Han Yajuan

Before the Big Night, 2008

Oil on canvas

Like many people born in the 1980s, she is constantly in pursuit of new sensations and fresh experiences and her paintings reveal that overarching quest of her generation. The cartoon-like language in Han Yajuan’s works not only effectively represents the romance and simplicity of this group, but also shows the difference between their visual understanding and visual representation. These young artists share similar life experiences and most of them have subconsciously acquiesced to consumerism through their art.

click here for a link to the exhibition

“Because art is universally human and one of the highest forms of individual and political expression, the exchange of art and culture is a powerful tool in finding common ground and building more stable relationships, mutual affection for the things that unite us, and genuine respect — even where we differ”.  click here

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the Meridian Center last night to view Metropolis Now!  Tomorrow is your last opportunity to get to DC to view exhibition; you should try.  It is the first time such an exhibit has been on view in DC. 31 artists are represented by 52 artworks; painting, mixed media, sculpture, and  video; all address changes taking place in Chinese cities. While the giant ants certainly attract a lot of attention, I was drawn to Before the Big Night, returning to look at it several times.  I am glad I didn’t miss this show or the venue; every time I get out in DC I make a wonderful discovery!

Further Reading on the developing arts ecosystem in China today

final finals…

April 21st, 2009

selfnarrative #4:contemplating optimism

broken halos ? not sure yet!

oil and gold leaf on wood panel

As I near the completion of my final art problem at UMW I can’t help but realize how very much I will miss them.  It has been a frustrating semester and I have had a difficult time getting my work finished lately. Senioritis! I thought that was myth.  I have been pulled in so many directions this semester I have not taken much time out to contemplate.  So this last project is fitting in so many ways. It is time to sit back and look at what I have accomplished and at how far I have come. It is also time to look ahead at how far I have yet to go!  So many great things ahead….But I will miss the wonderful people who have been such an important part of these past few years.

Buddhism and the Feminine

April 6th, 2009

Barhut yakshi

A woman set free! How free I am,

how wonderfully free, from the kitchen drudgery.

Free from the harsh grip of hunger,

And free from the empty cooking pots,

Free too from that unscrupulous man,

The weaver of sunshades.
Calm now, and serene I am,

All lust and hatred purged.

To the shade of spreading trees I go

And contemplate my happiness.

Buddhism, from its inception, acknowledged and even welcomed strong, positive images of women.  Buddhism appealed to women for this very reason; women were not only welcome, but played a vital role in the religious community. This is evidenced by the powerful, affirmative depictions of the female figure which proliferate in pre-Buddhist and Buddhist artwork of the East.  As early as the first period of Buddhism in India, issues relating to women were recorded.  Women were “spiritual daughters” and tales of the liberation of women, through Buddhism, were written down in the Therigatha ; “…one can not fail to be impressed by the dignity, strength and size of the women’s order as portrayed in the Therigatha”, written in the 6th century B.C.E.  The poems of theTherigatha are perhaps the earliest recorded stories of women. Although they were not put into written word until much later, these are important records of the spiritual journeys of early, itinerant nuns who were contemporaries of Buddha. Read the rest of this entry »

tiny dancer

February 23rd, 2009

Here I was back in 1975.  I sit here now,  not quite ready to prepare for my Buddhist ArtH mid terms…Instead I am reliving my very distant youth. Isn’t that what grandmas do?  (while drinking sweet Raspberry wine and thinking about spring).  Where did the years go and what makes us drift back to the past when the present is wonderful?  India left an indelible mark on me.  An accidental click on a google search took me back 33 years this weekend.

I loved Bharata Natyam; I thought I would never forget the dance or meaning of each gesture; I have forgotten them all long ago. I do remember dancing and loving it. So I searched my closet and found this page I kept from a scrapbook I discarded years ago.   The American Embassy School Music and Dance Students, under the direction of Miss Lucia Maloney, invite you to their dance recital.

After coming across this website I found the email address of the ‘boy next door’ from B-58 Greater Kailash and he sent me this photo of our old house.  He was more the ‘boy upstairs’ actually!  My family lived on the ground floor of this house; his family was upstairs.  We had some great times as kids, and found our fair share of trouble as well!

The website has our old year books posted, too.  That’s me on the left with two friends Arlette and Sophia.  So even though I am likely to forget a few dates later this week, what was the significance of the Bala Buddha?, I can remember these old friends and the stain I got on the jeans I borrowed from Arlette in 7th grade!  Oil paint actually…some things just don’t change!



January 24th, 2009

Grandma explaining her art work to Grace

Last night, diffusion, a show featuring works by Katherine, Molly, Robert and Eric, opened.  It was my granddaughter’s first gallery opening!  Molly’s work, especially the large, organic, abstracted shapes, really fascinated her. She’s showing signs of art appreciation already! Rayden, my two year old grandson, is more of a food critic; the edible arrangement was his favorite work of art. 

