Sunday, August 24, 2014

family dinner

The siblings gather with their mother and father, now Patriarch and Matriarch of an ever expanding clan. Brothers and Sisters, Husbands and Wives, Grandchildren too, all gathering at the ancestral home.
Dinner on a perfect summer evening outside on the deck, tacos, enchiladas, plenty of guacamole, salsa and chips combined with lots of laughing and shared memories. Not any special occasion, just a family dinner.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

that time I dropped my wet painting

The family decided to have a beach day. St. Joseph, Michigan, is our favorite destination for sand, sun, and splashing in the water.

I decided to take my painting easel and set up to make a painting of the coastline with the lighthouse and the pier that is a landmark of St. Joseph. All was well, until we decided it was enough fun and sun for the day and I packed up to go home.

 My folding french easel is just the coolest thing, I love going out and painting with it. However, it is difficult for me to get the hang of putting it away, the legs are unwieldy and it is hard with two hands to manage the folding of three legs. A minor disaster when the wet oil painting slipped from my grasp and landed face down in the sand. My family were all quite upset until I assured them that I was not too bothered. As an artist I am all too experienced in paint disasters. I can always fix a mess somehow.

I will post my finished painting when I finish my rescue here in the studio. I was able to rub the sand off the oil when it had dried a few days later, I used fine grade sandpaper of all things. I am eager to work on it some more, I was just getting the hang of those waves breaking on the sand and I had a composition worked out with people and umbrellas and all the color on the beach in the background.

Friday, August 22, 2014

teaching has some extraordinary benefits

Many teachers will agree, the little affirmations can make it all worth it. The position of Art Teacher  comes with benefits such as enthusiastic hugs from the little ones, exclamations of pleasure when I arrive and they know it is Art day, and being told that Art is their favorite class. This note came from a third grader last year. I would say he is an extraordinary art student.

Illustrating my post here with spots that I created for various educational companies as illustrations for spelling, phonics or easy reader programs. All of these illustration spots are copyright Janice Skivington 2014. Please do not use without permission.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

back to school busy blues

I've been absent here and NOT painting at all because I have to prepare for my part-time teaching job. I attended Three full days of Teacher Inservice Training. I hope it will make up for all the faculty meetings that I don't go to later in the year.

I am illustrating my back-to-school-busy-blues here with spots that I created for various educational companies as illustrations for spelling, phonics or easy reader programs.


All of these illustration spots are copyright Janice Skivington 2014. Please do not use without permission.

Friday, August 15, 2014

explaining my work in Spanish

My newest painting 48x36 oil on canvas "Sandy's Sunflower "2014
 As if it isn't hard enough to express one's thoughts and process in your native language, then consider appearing (with a translator) to speak to an audience who all speak another tongue. Wednesday night I had the privilege of speaking about my work to a spanish speaking congregation at St. Mark's. Fortunately, I have many fluent Spanish speakers in my own family. My son (a Spanish major in college now) was my interpreter and did a handsome job.
I began with these words;
Cuando vemos una hermosa flor, (o montañas o junto al mar) pensamos en este versículo de los Salmos. "Los cielos cuentan la gloria de Dios." Salmo 19: 1(When we see a beautiful flower, ( or mountains or seaside) we think of this verse from the Psalms. “the heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1)
And I also said this;
He elegido las flores como mi tema de la infinita variedad de posibilidades artísticas. Me gusta ir más allá del simbolismo de costumbre y la idea decorativa de la "flor" y ver un paisaje, una espuma de rodadura de mar, o un bosque lineal enredado. (I have chosen flowers as my subject for the endless variety of artistic possibilities. I like to go beyond the usual symbolism and decorative idea of "flower" and see a landscape, a rolling foam of sea,or a tangled linear forest.)
It went well, the audience was appreciative and interested and when I ended with a time to ask me questions I had many raised hands. The funniest question was directed at my son, "What is it like growing up with a mom who is an artist?"
The most common question that I always get is "How long does it take you to paint one of these?"
Most of us artists live and breath our work so how long is only relevant to what?  I answered it took me 50 years and 6 weeks.

I worked on the painting shown above for more than 6 weeks.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Publicity around town and online

Announcement at the Wheaton Public Library
A few of the posters are up in stores, coffee shops and libraries. A publicity piece that has been prepared. I am so grateful for all of this attention. I don't think I have ever had so much help with a show.

