Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Panel Progress, "The 'Mary' in Kimberly"

I'm working behind the scenes to enter two portraits in a competition, but here's a small progress report on my panel painting, working further here on the hands.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Spirit of Aretha"

"Spirit of Aretha," 4" x 4", egg tempera miniature portrait on Kelmscott vellum, (available from my website) (c) Mona Diane Conner 2009

My portrait of Aretha Franklin is posting on my miniature blog, but it shows the "Mary" in Aretha; it's her shining moment, so it's placed here too.

Interrupted internet

Just a note that my internet connection went out this weekend, but I'm happy to be back with a new modem today.  I'm preparing the post intended for the weekend for later today, and sorry for the slight delay.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Commissioned Portrait

"Katie's Childhood Memories," 10" x 10," pastel and charcoal on toned gessoed paper

I have a small surprise coming up right before my panel update, and I'm working on the start of the pastel of Terry, but here is just one example of the commissioned portraits I do.  I enjoy doing both commissioned and non-commissioned portraiture.

Mentors of My Art

original art (c) Fred Wessel 2008
"Contemplating Fibonacci's Spiral," by Fred Wessel, 34" x 27", egg tempera with gold, silver, and palladium leaf 

detail showing the red jewel in her hand in "Language of the Birds"

original art, (and detail of original art) (c) Scherer & Ouporov 2008
"Language of the Birds," by Suzanne Scherer & Pavel Ouporov, 24" x 18", egg tempera, semi-precious gems, and gold leaf on poplar panel

I wanted to include these examples of Fred's art, and Pasha & Suzanne's art, with my post on their opening, but it was a long post, and meanwhile I have been busy behind the scenes on three paintings myself.  In each artist's life there are those who offer helpful information and encouragement at just the right time, which somehow becomes absorbed and translates itself uniquely into aspects of one's own artistic journey.  Fred, Pasha, and Suzanne have played this roll in my life.  

When Pasha & Suzanne lived in Brooklyn before moving to Florida, they shared advice on icon painting, and the spiritual symbolism in the applications of water gilding.  They recommended lessons from a Russian master, Vladislav Andrejev, in whose icon writing studio I later studied for one year, and they also referred me to Pandora, makers of icon panels, who is still my valued supplier.  I recently learned from Fred Wessel about a kind of Japanese silver leaf which is dyed pink. Can you see it in his painting at the top of this post? Now I'm thinking about trying out some of this pink silver leaf on one of my "Mary" series panels.

From both artists I've learned about the value and beauty of non-commissioned portraiture, and felt spiritually and artistically enriched by their art.  Thank you Fred, Suzanne, and Pasha!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 'Mary' in Kimberly, one more drawing with reference pictures

I'm working on a larger version of this drawing, but I wanted to post it with it's reference photos to show how I'm putting this one together.  I'll be doing a study of this pose from her head to her lap, and I'd like to later do a panel painting of the full figure including the rose petals on the floor.  

I also have at least one other pose I'll be doing of her wearing all white, with pale pink rose petals, but next will be an update on my panel painting, and the first installment of the pastel of Terry.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two More Great Openings

Diane Savino (at left), curator and egg tempera artist, discussing her work at Tabla Rasa Gallery in Brooklyn

original art (c) Diane Savino 2009
Diane Savino's daughter, Brielle, was the inspiration for her egg tempera portrait, "Not Out of the Woods", one of her beautiful paintings on display at Tabla Rasa Gallery

Fred Wessel discussing his egg tempera portraits with patrons & friends at ACA Gallery in Manhattan
Pavel Ouporov & Suzanne Scherer share a smile with Diane Savino and friends at ACA Gallery

I'm working on two more drawings--- a pastel of Terry, and one more drawing of Kimberly, and hope to post progress on both soon, but I wanted to share a few photos from two more openings I've attended this month involving some of my egg tempera colleagues.  On April 4th I attended the opening at ACA Gallery of  "Layered Luminescence:  The Art of Egg Tempera," featuring the work of Robert Vickrey, Fred Wessel, Suzanne Scherer & Pavel Ouporov, and Doug Safranek. 

