March 23, 2016

Women Artists: Rape, Redemption and Music

The Emissary by Aleada Aine Siragusa 

 Oil on Stretched Linen Canvas 38” X 32”

Inspired in part by

When The Music’s Over; by The Doors

 What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down.

The Lightening Bolt is the Symbol of the Mating of Heaven and Earth

The is Mother Nature, she is the embodiment of all women.
She is to be loved, respected and revered.

The Emissary is a Symbolist Painting created in regards to worry and prediction of Global Warming and Earth Changes. Symbolism was a movement in the 19th century with a gothic philosophy dominated by predominantly Catholic artists embodying biblical and mythological themes in a new way.

This quote also influenced the painting:

 “Vox clamantis in deserto”  A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Aaron prays over the Scapegoat to take the sins ot the people into the desert.
Also known as The Emissary Goat

Leviticus 16: 9-10   “Vox clamantis in deserto”
And Aaron (Levite priest) shall bring the goat upon which the 
LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on 
which the lot fell to be the SCAPEGOAT, shall be presented alive 
before the LORD, to make atonement, and to let him go to cry for forgivness until he dies in the wilderness.

There will be people who will be left behind, too late;
 for their sins are too heavy.

This goat is also called the Emissary Goat or the Voice Crying in 

the Wilderness for he has taken on the sins of the people and now 

cries to the Lord for their forgiveness.

The Emissary Goat will die in the Desert

The Phoenix Rises from the ashes of destruction
 and brings Hope & Renewal 
The Women's Movement was strong in the 1970's and The
University of Akron brought in some influential women in the arts 
to meet and inspire us; especially the women students.

I remember telling some other students at this that I was taking 
taking a course called, “why there are no women artists in 
history”.  A young man, also a student, got real close in my face 
and yelled, "that’s because women are no good as artists!" Oh well,
 this wasn’t the first time I would encounter this reaction by a man 
threatened by a woman and it was not the last; stories for another 
time, please stay tuned. 

So study Women's Art History I did. Here  are the books we used: {Women Artists 1550 - 1950} by Ann Southerland and Linda Nochlin and {Women Artists  and  Recognition and Reappraisal From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century} by Karen Petersen and J.J. Wilson. 

 Artemisia Gentileschi Italian, 1593- 1653 

Artemisa Gentileschi's Self Portrait

What is amazing is this woman's strength that she became an artist at all considering the limits placed on what was known as the weaker sex.

 Gentileschi was blessed with the opportunity to learn art because her father who was a well know artist accepted her as a student, women at this time could not study in an art academy. Gentileschi's father hired another artist he had worked with to teach her perspective; Agostino Tassi.

Susanna and the Elders

  Unfortunatly Tassi raped Gentileschi. This man was disreputable and had been convicted of arranging the murder of his own wife; I guess her father did not know this before he let his young daughter of 17 years study with him. 

Judith Slaying Holofernes

After Tassi raped Artemisia Gentileschi her father took Tassi to court where he was found guilty and sentenced to 8 months in prison but he was later acquitted.

 During the trial Artieimsia  Gentileschi was subjected to torture with thumbscrews which was then a form of lie detection.

 After the trial her reputation was ruined and she was considered a sexually licentious woman, this often overshadowed her ability as an artist.

 Artismisa Gentileschi is according to Harris and Nochlin, "the first woman in the history of Western Art to make a significant and undeniably important contribution to the art of her time." 

Judith and her Maidservant

Artismisa Gentileschi painted mainly women from mythological and biblical stories and these subjects probably resonated with her as a woman. Also because she was a woman she would not be allowed to study the nude figure but she had access to her own body to study the female nude.

I mention Gentileschi's rape because one in 3 women is reported to have been raped so this is a serious issue and it undoutably affected Gentileschi's choices of subject matter. 

When I go out to paint en plein air I always go with either my husband or a buddy. I do not want to be a statistic. Rape is is a reality in many women's lives, perhaps we could say in all women's lives because of the specter of possibility.  

Artismisa Gentileschi's paintings have a theme of power and anger, perhaps because of the rape and trial ordeal she went through at an early age which changed her world and the way the world looked at her.

In Scottsdale Arizona in October 2015  I had the honor of attending A Symposium on Women and Art in the 21st century.

These Women's Groups are still important and valid to women artists everywhere. 


Above are some quick sketches I did while at the seminar using various pens and technique, some pens are water soluble so I used a water wash for some sketches. 

