Category Archives: Yourspace

In the Studio: Winslow Homer and Yourspace

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

I’m pleased to present a view into the studio practice of Savannah Walz, Josephine Luka, and Julie Orrego, our Yourspace Summer Interns from Deering High School, Casco Bay High School, and Portland High School. Yourspace, a three-week studio art and Museum summer internship program, provides six of Portland’s most talented young artists at Deering High School, Casco Bay High School, and Portland High School with access to the renowned works of art at Portland Museum of Art, experience with professional art educators, intensive art-making, and a paid internship to help prepare them for their futures.

A Closer Look at Winslow Homer
By Josephine Luka, Deering High School

Before coming to the Portland Museum of Art, I had absolutely no idea who Winslow Homer was. It was a surprise to me when, after our second session at the Museum, Julia Einstein (Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs) and Dana Baldwin (Director of Education) took our group to the Winslow Homer Gallery to talk about some of the artist’s paintings. When Dana asked us to look at Winslow Homer’s painting Weatherbeaten for a few minutes and list some of the stuff we noticed, I thought, “Oh, this should be easy.” After about two minutes passed, I had no idea what to write. Another minute passed and I still had nothing written down on my paper. So, I decided to take an even closer look at the painting. At last, I began to notice and write about the ocean in the painting. It isn’t just one tone of blue, but many shades. I started to notice how the sky wasn’t gray as I thought before, but a purplish pinkish color. I noted how jagged Homer’s rocks are in comparison to seascape paintings I’d seen by other artists. Surprisingly, when about five minutes passed and Dana called for our attention, I was sad because I was beginning to find the details in Homer’s painting. Sharing as a group, most of us spoke about either the paint or the jagged rocks and some didn’t really have much to say. Julia spoke about a little yellow triangle of paint at the bottom of the painting and called our attention to it. Homer’s little yellow triangle reminded me of Japanese artist, Hokusai, who always paints Mt. Fuji in all his paintings as a tribute to Japan.

Following Homer’s Footsteps
By Savannah Walz, Casco Bay High School

As we all sat around Winslow Homer’s painting, Weatherbeaten, it gave me a chance to really see it differently. I looked at the waves and thought about the colors I hadn’t noticed before. I also got a chance to hear other people’s opinions and thoughts on the painting. Julie (Orreggo, Portland High School) mentioned the color of the jagged rocks and how rich it was. I couldn’t help but agree with her. Cleo (Barker, Deering High School) talked about the color of the sky and how realistic it was. When Cleo said that it just made me wonder: How many times Homer must have watched the ocean and those rocks to get that color? How much did he study this spot before making this painting? He must have studied the spot quite often to get the feel. Later in the day we visited Homer’s studio. I thought it was cool for me to see the place where so many famous paintings were made. There was something very cool about walking the same steps he did. When I was there, I wondered what it looked like when he was still alive. How did he set it up? Did he keep it neat or was it really messy? Studying Homer’s work gave me a chance to see what kind of artist he was. In a way, Homer gave me inspiration. Looking at his work really helped me grow as an artist.

Recreating the Wave
By Julie Oreggo, Portland High School
When I had the chance to experiment with paint, I was eager to recreate Winslow Homer’s wave. Want to know why? I was eager because I wanted to capture the blue of the waves and the pink of the sky. That’s right, there is pink in the grey sky! Want to know what was the hardest thing to do? It was making the blue fade into the pink. I found out it isn’t as hard to show brush strokes with acrylic paint as compared to when I used watercolor paint. I experimented with techniques as I dragged my brush from the blue of the wave across the whole painting. When I was done, I felt like I did a good job, but I could’ve blended the colors much better and probably could’ve used a darker pink for the sky.

Cityscapes

By Courtney Boothby
Yourspace Summer Intern from Portland High School

John Marin (United States, 1870–1953), From the Bridge, N.Y.C., 1933, opaque and transparent wc and charcoal, collage pieces on ivory paper, 21 7/8 x 26 3/4 inches. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1948.479.

When I look at this painting, the first question I ask myself is “What are those dark lines going through the painting?” And then, “What is that charcoal drawing in the lower right?” and “Where is artist drawing from?” As you can imagine, this painting is very abstract! As I continue to look and ask myself questions, I realize it is all about the perspective. I see the sun is a red ball with an even darker red ball on the inside. “Why did he make it like that?” “What makes it stand out so much?” The artist used watercolor as well as charcoal, so that it is both a painting and a drawing. I notice there is also a collage going on. The skyscrapers are cut out from another piece of paper and pasted onto the original piece. A small drawing of a horse and buggy, torn by hand, has also been added on top. I think this torn effect gives the scene a softer look. After reading the label on the wall next to the painting, I learn that the artist John Marin is looking at New York City from the Brooklyn Bridge.

