The Ravenswood Atelier, run by Matthew and Magda Almay, is located in a huge space on Lawrence Avenue in Chicago. The work is just incredible with students from all over the world. They specialize in teaching how to paint figures in great action poses.
Matthew is doing these oversized Biblical battle scene enactments, and Magda is working on a series of neoclassical works, one of which I was able to bring to Charleston. I was so impressed by their work. Both Matthew and Magda are graduates of the Florence Academy (as are a number of our other M Gallery painters).
It is absolutely the most exciting time to be alive in competence-based painting. I believe it surpasses the Greek and Roman Revivals and the Renaissance. When I see the works by our artists, the offspring of Richard Schmid, David Leffel, the entire Atelier movement, I have goose bumps with excitement.
After seeing a “A Touch of the Poet” with my daughter, Rose, produced by The Artistic Home, we had a nice supper with her wife, Jennifer, and roommates. I enjoyed the time there very much so it was incredibly difficult to tear myself away and head back to Iowa, where hopefully a windless day would await me.
It did. It was beautiful—calm and sunny! Chuck and I loaded while Rose Frantzen’s mom and dad supervised. I was so excited with the works—a grand back nude all cool and lovely, a stand of gladiolas, and a head study of one of the classic ladies of Maquoketa.
My long-dead grandmother, also named Rose, grew up less than thirty miles away in Clinton, Iowa. My own childhood was located not a hundred miles north. I find the images Rose portrays from the area compelling and memory evoking, conjuring up my childhood and my grandmother with her eminent grace and strength. It makes me long for her with all my soul. I laughed with Chuck and the very much alive Rose as we reflected how life circles back on you whether you realize it or not. For me, picking up the works at Maquoketa completed a giant arch in my life. And it was oh so sweet. Rose was painting at the vegetable stand as I wheeled out of town and headed towards Nashville and Roger Dale Brown.
At this juncture I was 11 days into a journey that involved driving most days for 11 hours in a 17-foot U-Haul and felt as if someone had beaten me with a stick. I arrived at Roger’s and we selected works for him to bring in November during the OPA Paint out in Charleston and I beat it for Dalton where we keep a condo for my husband and my brother, where they manage our family manufacturing business.
I was dead tired and greeted by loving arms, sweet dogs and a nourishing beef stew. Ah Nirvana. I was so happy to see my husband and my dogs, Chad and Letty. We snuggled in and I slept like the dead. I was up again early I made it to Charleston and he next day we did the great unload. The hanging went smoothly thanks to the help of Cameron Glaws and his able crew. Bridget and Carlen and her dog, Brodie, carted paintings, cataloged works and sorted and hung. Oh my!
The paintings look remarkable…come visit!