Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Work, New Classes, and an Old Friend


I'm so excited--tomorrow I see my college friend and roommate, Alison Huntress Rutledge, for the first time in forty-one years! She's here in Portland to visit family and will also be visiting us. Alison tracked me down a few years ago. We exchanged emails and then lost touch again. Again, this persistent woman found me. Not only that, but she bought a painting and promised to visit. From the one phone contact we've had, it seems we'll just pick up where we left off.

Alison and I both went into the mental health field. We both got an M.S. Unlike me, who couldn't face the thought of going back to school, Alison has two, count 'em, two PhDs. She entered her second PhD program in her fifties. Like me, she knows it's never too late to go for what you desire!

Here's a quotation from her that I found on the web:

Alison Rutledge, already had a doctorate and an established career in clinical psychology before coming to the Institute for the Medical Humanities (IMH) to pursue a second Ph.D. “Other people's choices often look strange from the outside,” Rutledge writes. “But for the person making the choices, sometimes it feels like the path has narrowed until there is one door left to go through. You open that door because it is the only one.” For her, the door led to the IMH, “a remarkable group of scholars and ethicists,” who made her time as a graduate student a “whirlwind of intellectual stimulation. ”

What she says about the one door to go through resonates with me completely. My door was to take the autodidact approach, teaching myself how to make art, art history, and how to teach others.

Alison's going to visit my Art of Life group tomorrow night. After that we'll probably sit up all night and talk just like we used to do so long ago!


Some new work in gouache and cold wax, based on the ancient Roman Egyptian mummy portraits. The originals were done in encaustic, but I've devised a method to get similar effects with modern materials.

"Like, so Fayum"
A modern face in Fayum style

"Claudia" Gouache and cold wax on panel

"Julia" Gouache and cold wax on panel

I've also been playing with egg tempera. I couldn't find any place in town that sells it so I made my own. It was fun and easy. I haven't worked in it for a while and had forgotten how wonderfully luminous it is. And how scratching into the paint to reveal earlier layers makes great effects.

"In Service" Egg tempera on canvas

"Desert Day" Egg tempera on panel

Egg tempera on panel

I'm offering classes on the above techniques and inspirations:

September: "Who's Your Mummy?"
October: "The Egg and I"

See my website for dates and to register!