Saturday, March 30, 2013

death into life

John 5:24
New International Version (NIV)
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."
Three years ago I worked through the Lenten season on a huge banner for the Easter service at my church. I have posted about this process . A team of artists, (including me) who create for the church painted a giant canvas, 40 feet tall, showing Christ Resurrected standing on the broken gates of hell and surrounded by a swirling Tree of Life. This was a focal point in the Easter Vigil worship service and has been brought out again this year to be part of the service this Saturday. 
Today I was kneeling over the face of Christ, with a steam iron, trying to fix the vertical wrinkles across the 12 to 15 foot span of face and chest. I hope I succeeded. The painting has to be rolled up between seasons and it is suffering from the storage and moving. Someday, maybe next year I will paint a new one, more permanent and archival I hope.
I have been interested in the study of traditional icon painting for some time and wish to continue as a spiritual endeavor. This face and hand (shown here) is influenced by my study of the Icon tradition.


 Today is Holy Saturday and we are preparing for the Great Vigil of Easter. The traditional Easter liturgical service begins tonight and will last until nearly midnight when all lights will be lit and bells will ring and Hallelujahs will be sung, along with joyous dancing. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

craving color this Easter Week

An alternative title to this post was going to be Holi or Holy Week?
 Today, March 27 is the Hindi holiday of Holi which I find enchanting. I want to visit India and be part of this festival as it sounds exactly like the way I want to feel this week. Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus as a festival of colors. (I took that definition right from wikipedia as well as this photo of colored powders sold in the markets of India) During this celebration, participants throw brightly colored powder at each other ending the day with a wild bonfire.
It sounds like a lot of fun, kind of like Easter in our popular culture with our pastel colored candy, painted eggs, stuffed bunnies, ham dinner, and bonnets for church.
It just so happens to be simultaneous this year with our Easter Holy week during which I am still in Lenten mode, and everything has been very grey and heavy in my life. Recovering from the flu might have something to do with it.

I spent yesterday with a five-year-old friend painting eggs, a satisfying artistic pursuit and here are the results.
And here is my acrylic palette in my studio today, I am working on another sunflower painting and contemplating my own Holi set of colors.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

warm up

Created on my ipad using Art Rage.  March 20, 2013 
Today is the first day of spring and I had to bundle into my warmest down coat to venture out and see if anything is appearing to be spring like in my yard. Oh, and there it is, almost missed it, a few teeny tiny white teardrops. And in another corner some of the most minuscule yellow bells. Not sure what names to call these, snowdrops?  They are flowers for sure and trying very well to poke their little heads out on a very cold March day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Picasso in Chicago

Yesterday I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and viewed the new exhibit of Picasso in Chicago. Well, Picasso actually never visited Chicago but one of his most beloved works is the giant metal statue at the Daley Plaza. This is such a familiar image for those who live in or near Chicago. One of the first times I saw this, I was waiting for my husband to run the Chicago Marathon, and all the runners started from this spot.  (I had originally thought is was an abstraction of a horse, but most sources say it is a woman.)
The special exhibit is going on now, and it is a large sampling of Picasso's work. It might be nearly impossible to show everything in his lifetime. The man created an incredible of amount of painting and sculpture. The styles and media that he worked with are all over the map and all over art history. Some of the stuff that I saw was so obviously a rip-off of Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir,Degas, or Cezanne. It is as though he arrived in Paris and heard that so-and-so was already renowned, and he took a look and said, "Oh I can do a so-and-so, just watch this." Also, this man was such a Goat! I mean, the way he used women, so many scandals and stories. And all of that immoral behavior is excused in this exhibit...because he was a great artist.

The image that has remained in my mind today is this one, titled "Old woman with shawl". Here is my quick pen sketch from my sketchbook.
Over to the far left is the original art by Picasso. It is in pencil and chalk. The simply rendered face is touching, but the hands are really arresting. The hands tell so much of the story. And then I like how he arranged the fabric folds into soft geometric shapes that become more and more simplified.

I intend to visit this exhibit again. There is so much that I could not take in, so many images I need to see again.
I was with a group of friends, and we ended our time with lunch at the Terzo Piano cafe on top of the Modern wing. The room is all light and air with lots of glass and modern sculpted white chairs and tables. I also sketched at lunch. Here is a view across the room, I was interested in the clean lines in the restaurant and the spot of color that the cobalt blue french water bottles provide.
Here are sketches of two of my companions. I must have been influenced by all the very light and minimal line work in the Picasso drawings that I had just seen.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

bonus day

I just received a gift. A snow day, all my Tuesday art classes are cancelled and everyone has to stay home. It is too stormy to go anywhere, and that is wonderful! The bonus for me is that I will work on this painting today. An unexpected day to get this one finished in time for a certain person's 25th birthday. Surprise! Shhh. Don't tell her.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ute Valley Park

Sketching at Ute Valley Park in Colorado Springs. It is just across the street from my mother's house. I've been out to Colorado Springs to visit family. 
My photo taken with my new smart phone. I made this sketch and posted to this blog while enjoying the scenery. Pretty cool.