Rebecca gained her BA in Art from Brescia College in Owensboro, Kentucky. That said, she considers herself self-educated rather than self-taught as she has searched out artists whose work she admired and studied under them.
Ultimately she taught Life Studio at UW Parkside, and a variety of workshops at the Charles A. Wustum Museum in Racine, Wisconsin and The Clearing in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.
IAAY is published every Wednesday (yes, all of them), so there's plenty of time for you to join in too! Contact me via the comments or via Twitter: @mickdavidson.
It's All About Rebecca Venn
It's All About Elizabeth Sparhawk Jones
Deciding on one artist that has influenced or inspired me is a daunting task. I think I have, without realizing it, been affected on many levels walking through the Chicago Art Institute and seeing vision after vision that crept into my dreams at night and no doubt appear on the tip of my paintbrush in the morning. And so many are men. I love many of them and it is easy to choose one, so I do not. I choose Elizabeth Sparhawk Jones.
She was a surprise for me. Seeing her stunning painting one day entitled “The Shoe Shop”. I wanted to know more. In it you can hear the rustle of the skirts and marvel at the crisp white blouses that are a uniform and sensual attire at the same time. And those brush strokes make me marvel.
When she was at her peak she won a prestigious award that she was to collect in Europe but her strict parents would not allow it. Gradually she sank into mental illness. After many years she reappeared and became successful once again. Her work was never the same though. It is as if her spirit, once shattered, is now viewed through the lines glued together, distorted, holding the vessel of her talent together, but not the same.
I choose her and her magnificent artwork as inspiration when days are hard. It is her determination, her brilliance, her fragility and her talent that I admire. I am not fond of her last work, but this earlier work was so very beautiful. In a time when success was hard for a woman she shown like a star, unable to be ignored.
It's All About Me
This painting is titled “Swimmer I”. It is a watercolor measuring 17” x47”. Originally it was a movie that inspired it. The move was an HBO film titled “Angels In America”. At the end of the film the actor tells the story of the Fountain of Bethesda. I loved the idea of the healing aspect of that story with the water washing over the person and transforming them to wellness, spiritual and physical.
When this artwork was exhibited, many people would call it “the Swimmer” so I renamed it. The original inspiration is personal and viewers bring their own stories and I love that. It is probably why I leave an unfinished quality to a lot of my work so that the viewer can have room to experience their own visions.
This subject of water and the human form is a passion for me. We are a large percentage water and I find that I tend to return often to watercolor and the human form. It is the risk of watercolor that excites me. It makes me crazy and happy at the same time. It is like life. Risky and joyous. It is flux. It is flow. It is sensuous.
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