SAS Alumni Magazine

We enjoy getting our younger son’s high school alumni magazine. Although we are not as connected to Sewanee now that Jackson is no longer on The Mountain, we look forward to hearing news about St. Andrew’s Sewanee (SAS) and and by association The University of the South, where we all attended. Plus, with this being near the end of the school year, educational calendars are on my mind.

The Spring 2013 issue is full of beautiful paintings by Tony Winters, of whose work up until this point, I was unfamiliar.  It’s always a pleasant surprise to learn of an artist and even more so to know they have some mutual connection to a place that is so meaningful. Tony Winters is an painter and architect living in Manhattan and a 1971 graduate of SAS. To paraphrase the article below which you may not be able to read, he states that he “realized that great architecture often draws on its inspiration from the forms and structures of nature. Nature is a great teacher.”  I believe Frank Lloyd Wright would have agreed. His painting below of Sewanee’s Perimeter Trail captures that dappled sunlight through the woods that I’ve seen so many times but it never comes out in my photos. His exaggerated bright colors authenticate the experience while traveling on this path with the that great rock suspension looming above.

Tony winters on Art Is Everywhere

Perimeter Trail, oil on canvas by Tony Winters

Here’s a study of the work above, which looks to me like fall.

Study for Perimeter Trail by Tony Winters on Art is Everywhere

After going to his website I realized that there were many similarities to what others have tried to captured while living the Sewanee Life.

tony winters_cumberland plateau on Art Is Everywhere

tony winters_lunar spring on Art Is Everywhere

The photos below are by my son Jackson.


Sewanee Planet – photo by Jackson Spencer


Moon Over Trezvant  – photo by Jackson Spencer


Rock Formation – photo by Jackson Spencer


Bridal Veil Falls – photo by Jackson Spencer


Sewanee Light – photo by Jackson Spencer

And I took these while hiking with him.

Cumberland Plateau photo on Art is Everwhere

The Cumberland Plateau and valley dwarf us

Perimeter Trail_and Art is Everywhere

Looking  over the edge above Perimeter Trail?

These other paintings have other personal significance. Ed Carlos was  also an inspirational art teacher of mine. I’m so happy to see an homage done for him.

Tony Winters on Art is Everywhere

This cavern painting reminds me of another SAS and University graduate and fellow classmate, Stephen Alvarez, who takes incredible photos for National Geographic, among other places, as he travels the world and captures caves and magical sites that many of us will never see otherwise.

tony winters_cavern on Art is Everywhere

Stephen was also featured in this issue and is being awarded SAS’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Congratulations, Stephen!

Stephen Alvarez on Art is Everywhere

Here’s a previous photo that I posted of Stephen’s work so many moons ago. He’s taken hundreds more since and had had exceptional story features in The National Geographic like Paris Underground, where he and his family lived for months while shooting. A nice gig to have! 😉 Although these gorgeous stars were taken in Madagascar, they could be in Sewanee because this is what it looks like at night from the top of The Mountain.

Stephen Alvarez on Art Is Everywhere

Hunting Crocodiles in Madagascar. © Photo by Stephen Alvarez

Getting back to Tony Winters and finding a further connection from his website — 2 places right in my neck of the woods, were designed by his architecture firm, along with the Nabit Art Building at the University….We really needed that while at school there. A little late for us previous art students but much welcomed by the current:

Since 1999, Tony Winters has owned and directed Pentastudio Architecture, New York, a professional firm focused on design for creative environments such as fine arts studios, galleries, rehearsal and performing-arts spaces. In 2000 this office was joined by the Italian design firm SOHO Architteture of Rome to form Pentastudio Associated Architects.

Architectural clients include leading schools and arts organizations including the Blue Man Group, the Olney Theater in Maryland, Cinecitta Studios in Rome and the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. For more on Pentastudio Architecture see web site.

 Small world with Art being everywhere within it.