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Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro

I took this photo because I wanted to show it in situ as the viewer approaches it, not as it is normally photographed, frontally and with out its architectural frame or setting. It is dark in the church; which has an electric light now, but would not have at the time this was placed in the Frari. This photograph gives you a better idea of the experience of the painting than a text book photograph does. I believe the columns and oblique Madonna make perfect sense when first viewed and approached from this position.


Titian was a master of painting and color; his influence on Western art is enormous and far reaching. Through careful examination of Titian’s altarpiece paintings, Assumption and Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro, it is possible to glimpse not only the unusual, yet inherently Venetian, way Titian approached painting, but also the decisions that led to the final artworks and to his unique contributions to Renaissance painting. Titian began his career as a painter in Renaissance Venice at a time when painting was in flux, oil and glaze were new, and altarpieces were a unique vehicle for artistic expression. He synthesized all that was happening around him and created expressively life-like paintings that took perspective, color, subject and composition all to a new level. “Throughout his long career, Titian respected tradition. Never can we think of him as an avant-garde artist…yet while his work always depended on the past, he subtly transformed what he took into something new.” [1] Although Titian did honor painting’s past, it is difficult not to believe that he was ahead of his time. His work influenced the history of Western art for centuries to come; his influence continues today.

This paper will briefly outline the history of altarpieces in Venice, the progression of naturalism in those paintings, some of the people and events influencing Titian, and finally it will examine the innovative ways in which Titian approached his masterpieces and made his mark on painting. With the Assumption, created for the high altar in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Titian is credited, by Marino Sanuto, a Venetian historian and diarist and contemporary of Titian, with establishing the High Renaissance in Venice. [2] Likewise the Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro exceeded the expectations of his time. Many of the elements destined to become hallmarks of this master of Renaissance painting are exemplified in this unprecedented altarpiece. Read the rest of this entry »

Ca’ Pesaro Madonna

December 1st, 2008

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Why would a master paint an imperfect Saint Sebastian?! Perhaps the ladies needed to spend more time focusing on the service and altar than on the altarpiece!

Here is a response to my request for a translation of Italian in a previous post… by someone who speaks Italian fluently. Perhaps this is an interesting topic for a future paper! I’ve cut Saint Sebastian out of my current research paper because I’ve been too long winded about the Assunta and Pesaro altarpieces and my research took a turn…

The Italian is not vernacular so it’s a bit difficult to translate without a bit more context. We’re talking art and Fra Bartolommeo so I’m guessing we’re talking about the nude St. Sebastian that he did in Florence that is very lifelike and of great personal beauty. So apparently the friars learned through confession that women had sinned [were corrupted?] by looking at/regarding the painting given of the graceful and lusty realism of the painting due to Fra Bartolomeo’s skill as a painter. Apparently it was so realistic and graceful that it verged on the erotic…

“As the friars learned through confession, women, in looking at/gazing at/regarding [the painting] sinned because of the beautiful/graceful and lascivious/lusty imitation of life [lifelike image] given by the skills/capabilities [virtue in the larger sense of attributes] of Friar Bartolomeo”  Dave Storey (translator)

Titian’s Altarpieces: Colorito, innovation and invention

The unique qualities in Venetian painting of the Renaissance are due to the focus on colorito, or color. The Venetian painter’s interest in the way light and shadow could be used to mimic form, and their controlled use of color, by layering and glazing paint, is championed by Lodovico Dolce, an Italian theorist of painting, as being superior to the Florentine style with its emphasis on disegno or drawing. Titian was a master of painting and colorito; his influence on Western art is enormous and far reaching. Through careful examination of Titian’s altarpiece paintings, it is possible to glimpse not only the unusual, yet inherently Venetian, way Titian approached painting, but also the decisions that led to the final artworks and to his unique contributions to Renaissance painting. Read the rest of this entry »


October 19th, 2008

Titian self portrait

What is essential in Venetian painting and how it came about.

In order to trace Titan’s innovation, I will first look at Venetian painting in general. Extraordinary, brilliant use color is a hallmark of Venetian painting. Perhaps the early painters got their inspiration from the mosaics of San Marco. Figures composed of hundreds of tiny glass tesserae adorn the basilica; reflected light and the polished glow of gold infuse the atmosphere. Patricia Fortini Brown suggests, in Art and Life in Renaissance Venice, that “The chromatic approach to color of Giovanni Bellini, Titian, and other Venetian artists had its antecedents here” (28) in San Marco’s mosaic work. Many Venetian painters and artisans worked on restoration projects; Titian is among these. Read the rest of this entry »