Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Work, So Many Books

Continuing with works that reflect my travels, I have been working on another 40" x 60" oil on canvas painting. This new painting depicts a used book sale under the pedestrian bridge along the Thames River near the Tate Modern Museum in London. My daughter had enjoyed an afternoon at the Museum. We happened upon a book sale while walking back to our hotel. This painting is nearly complete. Working out the complexity of the image has been very challenging. I have really enjoyed the process of developing the illusion of deep space and resolving relationships between the figures from the foreground to background. The feeling of calm and quiet present in this moment, in the midst of a bustling city like London, is an experience that I will always remember.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Did You See Me on ABC Television?

If you were watching Wife Swap on ABC Friday November 21 you would have seen me teaching an acrylic painting class to one of the stars. That's right, Denise Berwick came to my studio in September with a film crew and director from the ABC Television show Wife Swap. The producer of the show called me on a Tuesday asking if I wanted to be on Wife Swap by teaching painting to one of the stars. It sounded like a lot of fun and a good opportunity to meet Denise and the film crew, so I said sure. I had about 12 hours to prepare my studio for the film sequence that was featured on the show. Denise and the ABC film crew were very gracious and it was a pleasure to work with them.

You can actually watch the entire episode on line at www.wifeswap.com

Wow, now I can add ABC TV to my list along with PBS Nationally on Real Simple TV, Fox News Chicago, PBS WTTW Chicago Tonight, and Telemundo (my interview was dubbed in Spanish)., and National Public Radio (848 and All Things Considered).

Life is just full of surprises!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Pilgrimage and Passages, a Spiritual Journey"

Here are views of my most recent solo exhibit in the Sage Gallery. The gallery is huge and can accomodate large paintings like mine. I love working large, the process provides an enourmous sence of freedom and expressive possibilities.

If you are in the Chicago area, please visit Crystal Lake and stop by the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park to see my show. While you're there come by my studio for a visit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tokens, Flag Vignettes

These flag paintings are 3 from a series of six. They are oil on canvas and each one measures 12" x 12". I painted these a few months after 9/11 when I saw tattered flags displayed in front of homes and businesses. There have been many interpretations of the meaning of these paintings, and conjecture into why I painted them I found these individual flags to be quite beautiful in their simplicity and power. Since I was raised in a military family, the American flag is a very dominant symbol from my past and still resonates with me today.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dark Pieta oil 24" x 36"

Dark Pieta was painted from a very out of focus photo that I shot while on a hurried tour through St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican. I love architecture and the contrast between the people at the bottom of the painting and the towering architecture. This is part of Pilgrimage and Passages, a Spiritual Journey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Faith Seeker" oil 48" x 60" triptych

"We humans are spiritual creatures by nature. Many spend their lives on personal journeys, pilgrimages in search of their spiritual selves" Joseph Campbell

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"The Passage Between" oil 40' x 60"

On the train leaving Cologne, Mary and the girls were tired yet excited about the adventures ahead on their tour of Europe. I wanted to capture the unusual space and light within the train and the compressed space containing the figures.

Capturing a Moment in Space and Time 48" x 72" Oil

This is the latest completed painting in Pilgrimage and Passages depicting Theresa, Mary, Bob and Donna outside the Cologne train station in Germany. I had a lot of fun working on this piece, although considering that it is 4'x 6' it was truly a challenge.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Between Heaven and Earth" oil 40" x 100"

This painting is one of the larger works in my solo exhibition Pilgrimage and Passages, a Spiritual Journey.

"Slivers of Light" oil on canvas 48" x 72"

Slivers of Light
Awaken the day
And the dreamer
To the possible
The probable
The necessary
The divine
The mundane
Narrow passages
of time
Fissures in space
Slivers of Light

Monday, September 15, 2008

Travels to Europe

St. George and the Dragon.

Here I am with my family and German friends while we enjoy ice cream in Stockholm.

Here is another version of St. George and the Dragon. This is carved from oak and elk antlers are used for the horns and wings on the dragon.

These are my kids enjoying the touristy shops on Stockholm.

I have been taking a figure sculpting class, so this bronze captured my attention.

