Art History Online

This week I ended a quite successful run with my Marketing online course and started Art History, which will last for the next 5.5 weeks. 

Day 1, today, we were supposed to post a photo and I posted my blog link but forgot the photo.  So here it is!  We took this one Sunday with 4 of my nieces /nephew. 

I think we need to rethink this whole “sit-on-Aunt-Sheri-for-our-photos” thing!  They are getting too big and I am almost burried!  And that was with the 2 little ones not even participating.  Fun though!

For other photos of me, check out the My Art tab above.  The first photo you will see is of me airbrushing a white sheet used by high school seniors here in some Indiana schools to promote their accomplishments during their athletic season.  This one was commissioned from me this past summer.  I did it for the experience… and I asked that my phone number not be given out!  I don’t have the set-up for huge pieces like that… notice, I tacked it to the fence to paint it!!!

Organizing and enjoying the first break!!!


My first break was so wonderful I just HAD to write about it!  Fri. night Lainey took us out to celebrate my straight A completion of 1st quarter.  (I have set the bar pretty high!)  We were also celebrating a late birthday meal for Charlotte since she was way busy over her birthday week. 


We had the place to ourselves for an hour and a half, which is unheard of at the famous Glass Chimney.  This is happening a lot around here these days.

Then Sat. Lainey took me out and picked out a new drawing table from Prizm Art Store.  Wowee!!! Mom declares that it is out of desperation to have the kitchen island back (with winter coming on, that would be my main workspace!)


So this break was about getting my working area put together to accommodate my art classes.  It has been all set up for quilting for a couple of years, but I am selling as much of my fabric as I can get rid of to make room for this and I also got rid of some of the fabric shelving.  I even changed over the quilt cutting table to also house my new mat cutter. 

I LOVE getting things organized and making life more efficient so this was wonderful!

It was a GREAT week “off” and the topper was taking my niece, Samantha, and heading to Ohio over the weekend to see my newest niece, Kara.  One month after her birth, but oh how much fun just to hold her!!! And so much fun having my first road trip with 7 year old Samantha! Bonding time like crazy.


It was a great break!

Abstract of an Emotion Luke 2:21-33

The final for Fundamentals of Design:  “Joy of His Coming”

Project Criteria:

  • Dip into classic literature (either the whole book or a portion of the book)
  • It can not have been made into a movie
  • It must be about complex human emotion
  • Paint the emotion in abstract form remembering the fundamentals of design learned this quarter

Having cut my reading eye-teeth on classic literature, for a few moments I was overwhelmed (as in did I choose from Dickens or Five Little Peppers and How They Grew? What a variety!)  Then I broke down my own criteria.  Namely, since we were going to be working on this by creating thumbnails and talking about it for 3-4 weeks, I wanted a positive emotion.  Also, I wanted something that would add to my own growth as a person and as an artist. 

Whew…next time, someone pinch me and say “make it easy, you goof!” 

I chose a Bible passage that has been intriguing me ever since my nephew, Simeon, was born almost 2 years ago.  Bible – Luke 2: 21-33 (NIV) – Excerpt included in portion below:

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

I have never created an emotion without symbolism before, abstracts not being my “thing”, so this challenge was painful in many ways.  That being so, I decided to document the process in order to help myself later on down the road (and maybe share the angst a little?)

FIRST:  I created a list of emotions I thought the old priest would have been feeling. 

I really wanted to become empathetic and connect with Simeon the priest.  This connecting took all 3 weeks (off and on) as I “discovered” new things about Simeon by delving into my own spiritual walk, beliefs, hopes, feelings.  It is like I almost know him in some ways now!

SECOND:  Hone in on the elements and the feelings I wanted to deal with (there are so many in just this one small passage!)

 Worship, joy, praise, release, awe, a sense of “God has it all in control and I am held in His loving Hands”

I also had a lot of thoughts tumbling around such as how we lift our hands when praising.  Also at times of great spiritual joy and triumph people will often dance. 

How to convey all this?

THIRD:   I began thumbnailing. 

I have never thumbnailed much and never an abstract, of course.  It was really messy in so many ways.  Below is the good, the mostly bad, and the quite so very ugly, I am hiding nothing… (anyone know about chaos theory? Then you might grasp some of the process. [ ie you often have to create disorder in order to have order.])

IMG_2950 - Copy

FOURTH: Decide upon which thumbnail form I want to concentrate on and a medium and start creating. 

I love working with pastels and felt I could recreate the feeling with them much better than with stiff acrylics.  Below are some of my attempts and my takover of the kitchen island… (this was a piece I realized I needed to stand to do.)

