Friday, March 15, 2013

If I could spend a day with George Washington Carver...

Each year I have the honor of hanging and judging fourth grade artwork at George Washington Carver National Monument: For months, park volunteers go into the schools and present the life of Carver, and invite students to participate in the art and essay contest. MSSU teacher education students read and judge the essays, and my MSSU art education majors help me hang and judge the artwork. It's a beautiful museum and park grounds, a little gem out in the sticks. The presentation ceremony is packed full of families each year, and all the kids are beaming with pride that their hard work was acknowledged. I always enjoy saying a few words about the importance of art in the community, and that Carver inspired us with his determination and genius in science and art. What a great program.

Engaging with Crystal Bridges

Recently I was able to participate in a workshop facilitated by the museum education staff at Crystal Bridges Museum of American. Anne Kraybill, Education Director, is directing us in discussion about this particular painting. I always enjoy being in this stunning architectural space looking at original works of art only an hour from where I live. Anne and her staff did a great job networking all of us, mostly university professors or teachers. I am looking forward to bringing two new groups of students to the museum in April, where Anne and her staff will conduct a similar discussion as a model for how my education students and local art teachers can bring art alive through observation and dialogue.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Studio, an Art Retreat, and 2-Page Spreads

The last couple weeks have been a much-needed shake of my space and my head. You know if you let salad dressing or orange juice sit in the fridge too long, they need a good shake to be digestible and satisfying and fresh once again. Well, those ingredients have been shaken for me and I am encouraged. First, painted my second bedroom and closet to become a new home studio. Second, moved all of the supplies and furniture out of the Beehive space into my house. Next, took a weekend off and attended Nelliepalooza, friend Nellie Mitchell's creative low-key getaway in Neosho full of art-making and snacks. Lastly, started playing in my journals again, with no agenda, no deadline. Spring has sprung, my mind is clear, and as always...making art brings me balance and stability. What kind of spring cleaning do you need to re-arrange the clutter, blow away the fog?

Rearranging an older collaborative piece into a portfolio. Old to new, always a part of my process.

The new home studio. Great light, great view of my pretty yard.

Other half, including storage closet.  I love it.

Art journal piece started at retreat, finished in studio.

One corner of Nelliepalooza. Over 40 women participated.

My work table at Nelliepalooza.