August 28th, 2020

by Eileen Treasure, Manager

Visitors ask this question almost every day without realizing how inconceivable it sounds. There are at least 200 pieces of art to take in just on the main floor of Gallery MAR.

I would love to be able to say, “Yes, I oil paint before breakfast, cast bronze mid-day and blow glass in the afternoon before returning to mixed media paintings in the evening.” Alas, I cannot!

Our collection reaches and inspires every age group — and we love to talk about it!

 

My own artistic renaissance began with this painting of a pear in 2003. The glazing and shading techniques I learned from Vermeer crystallized in this study.

 

Sharing ideas ‘artist to artist’ is historically the lifeblood of the ever-changing and evolving artistic process.  One artist creates a piece and another artist envisions a different path and runs with it. Five hundred years ago it happened in the guilds, art schools and studios and artwork on public display. The nineteenth century saw many groups of similarly minded (and usually struggling) artists working along side one another, often forging avant-garde pathways.

Since the internet, those pathways are intersecting and running on hyper-speed, yet there is something exhilarating for us when guests come into Gallery MAR and are so overwhelmed they ask, “Did you make all this?”  They really want to know more about the collection and some of the artists. Perhaps they want to understand an artist’s journey, and our blogs are the perfect place to learn those stories.

Found image of a child’s drawing: much like my first artistic success in kindergarten.

 

Since I am asked almost daily if I am the artist of the gallery, I thought I would tell the story of my art journey. In kindergarten I enjoyed my first artistic success. The teacher asked the class to draw a tree. I quickly colored a brown vertical rectangle; the teacher added there should not be a straight, horizontal line across the bottom of the tree trunk as trees have uneven bases growing out of the ground. I remember my horror looking at my drawing. Quickly and with all the pressure my crayon would hold, I colored over the base of my tree trunk so it looked as instructed. Whew, just in time, the teacher snatched up my paper and showed the class the correct drawing.  It’s a silly story, but most people stop creating art because of one or two such events casting negative criticism on their artwork.  Art is personal — very personal.

Earning a B.A. in Art & Design was a good foundation for me to explore various mediums, cultivate a thick skin during critique sessions (defending my more advanced tree trunks) and gather precious ideas for future roads to follow — not to mention, it was the basis for my passion for art. Some of my most important course work was art history, and copying the masters was like taking a tutorial from Cezanne, Vermeer, Coorte, Monet, Vuillard and Bauer.  Here is some of what I learned:

When I was 18, I took my first ‘class’ from Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring), and it changed my life as an artist. There is no black paint used in the background–only multiple layers (about 50) of dark hues.

 

 

Vermeer’s three-quarter portrait view inspired this portrait of my grandmother who came to America in 1913 from Sweden.

 

 

Paul Cezanne was a master of color and modern composition, and this copy of Still Life with Soup Tureen taught me to see beyond the subject matter and focus on the elements of design — line, color, texture, value and shape.

 

 

My Swedish Grandmother and her 2 sisters when they had a bakery in Falun, Sweden. Notice a touch of Cezanne still life on the table–lilacs, limpe bread and apples.

 

 

This copy of 17-18th century Dutch artist, Adriaen Coorte, fulfilled my desire to study fruit still-life, but also the stone ledge that made the composition so modern.

 

 

Fruit still-life consisting of 30+ layers of sheer color for the background (no black), the peaches and the stone ledge.

 

My current body of work strives to bring all these lessons together with simplified shapes emerging from the darkness in rich, multi-layered colors. Discovering the work of early 20th century, German artist, Rudolf Bauer, was my inspiration.

Rudolf Bauer’s early work features classic shapes (perfect circles) in beautifully glazed hues floating through space.

 

My own half copy/half original based on Rudolf Bauer’s early work. Abstraction is the natural progression of art, just as it is in music, literature, dance, etc.

Do not fear! It is perfectly legal to copy artwork 100 years old, or greater.  But please refrain from copying any living artist including our collection — it’s not only illegal it’s unkind to the artist.

Be sure to watch our next artist-in-residence event. Watch our artists create, ask them questions and jump start your own artistic journey. Even if it’s been on pause since Kindergarten — it’s never too late to start again!