Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Post Graduation Doings in Boston and the North Shore

We took a couple days after graduation to relax in Artist Son's familiar surroundings, allowing us to take another step into his college life and experience. On Sunday, we attended his church in Salem,  After lunch we drove to Gloucester to drop off his belongings at his part-of-the-summer residence and visit some art galleries along the bay.

Wharf and gallery poses

We celebrated Artist Son's birthday by going into Boston to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a beautiful residence and personal art collection which became a museum at the bequest of arts patron, Isabella Stewart Gardner.

Beautiful gardens and architecture as well as beautiful art. It was a wonderful way to spend the day.

Notice the arc of light which follows the lines of Rembrant's left shoulder, up to the tip of the feather in his cap.

This work by Raphael was my personal favorite. The upward gaze of the monk's imperfect eyes and the rich red of his robe drew me into the painting again and again.

I liked this sketch, also by Raphael, noting particularly the balance of his composition and use of reds.

Artist Son chose an Italian restaurant for his birthday dinner, and his friend and mentor joined us for the celebration. 

A delicious carrot birthday cake was prepared by his friend.

A couple of scenes from Salem's harbor, taken just before heading to the airport. We were headed to Boise where we would be reunited with Active Son and his Bride To Be, and to prepare for their upcoming wedding--these were celebratory days for our family!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Strange Encounters~Senior Exhibition

Artist Son's senior exhibition, opened two weeks before we arrived for graduation. His friend took this picture of him on the opening day. Artist's Son's exhibition included seven works in oil on canvas, and they were hung in the small gallery of the Gordon's Barrington Center for the Arts. Thankfully, the senior exhibitions were still on display when we arrived in Wenham to celebrate Artist's Son Graduation.

Before entering the gallery, we picked up a copy of Artist Son's artist Statement:

Strange Encounters

This series explores the tension between humans and animals. Wild animals wander in a typically human landscape, that of the city. I want to paint animals in city-scapes because I am struck by their wildness within a structured, contained environment. 

The animals and humans pass by each other, confront each other, and sometimes inhabit their own separate spheres. Each enters, leaves, or stands uncomfortably on the border between connected spaces.

The soldier figure appears callous, but may or may not have a capacity for empathy. This raises questions of human brutality toward the 'other', whether human or animal. When soldiers dominate a city, it is usually a sign the city is no longer safe. It's an aggressive presence, but still human.

Space and light also become  characters on this stage and contribute to the suspense. As one wanders through the maze, there is no telling who, or what, is around the corner.

Entering the gallery, I immediately felt the calmness and serenity of the space, which seemed a result of an ideal marriage of space and art. Below are the seven works which made up this exhibition.

Never Together, Always Together


A Lonely Shadow



Into the Daylight

Elephant Musing

I waited for a family member to verbalize the question that I knew someone would ask, "What does it mean?" I had approached works of art in a similar way. And based on what I had learned from discussing art with Artist Son, I anticipated his response: "What do you see?" As the mom, perhaps I saw things that other's might miss, perceived influences from Artist Son's childhood: colors, lines, and shadows common to Jordanian landscapes, the use of wild animals, which have long fascinated Artist Son, and the imaginary worlds that he created with them.

Slow looking yields further perception and the delight that comes with recognition. Narratives with themes of ambiguity, tension, and relationship began to emerge. The role of passageways. Color; immediately delightful, but why? Beautiful tints (color mixed with white) of color masterfully expressing shadows, light, and emotion. Layers.My eye is not trained enough to know how Artist Son painted all the layers of paint and glazes, but I could appreciate the exquisite result. The paintings called us to look again and again.

After viewing Artist Son's exhibition, he gave us a tour of his studio and we were treated to a behind the scenes look at how he had created his pieces.

Artist's Son's studio space

The models

Demonstrating a painting set-up

The palate

Painting set-up for Wanderer, with the green tints

Artist Son also gave us a tour of the printmaking room and explained the process that he had learned and practiced in making prints. 

A lot of yet uncollected student work was still out on the work tables, including some prints that Artist Son had made.

Looking at this print, I couldn't help but think of a book from Artist Son's childhood, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase,

What's next for Artist Son? Until we were on our way to the airport headed to Boston, that was still being decided. Though Artist Son was leaning toward taking a year off to work on his art and apply to more MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programs, he made an eleventh hour decision to accept a very good scholarship offer to study with the acclaimed Houston painter, Michael Roque Collins at Houston Baptist University this fall.

For those who are interested, here is a short (four minutes) video about Michael Collins, Artist in Residence and director of HBU's MFA Program.

And another from a Houston arts television program. The spotlight on Michael Collins and HBU happen during the first segment/first nine minutes.

 Just days after the eleventh hour decision to go directly to grad school, Artist Son received an eleventh hour offer of a scholarshiped summer artist residency program at New York Academy of Art. That was a sweet and unexpected graduation (and birthday) gift!

Artist Son is presently enjoying his residency at NYAA, creating art and soaking up beauty and inspiration from the various museums and galleries throughout the city. You can follow him on Instagram at andrewmanningart.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pomp and Circumstance for Artist Son

As evidenced by my two and a half month blogging silence, Dear Husband and I experienced a very busy spring season, and on May 12 we boarded a plane for Boston, headed to Artist Son's graduation from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. We hadn't returned to Massachusetts since we dropped Artist Son off at Gordon to begin his freshman year as a homeschooled graduate who had grown up overseas--his college adjustment learning curve was steeper than most. What a delight it was to visit him on campus four years later to see how Gordon had become a familiar place to him and to observe the good rapport and relationships he enjoyed with peers and professors. It was a gift to step into his world if only for a couple of days.

Pre-Baccalaureate selfie

We arrived on Thursday night and on Friday Artist Son gave us a tour of his art studio, the print studio, and the art gallery, were we viewed his senior exhibition, which was still on display (a separate post on that to follow). 

On Friday night we attended our first college Baccalaureate service, a graduation/worship service that is unique, I believe, to Christian colleges and universities. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias delivered the talk.

Though it rained the night before, we awoke to a clear blue sky on graduation day, and so the commencement ceremony would be held outside. (My one oversight is that I forgot to bring sunscreen and I paid dearly for it. Who would have thought on a mid-May Massachusetts morning?)

Artist Son in the front row with his fellow-art students.

Gordon College is apparently very prudent in their assignment of honors cords, and as Artist Son was unadorned except for an Honors Society pin, I was surprised when I opened the commencement program and discovered that he was graduating summa cum laude. I asked him why he hadn't mentioned it and he said that he didn't even know about that distinction. He then mentioned that he was also invited to join the English Honors society but hadn't submitted the application. Typical hard-working, unassuming Artist Son style.

Bachelor of Art in Art, painting concentration, English minor
Summa cum laude

Gordon posted national flags for each country represented by a graduate, and so the Jordanian flag was posted for Artist Son--and the wind cooperated for the picture.

It was a long morning in the hot sun with little to drink and nothing to eat, but we steeled ourselves and took the requisite family-with-the-graduate-pictures. I'm glad we persevered.

Congratulations, Artist Son, and thanks to God for all the good gifts He has bestowed upon you these past four years. Your future looks bright as He is the one illuminating your path and we look forward to supporting you as you embark on the coming adventures.