Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Into the City for a museum visit.

Ongoing work on "Preparing the Todah"

Yesterday I had an opportunity to leave the two oldest kids at home with Dad and venture into the city to visit some Art museums. I took the Ergo and strapped the baby on for our first big adventure together. The baby loved the Metro ride and quickly made friends with a kindly Vietnam vet who sat beside us. She kept on giving him huge smiles and reaching over to touch his jacket.

The first Museum I went to was the National Gallery of Art. I loved looking at all the religious art and found so much of it very touching. It was a perfect meditation for Holy Week. I wish I had taken more time to really reflect on some of these touching pieces.

Giovanni della Robbia - Pietà - Sculpture - Samuel H. Kress Collection - 1943.4.70

 They had an excellent special exhibit on the Pre-raphealites. I was very impressed with their work especially since I have not payed much attention to this era. I was interested in it years ago but had mostly forgotten about it. The colors in many of these paintings seemed to glow in comparison to the other paintings in the museum.
The Blind Girl by John Everett Mallais simply glowed from across the room. The colors were so vibrant and the details were amazing to look at close up.

Christ in the House of His Parents by John Everett Mallais
I paid particular attention to this painting because of the representation of the young life of Jesus.
Another area that I really likes was the room with paintings by John Singer Sargent (one of my favorite artists) and Whistler. I just love standing inches away from Sargent's paintings and seeing the brushstrokes. Brushwork was definitely my favorite thing to look at during the whole day. What a large variety of ways artists apply paint.


John Singer Sargent - Nonchaloir (Repose) - Painting - Gift of Curt H. Reisinger - 1948.16.1

James McNeill Whistler - Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl - Painting - Harris Whittemore Collection - 1943.6.2
At the National Portrait Gallery I was not as impressed simply because the focus was on the subject of the painting rather than on the technique and artistry of the painter. I was also much more tired, having already spent hours carrying the baby around. The courtyard was very nice and it was wonderful to be surrounded by warm air and beautiful trees and flowers.
 My favorite painting however was this painting of  Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential "Hands" Portrait, 1945 by Douglas Chandor

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Busy Days and Busy Walls

The last several days have been very busy preparing the house for an appraisal. We are hoping to refinance and were given three days notice for the appraisal. I have been patching walls, cleaning up clutter, hanging pictures, painting, replacing a broken tp holder, etc. I put the kids to work cleaning the floor with spray bottles and rags and sent Nathan outside to pick up sticks. Till tomorrow afternoon I have told them toys are off limits.

One of the pictures I have finally gotten around to hanging is this Cityscape painted by my grandmother.
I have hung more than 15 new pictures on our walls, both photos and paintings. It is fun to just sit and enjoy the new atmosphere.

Ongoing progress on "Preparing the Todah"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jesus and his stick

While I still have a long way to go on this painting, I am finally happy with the placement of Jesus in this painting, the sketchup model really helped me with placement and size and also with the background. I just like to know how the painting works spatially.
 My art teacher kept telling me to just make it work as a composition and to eyeball it but my architects brain really needed to understand the space and to design an exterior space in order to feel comfortable with the placement of things in the background.
I am placing an olive tree in the background for additional references to the happenings during the Easter triduum, and because lots of olive trees would have grown in that geographic area.

I love the way this little Jesus is poking with his stick. It is such a toddler boy thing to do. My son did some stick poking of his own today. These days sticks tend to be of the light saber variety as Star Wars is the current favorite pretend.
 He was helping my husband in the front yard. They were filling up our new planter beds with dirt. For a four year old he is very tough. He was maneuvering the 40lb bags of dirt around by himself. Not picking them up exactly but he could move them and hold them up. He helped Daddy get all 24 bags on to the cart at Home Depot.

