Monday, February 20, 2017

Without a Net News

This Saturday I am hosting my first Without a Net Workshop at Red Dot Gallery. I am pleased to offer this work to others, and if all goes well I hope to offer it in different venues. A short description is below, and a longer one is here. In the same vein, check out my new post on WithoutaNet.Blog

Here is  a short description: 
In the spirit of my artistic explorations in my own paintings, Without a Net workshop will offer participants creative exercises in various artistic media that explore personal mind states and perspectives in a judgment-free setting. With humor and self-acceptance as touchstones, participants will explore their own mind states, both light and shadowy, to engender courage, promote self-honesty, and acknowledge the universality of human frailty. The practices will fuel creative thinking while helping to develop resilience and equanimity. The group setting enhances a collective, unifying experience that facilitates growth and understanding for both the individual and the group.
Exercises will include explorations in visual arts, written word, sound or music, drama, story telling, and other mediums. No experience, talent, or skill necessary. Participants will probably not go home with a work of art to hang on their wall, and no one will be asked to do anything they’re not comfortable with. Expect to laugh.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Brush with Casey

Join Red Dot at the opening reception of "A Brush with Casey," the first solo exhibit of longtime Red Dot oil painting student, Casey Lancaster. The reception will be held Friday, January 27, 5-8 pm. The show will run through February 27. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Diaper Deeds

Thank you to all who donated diapers during our December Diaper Drive to benefit the YWCA in Birmingham. We created quite a work of art at the gallery with them. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

By the Self Same Sky

By the Self Same Sky     16" x 20"     Oil on Board

I sold this painting this week and was asked by several people on Facebook what it's about. I usually write an essay on my blog Without a Net ( but before I take the time to write an involved essay, here is my first stab at its meaning. Forgive me my lack of copy-editing.

My sister called me one day out of the blue and said, “Dori, guess what? We’re Jewish!”  Not long before my Granny died at 94, she (allegedly) told my sister a secret that she’d kept her whole life.

My Granny, born Mary Fitzpatrick was a devout Catholic her whole life and vigorously tried to instill the values of her religion on her kids and grandkids. I was raised Catholic and so went to church every Sunday, catechism on Thursday, and every other scheduled church event. So I was shocked to hear my sister’s news.

The details are muddy, but my sister relayed that Granny’s mother’s maiden name was Lehman, and she was probably from Russia. She had married Arthur Fitzpatrick, and Irish Catholic. When Granny was a young girl her mom had warned her never to tell anyone they were Jewish. Granny kept the secret well, because no one in my family had an inkling (that I am aware of.)

This painting is about what it felt like to gain such information. I had watched Jews in World War II movies my whole life, and thought, “Oh those poor people.” Now they were my people. I surmised that I would have qualified to be sent to Auschwitz (although I might have anyway for being Catholic.) Hearing about anti-Semitism would bring to mind whole new implications than before. I gained curiosity about the Jewish religion.

And still I didn’t feel one bit different than before. I couldn’t stop thinking about the incomprehensible idea that I could now be persecuted even though I had changed nothing about myself. The knowledge that oppression can be mounted merely on labels (and usually is) was right in my face. It was a powerful and difficult concept to have to face.

My painting, “By the Self Same Sky” started as an attempt to depict imagery from the Jewish religion. I chose “The Lion of Judea,” the only reference I could find to an animal that symbolized the religion. The black and white parts of the painting are taken from a Gustave Dore illustration of Mount Sinai, when Moses was bringing down the tablets. I’d gotten that far, but didn’t like how Biblical it looked. I imagined it would fit well into a religious children’s book. So I added popular culture symbols to bring it to the present and add some humor and pathos.

While I painted I was quick to realize that the symbols I used also perfectly represented Christianity. The lion is Christ. The Old Testament is a part of most Christian’s upbringing. And both religions are still a part of the modern world. I was pleased at how I’d managed to emblematize the two religions at once. It well expressed the two parts of my heritage, and celebrates the ways they overlap and unite. I’d like to think the majestic tone of the piece takes a stance against the separation and hatred that I was reminded of when I began the piece. I also like the funnier elements that are prompts to not take any of this too seriously.

All in all I gained much from painting this piece, and have found people responding to it on many different levels. I know my work is most successful when the response from others is widely varied. In the end, even if someone knows nothing about the meaning of this one, I think it offers much to read into.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Show Poster

Annabelle DeCamillis and I designed this year's poster for our neighborhood open house which was held last night. It was fun seeing it all over town. The winner of our drawing for a free class was Norah Lunsford!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

People Places Things Animals

Marcia Amason

Here is a small selection of paintings completed at Red Dot by my lovely students over the past several months. 

Joyce White

Lisa Martin

Deeana Crider

Beverley Phillips

Charla Cardin

Nadine Leplantenier

Louise Parsons

Eileen Cohn

Casey Lancaster