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Academic vs. Craft
For my patrons that haven't heard the good news, I have recently been awarded the Ford Foundation Re-Start Scholarship http://www.tfff.org/ . This scholarship gives me the ability to go to whichever school I wish in the state. It's very very good news, and I consider my patrons as part of the process. At a time when reaching out to the community has been difficult due to my time at school, my Patreon patrons have allowed me to reach out "virtually" or online. This reaching out was a big component in being chosen for this scholarship. The Ford Family Foundation is interested in investing in those that will in turn, give back to their communities. Your support has allowed me to continue to look outwardly in my journey--always searching for knowledge and experience I can share, something that may benefit those who have been cheering me on for so long. Thank you! I honestly feel we did this together. 


Now I just have to choose which school to go to, and it hasn't been as easy as it would seem. We have two very good art colleges in Portland. Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) https://ocac.edu /, and Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) http://www.pnca.edu/ . Both schools are excellent and focus on studio classes, they prepare students to be working artists. But, I am already a working artist, and well aware of the difficulties of making a living solely from one's creations. Another consideration is that in returning to school, I have discovered something new about myself. I can excel in academics! Who knew? My choice came down to weather I wish to focus solely on craftsmanship of creating art (the tools, techniques, and methods), or whether I want to focus on the relevance of creating art in our society...how vs. why.


I have made the surprising and still a little bit secret choice (shhhh...I'm trying to get the best financial package) of going to a liberal arts University rather than either of the art schools. I'll be attending Marylhurst University. I'm very excited about my choice and my discovery that the "how" of art-making is no longer as important to me as the "why." I believe this will have rather a big impact on my paintings, and on my life. I honestly hope you will stay with me as I make this leap of faith.


Don't worry, I plan on staying solidly in the traditional methods and techniques of representational painting and art-making. Traditional, historical (pre-modern art...anything encompassing post Impressionism, through classical art) methods will be my niche in the strange world of liberal arts academics that for far too long now, have favored the bizarre and incomprehensible. Not that I have anything against modern or postmodern art, I just think aesthetics and craftsmanship are too often abandoned for the sake of mysterious Avant-garde originality or sheer shock value. It's time for the pendulum to start swinging the other way. Art should be understood by any viewer, educated or not, otherwise it does not do what traditionally it was intended to do--communicate.


The big difference in my art (hopefully) is that it will have deeper context and meaning and no longer be solely a fight against the ugliness of the world. My hope is that my "pretty" paintings will have relevant and challenging commentary on the society and culture I live in.


That is the long story of introducing my above painting. I still consider it a study at best, but it won an award for the student art show In which it is exhibiting. YAy! I one something! The piece was painted from a couple different live model sessions, and compositionally resolved through my study of how far women have come along in art. The painting leaning up against the wall next to the sitter, was by Sofonisba Anguissola, and interpreted by many feminist scholars to be one of the first pushes against the patriarchal nature of art, and a play of "the male gaze." I thought it would make a nice counterbalance to the obviously modern setting of the model, and the style with which my painting was rendered (loosey goosey). "Evolution" 30 by 22 inches (art teachers always make you paint so big!), oil on arches olio paper 


Talya johnson, fine artist released this post 7 days early for patrons.   Become a patron