Monday, January 10, 2011


Yesterday I visited the Oceanside Museum of Art, located in Oceanside California.

I went especially to see an exhibit of Botanical Photography by Imogen Cunningham, titled “BOTANICALS. BOTANICALS: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF
 January 9 - May 22, 2011

Imogen, a professional photographer and a mother of 3 boys, focused her attention to photographing objects that (1) she was passionate about and (2) were available to her while she juggled household and child rearing responsibilities.

Imogen Cunningham’s bio:

The reasons of my interest in going to see the photography exhibit had several layers.

Layer 1: Several years ago I took a photography class to learn more about digital cameras. What I hadn’t planned on was the direction it would take my oil paintings. Composition and light became a larger focus to my work. Oh, for sure I thought I was pushing for that before the photo class, but in reality the class put sunlight on the subject.
It made me look and pursue the “shock” of light where hard sunlight hits deep recessed shadows: or the soft atmospheric light that happens when the moisture of evening air mixes with the heat still on the earth’s crust.
Surely another reason for a shift in my paintings, were the class assignments of cropping with the camera. Learning to define the composition ahead of time was proprietary. Looking for strong patterns and values. It carried forward in my paintings long after the class. I am not suggesting you need to have the idea and patterns pre-planned with a camera, but the idea and vision of how you see the finished painting helps tremendously. When I don’t have a clear view of where I am headed before starting a painting, the canvas seems to stay on the easel longer… and many times finds it’s way to the chain-saw folder. It’s much like driving to a destination without directions or having the address of where you are going.
Layer 2: Imogen Cunningham, A woman artist, raising a young family…. A woman working in what many considered a man’s profession. I personally know the struggles of being a mother and trying to forage a career in art- much like balancing two fragile ecosystems.

The Botanicals exhibit is wonderful. Imogene was a master at capturing intricate detail alongside her dramatic architectural and contemporary compositions.

Examples of work on display.

Another visual treat at the Oceanside Museum is the Quilt exhibit
 October 24, 2010 - March 13, 2011

Some of these quilts are just amazing and intricate beyond words. Here are a few examples of the quilts now on display. I highly recommend a visit to see these two exhibits while they are up.

In closing- there are many medias of art existing all around you, immerse yourself and leave open the opportunity to see and explore that diversity. You never know just how it will reflect in the artistic course you are on. And during my first painting workshop, the teacher told me, ONLY look at GOOD art, it will inspire you to move forward. Best advice given ever!

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