We had a beautiful day to work outside installing the birds onto the trellis we built at Lynn Road Elementary. This project wraps up our residencies for this school year. It’s been a blast! We are so proud of the kids at Lynn road- they pulled together and did their best!
In all my years of painting with oils- and there have been a lot- I have skillfully avoided the exercise of painting a black and white painting. Those who are familiar with my work will realize that I am quite a color lover. I love to mix color on the palette. I love to blend colors on the canvas. I love everything about creating color harmonies that are balanced in tone and intensity. I love using color as a language of expression.
However earlier this month I decided to challenge myself. I chose a black and white family photo that has always fascinated me. These are Norwegian- American gymnasts- one of which is an ancestor. The photo is probably from the 1920s I am estimating.
When I first began this painting I sketched it out on the canvas, then started to fill in with the appropriate tones. Early on I got really bored and was ready to abandon the project. Keith insisted that I finish it. I’m glad I listened. Once I had built up enough oil paint on the canvas I got really into painting in black and white. I liked especially painting the nuances on the rocks. I may actually work in black and white again. It’s good for the seasoned painter to go back to basics once and a while. Also I am going to hang this one in my house. I ended up really happy with the piece.
We finished installing the mural we worked on with fifth graders at Washington Elementary yesterday. Big thank you to Washington’s awesome and amazing art teacher, Sonia Drum.
Each of the five buildings represents a subject. From left to right, music, art, science and technology, math, and literature. Each student in the fifth grade was assigned a window to fill in one of the buildings in a way that shows the subject of the building. For instance, the science and tech building has a lab, and Albert Einstein, music has notes and instruments, literature has Harry Potter and the cover of Wonder, ect.
The mural is located in the library of the school and is visible as you walk in the front door of the school.
We have completed another artist in residence project through the United Arts Council of Wake county!
It has been our pleasure to create this open air free standing bird installation at Lead Mine Elementary School. This may be our favorite version yet of this project! It’s interesting how the idea keeps evolving. The project is split into three sections- each fifth grade class did birds of different ecosystems- rainforest, grassland, and deciduous forest.
These kids worked hard and gave the project their all. We are so proud of all of them. We would also like to thank the art teacher of Lead Mine, Mrs. Brautman, for the use of her artroom and all of her expertise.
Keith and I are excited to have upped our public art game by creating a nature art installation. The call was for art using natural materials that would span the length of a fence that is up in the park while the dam is being repaired. This is a temporary artwork. We came up with the idea to paint sticks and have a color transition that undulates across the fence. Making this has been a blast- hanging out and painting in a peaceful nature park, also doing art totally unlike what we do normally. It has been gratifying to hear the positive comments of passerbys as we’ve been working on this. Thanks to the Raleigh arts commission and the staff at Durant!
Keith Norval and I worked together with the fifth graders at Forest Pines to create a permanent bird installation for their school. 120 kids each did their own sculpture based on birds from around the world. They sculpted the birds with newspaper and tape and then plastered them and painted them. They all worked really hard and did a great job. What a talented group of kids! We really enjoyed working with them!
The final pieces are to be hung in a main hallway.
I often tell people I get my inspiration from the natural world. When I can slow down I notice more beauty in my yard and neighborhood.
This mushroom struck me for it’s blue-green grayish color- and its intricacy.
I love the way a Mexican sunflower opens, petal by petal. I love the viridian color.
Two shades of orange—
Cute Osmanthus flowers- but I find the fragrance even more enthralling!
I was proud to participate in the Rally for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The idea is the museum invites a bunch of artists to come in and draw for an hour- people can watch you draw. There's food trucks and other activities too. When you get done the drawing(s) are auctioned off for $50 each. All proceeds go to support the museum.
I was super nervous about the live aspect, having people watch me draw isn;t something I'm super comfortable with but since there were so many other artists doing it, it was easier. It was actually pretty fun. The piece above I started first, gluing the collage elements into place. While those were drying I worked on the one below. When I finished that I went back and drew on the top one.
I didn't have a strict plan, I just kind of riffed off of the collage elements I had brought- I wanted to keep it spontaneous because that's how I work best!