Bacardi Mural & Being Back on the Mountain

I’ve just returned recently from a Homecoming Reunion at my university and it was so much fun visiting with everyone again. For some, it had been 25 years since we had seen each other. Although we’re older (and wiser, I hope), I’m happy to know that we still can enjoy a good time with a few drinks and dancing. With that in mind, I thought these Bacardi Murals in Miami by Francisco Brennand were worth posting and a nice juxtaposition between beach and mountain living, particularly since they express that vibrancy and joei de vivre found in both places. They are made with 28,000 hand painted and baked tiles and adorn historic buildings.

Bacardi Mural from, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Bacardi Mural from

Barcardi Mural via, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Barcardi Mural via

Bacardi tower edited via Examiner © 2009 George Leposky, on Art is Everywhere

Bacardi tower via Examiner © 2009 George Leposky

4FinalBacarditoweratnight via blue vertical studio, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Bacardi tower at night via blue vertical studio

This link on Urban City Architecture shows so many more pictures that flip with the artist’s and background information on the reverse.

If you’d like to see a tour of this Miami landmark, go to this YouTube Bacardi Museum Building link.

Moving on from Miami to the Mountain, here’s a quick pic of Sewanee friends enjoying the opportunity to be together on a gorgeous fall, mountain day.

1-JennyJoe_AshleyPeter_casartblog via Slipcovers for your walls

Jenny & Joe, Ashley & Peter visiting at Sewanee

Fortunately, we  were also able to enjoy a visit with our son for dinner at Ivy Wild, a new fine dining restaurant in Sewanee. Tip: bring your own liquor or wine.  Go to this link for more details about attending the upcoming Lessons & Carols during the holiday season that was just featured in the December issue of Southern Living. I like what the writer, Katie Morrow, reflects about Sewanee:

Because as much as I enjoy the flurry of family activities during the holidays, the desire to “produce” Christmas can be overwhelming. That’s why I love this place, high on a mountaintop, where I can quietly welcome the season with reverence and joy.

If you’d like to read about some charitable efforts taking place in and around Sewanee, go to this recent Homecoming post on Slipcovers for your walls.

If you’d like to see more collaborative street murals for a good cause that may still be on view in Houston — until the next rain — view this video below and go to this Via Colori article link on Houston Chron for details.

Combat Art

Thinking this fitting of Veteran’s Day, I found two recent mentions to describe the art of war as combat art.

This mural was painted by “The detainees [near the province of Umm Qasr in Iraq] painted all of the murals in the compounds and a significant majority of the murals outside,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth King, commander of the 306th Military Police Battalion.

Sgt. Rob Bingham, “D” Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, sits in front of his favorite piece at the Theatre Interment Facility at Camp Bucca [before the facility is dismantled].

detainee mural on from homepage of United States Army, on Art Is Everywhere

Detainee mural on from homepage of United States Army

Another inspiration was this article about Sgt. Kristopher Battles (no pun in his name intended but very coincidental), a Marine combat artist in the New York Times.

18maines-span-articleLarge via NY Times, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Marine Sgt. Battles Sketches during training. Photo by Jim Wilson, NY Times

The objective of his mission is this, “We’re not here to do poster art or recruiting posters,” Sergeant Battles, 42, said. “What we are sent to do is to go to the experience, see what is really there and document it — as artists.”

This is an interesting story to show that the grim nature and essence of the feeling of war is best captured in sketches. Note too that there is multi-media going on here. As Sgt. Battles sketches the scene above, he’s being photographed by another artistic eye to capture the moment. Sketches tend to embody movement and immediacy, whereas photos stop the motion and capture that particular moment in time without often a before and after context. Sketches can show multiple scenes on one page that flow from one another and sense of place, time and light can all be artistically interpreted and enhanced. In photography, this can only be done after the fact in Photoshop perhaps. It’s just interesting to me to see the same scenario captured differently just by virtue of different artistic media as well as individual artistic portrayals.

