Tag Archives: art

Seasons of Change: One Woman’s Impact

I was seven when I realized I loathed the taste of change.

I missed the friends I played with up and down the block before our cross-country move. I missed the dog my parents sent to live with someone else. And I missed my old school.

My old school had what I later learned was a progressive approach toward education. Classes offered mixed-grade materials; I read books I liked, regardless of their assigned level; I enjoyed writing in cursive (and was proud of my puffy-shaped uppercase B’s and P’s).

My new classroom was not a nurturing environment for learning … or anything.

The first time I wrote something in my new second-grade class, the teacher reprimanded me for doing it wrong. She made me start over — NO CURSIVE ALLOWED — because “we” hadn’t yet been taught how. (By the time my fourth-grade teacher introduced it, I couldn’t make the P’s or B’s look right anymore. To this day, I still miss those perfect letter poofs.)

My new teacher yelled. A lot. (Screamed, really.) She also overturned a desk one day when she got angry about … only-she-knew-what.

It never occurred to me to tell my parents how unhappy I was at school (or about my teacher’s volatility). I was too sad, too afraid, too busy keeping my head down.

Literally.

One day a substitute read a book to our class. I listened with my face pillowed onto my arms, which were folded across my desk. Everyone else sat up, attentive to the story. At some point, the woman paused in her reading and asked, “What’s wrong with her?”
I glanced up — just long enough to see her pointing at me — and dropped my head again. One of my peers answered, “She’s new. She’s just like that.”

And just like that, I heard my new identity. I was “that new girl,” worthy only of indirect attention, homesick though I was.

The only bright spot in most school days was the smiley face Mom had drawn on my lunch napkin.

The exceptions were the days (once a week) when our class walked down the hall to the art room for an hour. I stepped into Mrs. Nancy Ingall’s domain and … while I was there, I mattered. “Very nice,” I heard as she walked behind me down the row of tables. “I like how you …” and then she patted me on the shoulder while she pointed out what it was she liked about my creation.

I wasn’t the only one she nurtured in her stained and sometimes sticky classroom. Mom later told me that when she went the following year to parents’ night at the school, Mrs. Ingall introduced herself by saying, “I don’t teach art. I teach children.”

Her room became my haven the rest of that year — and for the rest of elementary school. She encouraged me to enter poster contests and invited me to join a few students in creating a display for the local history museum. Mrs. Ingall even asked me to help another student reconstruct a two-foot-tall broken pottery piece; in the back corner of her classroom, we painstakingly glued the archeological puzzle shards into a (mostly) solid artwork  during older students’ art time.

Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades … Mrs. Ingall was the constant I counted on. Clay and papier-mâché, watercolor and weaving, ink and collage and batik wax and dyes … these colored my hands while Mrs. Ingall put color back into my school days.

When I left Princeton Elementary School behind, leaving Mrs. Ingall was the hardest part of that change.

9th gr self portrait Teresa TL Bruce

When she later joined the staff of Lee Junior High during my eighth and ninth grades, that was the best part of those life-altering years (while being bullied as a “brain” in bifocals and knee braces). In ninth grade she arranged for me to have my own art show — a collection of my work on display at the local library. She submitted my ink-and-watercolor drawing that won an honorable mention in the school exhibits at the prestigious Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. She taught me the oil wash technique that resulted in my English teacher seeing my painting and asking to buy it for her living room wall.

9th gr hon men WP Sidewalk Art Festival Teresa TL Bruce

It was Mrs. Ingall’s earlier influence that empowered me to prioritize art classes through high school when school administrators urged me to drop them for what they called “more appropriate” academic courses. Because of her earlier approval, I took art classes in college even though they weren’t in my major.

12th gr self portrait Teresa TL Bruce

It was Mrs. Ingall I emulated (along with other PTA parents) presenting Arty Facts activities to every class at my children’s elementary school. It was Mrs. Ingall’s enthusiasm I remembered when (after their principal cut art education — and the art teacher — from the school budget) I created and presented social studies art projects for my daughter’s fourth-grade class every other week.

Mrs. Ingall believed in me.

And that made all the difference.

Who has helped you grow through a difficult change in your life?

Artist Interview with Paige Crosland Anderson

All Assembled Awaiting
All Assembled Awaiting

We hope you are enjoying Paige Crosland Anderson’s work and we want you to get to know a little bit more about her. We think you will enjoy gaining more insight into her process, her motivations, and the reality of how she makes creating happen. You can enjoy even more of her work here: http://www.paigeandersonart.com

What are your sources of inspiration?

PCA: I draw inspiration from a variety of sources—quilts; mothering; ancestry and related ideas about succession; meditation and repetition; women; working with our hands; the meanings associated with repeated acts or rituals.

It’s not just the patterns of quilts that inspire me. It’s their ties to women, to women’s work, to meditation and focus. It’s their association with warmth, with family, with creating something to give to another. My grandmother is a quilter and many of my first paintings were based on quilt patterns I had grown up seeing in her home. I have recently turned to pioneer quilt patterns and studied some historical Mormon pioneer quilts that have served as the basis of my latest work.

