Becoming the Student, #4: Billy Glosson

In continuing the Becoming the Student project, I’m aiming to use different methods and mediums in building the portraits. In this piece, I focused on something tied directly to Billy’s identity and his presence in the world: his tattoos. I wanted to depict the color, the saturation, and the overtness of these artworks that have been put on his body. They’re really important to him as a way to tell a story and represent his deeply held beliefs.

IMG_8353Portrait of Billy (Fruit of the Vine), Pastel on Stonehenge, 19 by 22 inches, 2014.

Billy on his portrait:

“That’s really cool. I was wondering why you were staring at my midsection the whole time…”

Billy on maintaining awe:

“There’s not a method. I think our hearts are prone to becoming numb. Derek Webb has a song with a line that says ‘we love lovers less wild’ and I think that’s the truth. For me it’s about constantly coming back to the place where I’m asking God to reveal Himself. I want to create good longing in my heart. Difficult moments and hardships and conflict and frustrating things in my life point me back to grace. Another practical way is having people around me who can speak into my life; that’s been huge.”

Billy is on a quest to complete an entire sleeve of tattoos. To help him out, I suggested the classic image from The Cloud of Unknowing. I definitely think it’s skin-worthy:1979654_10103885160284509_1941637934_n

Becoming the Student, #3: Bobby Schembre

Bobby Schembre is a pastor, musician, questioner, lover of fine bourbons, and grill-master. In many ways we are different, but in many ways we are very similar… from the deepest hopes we harbor to the sorts of challenging questions we explore. Last week Bobby agreed to be a part of my “Becoming the Student” project. I greatly looked forward to our conversation. We moved through some intense existential territory over the course of our 2+ hour session. Some topics we touched on were: Pink Floyd and spiritual awakenings, how to understand the taste of bourbon and scotch, the nature of musical liturgy in contemporary Christianity, the glory and grace of our wives, and our experience of scientific awe.

Here is the resulting portrait:

IMG_8350Portrait of a Man (Bobby Schembre, 2/24/2014). Pastel on Stonehenge Paper, 22 x 24 inches, 2014. (Click for enlargement)

Bobby on musical liturgy and storytelling:

“I love the fact that we talk about how God is holy and untouchable and yet He’s here and gracious. It doesn’t make any sense really. Or that He’s indescribable and infinite and then we turn around and spend the rest of the service describing Him.”

“Part of the reality for me is that I can’t believe the bible or have a real experience of Christianity without being OK with deep tension. Everywhere, everything has a balance to it. Everything has a paradox involved in it. Nothing is just something you could put in a box and tie it up neatly and say, ‘I’ve got this.’ When we explore something about God there’s something else that makes us think, ‘well, what about this?’ And so one of the things I’m always thinking about in creating a musical liturgy is how can we expand the way we think about God, uphold the paradox, and marvel at the paradox of God.”

“I’ve been pondering my job as a ‘worship leader’ – which is just something we’ve made up – you know, what is this? I think part of the answer is that I’m a storyteller. I’m helping people think the story and sing the story of the gospel. It’s practicing a pattern.”

Bobby, with his manly beard and barrel chest reminds me of a few other bearded big men of history…

spurgeon_chair1Famed Christian pastor and author, C.H. Spurgeon

portrait-of-sculptor-james-vibertSculptor James Vibert by Ferdinand Hodler

Repin-portrait-of-the-composer-modest-mussorgsky-1881Russian Composer Mussorgsky by Ilya Repin

Also, there’s this great Portrait of a Man from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Click to check it out.

~

Thanks for being a part of this portrait series, Bobby!

Multiples of 18 Celebration

In just four more days – February 18 – we’ll be celebrating the year anniversary of becoming a family of four! It’s hard to believe that on this day a year ago we were walking the streets of Beijing and taking in the sights and sounds of China! The time has really flown and so much has happened! So many people helped us get to that adoption day and then continued to support us over the last year. It’s truly been a year of serious joy and strange challenges.

To mark this event with some art I decided to have a Studio Sale – and everything is going to be priced in multiples of 18 (February 18, multiples of 18… see what I did there?)

Anyway, stop over to the Etsy Shop to see what’s new over there. All the work will go back up to “normal” prices next month, so get some glorious imagery while you can!

Below are a few of the pieces you could be hanging in your place for next to nothing – click them to see their Etsy listing.