I was super excited to be chosen as one of the artists to paint a pedestal for display on Hillsborough street. Though I was already super busy this summer with teaching and the turnaround time in this was very short I gladly took on the project. The subject matter for the art was open- so I was able to just paint what I wanted which took the stress out. I went with magical mythical trees, enigmatic architecture, birds and human birds naturally.
I had a lot of fun painting this and spent time in my studio even though typically I don’t get to paint as much in the summers. It is now installed on Hillsborough street and I plan to walk by and see it in person this evening! My husband, Keith Norval, also did one.
My art’s new home-
Roux is my muse and painting mascot-
a yellow headed blackbird-
Human birds- ❤️❤️❤️
This is a drawing of my plan for a sidewalk chalk art event I'm participating in next month in Wendell, NC.
Keith and I completed our first Artist in the Schools project. The program is run by United Arts Council, and provides funding for artists to do projects related to the curriculum the students are learning. We created the backyard birds project to help students learn to identify common local birds. We worked with students in the public art elective and the birding elective at Underwood elementary.
We started by showing the students things to look for when identifying birds like size, wing shape, flight pattern and behavior. Then each kid drew an image of a bird out of a bag- there were 35 different images of local species- and that was the bird they would create for the project. We used birds such as the Cardinal, Blue Jay, Blue Bird, Slate Junco, Titmouse, Chickadee, and many other common birds.
We first drew our birds in our sketchbooks to get an idea of their body shapes and typical postures. Then we used newspaper and tape to sculpt the bird bodies. We covered the bodies with plaster- then painted the colors on the birds.
We decided to use real tree branches for the birds to perch on. Keith and I built an 8 x 8' structure to hold the branches and birds. This is an exterior piece and will hang in the courtyard at Underwood. There will be a guidebook labeling the birds to help students learn to identify birds.
We had a lot of fun working on this project and hope to do it again at another school!
Below is a painting made with a photo transfer of me as a teen. You could say I was rather disaffected at this particular stage, not particularly good at any subject, not very interested in anything. I rolled with the artsy misfit kids at school but didn't consider myself creative especially.
I went to an art show at the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville, FL where I grew up. The show had works by several post impressionists, I don't remember the details, it was a long time ago! I do remember seeing this Chagall painting though. It wasn't the vase of flowers that drew me in, it was the dream images in the background. I saw so many hidden half spoken mysteries in this piece. I knew standing in front of that painting on that day that my destiny was to be a painter. I felt the painting express to me so much that couldn't be put into words. I felt the possibility of communicating through painting so much of what I hadn't been able to express. I felt so much passion under my surface in that moment.
I have been reading a biography about Marc Chagall by Jackie Wullschlager- which mentions Natalia Goncharova as his contemporary during the time he was studying in St Petersburg. I wasn't familiar with her work and looked it up- and was amazed by her colors and style. I really like the cubism influence of the first two paintings, and the "primitive" Gauguin influence in the last three. I love the parrots. There is something that reminds me a little of my own work- also I have ancestors from Belarus.
Cats- Natalia Goncharova
Yellow and Green Forest- Natalia Goncharova
Gardening- Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova- Parrots
Natalia Goncharova- Between East and West
I just wrapped up my sewing and painting class last week. This is the first class of its kind I have offered at the Sertoma Arts center. The idea is to create unique hand painted fabrics through several processes that can be used as backgrounds and for appliqué. We create our designs using embroidery, appliqué and additional hand painting. We then stretch the fabric around canvas stretchers to create a piece that can hang on the wall. Here are some examples of the work my students did. I may offer this again in the fall- stay tuned!
I just finished teaching a session of beginning Encaustic painting at the Cart Arts Center. I was lucky to have a very lovely and talented group of students that produced lots of quality work. Along with learning the basic techniques of painting with wax, I cover making lines, drawing, texture, photo transfer, collage/assemblage and stencil techniques. I'm always happy to see each student incorporating the techniques in their own style. Next class starts in April!
Gunta Stölzl was a textile artist in the Buauhaus school in Germany. She worked to elevate weaving, quilting and other forms of textile work to the level of fine art instead of merely "women's work". She's a feminist art hero, and I'm very drawn to the color palette she uses in her work, as well as her composition design.