Often my paintings are like meditations—painting is my quiet time to think about my life, about the little, seemingly quotidian things that make life meaningful and rich. My studio time is a space where I can work out my daily struggles mentally. Continue reading Artist Interview with Paige Crosland Anderson

Introducing featured artist Paige Crosland Anderson

Milne.jpg
Milne, oil on panel with brass title plate

We are so excited here at Segullah to be featuring the work of artist Paige Crosland Anderson over the next little while. We will start you  by giving you a little back ground on her and share some of her feelings and motivations surrounding her work.  And stay tuned for an artist interview with her. You can check out her beautiful work at http://www.paigeandersonart.com Paige Crosland Anderson grew up at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in the midst much of her extended family. She graduated with her Bachelors in Fine Arts as the Valedictorian from Brigham Young University in 2011. She, her husband and two daughters are getting settled back in Utah after years away living in Bologna, Italy and Washington DC. She loves spending time riding her bike with her family, playing cards, and testing out new recipes.

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There is Place for you Here, oil on canvas

Artist Statement: My work seeks to explore how space—whether physical or emotional—is made sacred through repeated events. The use of methodical processes and repetitive forms reference the quotidian routines that make up daily life; the succession of daily rituals that eventually stack up like repeated miracles and create meaning. I try to incorporate the truer parts of daily life: the messes, disasters and ultimately the forming of beauty through accumulated layers—be they predictable and clean, or raw and variable. Methodical processes also underscore the connection my work has to traditional women’s work—like quilting—as well as daily family rituals, ceremony and pursuing genealogical research. I have come to understand my life and personal history as an outgrowth of my families’. My work explores the idea that I am but one on a string of genetically linked individuals. This notion has profound implications; that events give birth to events, changes to changes, and actions to actions; that I am but part of a grand causality.

Scattered At The Time, oil on canvas, 30" x 40"
Scattered At The Time, oil on canvas

Puffy-Eyed Perfection and the Nativity

Somewhere tangled in the tinsel and light of several Christmas Pasts, I saw a small picture of Brian Kershisnik’s ‘Nativity’ online. The screen colours were tired, but the exuberance and hinted detail of the painting shone through regardless. One day, I promised myself, that is going to be a present to myself. Fast forward years to 2013 where I not only had the opportunity to visit the USA, but I had funds to splurge a little. The first thing I did after getting the emailed confirmation of my flight was to order a print – months in advance – and have it delivered to a friend’s home in Florida. The thought of the scene, carefully scrolled and waiting, warmed my winter as I counted down to soaring over the Pacific.

A few days after landing in Utah, Tay took me to the BYU campus for a look around. The first building we entered, I turned right and nearly fell to my knees. Spread across the entire wall, in heart thrumming, enormous, awe inspiring detail, was the original ‘Nativity’. Mary, Joseph and the bundled Jesus were a heartbeat away. I stood awed at the detail shown, the life inferred, and was flooded with a more rugged, fervent appreciation for that night. I was undone by Mary’ and Joseph’s hands touching – the giving and receiving of comfort, support, relief. The blood on the midwives hands, the puppy clustered dog in the corner, all of it understated, every day, exultant.

What has affected me longest is Mary’s puffy, exhausted eyes. A tiny, simple detail but one I identified with wholeheartedly. I’ve always wondered about Mary’s experience, especially around the birth of Christ, and those hooded, sagged eyelids reflect and amplify my empathy and respect for her. I know there are a thousand other details in the painting, but Mary’s eyes are what speak to me the most.

There are thousands of details about the time of Jesus’ birth, and everyone I know has their own favourite, special part. It’s in making the story our own, the flourishes and details in one part, the boring bit skipped over, that soak it deeper into our own stories, our own hearts, our own empathetic imaginings. It can be the simple details that bring the greatest joy, in paint, in a BYU building, or in our own lives this Christmas.

As this is scheduled to publish just after midnight on Tuesday morning USA time, I’ll be in the thick of Christmas Eve. There’ll be laughter and lights, my boys and banter, food and friends, craziness and crushed wrapping paper. But before bed, or on Christmas, my sons and I will be jumbled together watching this retelling of the Christmas story by kids in their own words, by their own actions. And at Christmas, especially, telling our stories of Jesus in our own words and ways is a tiny, simple spark ready to light up our lives and those around us.

What details do you love about the Christmas story? Has any art or media deepened your empathy and/or understanding for those at the Nativity? What simple beauty and perfection do you see this Christmas?

(The same kids have done another scene, about what might have happened before the first Christmas, too.)

(Here is a link to Brian Kershisnik answering kids’ questions about his ‘Nativity’, right in front of the painting. And I have to admit, I love that the first question was about the dog.)

Artist Spotlight: Caitlin Connolly

caitlin c looking for lightWe are excited to introduce to you a new artist whose work we will be featuring here at Segullah for the next little while.

Caitlin Connolly is an artist, wife to a guitarist, musician, and creative enthusiast. Born and raised in Utah, the only girl in a family with three brothers, Caitlin grew up coloring the walls with crayons while becoming well acquainted with boy scouts and power tools. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2009 with a BFA emphasizing in Painting and Drawing and has been passionately pursing and cultivating her creative path since that time. She now lives in Provo, UT with her curly haired husband and almost-as-curly haired miniature dog, Albus. She loves spending time in her studio, touring on the road with her husband, journaling, song writing, and watching a good TV show.listen same time 11x14
You can see more of her work at http://caitlinconnolly.com

Caitlin says about her work “I make art founded on the human experience.  Life, death, tragedy, joy, loneliness, spirituality, and progression are concepts central to how I view this experience.  Growing up in a family with all boys, it was difficult for me to identify with women.  My work often explores the feminine experience as I attempt to understand myself and all women more fully and view them the way I see them – powerful yet flawed.”