Water is a dominant feature of Sweden as can be seen in this reflection of a buliding in a canal Stockholm

Here are a few quick views of the marvelous city of Stockholm, Sweden. I found the people friendly and happy to share their city with travelers. The public transportation is excellent, making it quite easy to get around the city and explore it's historic streets and buildings. The water taxis were the most wonderful way to see the city from the water.
As with most European cities art can be found in every park and plaza. Public art is part of the fabric of life in Stockholm. The Swedes appreciate their artistic heritage and enjoy living with the art everyday in their communities. I absolutely love it, how refreshing!
I will post more on my summer travels in Ireland soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Globe Trekking in Europe

I will take a break from blogging for a few weeks while my family and I go on a much needed vacation in Europe. We are planning a 5 day visit to Stockholm, Sweden, where our German friends will take us on a tour of the city, surrounding lakes and countryside. I'm looking forward to sampling the smorgasboords and enjoying the country for it's unique and timeless qualities.

After touring museums and soaking-up the beauty of Sweden we will move on to Dublin, Ireland. This will be our 4th visit to the "emerald isle". We'll drive to Castlbar on the West Coast in County Clare. If all goes as planned we will arrive at our dear friends, the O'Malley's, home just in time for the party after the christening of the youngest of the O'Malley clan. We will enjoy the open and warm hospitality that our Irish friends. A lovely cottage will await us on the the beach overlooking the Atlantic from the "other side of the pond".

My camera, sketch books, pencils, watercolors and fresh open eyes will be at the ready for the entire trip. Check my blog to see the photos, sketches and watercolors. As the months pass I will develop the images into large scale oil paintings.

Life is an adventure and I don't want to miss a minute of it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

PBS WTTW 11 Chicago, Feature

This is a still shot from a TV program where my work was featured. I will post the video segment from my appearance on the PBS program Artbeat on Chicago Tonight which appeared on February 5, 2008. I was not aware that the segment had aired until recently when I checked the archive for WTTW Chicago Tonight. I ordered a copy of the DVD, and will post it when it is edited and prepared for the internet. The film crew did an excellent job of filming my work and the work by the other artists at the NVVAM. Keep checking my blog for the video.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Offering a New Graduate Level Course for Art Teachers

In addition to the Open Studio Sessions and occasional Workshops that I offer in my studio I will be working with the Art Teachers from District 47 this fall. I have many years of art program development and implementation experience at St. Margaret Mary School in Algonquin, I will now develop curriculum art programs with art teachers from the local schools.

The course title is "Curriculum Development: Art, Culture and Community, Integrative Strategies. " This will be a curriculum development course that will integrate concepts of art, culture and community in the elementary and middle school classroom. Teachers will develop lesson plans that address the need for exposing students to the art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Hands-on activities will reinforce the concepts and process that teachers will then translate into their classroom lesson plans.

I am looking forward to working with teachers and creating art with them. We will draw, paint, and create 3D pieces. This gives me a chance to teach experienced artists/ educators. It will be exciting to see the teachers take the art making process to a whole new level.

I will post the weekly plans on my blog. I hope to provide photos of the art works and keep a running log on the teacher's projects.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Charles S. Dole Portrait 36" x 24" oil on linen

I was commissioned by John Coonen in 2005 to paint a portrait of the 19th century Chicago wheat baron Charles Sydney Dole. Mr. Dole built the beautiful Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, Illinois. As with all of my commissioned paintings, and especially those of historic figures, research was important before beginning the painting. There is 0nly one image of Charles Dole in the McHenry County Historical Society archives.
Working from the postage stamp sized newspaper clipping dated 1865 provided little visual reference for this 36" x 24" painting. Rather than relying upon visual references for the portrait I pieced together clues or meaningful objects that would describe the man Charles Dole.
Understanding the style of clothing and type of fabric from the late 19th century U.S. was
important aspect of the representation. The riding crop in his hand represents the horses and stable he owned, and so loved to watch from his roof top copula of the mansion. Charles Dole was an entrepetuer, and developed the first wheat sorting system that equipped train cars transporting wheat from the Midwest to the East coast. Note the books on his desk and the wheat decorative element on his chair. In the photo of Charles Dole it appears that his forehead was quite high, so that may be a distinguishing characteristic that Charles Dole would appreciate in his portrait.
The painting is installed over the fireplace mantle in the newly refurbished dining room of the Dole Mansion. The height where the painting is hung and unusual lighting make an accurate photograph of the painting challenging, however this photo gives you an idea of what Charles Dole must have looked like around 1990 when he was at the prime of his life.
You can learn more about Charles Dole and the Dole Mansion by logging on to the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park web site http://www.lakesidelegacy.org/

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Open Studio Schedule

Open Studio Series will take place in my studio on Thursdays from 10:00 - 1:00

Series I: June 5, 12, 19, 26

Series II: August 14, 21, 28, September 4

Series III: September 11, 18, 25, October 2

Series IV: October 9, 16, 23, 30

Please contact me if you would like more details about the cost and for directions to my studio. A downloadable PDF listing details about the workshop can be found on my web site www.soldnerfineart.com.

