Saturday, December 12, 2009

Judge and Jury

Photo by David Lee

The Parkland Art League, a large and active organization in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, asked me and Nancy Bea Miller to jury and judge their Annual Juried Show at the Allentown Art Museum last Thursday. It took more than an hour to drive there, which made me realize the long commute a couple of my students have who live out in that area and belong to this art league.

Since Nancy Bea and I have slightly different styles and different taste in art, we wondered on the trip up to Allentown whether our difference would make the selection process more difficult--but it actually went smoothly, though it took a lot of thought. There were so many good paintings! Going through this experience makes one appreciate what jurors go through, and how tough it is to decide.

Here I am with Nancy Bea on the steps of the museum.

A Semester of Color

Ellen in cool light
Ellen in warm light

For the past three years I've been teaching a class in portrait painting at the Wayne Art Center. This class has been rewarding in so many ways. When I was in my twenties I never imagined that I would like teaching, and I couldn't understand how my parents, both architects, could enjoy it so much. But my attitude gradually changed. I began to take on private students, then a friend asked me to take over his portrait class, and the rest is history.

I have a wonderful group of students (some of whom are professional artists) who ask such great questions. Last spring I noticed they were asking a lot about color, so I decided to devote a few classes to painting with a limited palette. The few classes turned into a whole semester of painting with six colors--two reds, two yellows and two blues, plus white--and it has been a real learning experience for me as well, since I normally paint with lots of colors on my palette.

Our last exercise was to paint the same model twice, once in warm light and once in cool light. My friend Ellen Cooper, a portrait painter, posed for us. I was able to do very quick oil sketches of her in each light. At the end of the class we all compared our paintings in warm and cool light, and the results were exciting.

Star-Studded Cast

James Toogood and I standing in front of our paintings.
Outside/Inside, oil, 42" x 50"

The Philadelphia Sketch Club is celebrating its 150th year with an exhibit of paintings by past and present members. As one of the present members, I was invited to be in the show, and I have to say it really knocked my socks off to see my painting hanging in the same room with an N.C. Wyeth, a Thomas Eakins, a Rockwell Kent, a Daniel Garber, a Thomas Moran. . . the list goes on and on. A humbling and awe-inspiring experience!

You might notice something about these illustrious past members: they are all male. That's because the Sketch Club just started admitting female members very recently. think I'm one of four women artists in the exhibition.

The show comes down tomorrow, and I'll be sad to see all those amazing works go back to their permanent homes.