Friday, October 7, 2011

Missed Opportunity

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. (Thomas Edison)

Hmmm, Edison implies that opportunity is work.

Sometimes it seems as though others get all the "breaks," or opportunities.

But is that really what is happening? Sometimes, it may be a "lucky break."

I think it has more to do with working on a daily basis.

How have you met your opportunities? Did you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work?

Georges de La Tour   The Newborn   1640s  
Oil on canvas, 76 x 91 cm

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art and Technology | A Tango of Tension

Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination. (Daniel Bell)

Art dances with technology in a tango of tension.

Together they can appear as one, unified in a smooth blend of moves.

But in one quick turn, they pull apart.

Artists have resided along the continuum of technology - some embracing it fully, others decrying its fast and finicky nature.

How has technology impacted your art?

 Jacob van, the Elder Oost   The Artist's Studio   1666  
Oil on canvas, 111,5 x 150,5 cm

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beauty and Grace

Beauty and grace command the world.
(Park Benjamin)

 Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard 
  A Young Girl Reading
  c. 1770  
Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm  
National Gallery of Art, Washington  
Beauty and grace are two traits which rarely appear in their purest form in one individual.

People who have shown true beauty and grace have captured our hearts and minds.

They are the legends, the shining stars, the unforgettable.

They have been poor people, princesses, volunteers and saints, and have commanded our world, and our attention.

But sometimes, they have been the quiet ones, silent in deed and in voice, yet still full of beauty and grace.

Whom do you see as full of beauty and true grace?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The St. Francis Mural | A Visual Prayer

   Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, the environment, and Italy.

  Francis began his life as Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, in the year 1181/1182, in the small Italian town of Assisi. He was born into a relatively wealthy family of cloth merchants, and lived a spirited life of luxury and pleasure until about the age of twenty.

Enlisting as a soldier with the local army, Francis fought in a skirmish with a neighboring city state (a frequent political occurrence during the time period), and was taken captive by the opposing army. Imprisonment, two illnesses, and two dreams or visions effected a change of heart in the young man, who returned to the town of Assisi with a more solemn outlook on life.

   A chance encounter with a leper, and his ability to overcome his own fears and revulsion of the disease, allowed him to physically embrace the leprous man. This was a turning point for Francis, who then entered a life of prayer and service to the poor, renouncing all his worldly wealth and pleasures.

He went on to become the founder of the Franciscan Order, and The Order of the Poor Clares. He is credited with creating the first live Christmas manger scene, a tradition still performed today.

   Francis' love for nature and animals is legendary and he is often portrayed with images of birds, a wolf or a dog, and other small forest creatures.

 So why am I telling you all about St. Francis?

In the summer of 2008, I volunteered my time and talent to paint a mural of St. Francis in the reading room of the children's library at the Villa Augustina School. The mural covered one entire wall, about 12'hx14'w, and portrayed St. Francis in his native countryside, surrounded by woodland creatures, a wolf, and the tiny church of Portiuncula.

Here are some photos of the mural in progress:

Kelly working on the mural.

A closer view of Kelly painting.

Detail of face in progress.

Detail of the dove.

View of the scaffolding needed to reach the higher sections.

Kelly, and members of the Villa community, with the Franciscan priest who performed the Blessing of the Animals on the feast day mass. Photo courtesy of the Goffstown EDGE.

The Spirituality of Art

First, one seeks to become an artist by training the hand.

Then one finds it is the eye that needs improving.

Later one learns it is the mind that wants developing,
only to find that the ultimate quest of the artist is in the spirit.

(Larry Brullo)

How have you experienced the spirituality of art?

 Lorenzo Lotto   Madonna and Child with Saints and an Angel (detail)  
Oil on canvas  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Discipline | What's Your Struggle?

Artemisia Gentileschi  
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting   1630s
Oil on canvas, 96,5 x 73,7 cm  
Royal Collection, Windsor  
It is one thing to praise discipline,
and another to submit to it. (Miguel De Cervantes)

Every morning I wake up and look at my treadmill. I want to have the self discipline to run on it daily, but I struggle to get up and get on it. Some days, its very easy. Most days, it takes almost herculean effort.

As artists, it's necessary to adhere to self discipline in the studio. Without it, there would be no art, or at least no completed artwork. Thankfully, I am much better at being disciplined in the studio.

How have you struggled with self-discipline in the studio or your life?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Healing Power of Art

I have huge appreciation for the healing power of art.
(Melanie Circle)

How has art "healed" you?

STEEN, JanThe Doctor and His Patient   c. 1660?  
Oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm  
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam