In 2016 an earthquake and aftershocks crumbled many parts of the town of Norcia, birthplace of Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism. The Monks of Norcia and their rebuilding become symbols of hope in the Catholic church.
The medieval city of Civita di Bagnoregio is a place of mysterious layers, buildings destroyed by earthquakes and time, where you can see the evolution of the centuries of construction and destruction. In the process of layering new paintings on top of old I found metaphors for both the place itself and memories of it.
Teaching and Art-Making. Teaching and Art-Making: Classical Education Paints A Door to the Past. Recent paintings and a return to teaching serve as a reminder of the past and…
A Painting to Remember the Basilica of Norcia A year ago I wrote about the destruction waged by earthquakes in central Italy, and the destruction of the Basilica of Norcia,…
School is starting, and this is only the third year of my (somewhat middle-aged) life when I have not somehow been professionally involved in that event. Lots changed for…
Exhibit At Perrysburg Municipal Building I have been so impressed at the way several communities here in Northwest Ohio are thinking outside the box for ways to bring art into…
From now until November 4, 2016 I will donate 50% of net proceeds from the sale of original artwork on www.michellepaine.com and my Etsy store to the Monks of Norcia Foundation to assist…
When I was a child I wanted to be an architect. I understood early on how built space shapes our human experience. I channel this love of architecture into my work…
When people find out I go to a figure drawing group on Wednesday nights, they sometimes ask, “Isn’t that weird? I mean, you’re there drawing, and the model isn’t wearing…
Orvieto was the birthplace for the feast of the Eucharist, called Corpus Domini, and one of the major feasts of the Catholic church. The Cathedral of Orvieto holds a treasure…
With spring officially here, and winter un-officially sticking around, “Inside Out[side]” is an appropriate exhibit title for this time of year. I have two paintings hanging in the show by…
As a part of Park Street Arts, my series of architectural interiors will be on view at Park Street Church in the heart of Boston until October 19, 2013. This exhibit of paintings and prints is entitled Pilgrimage. The one-point perspective which dominates the compositions implies a destination. Our lives here on earth are the journey to that destination, a pilgrimage journey towards God.
The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this “new life” has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born…
On display now at the Ashland Public Library is a series of my prints and paintings entitled Convergence. The title “Convergence” has two origins, and these two meanings themselves “converge” in the paintings. In part, “convergence” describes how, in ecclesiastical architecture in particular, celestial and terrestrial converge in built space.
This Annunciation transcription will be included in the exhibit Compassion: The Good Samaritan, opening at Adams ArtSpace, Harvard College, Cambridge this weekend.
The Annunciation is the moment when God comes to earth – when human and divine come together to become incarnate in Jesus, Savior of the world. The Incarnation, God’s greatest act of compassion.
Appropriate to post another Annunciation transcription today, the Feast of the Archangels (Gabriel, Michael and Raphael). This particular Renaissance Annunciation infuses Classical architecture into the Biblical story of the Gabriel’s announcement to Mary. The painting also shows off the artists’ knowledge of perspective in the way that the artist places the angel in the foreground.
Concordia College — New York in their Journey of Faith exhibit. This exhibit paired artists with churches in Bronxville, where the college is located, in order that the artist might create a work of art specifically in response to that space. I was pleased to be selected, and was paired with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bronxville.
Another in my series of Annunciation transcriptions. The original Mannerist painting was completed in 1546 by Italian Domenico Beccafumi and is currently in the little town of Sarteano near Siena, Italy. I’m not always a fan of Mannerism, but I like the mirrored swooping curves in this painting and the sense of motion it creates, so different from the very still, stable Annunciations of Fra Angelico.
A few weeks back we spent the weekend on Cape Cod for a little get-away. One of our excursions was to the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, Massachusetts. The Community of Jesus is an ecumenical Benedictine community made up of brothers (friars), sisters (nuns), and laypeople. They began building this testament of faith in 1997, hiring architects, liturgical consultants, and artists from all over the world to complete the narrative of salvation the building tells.
Another in my little “Annunciations from the Masters” series, from a predella by Fra Angelico, 15th century Florentine painter, who was also a Dominican brother. Graham Nickson of the New York Studio School says “the transcription endeavors to understand the nature of the original work.
What is the purpose of “copying” a work of art? Franklin Enspruch phrases it like this in a review of Wendy Artin’s series of watercolors of the Elgin Marbles: “She is at once paying the sculptures due homage, studying them for artistic clues, and using them to reach upward in ambition and scale.”
Somehow, in entering in to someone else’s creation, one often emerges at the other end with a clearer, renewed sense of voice and direction.
I love the brilliant blue and of Mary and her contemplative gaze in the Annunciation altarpiece by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Lorenzetti was a Sienese painter in the first half of the 14th century and this work of his is presently housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, Italy. My version is tiny, only 6″ x 6″, but I’m looking for the contemplative quality he captures.
My latest studio project is making “transcriptions” of some of the classic Annunciation paintings of art history. The Annunciation has been one of my favorite images for many years. In seeking to make some of these images of Mary new in my paintings, I have taken on a studio exercise which is also a bit of a meditation.