New Work

As my studio work has been progressing I have developing in an interesting juxtaposition between the figures and their environment. Space is opening around the figure with light and reflected color that draws the viewer into the world partly seen and partly imagined. The places are real yet the figure is placed in ambiguous relationshops with their surroundings. I'm working hard and enjoying every minute of the process.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Art and American History in the High School Classroom

I will visit three American History classes at my son's high school where the students are now studying the Vietnam War. Iam planning a power point presentation in which the students will view my work, "Memories of an Era, Refllections or Our Time". I will discuss the Vietnam War as my family and I expereinced it.

Because of my many years of experience teaching in the classroom, I feel very comfortable talking about this difficult subject. I have also been interviewed many times about the work and my art, so I know what topics the students will want to discuss. I have no doubt that the students will have many questions. I have visited high school art classrooms with my work, this will be the first time to integrate my art into the American History curriculum.

I am looking forward talking to the students and hearing their reaction to my work, and to listening to their thoughts about the Veitnam War. I am sure there will be some comparisons made to the War in Iraq. I like to engage students in thinking about the world around them, and art can engage the students in ways that can provoke thought and discussion.

It's very rewarding to know that my work which has been described as a "major cultural contribution," can enrich and educate students in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Mixed Media Assemblage

The violin and frame in this peice are actually gifts from friends who knew I would find a creative us for them. I do like the white violin on the the blue and black canvas. The deep thalo/ ultramarine blue reflects onto the vilolin in an interesting way. I was thinking in terms of a Dada like interpretation where the object is what it is, but it no longer fullfills it's previous function. I was also thinking in terms of the cool sounds violins produce.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Algonquin/ Lake in the HIlls Fire Department Mural 6' x 12' oil on canvas

I finally have a new photograph of the mural I painted for the Fire Dpt.. The installation was held 2000 at the old Fire Department building in Algonquin. The community has grown tremedously in since the installaion so the Fire Dpt. built a huge state of the art building. The mural was moved to the new space within the huge atrium entrance in 2005. This mural was my first large format painting and the most complex. The mural represents the history of the Algonquin/ LITH Fire Dept. from about 1935 until 2000. I worked with over 75 photographs that depicted the history of the Dpt. I developed a timeline with various images. There have been some significant changes during the Dpt.'s history. During the time I was painting the mural the Rescue/Ambulance service were added. You will find this on right section of the composition. The first full-time woman fire fighter is also included in the Dpt. just before I completed the mural, and you will find her on the right panel.

I enjoy working with complex images and building compositons that provide a narrative. There is a tremedous amount of processing involved when working without projectors or computers while developing the final design. I find it very rewarding to bring life to a painting and enrich the world with my artwork.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Large Format Acrylic Painting Workshop

Saturday and Sunday
May 3 & 4, 2008
10:00 a. m. - 3:00 p. m.
Cost: $150.00 for two days
Location: Historic Dole Mansion
Lakeside Legacy Arts Park
401 Country Club Rd.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Discover the joy of painting large format. Work from original photographs with acrylic paint on a 48" x 36" stretched canvas. Demonstration and discussion will begin each day with in-class painting and individual help. Experimentation and individual expression will facilitate the process of finding your unique style in this energetic workshop.
Students will bring their own paints and brushes with charcoal paper, pencils, a ruler and favorite photo.
Lunch will be provided each day.

Please sign-up in advance by contacting me. I will send you a registration form and supply list. Stop by my garden level studio for the application or further info or e mail me and I will send a pdf registration form.

"City Summit"

This is one of my favorite views of Chicago. I call it my "city summit view", from the top floor of the Hancock Building.

