Saturday, January 6, 2007

More than you wanted to know...

For some crazy reason - and my son disagrees strongly - people are impressed by so-called "educational credentials." Don't you think that your life itself is credential enough, is validation enough for respect? But for some reason there is esteem for the process of jumping through all those hoops of attending classes, getting good grades, pulling a portfolio or some other questionably valuable artifact together to prove you did the work, learned some facts and are now equipped to present yourself worthy to the world.....

But I have some credentials, just in case readers need to satisfy curiosity about them: B.A., Visual Arts, DePaul University, Chicago; Masters of Religious Education, Loyola University Chicago, and a botanical illustration certificate from Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL, with their naturalist certificate in process. I was president of the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts a number of years ago (no, I won't tell you how many even if you beg!) - one of my cooler accomplishments, since they only started to admit women in 1967, when Ruth Van Sickel Ford applied. Formerly an all-boys artists' club, with wives relegated to preparing and putting out (and cleaning up) food for the exhibitions and parties (and non-wives posing nude upstairs), they finally had to break down and admit Ruth, since she had taught half or more of them how to draw and paint while she was president of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where Walt Disney and political cartoonist Bill Mauldin studied. Ooops! After that they did their best to bar the doors, smoke lots of cigars and otherwise discourage women from applying but we finally made our way in. One of my favorite women members at the P&C was the first woman president, Diana Farran, who got the place on the National Register of Historic Places, not just for its history but for its interesting double-bay Italianate architecture and connection with Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

The other two women I feel privileged to know from there were Nancy Guzik, wife of former P&C president Richard Schmid, and Susan Lyons, who is the better half of Scott Burdick. Oh, I better not forget Wendy Anderson Halperin, who's an amazing children's book illustrator... see what they were missing the first three-quarter's century? And last but not least my dear dear friend Louisa Boshardy, who was a student of Bill Moseby at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Bill, I heard, made it really difficult for women students in his class. In a nutshell, he didn't take them seriously. He tried to pretend they weren't there and wouldn't talk to them hardly at all. His critiques blistered, only bested by the ones specially reserved for representational artists at the Art Institute of Chicago... Louisa was- is- not only a top-notch draftswomen, she also has a wonderful alla prima style that is amazing to watch - and is facile in watercolor, oil, pastel, pen and ink - you name it! I'm privileged to know her - and all of them. Women artists rock!

1 comment:

chris miller said...

Hi Orchidart !

It's so exciting to find someone from the P&C eighties -- especially since we're trying to assemble a history of that momentous decade now on our unofficial Palette website

Any stories you can tell would be greatly appreciated (as well as a link to your work on line)