Monday, August 25, 2014

School of The Art Institute

First of all thank you to my brother Nick for holding me accountable for posting regularly.  I haven't been contributing because I haven't been doing much making or teaching since leaving Oaxaca mid-July after which we continued to travel in Mexico and Guatemala before heading home for more trips in Michigan and Wisconsin.  Other than some scattered sketches and a few runs of stitches into a quilt, I haven't been creatively productive at all.  To be honest, I've been relishing this dormant time which is barren in its laziness because life is becoming increasingly full as I begin the Masters in Art Education program at the Art Institute in Chicago.  Today was the orientation for graduates and tomorrow is the one for my department of Art Education.  

One message which was not lost on me today was that SAIC is full of resources and being an artist is all about exploiting those resources primarily through making connections and networking.  As a devout home body, I am going to really make an effort as much as I can to attend lectures, go to shows, and simply dwell in the museum's galleries.  It will be a challenge considering my time will be divided into teaching part-time and caring for my family, you know those important people.

Anyway, on the El ride home, I pulled a brochure from the pile stowed in my complimentary tote bag.  The brochure was for Ox-Bow, an artists school and residency program in the Michigan wilderness which is affiliated with SAIC.  Inside the cover is a list of rules written by Sister Corita Kent.  I think these are worthy of adherence as I try to make the most of my short time at SAIC.

Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

Rule 2: General duties of a student -- pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

Rule 3: General duties of a teacher -- pull everything out of your students. 

Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment

Rule 5: Be self-disciplined -- this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way.  To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

Rule 6: Nothing is a mistake.  There's no win and no fail, there's only make.

Rule 7: The only rule is work.  If you work it will lead to something.  It's the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

Rule 8: Don't try to create and analyze at the same time.  They're different processes.

Rule 9:  Be happy whenever you can manage it.  Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.

Rule 10: "We're breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities." -- John Cage

HINTS: Always be around.  Come or go to everything. Always go to classes.  Read anything you can get your hands on.  Look at movies carefully, often.  Save everything -- it might come in handy later. 

excerpted from Ox-Bow's 2014 brochure

PS  I really love numbers 6 and 8.  Also, I'm considering launching a new website with a blog as part of it.  I'll keep you posted if there any changes on the horizon!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


 I'm so obsessed with the shrines in Oaxaca, that I had to make my own.  I used cereal boxes, tape, glue, paint, colored pencils, and marker to make this three-some.  In the center is La Virgen de Guadalupe.  To the left is Nuestra Senora de Soledad, the patroness of Oaxaca City, and all the way to the right is Nuestra Senora de Juquila, the patroness of Oaxaca State.  Now for some miracles. . .

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saint Jerome's

I regard these little paintings as exercises which I tire of after an hour or two.  They are like sketches with paint.  I do miss working on bigger projects--that begin with a vision or a compulsion which I feel driven to bring into being.  Perhaps this is not the time to be undertaking such a project when most of my time and energy is devoted to soaking up the creative energies in which I am immersed.  Perhaps the big projects will come later after I've digested a bit.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pre-Columbian Art

This is a drawing of one of the indigenous art pieces from the Rufino Tamayo museum.  It is oil pastel on top of Acrylic.   I love these ceramic figures, and it was a nice change of pace to draw rather than render in paint.  I've really been filling up my sketchbook.  For some reason drawing seems to be pleasing my brain more lately.  But, I like that the underpainting shows through and gives intrigue and dimension to the drawing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Plant Stand

This plant stand is in our courtyard.  I'm sort of obsessed with its form.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garden Girl

 I finished this lady last night.  She is based on this planter in our roof garden which features a Senorita carrying a vessel on her head which is overflowing with a succulent.  The pattern behind her is taken from the iron chairs up there, and the green image on the bottom is from our wooden dining room chairs.  The side tiles are taken from the inside of a fountain that was at a park we attended last week.  I feel like these paintings are becoming collages of what I am noticing.  They are a way to digest what I am seeing and learn about it through copying.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I was having fun last night painting a rooster pot and rug patterns.  I definitely would love to learn more of the tarpeta making process.  I can't wait to try it at home.