IronSgt1 by Kristopher Battles via his Sketchpad Warrior blog, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Iron Sgt1 by Kristopher Battles via his Sketchpad Warrior blog

Iron+Sgt+Storyboard by Kristopher Battles via his Sketchpad Warrior blog, on ArtIsEverywhere

Iron+Sgt+Storyboard by Kristopher Battles via his Sketchpad Warrior blog

The article describes “The program is not the only one of its kind in the United States military, but many regard it as the one most deeply committed to its artistic mission. Like those in the other services, it began after the attack on Pearl Harbor and scaled back after Vietnam. Somewhat unusually, however, it has kept at least one artist in the reserves ready to deploy. And while most of the services have reactivated their art programs since the start of the Bush administration’s “global war on terror,” the Marine Corps’s has been the only one to cover most of the major conflicts.”

I remember when the stepfather of the wife of our good friend passed away, my husband, Peter, was asked to peruse many of his books. Peter Braestrup was a well known journalist who was a military correspondent during the Vietnam War and upon returning he founded The Wilson Quarterly. My Peter found this provocative sketchbook of war scenes done during the Vietnam War and often at the scenes of battles and imprisonment. The sketches were hauntingly real. I referred to this book when I did military sketches for The Military Order of the World Wars Officer Review Magazine back in 1999. I’m glad to see the magazine and the organization is still going strong; although my editor is no longer in charge. I enjoyed that gig because of the research and learning involved. I spent hours going through old 1960’s Time Magazines for photo references. It was my job to put illustrations to submitted stories by military war veterans. Not an easy task but I enjoy a challenge, sometimes.

All this makes me think of the incredible sacrifices that our military makes and not only them but their wives and their children and families. Veterans Day is worth keeping them in your thoughts and prayers with gratitude, good wishes and godspeed.

As we’re going to Sewanee today to see our son and experience another class’ reunion for Homecoming, I can’t help but think of The Smith’s to bridge the gap of wartime thoughts and good 80’s music to Kick Start the Weekend, definitely starting early for us. Since I cannot embed this video for How Soon is Now, one of my favorites by the Smiths, click the link. Interestingly, as I was searching for this, I ran across Radiohead’s cover of The Smith’s The Headmaster Ritual.

I also think of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Examples of Exotic

Normally I find music to go along with my posts for the end of the week. This time, I re-discovered the music before the artwork through my son’s Facebook thread, who knew…..

I just ran across this song, Kiss Them for Me by Siouxi and the Banshees. I loved in the 80’s and that still hasn’t changed. I forgot what a fun song this was, especially to Kick Start the weekend.

Now for the artwork, again, just happened to see this Ford ad. Grabs your attention right?! And it happens to be the perfect lips for Kiss them for me. What I also like about it is the use of textural art, instead of forming the picture as in previous examples, here the words overlay on top of the image — great Photoshop and clever idea.

Kiss_Ford-ad_as seen on Art Is Everywhere

I’ll also add some exotic artwork — or what I think may be — by Katherine Bowling, from an article I read in Elle Decor. Her paintings do not depict the usual composed perspective. They appear off-center and focus on the mundane, every day aspect of the scene. They seem to evoke a mysterious, exotic, fantasy-feel of images of familiarity. I also appreciate their liquid painterly style as if realism is obscurely viewed through glass. She captures the detail yet glazes over it. The lighting in her work reminds me of the sensuality one might feel while experiencing just the perfect outdoor scene, when everything falls into place as being serene and memorable above all other similar days. This is like when you notice that sunset, that you know occurs every evening but you’ve never quite seen it so beautiful before.

Katherine-Bowling_via Elle Decor, October 2010 issue, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Article on Katherine Bowling featured in Elle Decor, October 2010 issue

Finally, since I started with how I found my music for this post, I’ll end with with a link to a post about my son Jackson’s artwork by Taylor Kavanaugh, a classmate who graduated with Jackson from high school. I had not seen this photo below and agree with her take on Jackson’s keen photographic eye. Somehow he’s able to capture what we might all take for granted and present it in a intriguing and mysterious way. I wonder where this structure is in the vast Sewanee woods?

Jackson's+photo via Taylor's Art Blog, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Jackson's photo via Taylor's Art Blog

Hopefully, you’ve been listening to the song above, all while reading this post. If not, get to it and start kick-starting your weekend early. It’s almost Friday.