Life Drawing

This is drawing from a 25 minute pose. Graphite on drawing paper. Simple, clean back to basics, good drawing translates into good painting. Life drawing is an excercise in observation and formal understanding of human proportions. Thanks goodness for the artists that work together and bring professional models to drawing sessions. This is how many artists continue to hone their skills throughout their lives.

"The Italian Alps in August"

I am working on some smaller, much smaller, (8"x 10" and 16" x 20") paintings from my travels. Many of these will be landscapes based on photos that I have taken on my many travels. While painting I am transported back to these wonderful places and the memories of journeys and discovery. I feel a kinship with mountains and nature. Many summers during my childhood were enjoyed while exploring and hiking in the mountains of North Carolina. There is nothing quite like hiking up to the summit then peering out at the vast expanse before your eyes and discovering a new world below that has changed with your view. I especially love the mountains in Wales and the Lake District in England. Standing high above on a montain is humbling and a reminder of natures' power to sculpt the earth. The experience is so refreshing it takes my breath away. The most exciting hike was to the summit of Mount Snowdon in North Wales. Cairns (small stacks of stones) are placed along the paths to lead the hiker up the rocky and treacherous face. When you finally reach the summit there is feeling of such freedom that you have left the world below and you are one with nature.

If you are ever in Chicago visit one of my favorite places to take in the view from above. Go to the top floor of the Hancock Building In the women's restroom there is wall of glass that provides the most marvelous view of downtown with Lake Michigan as a backdrop. This is my "city summit"and one of my favorite places where I can leave the world behind. Stop in a the bar and have a drink while you enjoy the view.

My screen saver is actually the view of Chicago from the top floor of the Hancock Building.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Classes in My Studio

I offer art classes in my studio for children and adults. These two boys were attending a summer workshop where they learned how to work with acrylic paints. I also offer adult classes for beginning to advanced students in oil and acrylic painting.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Christening Kimono" oil 48" x 40"

This is a simple composition representing a child's christening kimono. I bought this kimono in Malaysia 7 years ago. I liked the color, it is a contrast to the heirloom kimonos that have been in my family since my Dad sent them home from Okinawa, in the mid 50's. Many times when I have exhibited my kimono paintings people have told me they remember the kimono they wore as a child. Many of these kimonos were gifts from fathers, who were stationed in Japan or South East Asia while in the military.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Attached Kimono" 36" x 60"

This is one of my favorite paintings. I painted it in 1997 and still love it as much today as when I painted it. I used an heirloom kimono as reference. The painting represents the the actual size of the child's kimono, which is my younger sisters. My Dad sent kimonos home while he was stationed in Okinawa while I was a young child. My kimono is peach in color.. This painting sold recently and I am so pleased that someone else will enjoy the beauty of this painting as much as I have.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Flag Tokens" oil 12" x 12" and mixed media 36" x 18" Exhibit at Curtis Gallery, Lake in the Hills, IL

These are oil on canvas and mixed media works, that represent the American Flag, but in a silightly different context than we ususally think of "old glory". I was born and raised on and around military bases in the Southeast and Hawaii. The flag was a powerful symbol in my life. For many years, I have been exploring the various forms the flag can take, yet still be recognizable.

Curtis Gallery at Curtis Professional building in Lake in the the Hills, IL is a new venue for area artists to exhibit thier work. I have enjoyed the opportunity to show some of my work in this spacious building, and want to thank John Curtis for making this new gallery space possible.
You can visit http://www.curtisgallery.net/ for more information.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Second Hand Witness" 72" x 24" Oil Detail

I read the newspaper almost every day because I like to know what is going on in my community and the world. My childhood was defined by world events, and I have lived in England and traveled extensivly throughout Europe, South Asia and Japan. I feel a connection to the global community, and this is reflected in my work.

Imagine my surprise on Friday January 25, 2002 when I opened the Chicago Tribune and found my painting of the front of the Tempo section. I was exhibiting in the "September 2001" at the Chicago Atheneaum in Schaumburg with about 100 other Chicago artists. The painting is 72" high and 24" wide, this is a detail. You can see the entire painting in my studio.
Most of my work is lyrical, with a strong naarative element. There is continuity in my art making process connecting the formal with the sensory elements of art. Woring with a full palette provides me the opportunity to continually explore the expressive possibilites of color. The colors of life are in my work, and on my palette. I love what I do and it shows im my work. There is great joy to be experienced in creative process. Color is only one element in the vastness of artistic expression.