IMG_2951 - Copy IMG_2948 - Copy  IMG_2928 - Copy

FIFTH: Pray for inspiration because it was just NOT happening (and pulse your Facebook friends for feedback…feedback will often help break through the creative block at this stage.) 

I knew what I wanted, but it would not come no matter how many times I tried.  So I put this out there:  (And as fellow student friend, Rachel, noted, this had a look of flames…what I was NOT wanting! But where to take it? I was trying to capture the feeling of warmth and security along with praise and worship.)

 Small IMG_2919 adjustment - Copy

This is also the point in time I did a little color meaning research just to refresh my memory on the meaning of color.  Of course, it always depends upon your subject.  Yellow is joy, oranges are warm and happy, red was passion, purple-royal, blue-heavenly, green-safety.  I decided to add some green and reduce the level of reds. 

SIXTH:  Try it one more time and then finish it with a bit of Divine intervention. 

On the Tues afternoon before it was due (3 weeks after it had been assigned, mind you!) God brought the inspiration via my Jewish friend and housemate, Lainey. 

Lainey came home from work early that day to find me in a terrific struggle with the piece that was to become my final.  I had the basic concept but it was lacking feeling.  I was looking at her and describing Simeon’s world as I saw it, suddenly we both exclaimed in almost unison, “this is Jewish art!”  The colors and forms are what you see in Jewish art! Wow! 

Lainey, my sweet Jewish friend, then began singing a joyful Hebrew song and doing a dance around the kitchen.  If you have ever seen Jewish singing and dancing, it is something really special as it is a building of worship bringing the singer/dancer slowly into the Presence of the Almighty.  (I think we Gentiles could learn something from our Jewish counterparts on how to approach God!)  As soon as she did that, inspiration struck and I finished the piece right there on the spot – only adding a few defining strokes here and there throughout the evening.  

How appropriate that my inspiration for the connection to a Jewish rabbi of 2000 years ago came through a Jewish woman of this era, who loves God and is currently in the spirit of connectedness as she observes her High Holy Days – Rosh Hoshana.

This piece is about the spirit of worship and the joy of an eons old God-promise being fullfilled.

Enjoy it with the joy of the Lord in your heart!

IMG_2935 adj

Kissing the Face of God

Photography Final

  • Find a picture of a painting – has to have a person in it
  • Get it approved by the prof (I forgot that, but thankfully he approved it since I had already taken the photos)
  • Duplicate the painting in photos, paying special attention to the lighting (most important piece.)

I had a fun thought to use my brother and one of the gals with American Gothic, but the lighting looked like it needed to be a morning light and timing just wasn’t working out for that.  Check out my friend, Rachel’s, version of this painting!

So…many thoughts later I suddenly had an epiphany of doing the Madonna and Child.  After much online searching, I fell in love with Kissing the Face of God – by Morgan Weistling

kissingfacegod morgon weistling

With the wonderful help of my sister-in-law, Theresa, and my brand new niece, Abigail, we produced the following for my photography final:

Tools: Canon Rebel T1i EOS 500D, single light source on tripod, camera on tripod
Location: Inner hallway with no outside light source
Manual setting: ISO 200 / F 5.0 / Speed 1.6 / FL 41.0 / manual white balance
Photo manipulation: Adobe Photoshop CS4

Photography Final JPG 2 for web

Peer feedback was all really positive, with some comments that the position was not exact (that has to do with not wanting to wake the baby and moving fast! So I knew that one would be a hit I would have to take.)  Many of them stressed that they really liked the painting choice, which was fun to hear.

I think my greatest challenges centered around my inexperience with using a model (but Theresa was a sweetie!), wanting to move quickly, and then photoshop is NOT a pleasure to work with (for me) just yet.  However, I really enjoyed setting up the photo shoot!

Labor Day Baby

On a personal level, my newest niece, Kara, was born on Labor Day (to my sister Mattie and husband Aaron Yeske located in south east Ohio) while I was down in Florida.  As of this writing I still have not seen her personally! That is driving me a bit nuts in between my efforts to complete finals and get set up for work study for next quarter.  So much to do, yet I really want to see that baby!

This is #18 and all but 3 are under the age of 7.  Can you imagine that?

Drawing Final – Another Florida Picture

Ok…still dreaming of Florida!!!  This time it is of the restaraunt we ate at in Naples called Sea Salt.  This place is amazing.  98 different salts of which you get 4 to sample with the hors d’oevres.  

Anyway, we enjoyed it on Sat. prior to heading to the airport in Ft. Meyer.