The Big Draw

This post started with an old story that I had saved regarding Coloring Outside the Curriculum from the Washington Post and I thought it would be timely to post since my husband and I just made that long, arduous 22 hour, round-trip drive to Sewanee again to drop our youngest son, Jackson, at school — this time college. I’ve got studying and the powers of observation on my mind and since he’s an artsy guy, creative learning outside the lines (in a safe way) is perfect for all ages. (Clicking on the Post link below will bring you to the story and the video worth viewing. It’s really great to see how the kids became fully engaged when drawing.)

Turns out that this event mentioned in the Post is not related to the one that is originally an international one, occurring month-long every October throughout London and Great Britain. This year is the 10th anniversary through the Campaign for Drawing Organization. The Campaign took its inspiration from Victorian writer and artist, John Ruskin and pairs different academic fields, like science with drawing projects and venues. You can organize your own event but it hasn’t really taken off in the States yet, except New York and perhaps one at one of the Smithsonian Museums in DC. This would be a great opportunity for some industrious person to do.

The Big Draw on Art Is Everywhere

In looking over these websites, I realized that organize must be spelled with a “s” in Britain. Something I didn’t know. Also, I offered this idea as a possible solution to one of DC’s blank walls in this post on  Greater, Greater Washington. Coincidentally, the Duke Street Pedestrian Concourse that is mentioned is a bit personal to me.

Artistry in the High School Graduation Delivery

I just returned from my younger son’s high school graduation. It was a bit stressful and emotional but I was pleasantly surprised in how seriously touching the event was among the teachers and kids. This all came by the heartfelt delivery from teachers and students and participants in this right-of-passage ceremony.

The first event, The Angies’s was a roast that the teachers give to each of the Senior students. The teachers sing, dance and read poetry to their advisees. I may be biased but Jackson’s I thought was one of the best performances by his advisor, Robie Jackson (coincidental name, who happens to be the Drama / Theater teacher). She’s great and we would have never made it through this year without her assistance. She started her performance with her hair pulled back and then pulled some of her hair out covering her face. The Sonic Youth jammed in the background and she proceeded to say things like “Texture — Jackson Spencer sees colors no one else sees….Dangerously Bright.” It was truthful poetry. We weren’t sure he was graduating until that Saturday.

Robie gives Angie_blog. ArtisEverywhere blog

I was taken by the Suffragan Bishop of Alabama’s address for the Baccalaureate ceremony. He was chosen to speak by the students. It was not only what he said but his delivery in how he said it. This made his message all the more meaningful. He told a story about when he was attending Mississippi State University and his girlfriend was attending Millsaps and he had to attend a function there. She was concerned about his country-boy appearance. An old friend told him not to worry because, “Ain’t nobody better than you.” This gave him encouragement and he was starting to feel pretty confident but then his friend said, “And you ain’t no better than anybody else.” This kinda put it in perspective and gave a profound humbling message to the students and the parents.This story was right after he had delivered a personal message about being caught in a lie with his brother when they were young kids and what to do about it. He eventually apologized to the neighbor who he offended. His brother did not and consequently lived with a lie and it made him feel terrible. His neighbor’s response was, “You’re a good kid.” The message here was don’t hold on to things you’ve done in the past, forgive others and then forgive yourself.

The events progressed with an awards ceremony and unexpectedly Jackson was awarded a monetary prize for his artwork that the school had purchased. He also showed us his stylistic Dada artwork that he and other students had painted in various art period styles. His is the lavender texture one with the lips. These were all well done, complete with the artists’ statements.

Jackson doesn’t like to pose.

Jackson&hisartwork_Art is Everywhere blog

JacksonsArtBench_blog on ArtisEverywhere

ArtBenches_blog on Art is Everywhere blog

St. Andrews-Sewanee has a fantastic art gallery. It was a great place to show Jackson’s artistic time-lapse video that he did for Film Class, the first of it’s kind at St. Andrews. Here’s the link here to view a couple of Jackson’s videos, including Weekend Activities, which give a little insight into a boarder’s view at the school.

