In and Around the Studio

I probably sound like a broken record, but we've been super busy lately!

I've been working hard to chisel in some late-night painting sessions, but as any of you studio artists out there know - it is tough business to put in hours of work after working 8+ hours at your day job (especially when your day job is teaching).  I have trouble balancing everything just like every other human being on this planet. :)  

But, I'm trying by best to make it happen.  Here are some shots from my studio from the last few weeks.  
Paint paint paint paint.
Just started this little kitten (a gift from my Grandma Joanne - who is one of my biggest fans/followers - hi Grandma!!).  I did a watercolor of this figurine, and was so smitten, I'm taking it into oil paint next.

I also finished this fine fellow: 
Oh, hello little fellow. :D
He was tough - he had a crooked face, and it was hard to balance out his features!  But, I think after struggling for a few hours, I have captured his full quirkiness. :)

Bought some gold gouache last weekend - can't stop making shiny paintings.
I've also been plunking around with some abstract pieces.  I bought some gold gouache (Holbein Brand - it is awesome) to play around with, and have been incorporating it into these compositions. It is such a weird thing to play with actual reflective material (not just to paint representations of it).  

Doodles? Illustration? Sometimes I am just pulled towards making things and I completely give in.
I've also been playing around with illustration a bit which has been fun. :)  I'm hoping to cobble together a small portfolio over the summer, so be on the lookout. 

In the classroom I'm teaching my students how to use a 6 color system of primaries (instead of a 3 color Red, Yellow, Blue) to accurately mix colors.  It teaches them to recognize the properties of certain colors, how to quickly mix neutralized colors, and how to get the colors they want, not just the colors they happen to mix. 
My students did a great job with their color mixing group exercises.  They got 6 swatches and learned how to use a six primary mixing system to accurately match colors.
For this exercise they split into small groups and had to find the parent hue of a color, determine if it was a hue, tint, tone, or shade and then theorize how to mix the color.  
Snapshots from class today. The color mixing and matching process.
They were pretty successful in their first go at it, and they'll be using the process in the next few in-class assignments.

In other highly relevant news, here are my cats enjoying some lounging time:
These two know how to relax. #cats

We've also been taking some time to re-organize and slowly clean our house - we try to tackle a small to mid-sized project every weekend. 
Last weekend I organized all of my shoes into this great little shoe cabinet and replaced our hideous huge 1980's wood and brass ceiling fan with a much more calming 60's style ceiling light.  
Our day off has been productive: replaced our hideous ceiling fan with a new light and assembled my new shoe storage.
Sometimes just making a few changes in your home environment can make such a big difference. 

Last but not least, we had a great visit with my long-time pal Jane Ryder who came to DSU for her Solo show at our gallery.  
Happy to see these smiling faces. :) @fluxbiota
We got to go out afterwords and catch up - she even graced my class with her presence during our critique of our recent batch of designs.  

Check out her paintings at her website here: Jane Ryder 

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. 

Geeking Out

I was super thankful to be featured on The Jealous Curator's blog last week!

jealous curator screenshot

If you aren't familiar with her blog, you should really follow it.  I've been a longtime follower, and was so grateful for the exposure.  Please feel free to pop over there and check it out. :)

Recent Watercolors

I've been doing some small watercolors in-between working on my larger oil paintings.  Here's a few of the most recent ones that I've finished:



Brass Doe
{Brass Doe}


I've also listed these paintings in my Etsy Shop. :)


The Impact of a Mentor and an Educator – Remembering Ron Weaver

Mud Flat and Harbor - (c) Ron Weaver

As some of you know, I got my BFA in Painting/Drawing at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  When I started I was an Art-Education major.  It was my second semester there, and I enrolled in the Drawing II Color course with Ron Weaver.  He had gotten his MFA at Yale, painted and exhibited his work nationally, and it was his last year of teaching before retiring from teaching. 

(c) Ron Weaver

This class became a pivotal class in my education, and my life for that matter.  Ron not only pushed us to be better artists, but better people as well.  I can remember every assignment for that class in great detail even though it has been close to 10 years since I took his course.  We started out the course by doing color exercises – cutting up Color-Aid packets, and discussing Josef Albers (who he studied under at Yale).    

(c) Ron Weaver

I recently found out about his passing after battling cancer.  I’ve had a heavy heart the last few days when remembering such a great man, and his impact on my life. 

This semester I am teaching the same course – Design II Color – here in South Dakota – we are working through the Albers exercises right now in class, and just last week, I told my students how lucky I was to have studied with Ron Weaver when I was in undergrad.  His love of color and painting were so apparent in his every action – when he spoke of the art he loved the room would be captivated.  He was definitely a ‘painters painter’. 

Black Horse and Barbara - (c) Ron Weaver

One day later in the semester in Ron's class we were doing a drawing exercise where we were to sit next to a partner and draw their profile in line in about 10 minutes to test our observational abilities.  I drew my friend Dan, and was pretty happy with my drawing.  When Ron came around checking all of the drawings he smiled when he looked at mine and asked me to stay after class. 

Mudflat Rock - (c) Ron Weaver

I stuck around and he asked me a barrage of questions: why did I choose art education?  Why not studio art? What did I want out of my life?  What did I want out of my education?  He strongly suggested I drop art education and become a painter.  I was already shying away from K-12 education at that point – I loved teaching, but was not a fan of bureaucracy and restrictions (much of which were creeping in to K-12 education at a high rate even then).  Up to that point, no one had really said that painting and studio arts would be a good career path for me– I had always been steered towards something more ‘practical’.  But none of the practical options were good options for me.  This conversation lit a fire within me.  It gave me the permission to let myself do something risky – to embrace the unknown, and to pursue the thing that had always made me the happiest.  It was a changing point in my life.

(c) Ron Weaver

There were many more after-class conversations that happened that semester – ones in which he told me and a few other students about his experiences as a painter – his education – his ‘adventures’.  He taught not in the classroom, but by example as well.  He was a prolific painter – working both in and out of the studio.  He set an excellent precedence for what it meant to be a committed artist, not just a Sunday painter.  He was completely enthralled and engaged by painting, color, light, and sharing beauty with those he came in contact with.  I don’t think ‘passion’ is a strong enough word to describe his relationship to painting.

Kneeling Nude - (c) Ron Weaver

It has always been my belief that the best thing we can do with our time on this planet is to be kind and always do our best to help others.  When our physical bodies fail us, our actions and shared kindness is what is left of us.  I am honored to have worked with Ron at Oshkosh, and hope to continue his kindness, his generosity, and his teaching through my own art and in my relationship with my students. 

Thank you Ron.