 And this is the missal for the Sunday service, they have been putting one of my paintings on them every week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the artist talks

 I gave an "artist talk" last Friday at the opening of the art show "Consider the Lilies". I keep putting "artist talk" in quotes because I can't help but feel that an artist can't really talk about what she does. It is too metaphysical, mystical, there are no categories in language to describe what is going on. The viewer must walk into the painting, the painting doesn't just stand there on its' own.

To open my talk I read this passage from Soren Keirkegaard, a Danish philosopher, who I might not know about except that I married a philosophy professor. Although actually I found this quote in the writings of another very eloquent artist Makoto Fujimura. (And he would be the subject of another post, I admire him so).

"When a woman makes an altar cloth, so far as she is able, she makes every flower as lovely as the graceful flowers of the field, as far as she is able, every star as sparkling as the glistening stars of the night. She withholds nothing, but uses the most precious things she possesses. She sells off every other claim upon her life that she may purchase the most uninterrupted and favorable time of day and night for her one and only, for her beloved work. But when the cloth is finished and put to its sacred use: then she is deeply distressed if someone should make the mistake of looking at her art, instead of at the meaning of the cloth; or make the mistake of looking at a defect instead of at the meaning of the cloth. For she could not work the sacred meaning into the cloth itself, nor could she sew it on the cloth as though it were one more ornament. This meaning really lies in the eye of the beholder and in the beholder’s understanding, if he, in the endless distance of the separation above himself and above his own self, has completely forgotten the needlewoman and what was hers to do. It was allowable, it was proper, it was duty, it was a precious duty, it was the highest happiness of all for the needlewoman to do everything in order to accomplish what was hers to do; but it was a trespass against God, an insulting misunderstanding of the poor needlewoman when someone looked wrongly and saw what was only there, not to attract attention to itself, but rather so that its omission would not distract by drawing attention to itself.  (27-28). "
(Keirkegaard, Soren. Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing: Spiritual Preparation for the Office of Confession. Harper: New York, 1938.)

“The artist or writer fades into the background and the art must become the subject for meaning”. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Consider the Lilies" has a catalog

I designed and printed this catalog in the day before the opening of the show. It was 8 pages, with all the paintings shown and a description to go with each one. I put in a short artist statement and a price list for those interested. Here are samples of the pages (but not shown in the order it was printed).

The cover,
some of the inside pages, and the back cover.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

the event last night

The reception and opening night for my art show at St. Mark's was about as well received as I could have hoped.
 I had to give a short 'Artists' Talk" and I managed to pull it off despite being an introvert and totally uncomfortable speaking to more than two people at a time. I prepared for my talk at the very last minute, at about oh, 6:45 PM and the event was supposed to begin at 7! My husband scolded me as he drove me over to the church "You would be late to your own funeral". (Which come to think about it, would be a good thing, how about not showing up for your own funeral?)
Here are some photos, I am so grateful for the opportunity to display my work and for the attention and enthusiasm of all the people who came to the event last night.
A very fine photographer Peter Vagt was present last night and I want to credit him with these photos. Of course I couldn't take any myself and his are really nice. I am grateful as I keep saying.

Friday, August 8, 2014

last minute tweaks and adjustments

One might think that with only 8 hours and counting before the reception for the "Consider the Lilies" show at St.Mark's, everything would be ready to go. But sadly things don't quite work that way for me. I am kind of a last minute gal.
We installed three more paintings this morning, two that were just shipped back to me from Philadelphia. They have been displayed by the White Stone Gallery since last year at this time.
 I added a small painting that actually belongs to some philosophy professors in town. It was a wedding gift to them 10 years ago. And this one on the right, was also kindly lent for the show by another philosopher friend
and family

A few paintings got shifted around, changed to take advantage of the light and surrounding colors.
This bright hibiscus is hanging next to the Lady Chapel.

The stained glass windows in the sanctuary are so beautiful. I was inspired by these windows when I painted these blues and purples in the two blue iris paintings shown here.
 The last painting on the right is the one I have titled "Psalm 107:29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed." I always associated the colors in this one with the green of a calm sea.