Monday, December 13, 2010

Dare I ask it...What is GOOD art?

One of my good friends who happens to be an art teacher at a Christian school, recently gave a lecture to her colleagues about how to look at art and judge for yourself whether it is "good or bad" from a strictly Christian viewpoint. The lecture was given at the request of her colleagues, as many of them had little or no background in art, art history, or art criticism of any kind. The questions being raised were, "How does one define 'good art' or 'bad art?'" and, "How can I as a Christian protect myself from 'bad' art while uplifting and supporting that which is 'good'?" Truthfully, many Christians either buy into the attitude that all art is subjective, and it's really up to the viewer to decide whether it's good or … Read more »


Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Music and Color

Since the inception of "Twin Arts," I have realized what a powerful hold the theme of music and art, or art in music, have upon me, and how I wish to continue exploring them in my work. Actually, these themes were fascinating to me and vital to who I was, long before I became a professional painter. I grew up playing piano, and often found musical instruments to be aesthetic wonders, not just for the sounds they produced, but for their graceful forms and shapes. To take it a step further, a human being playing an instrument is a joyous thing to watch, as though that instrument were an extension of the person's own self. Translating that connection to a painting is both a challenge and a joy. Countless artists have been inspired by music in their work; countless musicians ar… Read more »


Friday, December 3, 2010

Enter the Christmas Season

Painting most certainly isn't the only kind of art I appreciate... I was flipping through one of my most beloved college textbooks last night, an anthology of English literature, and I happened to stumble across a favorite poem by the early 20th-century poet, T.S. Eliot. I couldn't help but think, "What a great way to welcome in the Christmas season!" I love his poetry because it's filled with flashing imagery and astounding truths. I find something new and profound to dwell upon every time I read it. The poem is thoughtful, and a little sad, but oh, so beautiful! Here it is, T.S. Eliot's, "Journey of the Magi." A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The ver… Read more »


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Grateful

Thanksgiving is tomorrow already! I'm ashamed at my lack of communication with the outside world these past several weeks. I've been so busy that the blog, social networking, and e-mails have gotten shoved to the wayside.  But, I am back, and just in time for the dawning of my favorite holiday! Why is Thanksgiving my favorite? Well, not because of the amazing food and relaxation (although those are certainly great things! A huge plateful of turkey always makes me crave a good nap...). I love Thanksgiving because it reminds me of all the blessings in my life - all the good things that make the bad seem small and incredibly insignificant. On Thanksgiving, I'm reminded that I am blessed beyond all measure to have a wonderful family, friends, and the ability to work with my own tw… Read more »


Friday, October 29, 2010

Clutter-Free Studio and Mind!

After a successful art show this past weekend, the question remained: "What to do with paintings that didn't sell?" Steve was gone on business on Monday and Tuesday, so I was able to spend two full days taking a break from painting, cooking, and the usual weekday activities and recuperate from the weekend. Actually, I needed to recuperate from the weekend AND the two months before it which were consumed with LONG hours in the studio preparing for the show! Instead of laying around for two days (tempting though it was...), I ended up being very productive - it really felt good to give my work space and home a "makeover." They say that artists, by nature, are messy...but I have discovered that I always feel more at ease and able to sit down to paint when the space ar… Read more »


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn Joys

I've been consumed with painting projects lately (and consequently, everything else is kind of falling calls, emails, cleaning, etc., will all have to wait!). My attempts to finish nearly a dozen paintings in less than two weeks, so far, have been successful. I still have until Friday. All these paintings are in preparation for the only art festival I'm participating in this fall, Huffhines Art Trails . I'm giving you a sneak peak today... I actually started "Autumn Joys" a year ago, when my parents drove down from Wisconsin to visit, some time around the end of October. My mother, who is known for sharing the bounties of her incredible vegetable garden every summer, of course brought a giant gift basket filled with goodies that she had preserved. She is… Read more »


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Artist's Statement

I have been working for the past several months on re-writing my artist's statement to better explain my style and choice of subject matter. I think it still needs some tweaking, but here's what I have so far... Art was once a bridge between the human and the divine. Those things which define a culture relate directly to the work of the artists living in it. When I see the art produced by our culture over the past century, I am both terrified by how close we have come to losing beauty altogether, and grateful to hear a resounding cry for its return. I believe we are in the midst of a rebirth of realism – and my response as an artist is joy and gratitude as I play my small part in this movement back towards what High Art once was. My work covers a wide variety of subjects, but what r… Read more »


Friday, October 8, 2010

Upcoming Art Festival

Time really gets away from me when I'm busy painting! I'm not exactly sure where the month of September went... It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd write about my latest projects (all dozen or so!). My goal is to have all of them completed in time for Huffhines Art Trails, an upcoming art festival in which I'll be participating. Look for my booth! Times, location, and other information can be found at their official website, . I did finish my little portrait of Laura; it ended up becoming more of a finished painting than a sketch, but I am happy with the final result. She has a peace about her that is calm and almost whimsical. The word that came to my mind was "poise," so naturally, that became the title of … Read more »


Monday, September 13, 2010

Burton Silverman Retrospective

Last month on our way back from Wisconsin, Steve and I included Tulsa, Oklahoma, on our route south, so that I could see Burton Silverman's retrospective show at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. I first heard about Burt Silverman when I was a freshman in college. At that time, I was searching for purpose and direction in my work, and I felt greatly inspired by Silverman's artist's statement, which describes his work as a love affair with "the landscape of the human face, where it seemed all the emotional states of life could be found." Silverman says he is "particuarly affected by the faces...of the ordinary and the unheralded, of those people who have been left out of the loop, who exist below the radar of celebrity." I absolutely love this stateme… Read more »


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Memories from Hillsdale College

It's that time of year again...when September arrives, I become aware once more that many students are going back to school, and I'm not. This will be the fourth year now that I've been out of college, and I always miss it right around this time. I even have dreams that I'm going back to school and starting up classes, rooming with new people and seeing both new and familiar faces around campus. If I'm anything like my mother, I will probably end up having dreams about college for the rest of my life. Of course, being the teacher's pet that she was...her dreams were usually nightmares involving getting a C in a math class, so hopefully mine will be better... Nevertheless, I still miss my dear old Hillsdale College , and think with great fondness and pride of my four… Read more »


Friday, September 3, 2010

Completed Works!