IMG_8181Lewis County, NY. Pastel on paper, 16.5 by 22 inches. 2013.

CAL-workshopUntitled Pastel Workshop Demo. Pastel on paper, 30 by 22 inches. 2013.

Becoming The Student, #1: Shalonda Farrow

Starting this month I will be periodically posting a new series of portraits, beginning with the one below. The title of this series, Becoming the Student, is based on my desire to be quieter and learn from others rather than be entirely bound up in my identity as an educator. In Becoming the Student, I hope to present thoughtful, dignified portraits and use the time while creating the works as an opportunity to learn from the people who sit for me. With each post I will include some observation, quote, or other tidbit of glory that the subject shared with me.

The one below was created in 3 hours or so at a portrait workshop I conducted at The Columbia Art League yesterday. Pictured is my friend (and fellow CAL instructor) Shalonda Farrow. I was struck by how often she used the word “love” (as in: “Thank you, love” or “Do you need any of this, love?”) during the session. In speaking to her friends, she’s always intentional about communicating care and awareness. Shalonda seemed like a perfect initial entry into the Becoming the Student series. Here’s to many more. And thanks to Shalonda and the ladies at CAL!

20131208-155201.jpgShalonda, 13 by 11 inches, pastel on paper. 2013.

Color Drawing, Fall 2012

We’re halfway through another great semester of Color Drawing. Below are just a few examples of some of the standout work from this year. Click for higher res!

Danielle Wallace, Chalk pastel of reflections.

Emily Brewer, Oil pastel study of colored and fluid filled glass.

Emily Brewer, Oil pastel large arrangement of reflective and glass objects.

Jessica Bremehr, Colored pencil study of a lamp.

Jessica Bremehr, Oil pastel large arrangement of reflective and glass objects.

Jessica Bremehr, Chalk Pastel study of reflective surface.

Ginny Algier, Oil pastel large arrangement of reflective and glass objects.

Kevin Moreland, Chalk Pastel self portrait in a reflective surface.

Julie Bennett, Oil pastel large arrangement of reflective and glass objects.

Click HERE to see more of my posts on my Color Drawing class glory!

Chromatic Intensities

 

Glory in Color Drawing 2

Marcus, the Assistant, casts chroma

Null’s large drawing in anamorphic distortion

The array of shadows in Color Drawing 1

And another view…

The box, electric.

Did I mention that I love teaching Color Drawing? Epic, every semester. Stay tuned for good shots of current students’ works.

 

Fall 2011 Color Drawing

Every semester I have to make more posts about how awesome my Color Drawing classes are. 

Above: Marissa Valentino’s amazing Colored Pencil drawing of a head from our group project.

Students assembling one of our large group drawings.

Hannah and Vincent hard at work on a final figure work for the course.

Emily Armstrong’s 44 by 30 inch figure drawing in progress on the easel. You can see our parachute stage setup there behind. We love that parachute!

Above and below: A selection of drawings from the second half of the semester we pulled out for a group crit – some in progress, others complete. Overall a great effort by my students this year!

India Watts working on her Matisse master study.

The final group project installed in one of the stairwells at the University of Missouri.

 

Chromatic Totality

I’ve got another amazing group of Color Drawing 1 students this semester. Below I’ll highlight just a few of the many who’ve distinguished themselves this year. Please click on each to see them up close.

A work in colored pencil by Marissa Valentino. About 18 by 18 inches.

A drawing by Lirong Gong. Chalk pastel, 24 by 18 inches.

Megan Schaffer has an amazing sense of material handling. Her oil pastel work here is 30 inches by 22 inches – it’s just one of 4 or 5 that are really stellar.

Carly Kurka working the chromatic shadows, 18 by 24 inches, oil pastel.

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Becca Wholey’s grid work fulfilled the project parameters expertly – 16 by 16 inches, colored pencil.

It’s been a privilege to work with these students – here’s hoping they continue on with me in Color Drawing 2!

Beginning Color Drawing Spring 2011 Group Project

Once again, my Beginning Color Drawing class at the University of Missouri has created a large work together as a capstone to the semester. Seeing these big drawings happen has been a very rewarding aspect of my teaching.

This one is obviously a copy of one of Chuck Close‘s self portraits. And below is how it looks from the hallway. Click on the images to see them in larger glory!

These are mostly fun, low-pressure way to create something unifying after spending the whole semester developing and practicing skills. I love  this project. Click here and here to see some past efforts!