Fontbonne Gallery Exhibits

It’s been very busy these last few weeks for art students at Fontbonne!

Coming up on Monday is the Junior Synthesis show. It runs until April 8th, so even if you can’t make the opening + reception on Monday (3:30-5:00pm), definitely pop your head in to look at the work! I’m proud to be part of this year’s Junior Synthesis show. Early this week, my fellow classmates and I hung our pieces in the gallery. It will be great to see such hard work pay off.

And, following that, there’s the Senior Show! But I’ll save that for the next post.

Artists are always working, and expanding on their body of work. I’m just now starting to realize that an artist’s work never stops. Just a heads up: if you’re a freshman or sophomore art major, start thinking about what you want to go in your Junior and Senior shows! A lot of work goes into it. Other than choosing your pieces, you’ll need to think about things like matting and framing. Also, if you have digital 2D work, you’ll need to print it (so do that in advance!).

It can be stressful. I struggle with motivation and inspiration, but I find it helps to separate myself from all the chaos and find a quiet place where I spread out my materials and paint or draw. The more you draw, paint, or even just doodle every day the easier it gets, and the more your style evolves. So to all you artists out there: keep up the good work!

I hope to see you there at the Junior Show! (And hey, there’s free food! Can’t beat that.)



Real Life as an Art Student

Let the blogging begin!
Hello all! My name is Lauren and I’m a junior here at Fontbonne. I’m an art major with a graphic design focus–actually, now it’s called Applied Design! The graphic design program was changed quite recently to include more computer-based classes. So far, it’s been an adventure.

I have some big plans for my blog posts this semester! As an art major, there are a lot of ups and downs. I’ve learned so much about art this past year. Every artist has a different philosophy when it comes to creating and appreciating art. Everyone has their own aesthetic and their own set of beliefs. Thanks to Fontbonne, I have a wonderful group of people surrounding me. With my major, I get to express myself, but there are some things you should know if you are an art student (or thinking about it!) I hope to shed some light on what the Fine Arts community is like, and what it means to be an artist. As always, I am still learning–keep that in mind!

I hope to touch on a lot of different subjects throughout the semester, from how to diffuse “artist’s block” and manage stress, to getting involved in the art community both on campus and off! Not only does Fontbonne offer a lot of great lectures and gallery openings, so does St. Louis! (And it goes beyond the St. Louis Art Museum!)

I can’t wait to share with you my experiences, and the experiences of my peers as we navigate what it means to be an art major. Stay tuned for more.

Benefits of Taking an Art Class at Fontbonne!

With campus tours on the upswing and prospective students checking out everything that Fontbonne has to offer, it reminded me of my first campus tour. The grounds and old buildings are beautiful and the small size of the university makes it all feel like a close-knit community. I knew I was going to be an art major so I specifically asked to be taken to the art building to see all the facilities. We have an impressive art department to say the least. I do know, however, that most campus tours only give a brief glimpse of the art buildings’ foyer. The other day I also heard a tour guide tell a perspective student that they could just take an art class online because it was easier.
I am writing today to encourage new and current students to go into the art building, walk around, talk to the professors and students, and take an art class! It has nothing to do with whether or not you can draw a perfect figure or if you think you have any artistic talent. It is the professor’s job to teach you the basics of which ever class you take, and Fontbonne’s art department offers so many different kinds of art classes! There are the traditional drawing and painting classes, but then there are classes like sculpture, book making, metal smithing, photography, and (my personal favorite) ceramics. I promise you do not need immense amounts of artistic ability to take any of these classes. In fact, the only thing you need is your hands and a little creativity.
Taking time to create art has also been found by researchers to do things like calm anxiety, ease depression, lower stress, and improve brain function. The health benefits of art are being used in Veteran Hospitals for PTSD, in retirement homes for Alzheimer’s, and children’s hospitals for cancer patients. There are several good research articles on the health benefits here:
Taking an art class can give you a chance to relax your brain from the rigors of other academic classes, turn on your creativity, and maybe even discover a new hobby. It may even give you a chance to see the world of art, how hard artists work to create what they’re passionate about, and make new friends. The Fontbonne art department is a little-known treasure, and those of us majoring in art would love to share it with you! Come for a visit and sign up for a studio class 🙂

A Major Deal

When I started out at Fontbonne I had every aspect of my educational future planned out. I was going to major in Art, minor in Psych, and eventually go off to get my master’s in Art Therapy. Art Therapy is an up and coming career in the mental health field that uses art as a means of helping people with issues they might not have the spoken words for; it helps enrich the lives of the elderly and the mentally disabled alike. It’s a great path for someone that loves art and also really wants to help people. It was also a career choice that would be almost guaranteed to bring in a paycheck while I tried to make time to create my own art. After my first semester, and now into my second semester, I have had a slight change of heart. I fell in love with ceramics. Walking into the ceramics studio to create feels like coming home, and I don’t want to ignore that. So I will be changing to a Fine Arts major with emphasis on ceramics. I’ll be keeping my psych minor because I find it so fascinating, and it’ll give me more options for what I can do when I graduate if I need it. My love is art, my passion is ceramics, so that’s what I’m going to strive to do in my post-college life. Life is too short to work 9-5 in a cube 😉