I wrote about the success of the Nicaragua Art Show in my August Newsletter, so if you would like to read it, click here. In other news, I'm very happy to announce that my Sorolla-inspired family portrait is finished and on display in its rightful home. I drove to Houston yesterday to drop it off, and it was very well received by the family. There's no better feeling than knowing you've just created an heirloom that is going to be treasured for generations. David and Evelyn are wonderful people who decided to take action and have a portrait done while their son was still little. Here are the results (detail shots are on my website. ): I also created an 8x10 head study of their two-year-old son for them, complete with his bright smile and rosy cheeks: More projects are in the wo… Read more »


Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Accidental Note of Encouragement

This morning before starting work, I happened to be flipping through one of my "idea sketchbooks." I was looking for a free page to add a new sketch for one of my *brilliant* ideas...when at the very back of the book I happened to see a sentence written in my husband's handwriting. I had never noticed the little note before, nor could I remember a time where he saw my sketchbook (much less knew I had it!), but there it was. The note read, "It's a wonderful day to wake up in the morning and know your calling." Thank you, my love! What encouraging thoughts for today (and for the rest of my life!). :-) Read more »


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Updates from my August trip to Wisconsin

There's always hope that I'll have a chance to see my family in the Midwest at least once or twice a year, but I had no idea I'd be making the drive twice in one summer! Steve and I had two-week long vacation up there, beginning the first weekend of August, to attend a wedding, visit family and friends, and spend some time at his family cabin (a place that is very dear to both of us, because that's where we got engaged). We drove because we wanted to take our puppy with us to experience some unleashed fun up north. I don't have a lot of time to write (too much painting to do!), but I thought that I'd at least mention some of the highlights of our trip before my next post, which will no doubt be about the upcoming Nicaragua Art Show at my church. Here are some pictu… Read more »


Monday, August 2, 2010

Completed Twin Portrait

Okay, so by now I've had "Twin Arts" finished for a couple of weeks, yet failed to post it on my blog. Like most other painters, I tend to move ahead to the next project once I've finished a painting, no matter how invested I've been in it. My apologies! You can view detail shots on my official website. Read more »


Drawing from the Past - Sorolla's Beach Paintings

One can't be a classical artist without looking frequently to the past for inspiration. We all have our favorites, and most any portrait artist will tell you they worship the likes of J.W. Waterhouse, William Bouguereau, Anders Zorn, and of course J.S. Sargent... if you want me to talk about my favorites and which ones have shaped my painting style, that's a subject for another post. But I do want to mention one particular artist whose work has helped me with some of the challenges in my current portrait commission. Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) is perhaps best known for his renditions of fishermen, sailors, and bathers on the beaches of Valencia. His sunlit whites are usually drenched in color so bright and convincing that you squint as though you are right there on … Read more »


Monday, July 26, 2010

Paintings for Nicaragua

I'm very, very excited to announce that my church, Woodcreek Church, is putting together its very first art show, coming up on August 29. The show is going to feature the amazing photography of Clint Brewer, who spent two weeks this summer in Nicaragua, documenting the everyday lives of people living in Managua as well as the missionary work that is going on there and being supported by our church. Clint has asked me to create a couple of paintings for this art show, and I'm greatly honored to be a part of this. You can read more about our church's involvement in Nicaragua here: . In the mean time, I have some painting to do! I'll keep you posted... :-) Read more »


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Domestic Goddess?

I was sick with a nasty cold over the weekend, which made it difficult for me to work on painting; however, I find that "busy work" helps distract me from how crappy I'm feeling, so I decided to be a good steward of our small rented space and take up...(drum roll, please)...canning! We may have the dinkiest back yard in the whole neighborhood, but in that yard are two trees: a fig tree and a peach tree. This year they were both in their prime, their fruit-laden branches drooping from the weight. I can barely keep up with harvesting them, although thankfully, some neighbors are relieving my burden somewhat by coming over and helping themselves to some of the fruit per my request. So, assuming I did everything right, I now have a humble collection of pints and half-pints of: … Read more »


Friday, July 9, 2010

Dog vs. Oil Paint!

I've already posted these pictures on facebook, but for those of you who read my blog, I just had to share! My dog of almost two weeks had her first major run-in with oil paint yesterday morning. My sister came over to paint with me, and had her box of oil paints sitting on the floor. We try to keep Bella supervised in the studio, but for one reason or another, she was able to steal a tube of paint from Emily's box while nobody was looking. The next thing we knew, Emily and I were both screaming, "Bella! What is on your mouth?!" We realized that besides having a giant green mustache, the dog had giant globs of paint all over her neck, her two front legs, and paws. She had also destroyed the oriental rug in my studio with what we discovered to be a tube of Thalo Green, ar… Read more »

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