists who open their studio doors to the public. I joined the fun at a pop-up space and spent the day painting.
The idea sounded perfect - right up my alley. It fight right into my preferred method of creating - have an assignment with fairly strict boundaries and a time frame.
The reality was not good. The timing was all wrong...
The Delaware Fun-A-Day project was suggested to me by Sandra Koberlein, a fellow art educator and artist in NJ. Registration was free and all I had to do was make a small (no larger than 5x7" or 6x6") piece of art every day during the month of September. Once the month ends, deliver the work and it will be included in an exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary from October 6-9. Sandra had registered to participate and thought I'd be into the idea. I was, I really was! 30 tiny pieces of art sounded like cake.
I was all excited, I felt like this would force me to find time for artmaking every day. I knew this would be tricky - given that September is ridiculous for teachers, but I wanted to push myself to keep producing work even during this stressful and busy time of year.
I started poorly - forgetting the first day... So I made two on the second day. Then, I got busy and missed the third day... forcing me to make 2 the next day. This pattern got worse - the next time I found time to paint, I created 12 pieces in one day. THIS WAS NOT THE POINT!
The project became stressful. I didn't like that I was not following the rules and yet, I didn't want to bail on the opportunity to be a part of this exhibit.
I decided I would make new rules. I mean, rules are rules, right? If I couldn't manage to make art every day I would put some constraints on how much time could be spent on each piece of art I made when I did find the time to make art. I allowed myself no longer than 15 minutes on each of the paintings I completed. As a result, many of the pieces are borderline trash. But, a few are gems. I'm fond of the peaches, the dog toy (purple bear) and the pile of three bows. The rest, well, the rest are less than 15 minute paintings.
If you are interested in seeing the work of 180 artists who probably followed the rules on this project, the opening reception and sale is on Friday, October 6 from 5-9 PM at The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington.
31 July to 4 August 2017 were the best days of summer. That's a big, bold statement to make, especially since there is still a month left of break, but I will make that big, bold statement confidently because I know these days were the best.
I attended an adult education class through Tyler's Continuing Education program - Painting with the Masters. The instructor, Kathleen Eastwood, is the same person I was studying under in the spring. Our class consisted of 5 painters and ran from 9:30 to 3:30 daily. We took over a fantastic studio space and worked within three palettes on four pieces (plus some smaller things to get us going).
I'm proud of the work I did during this intense week. Time devoted just to art is really important for me as a person - it allows me to get out of my head and be present in the moment. It is also really inspiring to be around other artists who are working in different styles and from different backgrounds.
Still Life - old master's palette, traditional underpainting, glazes
We also worked on a still life in the style of the Impressionists - it gave me fits thanks to the reflective objects. Something about this approach was the trickiest for me. The idea is to avoid mixing all the colors and let the brush work create the illusion of mixed color. I struggled with this approach in our previous session - maybe because both involved reflective object hell... I didn't work on this piece much beyond the initial afternoon but I kind of wish I had.
Working from the figure - short poses (10-20 minutes), get loose, bold color choices
Long Figure Pose - stay loose, bold color choices, ahhhhh green gold
The modern palette - the best colors in the box, staying loose
To wrap up the final day, I worked on a food piece - just to have the eyes of Kathleen on me while I worked on a piece in the same vein as my "What's For Lunch?" series. It was really helpful to have her there to remind me to stay loose and to avoid over working areas. Here's the little piece I did in the final 1.5 hours of our week...
Identifying as an Artist/Educator is a trendy - but strange - thing. I may be wrong, but I think that a ton of people in this field are claiming this identity without truly embodying the parts. If I am to dissect that term, it means that I am first an artist and second, an educator. And yet - the only part of that job title that pays me is the second part.
When you don't rely on half of your career identity to pay your bills, it can be difficult to justify the need to nourish that half of yourself.
I used to be an art teacher; I was ok at that job and my middle school students were acceptably served. At some point, this was not enough and something had to change for me to feel good about what I did every day and who I was as a professional.
Deciding to define one's self as an Artist (even if it is as an Artist/Educator) is a bold and scary declaration. There is weight attached to declaring yourself an Artist - and it isn't all good weight. Despite the weight, I've decided to carry this identity and to devote equal effort (ok, maybe more goes to Artist than Educator) to both halves of this career identity.
If I'm an Artist, I have to make art. But, if I make art and no one sees it, does that still make me an "Artist"?
Lora Marie Durr
During my undergraduate studies, I spent a great deal of time in the painting studio working with traditional oils. Teaching middle school art for the past 12 years has taken me away from those roots. This "one a day" project is aimed at re-inspiring that creativity and technique.
Other "one a day" painting blogs to check out:
Kellie Marian Hill
The usual Subjects