Untitled from Jackson Spencer on Vimeo.

Finally, graduation day. I was so moved by both the Salutatorian and the Valedictorian’s addresses to the assembly. Their speeches could have been about the need to study hard and do well but were not. Coincidentally they were very similar but in different ways. Each had just found out the day before so these were not planned. They spoke about the importance of every single one of their classmates — the importance of the individual. Jackson was mentioned in one for his impressive remarks in poetry class. The message was not that you are remembered for what you achieve but for how you connect and engage with others. Everyone was brought to tears by these passionate, honest expressions. Then the moment, finally it’s official and we’re off on another roller coaster ride to the next stage. Hopefully it won’t be as bumpy but just as exciting.


Diploma_blog on Art is Everywhere


FamilyJackson'sGraduation_Art is Everywhere blog

Robie&Jackson_Art is Everywhere blogI have to give a plug to The Monteagle Inn where we stayed. We felt like there was a little Tuscany in our Sewanee’s backyard with our balcony view to drink our coffee each morning. It made our visit all the more comfortable “coming home.”  Sewanee is where Peter and I met and attended The University of the South, where Jackson will be going to college in the fall, after attending summer school there in a couple of weeks. We’re excited for him because he’s going to be getting the same teachers that we remember, who inspired us and in many ways opened our eyes through their knowledge and passion for a liberal arts education.

Monteagle_Inn_Art is Everwhere blog

We ended our trip, taking in the spots for exceptional scenery like here at Greensview from the top of the mountain domain.

Greensview at Sewanee_Art is Everywhere blog

Sonic Youth — Dirty Boots to Kick Start the Weekend and to commemorate passing the teenage angst years (fingers crossed).

Trick Photography?

These photos seem appropriate after the last post regarding trompe l’oeil painting. These might be what you could call, trompe l’oeil trick photography.

These came to me in an email that is circulating so unfortunately, I do not have photo credits except for (Russia I think.) Most express a good sense of humor — especially for the end of a hard business week.

trick-photo-2. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-3. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-4. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-5. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-6. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-7. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-8. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-9. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-10. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-11. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-12. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-13. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

trick-photo-14. Photo credit unknown. Art is Everywhere blog

I could post a lot of music to do with eyes and seeing but here’s some appropriate music from one of my favorite bands, Eyes Wide Open by Sixpense None the Richer to Kick-start the weekend. I was surprised, after seeing them in concert (in an intimate setting), how good this video is for a live music concert. All I can figure is it must have been done by one of their stagehands. Otherwise, how would a fan to get this close? Well done, nonetheless. Also true, is their music sounds just as good live as it does in studio. I just checked out their MySpace link above and didn’t realize they were now in Nashville, TN. What can I say, TN has strong affection for me, particularly as we are discussing Sewanee as a possibility in our younger son, Jackson’s future, at the present moment. I did know and like that their name was inspired by a passage from the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.[1]

New Orleans & Nine Lives

I just finished reading a fascinating book that I couldn’t put down, Nine Lives by Dan Baum. It was my choice and I hosted my book group last week to discuss it. The book reads like fiction but it is real life. For a writer who is not a native New Orleanian and who was on assignment after Hurricane Katrina (or “The Storm” as natives say), he really captured what it is like to be from and to live in New Orleans. His profile of nine people: several who lived in the Ninth Ward, the wife of a famous Mardi Gras Indian, a prominent lawyer, to a transvestite in transition, a cop and the city coroner demonstrated the interconnectivity and eccentricity of a multi-cultural city. Some of his true life characters have serendipitous connections with others as the book progresses from the earlier days of the last big storm, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (this is telling — my birth year) to Katrina and immediately after. The last entry is in 2007 after The Storm and ends truthfully, with no closure with the characters still finding their way to reconcile how The Storm has forever changed their lives. I have many dog-eared pages for descriptive and profound passages to remember and mentions of people I know. Weird. “Big Mike” from Hermes being one and my Sewanee classmate’s father who gave the attorney character, Billy Grace, his first job. This may be worth a second read because there are a lot of subtle details and because he flips from one character to the next it is a bit difficult to keep it all straight. If you’re not from New Orleans, it’s very insightful. If you are, it confirms what you know and gives insight to worlds of separation that come together during Katrina.

