Glue, Paper, Paint: art exhibition at Northwest Vista College

 I curated and installed the exhibit Glue, Paper, Paint at Northwest Vista College's Palmetto Center for the Arts.  I selected John Medina and Adam Palmer for the show.  They are both teachers and artists in the great state of Texas.  Their nonobjective compositions and saturated palettes also served as a teaching opportunity for our studio, design and art appreciation courses.  John is locally based in San Antonio, the chair at the Alameda School of Art +  Design.  His school brought 100 students to tour our campus and take a look at their teacher's artwork.  Many of them had assisted the year prior with the Vincent Valdez and Alex Rubio triptych on display above the theater (pictured below).

  John presented an inspiring artist talk for our students at NVC, wherein he discussed his education and path to becoming an artist.  Thank you to Rey Cardenas for helping to coordinate the use of the Black Box Theater for this event!
John's paintings have a raised texture, a result of building up hot glue on wood panels, The ombre paint unifies the surface and enhances the illusion of movement.  Adam's mixed media drawings are intricately drawn with colored pencils, markers, even highlighters.  The afocal works are mesmerizing and some contain collage elements of holographic stickers and silkscreen.

John Medina's hot glue paintings

Adam Palmer's intricate, mixed media drawings

It was a pleasure to have their work on campus to kick off the Spring semester! 

Check out more of the artists' work on their websites:

Adam Palmer                    John Medina


The Ranger article about the exhibition and interviews with the artists. 

My La Re Vista article about the exhibit & my curatorial efforts at the college.
What's Hiding at the Palmetto?  by Melissa Monroe-Young


2016 Juried Student Art Exhibit at NVC

 I juried & curated the 2016 annual student art exhibition at Northwest Vista College.  This year's show featured six talented students working in ceramics, painting, digital, sculpture & woodworking.  It was a pleasure to heave their work on display at the Palmetto Center for the Arts.  It is a beautiful space with high ceilings and a continuous wall of windows.

I am gearing up to jury the 2017 show, all students currently enrolled at NVC are encouraged to apply!  Deadline to submit your work for next year's show is mid February.  See flyers around the department for details.


Art Appreciation Self-Portraits

Art Appreciation capped off their studies of the elements of art and principles of design with a drawing project.  Everyone was tasked with the creation a self-portrait using the grid technique. Students drew a one-inch grid on both pages (lightly on the drawing paper).  Beginning with one eye and moving adjacently from feature to feature, lines were translated block by block.  I advised them to quarter the more complicated squares of the grid to better observe where the features fell relative to the grid line.  The objective was to use the elements of line, shape & space coupled with the principle of proportion in the creation of an artwork.  This was their third art project of the semester.

 Great work by my art appreciation classes at NVC!

Embedded below is the demonstration video for my art appreciation students.  Art experience not required.  Try it out!


Summer painting in progress

Summer school ended the first week of July and after turning in final grades for my course, I came home ready to focus in the studio.  As I previously wrote, I wasn't quite sure what to do with this canvas (it measures 36 x 36 inches), so I began by painting the background in a warm palette.  When I work on a large canvas like this, I use a second work table so the canvas can lay flat for the first few layers.  Following are photos of the progression. 

July 14:  Lola, #studiocat, is always very interested in my studio progress. The origami was first drawn on gridded paper to achieve similarity in size and shape.  Next, the original sketch was repeated on tracing paper and transferred to the canvas.  The shapes were blocked in with a thin layer of white paint.


July 15-18:  I spent a few days in my sketchbook, drawing blind contours of the caladium in my garden and working out the composition.  After choosing the sketches I wanted to use in the final work, I transferred the lines to tracing paper and laid them out on the canvas.  The square format presented some challenges that I haven't had to address on such a large scale before.  This part always takes the longest.  
July 19: The subject matter has been transferred to the canvas and blocked in.

July 22: Current state. 


Summer Painting

The view from my studio window
As expected, Texas summers are HOT.  Even the cacti in my garden are starting to look a little burned out.  A local told me that you never get over the Texas heat, you just learn to live with it.  This is the first summer in a long time (high school?) that I've had a true summer break.  No side jobs, nothing but my studio work to focus on.  I am excited to announce that I begin a full time teaching appointment mid-August!

The 36" x 36" canvas for my newest painting spent two months leaning against the wall outside my studio, waiting for inspiration to strike.  I recently wrote to my friend Kelly about how I wasn't sure what to do, but I was going to get started anyways.  The background came first and I worked with a 1" brush to blend (wet-on-wet) patches of white, pink & yellow.

Next, I transferred the origami pattern and blocked it in with paint.  Origami has been appearing in my work since a residency in 2010.  I really liked the background of my previous painting and wanted to reuse it here to make a more joyful piece.  After all, the strands of origami served as the backdrop for our wedding ceremony.

Here are a few sketches for this painting (as yet unnamed), sparrows and caladium drawn from the garden. Sparrows were in several of my drawings last summer & ever present in our yard.  The caladium were planted as bulbs late February.  I patiently waited for them to grow and was about to give up when one day in late April they began to push up through the ground.


Idea to Image: Here & There

My latest and largest painting, Here & There is 30 x 40", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.  I worked on it for a really long time...I began painting the background after I returned from my residency last summer.  In fact, I used it as an example in my painting class to demonstrate different blending techniques. After layering the background with several coats of paint and stenciling a faint purple polka dot pattern, I drew the fence and then added the origami.  The plants and birds were drawn on tracing paper and transferred using the carbon paper shown in the detail below (right).

I painted more slowly than usual and colors shifted quite a bit.  In the image below, you can see my palette (Sta-Wet by Masterson), which I love because it keeps the paint fresh for about two weeks. The pure colors were mixed on the canvas, rather than on the palette.

The origami was drawn from the curtain in my studio.  There are nine strands with ten cranes each; Steven and I were married in front of it a few years ago in the city.  The origami, a
 recurring symbol in my art, has come to represent memory, home and love.

The plant life was blocked in before adding the rest of the grackles.  I drew five birds in my sketchbook, transferred them to tracing paper and then moved them around the composition to create balance and establish implied line.  Even though the entirety of the canvas is covered in pattern, I felt the top right corner had too much negative space, so I added a bird in flight to activate the space and add movement to the static image.  I've been teaching art appreciation for seven years now; the elements of art and principles of design are constantly on my mind as I work to express my ideas.

This is the second painting to contain a large 'family' of birds.  I come from a family of five, as does my husband.  My mom is also from a family of five and her mom was one of five siblings.  It bears noting that Steven and I have a zoo of five in our house; three cats and two dogs. Five has proven to be meaningful and numbers have long been a significant part of my content. My thesis work dealt with specific numbers, derived by measuring spans of time and representing them through stamping, typing or a encasing hundreds of pins in shadowboxes. Over time, the numbers I have dealt with have simply grown smaller.  Trained as a printmaker, I have a natural tendency toward repetition.  If I'm not editioning, I find another way to do the same thing over and over, hence the recurring imagery and patterned backgrounds.

 I hope you enjoyed viewing the development of my painting! 
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