Friday, April 4, 2014

Studying with the Masters {Week 2-Gaudi}

Hello Lifers....I have a confession. 

I am in love with an older man...who's not my husband. 

BUT...before you put me on your prayer request's OK...he's been dead for almost 90 years. :)

This week in "Studying with the Masters" we delved in to the architecture of Antonio Gaudi, a Spanish architect who was dubbed "God's Architect" in the last 1800s/early 1900s. 

Our teacher was an AMAZING woman named Junelle Jacobson-who I have a total girl crush on and would love to meet one day...she is just the sweetest and one of the most sincere people ever!

Gaudi was known for his close communion with God, his architecture that reflected nature and being light years ahead of his time in terms of his engineering endeavors. 

For our projects we were challenged to do 3 types of projects: a quick sketch/water color project, a mosaic and an abstract painting. 


Beautiful stained glass windows are staples in most of Gaudi's buildings; the most well known are from his La Sagrada Familia. This church is so massive in scale that 90 years after his death, it is still not finished, making it the longest construction project in history.

Junelle chose these 2 windows for us:

Look at the beauty of these windows. You can see the Christian influences: the groupings of threes (reflecting the Trinity), the cross, the colors of the rainbow (signifying God's promise), etc. 

Here is my interpretation on 4x6 watercolor paper:


Gaudi's most famous use of Mosaics is in Park Guell. 

There are Mosaic benches twining everywhere: 

And the famous lizards:

I chose to use a sun mosaic:

More specifically, the top left section: 

Here is my sun:

The words come from something Junelle said in one of her "journal" entries. She was asking questions of Gaudi and his heart for God and she asked him if his mosaic were his way of saying that God sees beauty in our brokenness. 

The process of making a mosaic was long and painstaking. There were moments of feeling relaxed and moments of "OMG!!! Will I EVER be done!?" (those usually happened after I looked at the time! LOL) 

It took me about 5 hours to complete this 8x10 canvas panel. 

Abstract Painting 

Lastly, Junelle asked us to consider looking at the La Sagrada Familia a different way. Rather than trying to "duplicate" it, we were going to look at it in an abstract way, focusing on the shapes and tones, rather than specifics. 

Here is the frontal view of the basilica that we used for inspiration: 


I have to say...this was really hard for me. It was difficult wrapping my brain around the concept of being abstract instead of literal. 

Since I was out of my element, I let Junelle "hold my hand" and followed her ideas rather than going out on my own. Once I got a little more comfortable I ventured out on my own a little, but didn't stray too far! LOL 

There was something really freeing about doing this painting. My brain tends to be a planner (and a perfectionist!) so I had to let go of some of my hangups in order to just sling paint on a canvas. 

What I Learned

This week was deeply thought provoking for me. 

A few things I took away:

(1) Take note of nature. I recently did a piece for Earth Day and used the quote: "Nature is the Art of God." Gaudi truly took that to heart. He believed that his art/architecture was his gift back to God and what better way than to mimic what God had created? (Huh...kind of like we are doing in this class...Gaudi was studying under the Master of God.) 

(2) Think beyond other "painters." When I first saw that we were focusing on an architect, I was like "what a I going to do with that?" Once we delved in though, Junelle was able to breakdown the art of his architecture to small "bite-able" pieces so that is was not so overwhelming. Yes...we looked at projects as a whole, but then she focused on smaller things like a couple of stained glass windows, an iron gate, a window and so on. 

(3) Ask "Why?" even if you will never get the answers. During her time preparing for this class, Junelle kept an un-official journal where she just wrote her thoughts on Gaudi, his projects and of herself. Questions, like "Did you liken mosaics to how God sees the beauty in our brokenness?" and "What words would I inscribe into my art if I were Gaudi?" (the spires on La Sagranda Familia have mosaics of words like "hosanna.") I need to delve BELOW the surface and the technique...there are reasons an artist does what an artist does. Meet the'll have a better understanding of the art. 

(4) Let go of your hangups!! I preachin' to myself! Although Gaudi made beautiful buildings, there is very little known of his process and little to no sketches or art work. However, I would find it hard to believe that his wastebasket wasn't overflowing with crumpled pieces of discarded ideas and sketches. HE MADE BEAUTIFUL THINGS, but he didn't get there on the first try. I need to let go of the need for perfection. If a canvas doesn't "turn out" right...who cares? That's what gesso is made for. I can cover it up, start over and no one ever has to know, BUT I learned what NOT to do, so it's still a win. 

Learning More 

I can't leave you today without sharing some links:

* Junelle loving sister in Christ and teacher of this beautiful subject. Her blog is called: Yes and Amen. There you can find out more information about her classes, workshops, etsy shop and more. 

* Studying Under the Masters...there is still time to join this class. It is available for 2 years, so if you can't now, I highly recommend making the time soon. And even though they are doing an artist a week, I am choosing instead to take it at my own pace and ENJOY the process, instead of just getting it done. You can sign up at Jeanne Oliver's Ning Site

* Gaudi Eye Candy...when you have time search the web for pictures of Gaudi's work. You will be inspired by it and once you do the math and realize he did all this by hand at the turn of the will fall in love with this determined man. Here is a link to a Google search for Gaudi images to get you started: Antonio Gaudi

I hope you can tell from all this typing (thanks for hanging in this long!) how excited I am to be continuing on the road of "Studying Under the Masters." I am being stretched creatively and moving my thinking from passively looking at art to delving deeper, beyond technique and subject to the whys of the art. 

Until next time...remember to make your art intentional...not an afterthought. 


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