It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Murals to Inspire

Our mural painting team with their instructor after the 3-day hard work 

Murals are typically art applied directly to wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. The earliest known murals are the Paleolithic cave paintings some 40,000 BCE. Masters like Leonardo Da Vinci (Last Supper) and Michelangelo Buonarroti (Last Judgement, The Creation of Adam, and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) produced murals during the Renaissance period.
 It is during Mexican Muralism that murals got a new dimension as a powerful visual communication tool, through the large paintings of “the great three”: Diego RiveraJosé Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, at that time murals became the most important form of expression, and the subject of controversy and always a symbol of solidarity, freedom and hope.  
Today murals are an important form of public art with styles varying from abstract to trompe l’oeil.  In Denver the annual Crush Walls festival is spotlighting local, national, and international artist to bring the streets of RiNo district to life and has created hundreds of inspiring murals in that area since 2009. Read more about Crush Walls by clicking here.

Our school had during the past weekend the privilege to offer a workshop on the basics of painting murals. One of our instructors is a mural painter focusing mostly on botanical material and was willing to share her trade secrets with twelve students. The initial plan was to practice on our classroom wall and then paint it over during our annual maintenance week. The Zinnia-wall will stay without immediate over painting -Congratulations Zinnia-Team!!! 



Adding the furniture on its place makes a big difference and the decision weather or not the wall was going to be painted over immediately was easy to make.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Time for Color -

(Karen Mahnken, transparent acrylics)

This time mostly water media: Poppies in transparent acrylics; White flowers in watercolor; Poetry of Flowers in our drawing on tradition tradition series, this one focusing on Emily Dickinson's poetry with illustration techniques inspired by Dugald Stermer, and finally Pelargoniums in Watercolor. 



Rebecca Swain, watercolor

Irma Sturgel, watercolor pencil and graphite

Sue Carr, watercolor

For more pictures from these classes , please click here

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Santa Fe Folk Art Market: Appreciation of Cultural Heritage

Entrance to the Museum Hill International Folk Art Market

 Last weekend a group of SBAI-community traveled to Santa Fe, NM mainly to visit the International Folk-Art Market, IFAM (July 13, 2019). With traditional hand crafts from 53 different countries by 178 artists, this annual event at the Museum Hill in Santa Fe sold 40,000 + tickets.
This was the first year for the US to participate, with five US-born artists invited by the four different museums at the Museum Hill plus the School of Advanced Research. 
IFAM in Santa Fe was born 15 years ago (2003) and is a high-quality craft market. It gets over 600 applications annually and the exhibitors are selected through an effective two-jury system: (a) Selection Committee comprised by experienced museum curators and gallerists who judge each applicant for excellence and strong roots in folk tradition. (b) Placement Committee consists  of retailers and merchants who are looking for geographic diversity, media, price, and aesthetic.
This was a beautiful enriching experience, exceptionally operated and arranged. Over 1700 volunteers contributed to the success.
Samples of Kaitag and Caucasian silk embroidery, also called Armenian embroidery. It displays very fine detailed work with complex stitching originating in the mid 18th century. The motifs are derived from Ottoman and Persian art. Since 2004  group of women have been successfully working to save the art form from extinction. The silk is all naturally dyed. (Mehmet Cetinkaya Gallery, Turkey) 

The day before, we visited the Museum of International Folk Art including the Alexander Girard exhibition: A Designer’s Universe. The exhibition surveys Girard’s life and the connections to Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, and Jack Larsen. His work for Herman MillerCompany, John Deere, and some private clients are also highlighted. We had the opportunity to explore the Girard Wing with around 10,000 objects representing roughly one tenth of the collection that Girard donated to the museum in 1978. One day is not enough for this museum!

Alfonso Sulca Chavez: Belt No. 25; sheep's wool weft, cotton warp, natural dyes Peru 2016. The design sketch of this piece is in the left had corner insert, Museum of International Folk Art


Display of Day of the Dead, children all over Mexico eat sugar sculls and play with toy skeletons. From the Girard Wing collections  

The International Folk Art Museum has a 30,000 piece textile and ethnographic dress collection, these ensembles are from Cusco, Peru as is the photo in the background. These costumes showcase the handwork, spinning and dyeing wool weaving on backstrap and treadle looms, knitting, sewing and embroidering.
These are all Alexander Girard's textile designs for Herman Miller, 1954-1961

For more pictures featuring a fraction of the Folk Art Market, please click here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Graphite and both Traditional and Expressive Ink

Graphite by Janet Bell

In addition to the training in the traditional graphite and pen and ink illustration we also teach the students to use the quill and brush in a more expressive way. This, perhaps more relaxed and painterly way of illustration brings the botanical subjects to life in a dynamic way, and simultaneously takes away the fear from using ink on a white paper.

Expressive Ink by Mary Crabtree

To see more images from our recently completer classes, please click here.

Pen and Ink by Peggy Delaney

Monday, July 8, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives: Bukhara the holiest city in Central Asia

One of the many floral wall decoration from the summer residence of Bukhara's last emir, Sayyd Muhammad Alim Khan

Our two days in Bukhara were packed with information and different historic localities and will be reported with two different posts.  The city is more than 2000 years old and said to be the holiest city in Central Asia, it also early on became the intellectual and cultural center of the Islamic world . The Historic Center of Bukhara got the UNESCO World Heritage site designation in 1993 as the most complete example of a medieval Central Asian City.
The crown gate of the Magoki-Attori Mosque, now a carpet museum - this temple originates in the Zoroastrian period (2000 BCE - 7th century CE). It was re-built after the 937 fire that destroyed Bukhara. The most extensive restoration was done in 1546 and the most recent restoration was done in 1970s.  




Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July to our readers!

Watercolor pencil by Susan Willis