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.

&…Looking Back

I just received the latest issue of my high school alumni magazine and there is an article mentioning most all of my early art teachers. It’s so nice to see them together getting the recognition they deserve and for me to reflect on how important they were in my life. Mrs. Fitzpatrick (grammar school), Mrs. Timmerick and Mrs. Boone (middle and high school)  were my main teachers and each had different teaching styles and talents but their influence was a major impact on me wanting to be an artist. They gave me the fundamentals for how to “see” as an artist and the mechanics for how to create the artistic vision. I am indebted to their teaching and their inspiration. I always thought St. Martins had one of the best art departments and I always looked for that kind of caliber in my own sons’ schools. I like the ceramics on the cover as well — an interesting comparison to my son Jackson’s interpretive work.

2009 spring Bell cover. Ceramics by St. Martins\' students

2009 spring Bell Art Teacher. St. Martins Episcopal School

Now the other interesting thing about this is Amy Threefoot and Betsy Threefoot Kaston (another teacher of mine) are sisters and their family house is right around the corner from mine. Their mother was an excellent potter and she offered to let me fire some tiles in her kiln when Piers was an infant. We had just bought a house in Alexandria and wanted to add our first construction project — a fireplace with a homemade tile surround. I remember when I pushed his wee hands and feet into the semi-soft clay when he was six and a half months old. Here they are below, symbolically representing the “Elements of Life.” We installed them on post and lintel fireboard so we can take with us when and if we ever move.

Fireplace Tiles by Ashley Spencer. Photo © C. Ashley Spencer

Thinking back on art teachers, I would absolutely have to mention Ed Carlos as a major influence with his out-of-the box style of teaching while I was at Sewanee (The University of the South). We had to draw life-size, human skeletons as our comprehensive exam. My husband and I still argue over who’s is the best. He took Carlos’ class too. I learned so much from Carlos, as he’s affectionately known and as the art teacher with incredible talent who lives in the “purple haze” house. His artistic talent has been passed onto his son, Adam (see link above). Surprisingly, he always remembers us when we return and I wouldn’t be surprised if my Jackson has met him while he’s been attending school nearby. He’s kind of a fixture. Sewanee is a small-town community with big ideas. Everybody seems connected to everyone else here.

Here’s some artwork that I learned about recently and never even knew existed at Sewanee. I’ll look forward to seeing these restored watercolors of the domain by John Henry Hopkins, when we pick up Jackson from St. Andrews — in a few weeks. Yikes!

John Henry Hopkins (1792-1868). Watercolor of Sewanee Domain

On our way there we’ll have to be sure to go through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as described, In the Land of the Blue Smoke by Sue Kovach in the Washington Post’s Travel section this past Sunday. The only problem is it’s more South of where we need to go and it’s already a 22 hour round trip drive. The ice blue trees and skyline in this scanned photo by Jay Dickman are spectacular!

Land of Blue Smoke Photo by Jay Dickman via Washington Post