These paintings are a metaphor for the struggle of my own experience to know Christ and seek to become more like his mother Mary. The metaphors in this poem, and others found throughout art history, continue to open my understanding of Christ’s relationship with his mother.
The Olympics are always an Event: even non-sports fans like me turn on their televisions to watch the grace, strength, speed and beauty of what the human body can accomplish. The passing of the torch leading up to the Olympics is also a moving part of the event; it is expressive of our human journey on this earth, of friendship across nations, and fraternity even in competition. I am excited to be included in a digital exhibit which will be released in tandem with the London Olympics.
Just an update post-Open Studios — it was a great event – estimates are that we had about 2000 people in attendance, though I don’t think all of those came in to my studio! It was a long weekend, because I was also Planning Coordiantor leading up to the event, so I was concerned with a lot of the logistical details of the event.
I am really thrilled to be featured on Creative Catalyst Production’s featured artist page. I’ve discussed my process before in artist talks or in conversation, but many of the questions I had never fully fleshed out in writing.
This summer has been a wonderful summer for figurative art – both in my own work and in Boston! I have been regular attending a few figure drawing groups and really enjoying the opportunity to really engage with the figure outside the classroom. I have been so busy the last couple of years teaching my figure classes that I haven’t actually taken much opportunity.
My most recent commission project was two watercolors intended for wedding gifts. I shipped them off last week. This watercolor is the exterior of St. Mary’s church in Memphis, Tennessee. I so enjoy when I am able to work with one of my favorite subjects (church architecture).
Some recent paintings and drawings of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. John Paul II prayed for a “Primavera dello Spirito”: a Springtime of the Spirit. His prayer for a “Springtime of the Spirit” was answered in a multitude of ways, from the flood of youth who attended the World Youth Days (which he began).
The theme of the winter issue of Ruminate magazine was “Sound and Silence”, and I was pleased that two of my prints and one of my paintings were chosen to as a visual representation of the theme. Sojourners Magazine’s Julie Polter recently said Ruminate has “staked a claim in the publishing borderlands where grit and religious devotion”.
The compositions of frescoes by Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Luca Signorelli (to name only a few), are so complicated they can be overwhelming for a viewer — and even more overwhelming for a student of drawing. I have found that working on a team and looking for simple moments of overlap and intersection can allow an entry point into serious investigation of some of these masterpieces.
When classes are in session I don’t always have the time I would like to engage in long studio sessions, but I always try and keep things moving by doing small drawings, watercolor studies, or even just taking a few minutes during my figure drawing class time to make a few gesture drawings while the model is posing. These drawings are some small studies I did in my parish church (Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton).
I am pleased to be able to share the completed painting for Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. I worked on this painting through the spring and finally finished in July. I love being able to share my love for church architecture with a living community. The painting has been printed into notecards for sale for the benefit of the parish.
This is the second post of my “sketchbook” from my visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.
French painter Jean-Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) has always been recommended to me as a colorist, but in this painting “Vuillard’s Room at the Château des Clayes”, I really saw it for the first time. The warmth of the shadows, juxtaposed with the harsh cold gray of the raking sunlight.
I visited the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday during my vacation for their Target-sponsored Free Thursday evenings. What a wonderful a gift to the people of Chicago city to offer free admission from 5-8pm once a week – there was a line to enter at 5:00 and the museum was packed with people all evening. The new wing is huge, with the capacity to give their spectacular collection of 20th century art the viewing space it deserves.
I completed these two drawings for the same client. The first location, State Street Mobil, is in the historic district of Newburyport. When the client bought this new business he comissioned this drawing (Ink on paper, 14″ x 20″) for use with publicity and investors. The drawing is featured on the front page of his web page as well (http://www.statestreetmobil.com).
Summer is a time for water and blue sky — I have had some opportunities to make some small drawings, but also to hang an exhibit of my church interiors at a local venue. Prints, paintings, and drawings of my series of architectural interiors will be on exhibit during the month of July.
On Friday I made a little trip to see a cycle of paintings by Gordon Goetemann at Andover-Newton Theological School in Newton Center, MA. The cycle of large paintings is inispired by Gustav Mahler’s 2nd Symphony in C Minor — the “Resurrection” symphony. I had found out about it from a friend who had seen the show at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester. We were both interested in it because of the time we spent in Orvieto, where there are two great artworks representing the Resurrection of the Flesh…
Cardus has just published another of my paintings in their online journal Comment.
Our Lady of the Barren Tree is an image of hope: the strange beauty of winter, in which it requries faith to believe that trees and grass are only “sleeping” and will return with new life and growth.
The tree, the vine, the branches – these images evoke the memory of Eve in the garden of Eden whose disobedience eventually brought on the exile of humanity from paradise. Eve’s disobedience was eventually redeemed in the act of Mary’s obedient “May it be to me as you have said”.
It is January, and rather cold, blah, and sleepy, so I thought I’d continue to share some images of my trip to Italy in November, as a brief mental “winter getaway”. The Gordon College in Italy program is housed in the convent of San Paolo, one of several convents that ring the perimeter of the volcanic mesa on which the ancient city of Orvieto sits.