I Am Woman - Helen Reddy (with lyrics)

As an artist I suppose I am not unique in that I fell a kinship with others artists, especially musicians because their music influences my art so much.

 Azaima Anderson;
A sensitive righteous musician and song writer
with a big dash of humor
Performed at Yankie Creek Coffeehouse in Silver City NM

Guitar Player with Azaima Anderson 
Yankie Creek Coffeehouse in Silver City NM

Missy Andersen a Truly Great Blues Singer and Very Personable
Performed at Little Toad Creek Silver City NM

 A Patron A Little Toad Creek Brewery in Silver City NM

The above sketches were painted from life using Winsor and Newton Paynes Gray and 
Winsor and  Newton Designers Gouache White.

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

For more information on Artemisia Gentileschi visit wikipedia
 The Gentileschi paintings I published came from this site:

Peace and Love, this Easter Season as we in this hemisphere welcome back the sun and thanks for stopping by.

Aleada Aine Siragusa


February 21, 2016

Sketch and Wash Orlando Vacation Drawings

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to visit our daughter in Orlando Florida where she works as an artist in the entertainment industry.

Our  Daughter at City Walk

I have often used water soluble pens to draw with so I was excited to get a hold of the Sketch and Wash pencil by General for this vacation. My sketch pad for all these drawings was a Strathmore Series 400  3.5in x 5in; because this paper accepts a wash very well.

Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Just a quick sketch while I waited for family to catch up to me

  I first read about the water soluble pencil in Plein Air Magazine, January 2015 Issue;  an advertisement from General Pencil about their water soluble pencils. The full page add featured a large picture of a Drawing by Tom Lynch. It was then that I knew this pencil was “a must have” for me.

Two Views of City Walk near Moe's
      The Sketch and Wash Pencils do not have the problem of drying like the ink pens because they are already dry and because of this you can take more time developing the drawing before it touches the water. I still bring along some pens and other pencils; just in case I want to add to another dimension to the image.  I use a water brush for the wash effect because this is so much easier than carrying a water container and brush.

Another View of City Walk

I was very taken by Universal's City Walk. It is within walking distance of my daughters place so we went there almost every day for lunch or dinner and to look around. We also spent two days at the Universal Studios. We went there especially to see the two Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter because my family and I are huge fans. I did not have time to draw while at Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley but I did do a small drawing while waiting for Islands of Adventure, Tales of Sindbad and some drawings at a restaurant diner in the evening while waiting for the nights fireworks and the water show to begin.

 Island's of Adventure 

Ceiling with pipes at Diner

Young Man Reading At Diner

 We also visited Orlando's Disney Springs where I did a drawing while waiting for lunch at Earl of Sandwich and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe and one drawing outside watching the people walk by while waiting for the most recent Star Wars Movie, "The Force Awakens to start at the Disney Springs 24 Theater.

Giant Tinker Toy Sculpture at Disney Springs

Olive Oil Jars Hung On Walls at Wolfgang Puck's

Walk at Disney Springs 

I keep my drawings lose and carefree as a quick sketch should be. I almost always carry sketching supplies and a small watercolor cake paint box where ever I go and I have done this for many years. You just never know when you will have a few minutes to create a small work of art.

Hard Rock Cafe Across the Water at Universal's City Walk 

It was great fun the be in such a large city to have the opportunity to render images of unusual architecture and crowds of people; especially because I live in the country where I paint trees, mountains and animals more often than not, which is what I prefer; but this city life was nice for a change.

Christmas Tree & Headless Manikin Wearing a Pok√©mon Hat & Yellow Scarf 
Watercolor 6"X 6" on Master's Touch Watercolor Paper

Although I immersed myself in sketching on this vacation and I did not have much time to oil paint; I did spend a day at Cape Canaveral National Seashore where I painted this view before the sun set.

"Mist and Sand Glow at End of Beach"
Cape Canaveral National Seashore
Oil on Birch Board 11in x 14 in

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September 19, 2015

Landscape of the Gila Art Show At McCray Gallery WNMU

The Landscape of the Gila from peter bill on Vimeo.

The Landscape of the Gila from peter bill on Vimeo.

