Color Drawing, Spring 2010

A year ago I started teaching all levels of Color Drawing (Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced) at the University of Missouri. While I really enjoy all of my classes, the Color Drawing sections have been particularly special to me.

So here’s just a review of some of the great work from this semester…

Danielle Moser, Beginning Color Drawing: Reflection Project Drawing, Oil Pastel, 24 by 18 inches.

Jillian Blanck, Beginning Color Drawing: Master Copy Drawing (after Dali’s The Hallucinogenic Toreador), Chalk Pastel, 30 by 22 inches.

Scott Fisher, Beginning Color Drawing: Master Copy Drawing (after Michelangelo’s Libyan Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel), Chalk Pastel, 30 by 22 inches.

Holly Meador, Intermediate Color Drawing: Head Planes Model Drawing, Chalk Pastel, 44 by 30 inches.

Holly Meador, Intermediate Color Drawing: Self Portrait as Flaming June (after Lord Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June), Chalk Pastel, 30 by 36 inches. (Unfortunately, this drawing was stolen from my flat files at the University – I’m actually pretty pissed off about it. How can we expect our students to be willing to put forth their best efforts when their peers don’t respect that work? Really unbelievable.)

Roxanne Kueser, Advanced Color Drawing: Courtney, Chalk Pastel, 24  by 18 inches.

Brittany Carney, Advanced Color Drawing: Neil (The Proper Posture), Chalk Pastel, 24  by 18 inches.

Marcus Miers, Advanced Color Drawing: Untitled Composition, Chalk Pastel, 60  by 45 inches.

I want to thank all of my Color Drawing students for making the class so enjoyable. I could have easily had 100 drawings to show from the production of my 24 students; I don’t mean any disrespect to those I’ve not displayed here. These works do show the overall quality and worth ethic I’ve seen throughout all of the students this semester. I’m so glad I got to work with them. Here’s to setting the bar high for next semester!

My Moms

On Mother’s Day, 2010

One of the most precious things to me is the gentle, loving, intimate voice of a mother in communication with her child. This voice is sometimes audible, sometimes unheard by anyone else, sometimes not even heard by the child. Sometimes it’s a voice of words, sometimes one of deeds. It is a form of communication that speaks as much to the mother as it does to the child. It is a mysterious speech, a multilayered kind of intonation that expresses love and hope and encouragement.

Right now I’m sitting 20 feet away from my wife, Alison, and our first child, Miranda. Her birth just 10 days ago was amazingly wonderful. Yet perhaps it was not the most amazing transmutation that occurred. You see, many times before giving birth, Alison would write to Miranda, speak to her, sing to her, hum to her. In these things Alison was experiencing a transformation into mom-ness. The state of being motherly, of extending unconditional love, of earnest, joyful support for that child, was becoming manifest in her character and nature. Yes, she was always wonderful with children; now she was becoming a mom.

I remember a few weeks early on in her pregnancy when Alison started to really inhabit her mom-ness. What happened was that for several weeks, during the early morning hours between 4 and 5 am, Alison – totally asleep – would sing to her unborn child. Well, sing isn’t really the right word. It was sing-humming, a kind of spontaneous melody of pure joy. It was involuntary – she was not conscious of it when I told her about it later. Yet there she was, serenading her child weeks before she would feel her, months before she could hold her. She was becoming a mom, then and there. It was beautiful. I think it was a powerfully important thing as well: a song for growing, for knitting, for becoming. Miranda needed it, and Alison could sing it. As the only conscious witness to that sweet concert, I hope I never forget that sound.

Alison and Miranda sleeping

Thinking about this reminds me of the other mothers close to me in my life – my own mom and Alison’s mom. They’ve got their own mother powers, too.

When I was a child I was desperate for my mom’s touch before sleep. Once put down, if I awoke I would cry and cry… less from fears or needs, but rather in order to bring her to me, to have her put her hand on my back again. I wanted to have that hand lull me back to sleep with its warm, rhythmic, safe motion. My understanding is that this specific mode of soothing was a constant desire of mine; sometimes my mom would resort to placing a warm water bottle on me in place of her hand just so she could get something done in the evenings. But I love that she came again and again, sitting next to me and bringing that touch that only a mom knows how to do. This was just one of the many, many ways my mom exhibited her mom-ness toward me, built me up, gave me what only she could give.

My mom as a young woman – about my age now, I think…

My mom-in-law, Kathy, also does something only a mom can do. Well, others can do it and are supposed to, but moms do it best: selflessness. When her children are in the midst of their work, projects, fears, triumphs, and lives in general, there she’ll be, selflessly being supportive, giving of her time and energy with no thought of return. On countless occasions over the years that I’ve known her and seen her with her kids, I’ve witnessed her aid come to them. That aid took on many forms, from helping with studying or editing lengthy papers to nursing them through sickness or helping them move, these kids knew they could count on her. In a world where so many people are out for themselves, she’s rejected all selfishness, seeing her support for and encouragement of her kids as vital and necessary. And it’s totally appropriate that she exhibits that giving character so fully – there’s no support, no love, no aid like what comes from a mom.

Mom Schwei with Miranda

So today I think of all of this, and am overjoyed. I thank God for it… and there again is Alison in the other room, speaking to Miranda with a mother nature uniquely her own. I am so thankful for this goddess-voice in my wife, for the goddess-touch in my mom’s warm hand resting on my back all those times, and for the goddess-sensitivity my mother-in-law’s selflessness and constancy. Thanks Mom Bourgeois, Mom Schwei, and new Mom Ballou – I love each of you.

New Tondo Works

I’m ramping up for a large solo show next year. Have been in the studio working in gouache on paper, inventing and reinventing figures, adjusting colors, fiddling with shapes, etc. Two of the studies are below.

Pivot, 23 inches in diameter

Know, 23 inches in diameter

I’ve also been working on two large works – 48 inches in diameter, oil on canvas on panel. This one is called Certainty.

Diebenkorn in 2010

Diebenkorn Ocean Park #31

A traveling survey exhibition of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series is slated to begin in 2010. Read more about it HERE, and see Tyler Green’s posting about the show HERE. Personally, I can’t wait.

Related: Some Thoughts on Loving Diebenkorn’s Work.

“My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful, the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles.” – Richard Diebenkorn

UPDATE: I know this post gets quite a few hits and that means that people are seeking information about the Diebenkorn show. As far as I know that show has been pushed back indefinitely. You can see more info about the postponement here.