Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, I come from Alabama.....

The Visual Arts Staff on Friday, minus Sally

What a great week with the Alabama Institute for Education in the Visual Arts, June 15 - 19, held at the Montgomery Museum of Art. We had 36 participants from all over the state. This was truly a group "who played together well." My deepest thanks go to my facilitators aka "The A(Art) Team": Sabrina Hubbarb, Donald Myer, James "Doc" Bender, Sally Chambliss, and Margaret Snider. The week could not have gone on without them. Our special guests were Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, curator of paintings and sculpture at MMFA, and Charlie Lucas, sculptor. We were very fortunate to have Pat Wanglie, a seasoned docent from MMFA, joining us for the week. Pat did a great job describing the museum's sculpture collection. She also contributed a lot with our classroom activities
Some of the units we covered during the week were da Vinci's painting and inventions; Van Gogh's expressive painting; Georgia O'Keeffe's nature subjects; Picasso's Cubist sculptures and Charlie Lucas' Outsider art. On Friday, we had a rotation day with the other art institutes and a lesson with Jacob Lawrence. I am hoping that the teachers who attended will be able to share new ideas about using art in their classrooms. I look forward to teaching again at the Arts Integration Workshop in Montgomery and a Professional Development week for Dothan schools in July. I created a new blog for posting art related lessons and photos from the week:

Just a plug: the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful collection of American art. It is a beautiful setting in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival park.
Wishing you lots of creative thoughts!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Painting the Emerald Coast

Painting at Eden Gardens
Dinner the first night

Evelle painting a wooden bench next to the path

Martha and Barbara working on the cute post office in Watercolor

The group paints a red boutique in Baytowne

Ann painting a view of a home in Watercolor
I hope I can speak for all of the participants when I say that we had a great time painting in the Panhandle. The weather was just perfect; warm, but not too hot, no rain and slight breezes. Our locations were accessible and the foliage and flowers were beautiful. We varied from landscapes to architecture.
When painting outdoors where it can be so overwhelming it is easy to lose focus of what you want to capture. We started at a fountain surrounded by flowers that was in sunlight. By walking around it completely, we were able to find a view that showed the statuary with sunlight and shadow making it appear more three-dimensional. That same day I demoed the mansion from a distance to show how to capture the light and shadows on a white building.
The second day we went to a commons area in a development nearby. There the paths were landscaped and manicured. Evelle even had the gardeners trimming what she was trying to paint! The lesson there was to find a subject where you could work in the shade. Everything was beautiful, but you need to be comfortable as you work. We liked the architecture that peeked through the gardens and paths with dappled light.
The last morning was spent at an area modeled after New Orleans with shops and restaurants. The buildings had the southern architectural style with balconies and ironworks. It was a warm day, but we were able to find shade from a building to paint the scene across from it.
Plein air painting is not for everyone. It can be frustrating when the conditions are not right. But it can also add so much to your ability to "see" the essence of a subject in a way that photographs can not.
Enjoy your summer days!