PS: Got an A+ and the teacher said I made a good choice in my drawing subject.  (All I know is that I was bored stiff drawing buildings and boring rooms.)


The food…mmm mmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmm…  (and NO we did not eat the fries, although we tried them and they were wonderful too.)  We actually ate very healthy all week because Lainey cooked breakfast and lunch every day at the condo before we headed out to go on eco tours.  Lots of fruits and salads with shrimp.  I love having a gourmet cook on vacation with me!!!  (My mom tells me I am so spoiled…is that a bad thing?)


Photography Extra Credit – Marco Island

Tool Used:  Canon Rebel T1i EOS 500D / settings used: program, auto, manual (sunsets, dolphins), and for the bird dives- sports setting

I took my new camera on vacation with me and it became an extension of my life.  I had so much fun practicing for the perfect shot.  Out of thousands of photos, below are a few of my favs, some of which I turned in for extra credit in my photography class.

This extra credit put me up to 100 percent before my final, so I ended up with an A in this class.

PS – I am making a note about the bird diving into the water and the grouping of birds.  After much research, I do believe those are Royal Terns.  They were fascinating to watch and I have some wonderful sequences of them diving into the water and re-emerging.

Drawing – Marco Island

8 days on vacation during a college quarter can do weird things to your pleasure trip.  I spent a lot of time doing homework.  The odd part of that was, it was mostly my drawing homework and we were off for Labor Day for that class.  I should not have had so much to do for it.  But I did.


  • 3 point perspective building
  • Extra Credit (2 point perspective)

3 point perspective: Our condo building with reduced detail.

Teacher loved this one and really felt I nailed it. I told her (this was at the in class critique) that I kept hearing her voice in my head “Make it darker, I want to see dark!” and “Adding that is too distracting” (so I removed some tiki huts etc.)  The class laughed and she said “Oh no… I am in your head!”  But I guess it worked because this was an A+.



Extra credit: On the veranda by the pool.

I got full credit for this one (which is good since I forgot to bring in part of my assignment for this week) and the teacher requested permission to place this on the wall outside the classroom for the next quarter.  Of course I accepted!  That is an honor.

Here are my two locations for doing this work… I love this “studio!!!” Can I have one (or both?!!!)



Sunflower, Goodmorning!

Design:  Abstraction 4 Step Process – Take a photo and create 3 abstracts. The 3rd abstract must be so abstract that it does not look like the original photo, but the other 2 must show how it is related.

My sunflowers were chosen as the subject because they seriously needed to be commemorated this year.  I had fought chipmunks and puppies to get them to this point and they are gorgeous.

My biggest challenge on this one was to pick the photo out of hundreds.  Finally, I went and took a few more…then narrowed it down to 2.  This was so much fun I did this on 2 different photos.

After spending time and a lot of paint and paper to create the 4th image, I opted to keep things simple and use photoshop as my tool.  It was really fun playing with photoshop to do these renderings.

The first set of 4 was interesting and I really liked it a lot so that is what I turned in.  The second set was another option that I liked a lot.

What I turned in:  The original photo was taken on a foggy morning, thus making the colors and background sort of flat.  I like that but the teacher, Scott, said that made it almost abstract from the beginning.

As it turns out, it was not exactly what he wanted.  Sometimes I have to double check what Scott says.  I love his class, but sometimes my notes and the gal next to me are saying opposite things!  I am sure we are both hearing what we noted.  It is all in how he phrases things.  Usually I am the one who is right…this time I was not.

I think that second option of 4 might have served the purpose better as it more directly shows a progression to the abstraction…thus I include it here as the “road not taken”.


Photography homework:

Tool: Rebel T1i EOS 500D
Setting: Manual – metered for the rich sky coloration

We were to take a panorama and then either put it together in Photoshop or physically print up to 7 pictures and paste them to a backing.

I chose Mom’s farm (my childhood stomping grounds). After several tries with lighting (all photos were suspposed to have the same exposure which was hard because of the trees), I obtained an exposure that really showed the clouds off and still kept a rich color going on.

The professor said it had nice coloring with a faded, old world look to it.  Hmmm…Mom just painted her fence.  I am not sure she will be thrilled about that faded comment.  I think he meant how the lighting caused the whole picture to appear.  [Note: we were to turn it in with the edges showing so I am leaving it like that here. There is one missing on the right side, but it won’t all fit here.]

I had fun with this and it gives me good feelings.

Panorama blog

Update: Grade is 100% and the teacher said he showed it around!  Funny how something I think is just ok will actually impress the teacher.  Other times, I think something is cool and I miss the boat.  As my teachers often say… “It is all subjective.”