I especially relate to the composition of this piece. I like the harmony of the curvilinear lines and the horizontal and vertical grid. It reminds me of architecture in a landscape. You can really see the effort she makes here to push weaving beyond the traditional limitations, elevating it to a freer, more responsive medium.
I love the spring colors she uses in this quilt. The design is more traditional, but the patterns become a sort of language. I always love o see turquoise and lavender together, one of my favorite combinations.
a mesmerizing colorist! She painted, drew, designed, and sewed. I love the asthetic of orphism, a type of cubist painting she invented with her husband, Robert.
I'm inspired by her pattern design, geometric abstractions and her ability to cross into different media: painting, quilting, fashion.
I would totally wear any one of these. Especially the one with blue red and brown chevron.
This quilt could easily be an abstract painting-
And I can see this painting as a quilt!
Ingrid and I had the pleasure of participating in a self portrait project at Artspace with Ursula Gullow. She is set up in the upfront gallery ( the small gallery too your left as you walk in Artspace's front door) with a myriad of painting and drawing supples, waiting for anyone to come and add their own self portrait to the growing collection. Ursula herself has been using the format of self portraiture as a mode of self expression and as a catalyst to motivate other work. She has committed to painting one self portrait every day, a practice she has strictly adhered to for four years. Artists have such a wonderful work ethic!
above- self portraits by Ingrid and I.
Below- I could dream myself anywhere by Ursula Gullow.
During July, Ursula Gullow will work in the Upfront Gallery to create an exhibition that will open in August.
Gullow states, “My background in sociology informs a visual investigation into the individual’s relationship to themselves, each other and their landscape. I emphasize the in-between spaces of story-telling and bodies in motion. I am conceptually swayed by political theory and popular media.”
Gabrielle Münter was a student of Kandinsky, one of my favorite abstract painters. She was a German expressionist and belonged to the art collective "Der Bleu Reiter". Unlike other women in her time, she lived a relatively free and unrestricted life.
I love her self portrait painting. I love it's simplicity and lack of frills. I love that it shows her in the act of painting. I love the bright colors. I think about women living in that time that may have been artists except for their duties as housewives or work. She was lucky to have the circumstances to pursue her passion. She lived her life to the fullest and was a free spirit, traveling the world.
I have a weakness for well designed still life paintings. And complementary color schemes. Also I wonder about the statue in the middle- it looks like a saint holding a doll.
This could be me on a winter morning. Watching the birds out of my window....
I love the blue in this painting. All the blue.
Since I'm teaching a lot of classes this summer for kids, I thought it would be helpful to list them all in one place. So, this is a comprehensive view of my summer! (click on each place to find out how to register)
June 12- 16- A Story to Tell- middle school
June 19-23- Nature Art- middle school
August 14-18- Out of this World- elementary school
Artspace June 26-30 Sewing on canvas ages 11-16 Using embroidery techniques and painting students will create unique embellished artworks on canvas. Students will also learn to stretch their own canvas, creating art that is ready to hang on their walls!
Artspace- July 10-14 Birds in my neighborhood ages 7-10. In this class we will use a variety of media to create art with birds. We will concentrate on learning how to draw birds, how to identify common backyard birds and will decorate a birdhouse of our very own for our yards! We will walk to the Museum of Natural Sciences to study bird specimens and learn more about our feathered friends.
Artspace- July 17-21 Book Arts: Sketchbook Explorations. ages 11-16. An artist’s sketchbook represents a place of freedom from judgement, a place that ideas are born. We will construct our own Coptic style sketchbook, either creating our own book covers or recycling old book covers. We will push the boundaries of sketchbooks by not only drawing, but glueing, cutting and customizing in every way imaginable. We will discuss the themes of the content we are using.
Wild at Art- July 31- August 4. Sewing and painting- ages 6-12. Create unique art by painting on fabric and embellishing with embroidery stitches. We will also work on some small sewing projects like a draw-string pouch or bag.
Cary Arts Center- August 21-25. Encaustic Painting ages 11-16. Explore basic techniques used in encaustic paintings. Discover the exciting and powerful medium of encaustic wax and how to use tools appropriately to apply it to various surfaces to create playful works of art.