I am attracted to this painting because I live in a city. It has a cool color scheme and it is nice to see how another person interprets a city. It’s like taking a sentence, putting it into your own words and making it original. This is what the kids from the Museum’s ARTREK summer camp did when they each with made paintings with their own special point of views of the city of Portland.

We took the kids into the exhibition, and they saw the similarities in each of John Marin’s cityscapes. They pointed out how both paintings have suns and discussed if one was setting or not. I noticed connections that the ARTREK kids made to these paintings as they looked out from the fourth floor windows of Maine College of Art library one day. They were sketching this view of Portland’s city streets in preparation for a painting they would create later on in the studio. Watching the kids, I could see they were studying the perspective and also trying to sketch in all the details in the scene. “Look at that dog!” and “Oh my gosh, look at that car!” It was then that I remembered that when I first looked at John Marin’s painting, I didn’t see the horse and buggy until I looked again. And, just as the horse and buggy was not the first thing I noticed, and I doubt the little dog, or the car was the first thing the ARTREK kids saw. I think this is what makes these paintings interesting to look at, especially if you can’t figure out what it is at first.

Yourspace, a three-week studio art and Museum summer internship program, provides six of Portland’s most talented young artists at Portland High School, Deering High School, and Casco Bay High School with access to the renowned works of art at Portland Museum of Art, experience with professional art educators, intensive art-making, and a paid internship to help prepare them for their futures. In week one, Yourspace interns developed special projects related to Museum exhibitions, collections, and education programs; including the new teen audio tour and blog posts. Week two consisted of assisting educators and teaching children in the Museum’s ARTREK summer camp program. In the third and final week, the interns were given their own studio in the Museum’s Community Studio. The Museum was their muse and part of their creative process, as they produced a body of artwork in response to this special environment.

Artistic Desires

By Emma Maasch
Yourspace
Summer Intern from Casco Bay High School

Ellsworth Kelly (United States, born 1923), Corn #11, 1959, watercolor wash on paper, 22 11/16 x 23 5/8 inches, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1975.57.

When given the opportunity to write a blog entry on one piece in the exhibit American Moderns, I immediately knew which piece to choose as the subject. It is a piece that thrills me to the point that I want to take a paintbrush to paper and let my hand flow freely, to revel in a style of creativity which lacks inhibition and inspires a part of me to come alive that hasn’t existed in me since I was a child. However, this piece displays absolutely no juvenile qualities when it comes to skill. It showcases the artist’s mastery, luring me and all surrounding observers to take a closer, longer look. As I sat on one of the Museum’s blue fold out stools in front of the piece, one pair of enthused women looking at it to my right exclaimed, “I can tell that it’s corn and there isn’t even corn in the picture!” The expression of gesture moves the artistic spirit that inhabits every bone in my body, and I am awestruck by the amount of depth and value that can be portrayed using minimal strokes and only one color. The control he has over the medium and the paper tells me that this artist knows art better than he knows himself.

My experience as a Yourspace Intern at the Portland Museum of Art has been the experience of my young life as a girl who feels so passionately about art and everything art related. One of the benefits of being at the Museum and being immersed in the atmosphere of the art world is the discovery that there are a million sides to every artist. I have always had a profound respect for Ellsworth Kelly and appreciated his immense contribution to the progression of the modernist movement. At age four I recall seeing Kelly’s Red, Yellow, Blue 1 with my mother, and I have always been fascinated with his bold use of medium, from his massive sculptures to his incredibly bright room-sized prints. But, I had never loved his works as much I love his corn series. Sometimes my favorite pieces by an artist are not what they are most famous for.

So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when I saw that my favorite piece in the show was the cover of the exhibition’s catalogue. Corn (11) appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds, whether it’s adults touring the exhibit, 15-year-old interns, or 12 high-energy children at a summer art camp. When we were teaching the kids during ARTREK how to experiment with watercolor on paper, we did a project inspired by Corn (11) in which we made a painting of a stalk of swiss chard. Seeing the kids smile, laugh, make mistakes, and discover flooded me with memories of discovering those very things at the same age. It was wonderful to see how different kids worked at different paces and how some experimented with color and line. They would ask me if I thought their pieces were good, searching for reassurance because the style was so foreign to them. There is nothing more wonderful than watching a child’s artistic desires blossom.

Yourspace, a three-week studio art and Museum summer internship program, provides six of Portland’s most talented young artists at Portland High School, Deering High School, and Casco Bay High School with access to the renowned works of art at Portland Museum of Art, experience with professional art educators, intensive art-making, and a paid internship to help prepare them for their futures. In week one,
Yourspace interns developed special projects related to Museum exhibitions, collections, and education programs; including the new teen audio tour and blog posts. Week two consisted of assisting educators and teaching children in the Museum’s ARTREK summer camp program. In the third and final week, the interns were given their own studio in the Museum’s Community Studio. The Museum was their muse and part of their creative process, as they produced a body of artwork in response to this special environment.