Mexican Loteria - Virgin of Guadalupe

Recently I did a series of Mixed Media paintings based on Lotería Mexicana cards. Lotería Mexicana is a brightly colored game that is similar to Bingo. I fell in love with the cards years ago after seeing them in a store. I was smitten by their bright colors and simple pictures. I started painting them because I wanted a giant lotería card to hang in my house.

In the game, when a card is drawn the image is called out by using a riddle instead of the name on the card. I’ve included the Spanish riddle with the paintings. These paintings are an update or a re-imagining of the original cards. I plan to post about them here. The first painting is a play on the “La Dama” card.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

“Puliendo el paso, por toda la calle real.” (Polishing as she steps, all along the royal streets.)

Arguably, the Virgin of Guadalupe could be the national symbol of Mexico. 

In 1531 the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego outside of Mexico City and asked for him to build a church. The story goes that the bishop demanded a sign before he would approve construction of a church. Mary appeared a second time to Juan Diego and ordered him to collect roses. In a second audience with the bishop, Juan Diego opened his cloak, letting dozens of roses fall to the floor and revealing the image of Mary imprinted on the inside of the cloak. That image is now venerated in the Basilica of Guadalupe.

Below are a few details from the painting.  

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Detail of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe “Our Lady of Guadalupe” mixed media, Beth Dougherty

Thank you for reading! 

Beth

The original “La Dama” card. 

The original “La Dama” card. 

My New Adventure

This week I started a five week odyssey as an elementary school art teacher, well, the long-term substitute anyway. Our regular art teacher is on maternity leave and she left some pretty big shoes to fill. 

Its been a fun week with only a few incidents... 

One awesome thing about kids and art: the younger they are the more creatively free they are. Children are so bold, decisive and liberal about their colors and their compositions. Kiddos are all about the process and what looks and feels good in the moment.

Unfortunately, I can see a lot of the older kids (4th and 5th graders) are starting to care more about their final product and less about the process.  

When their final product does not exactly match the picture in their mind, some of them get upset, melt down and give up. 

A lesson learned for everyone (especially aspiring artists)  *Don't skip ahead and fixate on the final product. Respect the process - focus on the process - enjoy the process! *Applies to all activities.

Living in the moment, minute by minute, that's how I'll make it through the rest of the year. Trying to appreciate each kid and where they are in each moment. 

Week one? So far so good!

p.s. I get it Mom, a full week of teaching art doesn't leave a lot of energy for personal art. 

Painting a flower garden. 

Painting a flower garden. 

1st Grade work. 

1st Grade work. 

Petunia the duck, thank you #deepspacesparkle #petunia

Petunia the duck, thank you #deepspacesparkle #petunia

Boxes of poems to plant in the park. 

Boxes of poems to plant in the park. 

Pattern Hunting at the National Gallery of Art

One of the things I love about living in Washington, DC is going to the National Gallery of Art. When people think of free museums they usually think of the Smithsonian museums on the mall. But DC has three free art museums; The National Gallery of Art (NGA), The Hirschhorn, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery.

I think one of the best ways to learn to draw is to copy a painting or sculpture.  As a practice I try to get to a museum about once a week (if I am lucky). The NGA never disappoints me! I can always find a painting by a famous artist I never noticed before or discover something new in a painting I've seen a million times. Now that the NGA is rotating some of their art, presumably to make room for their acquisitions from the Corcoran (that is another discussion), there are more new things to see.

Recently, I made a trip to the NGA to collect patterns. Instead of picking a painting to study and draw, I decided to look at paintings and find patterns I could use for inspiration in one of my own paintings. Here is a small sample of what I found.

detail of "Odalisque Seated with Arms Raised" by Henri Matisse

detail of "Odalisque Seated with Arms Raised" by Henri Matisse

Matisse may very well be the master of pattern and color. He can take the simple and make it sublime...

detail of cloth in Auguste Renoir's "Odalisque"

detail of cloth in Auguste Renoir's "Odalisque"

detail of dress hem in John Singleton Copley's "The Copley Family"

detail of dress hem in John Singleton Copley's "The Copley Family"

The curls on this sculpture almost look like octopus tendrils.

The curls on this sculpture almost look like octopus tendrils.

The pattern on this skirt is beautifully painted. You can tell by the hands it's a Sargent... detail of John Singer Sargent's "Repose"

The pattern on this skirt is beautifully painted. You can tell by the hands it's a Sargent...
detail of John Singer Sargent's "Repose"

This modern looking painting is actually a Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, painted on cardboard.  The skirt, the fence and shirt are all full of simplified marks. 

This modern looking painting is actually a Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, painted on cardboard.  The skirt, the fence and shirt are all full of simplified marks. 

If you live in DC and want to go to the museum to draw... send me an email. We'll make an afternoon of it!

I AM an artist! No really...

Hello and nice to meet you!

My name is Beth. I am a working artist living in DC. This blog is is my record of attempting to live an ARTful life.

I am declaring once and for all (after years of denial, resistance, babies and busyness) I Beth Dougherty am committing to the CREATIVE LIFE!

What does that mean? What does that look like? I have no idea!

But - I invite you to journey with me as I try to figure that out.

I plan to figure it out by painting, drawing, collaging and journaling daily (or almost daily). If I am not able to get into the studio I plan to live out this ideal by being more mindful and creative in all other areas of my life. By "creative" I mean actually creating things like; meals from scratch, gardening, writing, sewing, etc. I plan to live with more meaning, purpose and passion instead of just coasting robotically through life.

This blog is my manifesto, my intention and my way to hold myself accountable.

Maybe you have a similar story to mine.

I have been an artist all my life. I think we are all born creative. A few of us stay that way but most of us don't. Many times, as an artist, I feel like it is either feast or famine. I have had super productive periods of life followed up by times of producing zilch. (One famine even lasted about 10 years) Sometimes you find yourself totally uninspired and doing nothing. Sometimes you are just afraid (so you do absolutely anything you can to distract yourself from that looming space you call your studio). Sometimes you are rolling along so great you don't know how you ever survived a day without painting.

The challenge is: how do you go from patterns of feast and famine to something that looks more like a sustainable "9 to 5" job? The pursuit of the creative life is what is most authentic for me. I hope I can do it!