Robert Vickrey's great book, "New Techniques in Egg Tempera" gave me my first exposure to egg tempera painting in 1976.  The opening was packed, and colleagues in attendance were husband/wife painting team, Suzanne Scherer and Pavel Ouporov, Fred Wessel, and Diane Savino.

It was great that Diane & her family came back to New York this weekend for her participation in the group show "Pioneer Women" at Tabla Rasa Gallery in Brooklyn, and afterward she visited with me in my studio to see some of my latest work.  Diane curated a great group show that I participated in called "Egg Tempera:  An Enduring Tradition" which travelled the east coast to various college and museum venues. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Drawing & Art Opening at DFN Gallery

new drawing for the 'Mary' in Kimberly series

(detail of drawing, scanned version)

Silhouettes surround "Smirk,"48" x 64", oil on linen, by Alyssa Monks at DFN Gallery opening in Manhattan

Alyssa Monks chatting with friends and patrons at the opening

I've been working on some more drawings of Kimberly, and a new one is posting here on top. 

I also wanted to share with you a great art opening that I attended last week in Manhattan,---a dual show for Alyssa Monks and Dozier Bell.  Dozier Bell was not present in person because she had another show opening simultaneously in Maine, but I was fascinated by her miniature drawings which are done in charcoal on mylar, so much so that I'm going to try out working on mylar too!  A link to some of the drawings by Dozier that I enjoyed seeing at DFN are here.

I've followed the inspiring work of Alyssa Monks via her website, and have attended a few shows featuring her work, but this was my first opportunity to meet her in person.  She was lovely to meet, and her new paintings are wonderful!  Alyssa teaches a special course in 'flesh' painting, and some of her work involves self-portraiture.  When seen firsthand her paintings are large and surprisingly loose.  It was a real treat to enjoy the work of both Dozier and Alyssa at DFN, a great combination of very large and very tiny artwork which dramatically demonstrates how both formats can have great emotional impact.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Mary in Amma in Kimberly" (final version)

"Mary in Amma in Kimberly," 19 1/2" x 25 1/2", pastel on La Carte sanded pastel paper
(click on image for a larger view)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Congratulations Marcia & Harry!

I painted this miniature study, "Tulip Garden at Giverny," which was posted on my miniature blog, The Ruby Slippers, and was purchased by my sister, Peggy, as a wedding gift for my Mom and her new husband Harry.  Last year when my Mom and Peggy travelled to France with me, they gave me a ticket to see Giverny Gardens and to take photos, so this was a great idea come full circle.  Thanks for thinking of it Peggy!

"Tulip Garden at Giverny," 1 1/4" x 3 1/4", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

During their honeymoon visit to NYC I had lunch with Mom & Harry at Asiate, on the 35th floor of NYC's Mandarin Oriental Hotel
This is the first photo I have of the happy couple, my Mom & her new husband Harry

L to R:  my sister Peggy and 2 of her 4 sons, David & Daniel, with Harry.  Since my brother is a qualified justice of the peace, he performed the ceremony.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Thanks everyone for your comments on my pastel portrait.  I've really enjoyed working on it, and in answer to your questions, it's mostly done, but I'm adding a background.

My Mom is getting married again tomorrow (at age 83!), so I'll be away from blogging for just a few days.  Back on Thurs. April 9!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mary Herself

"Mary Contemplating the Life of Christ," (in progress), 20" x 24," egg tempera

"The First Night," 11" x 14," egg tempera

"L'madone et L'Infant de Remy de Saint," 4 3/16" x 5 13/16", egg tempera miniature on vellum

"Avalon Madonna with Yellow Flowers," 1 7/8" x 2 5/8," egg tempera miniature on vellum

"Mary & Jesus, Aix en Provence Exterior Wall,"small miniature study, 
1 1/4" x 1 1/2," egg tempera on vellum

More on the pastel tomorrow, but I realized that along with my portrait series where I try to show the "Mary" within each of us, I enjoy painting Mary herself, and because of this, I thought it would be meaningful to share with you the various ways in which I've attempted to portray her so far. 

One of the special aspects of Mary was her life as the mother of Christ, and at the top of the post I have included a painting in progress.  I've been working on this painting of Mary where in an introspective moment she is contemplating the future of Jesus's life, almost seeing it in advance. Behind Mary and Jesus in the background are scenes from the future life of Christ.