I wonder how many times little Jesus helped Joseph and Mary? I just imagine him right beside Joseph in the wood shop learning how to smooth and cut the wood. How much did it slow Joseph down at first to have him there? Imagine how much help he must have been once he got older.
Every day I have to decide whether to slow down and let my kids help or if I just want to get it done as fast as possible.  I need to remember to let them "help" as much as possible while they still enjoy being there beside me.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Painting Time With Tots

 This morning in an attempt to find time to paint I pulled out our kids easle from Ikea and got them going.  It is amazing to me to see the difference in their technique and dedication. My 4 yr old son ends up with grey blobs and gets so frustrated that he quickly gives up. My 2 yr old daughter ended up with over 6 ft of brightly decorated individual marks. She painted for hours and was so content.

It is frustrating for me as an artistic parent to know if or how I should help him when it comes to art. I think that his issues are mostly from perfectionism. If he cant do it just right he will not try.

My son asked me to work on my lily painting so I worked on finishing  these lilies that I began about a year ago.
I also pulled out my painting of Mary and suceeded in frustrating myself even further with the background. Finally I decided to model my painting in sketchup. I often used sketchup when working as an architect, so it was an easy way to figure out how my picture should look three dimensionally. It helps me see how large the child outside should look compared to Mary.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Learning to Color and Human Anatomy

My son has learned to color!
I am so excited because while I know kids do thing at different rates and they all have their own learning curve, it really bother me that my two year old was better at coloring than my 4 year old. Every time he tried he would just scribble wildly all over the page and my daughter would at least carefully try to color individual parts of the page.
All of a sudden this week while coloring organs for our anatomy study, (What can I say, my son loves to know how his body works) he suddenly started coloring almost entirely in the lines and coloring the whole picture.  He also did a very nice job drawing an avocado for our science observation notebook. So comforting to the artist in me.
 My youngest has learned a trick of her own. She was having a great time playing a game of crinkled nose grins to make me laugh. What a delight to watch these milestones as they happen.

Can art be a career... because I chose the wrong one?

The "sequester" is making things difficult at my house. My husband's job is being affected. He relies on availability of overtime work to make ends meet, and to allow me to stay home with my babies.

With the drying up of overtime and possible cutting back on hours looming ahead of us due to the Governments inability to create and follow a budget, we have been discussing the possible need for me to go back to work.

I feel hopelessly overwhelmed by the prospect of finding an architecture job. The Architecture field does not seem to be thriving these days, so I am concerned that there will be no jobs available. The nature of Architecture work does not lend itself easily to part time or temporary work. Companies want people who can work full time or more and who do not have the concerns that children bring to a Mother's soul.

I love Architecture and wish that it could fit well into a life with kids but have not yet found the right opportunity to make that happen. I would love to design Churches that bring glory to God, but right now I am teaching my kids to give glory to God. Can anything beat hearing your two year old sing Jesus loves me or answering my four year old's questions about Jesus and Heaven?

I strongly feel that my children need me to be here for them, my baby is only six months old and wants to nurse every few hours (day and night).

I am wishing that I had made some other career decisions. Why didn't I consider raising children when I decided to study architecture?

Painting would be a perfect career to combine with mothering... if only I could sell paintings. It can be done from home and at times convenient to me.  But I don't know how to begin to make any money off of my paintings. I don't know how to find a market.

I really don't know how to make it happen NOW so that I can keep our family from foundering.
I am trusting that God will provide for us and will open paths, but it can be hard to be patient when I don't know what I should be doing. Should I be looking for architecture work? Some other kind of work? Should I be trying to sell my paintings? Should I be praying that my husbands job situation improves and be can have more assurance of being able to cover the bills? Maybe all of the above?

Obviously this situation is weighing heavily on my heart since I am writing this blog post at 4:30am and have slept for no more than an hour tonight. But I have had time to pray the rosary, all four sets of mysteries, to Rosary Army's scriptural rosary audio. (I may have dosed off for a few minutes) But an opportunity to meditate on the life of Christ through all 20 mysteries does not happen often in the life of a mother with three young children.

If anyone has any advice I would love to hear your suggestions. And your prayers are always welcome and appreciated.