The Landscape of the Gila
August 27-September 27th

The Gallery will be open 12-5 every day and 12-8 on the 25th

Closing Reception as part of the Gila River Festival
Friday September 25th 5:30 - 7:00 PM

Aleada Siragusa "Unbridled Power" 20"x16"

I am happy to have two of my oil paintings chosen for this art show at McCray Gallery on the Western New Mexico University campus.

Aleada Siragusa "Raven's Mist" 24"x30"

This is a must see show. Peter Bill, Associate Professor of Art curated the exhibit. You will enjoy the diversity of art objects chosen for the show. Weavings, ceramics, gourd bird sculptures, a look and smell peep hole installation, photography, films, and oil, acrylic and encaustic paintings in a variety of styles.

 WNMU is one reason my husband and I chose to live here; for the culture the University adds to the area. Because of my respect for the University atmosphere I was particularly pleased to be part of this show. I enjoyed meeting and talking to Professor Peter Bill and some of the other professors and students including, Casney Tadeo,  the undergrad assistant/'manager" working on her internship at the gallery for the BFA program at WNMU and Chala Werber, the graduate gallery assistant. Thank you all who worked on the show. Western New Mexico University helps make Silver City one of the best small art towns in the USA. 

Finding Balance in a Changing World
September 24 - 27, 2015

The Gila River Festival is an annual event in Silver City. This year it is a most important event because the well being of the Gila River, New Mexico's last wild unfettered river is under attack from plans to divert the river from its natural state. Most of the people in Grant County are against this but the legislators and committee seem to be continuing towards diversion. Along with extensive damage to the river the people of Grant County will end up paying for much of the cost of this boondoggle. There are better alternatives to getting the water needed for farms and livestock.  

August 17, 2015

Painting and Drawing at City of Rocks, a New Mexico State Park

One of my favorite places to hike and just have fun is the New Mexico State Park, City of Rocks. My husband and I enjoy hiking the rocks. There are picnic tables in nooks around the park which provide a good amount of privacy and all have views worthy of painting. 

The photographs above were taken in 2002 during our first visit to the Silver City area. You can see the scale of the rocks from this photo. Our daughter Leela was in her last year of High School. She is now a professional 3D environmental Artist. She is reading in the photo and I am painting. I have some links more to blog pages about Leela's art and career at the end of this post.

I like to hike up with a sketch book to paint the small stunted trees among the cliffs which I like to call by their Oriental name, Bonsai trees. 

Bonsai Tree in Rocks:
Watercolor and Ink 5"x7" 

There is camping in the park some with electric and water and more sites around the park without. The park has clean bathrooms, showers and a visitor center.

We hiked a new trail in City of Rocks this spring to Table Mountain but it was too hot for us to climb it. I get low blood sugar so we brought water and chocolate in a belly pack but unfortunately the chocolate was melted so we sucked it off the metal wrapper and got it all over our faces and laughed the whole time. It may have been the best chocolate I have ever had!

Watercolor sketch of Table Mountain 4"x6"

Watercolor sketch of Table Mountain 4"x6"

View from one picnic site on the east side, beautiful
cooling rain clouds all this summer.
Clouds In View: Pastel, charcoal and chalk
on toned paper. 6"x8.5

Above is Cook's Peak seen from the same picnic area as the two views of Table Mountain
Cooks Peak: Watercolor 4'x6'

Cook's Peak: 10.5x14 Oil on Linen Canvas

I painted the above view in 2002 when we first came to the Silver City area and we decided this is where we would relocate from Florida. 

I painted the view below this spring on the west side of the park as the sun was going down and reflecting on the rock walls.

Sunset View: Oil on board 10"x7"

Balancing Rock #2: Pastel, Charcoal and Chalk 6x8.5

Drawing the balancing rock while staying out of the wind.

Balancing Rock 9"x12" Oil on Birch Board

Above is a different Balancing Rock painted in 2013.

Virga Rain at City of Rocks
Oil on Linen Canvas 10.5x14
Above is a view from the west side of the "city", painted in 2002.

We have been blessed with rain just about every day this summer and I am working on a number of paintings in my studio most of the time instead of plein air painting. The Mimbres River is filled and when we visited Las Cruces I was happy to see the Rio Grande filled with water too, as it should be.

We are planning to travel as soon as the weather cools down to camp out in more of the State Parks in New Mexico so I can spend a good amount of time uninterrupted at the parks painting en plein air. I plan update my blogs to include information on this endeavor with suggestions and insights on painting in the State Parks of New Mexico. 

You can see more information on the New Mexico State Parks at:

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