nine-lives-cover, Telemachus, by Frank Relle

The front cover, Telemachus, by Frank Relle is captivating and visually gets to the heart of the book. There is something both sad and beautiful in ruin. At once you can see the grand past and history remaining, stalwart and strong and withstanding the elements and the same time there is disrepair and brokenness. We met Frank Relle and his artist/girlfriend Rebecca Rebouche at the Home and Garden Tradeshow in which casart coverings participated last March. His work is really wonderful. There is a Magritte sensibility of other worldliness about his photos. I ran across this video with them discussing New Orleans, in which they mention the individualistic spirit and Art being everywhere:

Other fun places we went while there was a second foray to the St. James Cheese Company. The food is great and it is very different than other gourmet food shop/eateries. It doesn’t try too hard and doesn’t apologize when the item you most want is no longer available; even though, it is still on the chalkboard menu but is out of supply due to the popularity that day.

While eating there, I had my sister take this photo because it reminded me of uptown — old cars and palm trees. For an iPhone, which I’m thinking of getting, I wasn’t all that impressed with the quality while looking at it on the gadget but it looks fine here. This could be my Aunt Katherine’s car.

Uptown NOLA car and palms. Photo by Lindsey Wood

I can’t mention food enough and New Orleans is where to find it. On my final night, we had a wonderful meal at Bacco’s where Cliquot was served with every course.


I’m zooming to get home from traveling over 651 miles + and back. I have a lot of work to do before a September presentation and this necessary travel took a big chunk away from my time. It’s always reinvigorating, however, to be back in Sewanee, visit with friends and reap in the beauty of the place. It’s just the long drive that kills me to get there and back.

I need to zoom like this “Deliverance” sculpture by Daniel de la Cruz. He uses a breakthrough technology that he invented to achieve this effect. When I first saw this, I immediately thought of Umberto Boccioni’s futuristic sculpture and what he may have been trying to capture at the time — motion transfixed.

deliverance-sculpture-by-daniel de la cruz

Judging Your Work

I have learned from personal experience to let the creative flow just flow. Judge later after it is done. Here’s a great article discussing just that from An Artist in Brooklyn Blog @ Creative Blocks.

Dee Wilcox’s comments from Creative Perch, who’s commented on my blog are worth perusing. She’s got a wonderfully informative blog too, btw, even though, I’ve noticed it takes long to load when it used to not (FYI, Dee).

Short post today because I’m en route traveling back from Sewanee, TN (dropping off my son for his final year, we hope) then traveling to KY to photograph over 1,000 pictures to archive my Aunt’s paintings. What an endeavor that no one else wanted to do. Left to the other artist in the family, I guess….

One more note, while I’m thinking about it. As I was writing this, I stopped to read an article that my husband called to my attention in The National Journal, Two Noble Young Men by Stuart Taylor. It was about the two Weeks brothers that I wrote about in a previous post. I’m not surprised by this necessarily because they were remarkable young men and their family has many literary connections. However, I was struck by the priest who gave the homily at their memorial service. It happened to be The Rev. John Thomas. He was the chaplain at St. Andrews School in MD, where they attended. John Thomas is now the Head of St. Andrews-Sewanee School, where my son Jackson attends. He also happens to be a Sewanee classmate of mine and I’ve done artwork for St. Andrews in MD, where my older son’s godfather was the chaplain before John Thomas. Mysterious connections abound. His words struck a deep chord about how we try to make sense of the senseless but there are no words to make “tidy sense of the death of innocents…[when everything] morphs into a broad snapshot of chaotic disorder.” He was standing on the mountain bluff overlooking a glorious sunset when he got the news. He went on to say that “the process of railing just created an emptiness.” It was seeing all who had gathered and had been touched by these young men that made sense and a way to celebrate that was to go out and seize the day just as they had in their accomplishments.

Produce and live the creative flow. Be thankful and judge later.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...