Friday, March 27, 2015

Developing values

My father was an avid photographer. I inherited his many photo albums last year, along with those of my mother's father. The images go back through my childhood to the youth of people I only knew as grown ups. I find myself studying them: young adults, even children themselves. The wheel of time is strange.

Here are a couple of sketches, value studies really. (and yes, that's a pun.) That's my big sister on the right. My dad took the photo; my grandmother made the matching outfits.

I am trying to tease out the shapes, their placement and relationship.  One of my students has been wrestling with the same question. Helping her got me working again.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Art with the Elderly

"The house I grew up in" -- Joanne
The folks in my classes wrestle with more than age.  They face the blank page, not only in public and perhaps for the first time, but with dimmed eye sight, arthritic hands, and failing memory.

Through the magic of the internet, I discovered Jane Filer.  Filer's  combination of abstraction and whimsy inspired  my students like nothing I'd seen before. We used a detail from Filer's "Hillandale Road."

Even the simplest version catches the geometry and the rhythm of the trees.

geometry of landscape

This resident layered the watercolors for deeper hues, and added trees at the bottom.  
Vineyard view

This resident, an artist in her day,  had avoided my class, wrestling with doubt and self-consciousness. But Filer's artwork pulled her in. I love the pink she used for the fields.
Pink Hills

A woman who usually paints traditional decorative flowers worked on this image for three classes. "I've never done anything like this." Wonderful.
New Horizons, after Jane Filer "Hillandale Road"

Thank you, Jane Filer, for the inspiration. Find Filer's work, including "Hillandale Road," here. She is a joyous, sharing artist. Watch her at work here and here.