Why I Chose Fontbonne

I remember the first time I visited Fontbonne, right around the time I had just started my associate’s degree. I drove up to the visitors parking in the front of Ryan Hall and right away I had a sense of being completely at home. I’m pretty sure I knew right then and there that I’d be attending Fontbonne. My passion is fine art so I was looking for a school that was both reasonably priced and had a strong art program. When I went on the campus tour with a student ambassador I made sure to ask to see the art building. As soon as we walked into the art building any doubt I might’ve had about where to get my undergrad just vanished. I felt like I could spend most of my days in that building and be happy as a clam. Fast forward almost three years and here I am, in my second semester here at Fontbonne, and I still get that same feeling every time I walk into the art building; for a little while this is home.

First Impressions

This is my second semester at Fontbonne and my first fall semester. There are definitely some noticeable differences between the spring and fall semesters. First is the larger swell of new students. People are coming in fresh out of high school, transferring in from other colleges, or even coming over from other countries. It’s cool to see so many new faces walking around campus. I’m an art major, psych minor, so most of my classes are in the art building. There have been several freshman that I was able to help find their classroom, as the art building can be a little confusing, and that felt pretty good. There are also classes offered just in the fall that I’ve been fortunate enough to sign up for and, so far, the experience has been above and beyond my expectations. Being able to catch up with friends and classmates from last semester has been a great way to pass the time between classes and actually having a place to park every class day has been beyond awesome! Overall, I would say it has been a great start to the new semester. I can’t wait to see what other new things I’ll get to learn as the semester progresses.


Follow Your Dreams

The title of this blog really is the biggest lesson I’ve ended up learning here at Fontbonne this semester. Not that I didn’t know or believe in following my dreams before, that’s one of the reasons I’m here in the first place, but I guess you could say that the lesson has been solidified. One of the best things about all my classmates in the art building is that they have a lot of the same dreams and goals as I do, and it’s an inspiration to say the least. We all want to create art and share it with the world in one way or another. We share our ideas and help each other work through challenges. It’s so easy to get caught up in the social ideas of having to work yourself to death for a big house, luxury car, and mountains of debt from buying things. I’ve met more people being happy with making a modest living doing what they love and appreciating what they have. The secret to that has been that they’re following their dreams and going after what they’re passionate about. Life is short, we only get one shot at it, so do what you love and make some amazing memories along the way.


Fontbonne University Fine Arts

I love our Fine Arts program. Fontbonne teaches more traditionally than some colleges, which means there is a heavy emphasis on the human figure.  The figure is used in every studio class. Along with understanding human anatomy, there is a strong urge for students to know techniques of old master painters, or at least have an ideal about past painters. Depending on the professor, you might find yourself drawing/painting/sculpting the human figure for 10 weeks of the semester or more.

We do offer classes that stray from the traditional figure, still life and basic technique, too. Bookmaking which is offered every few semesters, is a great substitute drawing class. You learn to produce books, stitch together folios, bind books, etc. You produce about 6-7 books. It is a great class that gives you the opportunity to be creative in a different way.

Any painting/drawing class taught by Tim Liddy will be very open ended and allow for so much out- of-the-box thinking which you may feel, as an undergrad, you don’t get to do in class very often. He is so open to any and every ideal you could think of and he is great at offering suggestions and doing everything he can to help make your ideal happen.

Mario Carlos is a drawing professor who, with more advanced levels of classes, will give you more free reign on certain projects. Victor Wang’s drawing class is another class that does more non-traditional projects but I have never taken this class.

A newly added class that is offered to artists is Woodworking. I was in the first group of students to take the class and you learn basic concepts of woodworking, safety, and how to use common tools. I am in the process of making a splayed leg side table 🙂

Photography, another great class, is definitely one to allow your creativity to flow. Our photography classes use (usually) 35MM  black and white film. Some people use larger format film, which we do have the equipment for. We have a great dark room too. Photo is a lot of work and can be a little expensive, but it is well worth it for the knowledge, experience, and great shots you get.

As a graphic designer, Illustration Techniques definitely keeps you thinking. We did a lot of projects, focused on the ideal being presented, how to present/express your ideals thoroughly and talk about them. It is interesting because you can feel like you are illustrating something so clearly and when you present the project, people might not get it. That is a very valuable experience to have.It was also a ton of work,but well worth it.


Hi All!!

Hi all! I am new to the Fontbonne University blogging community so an introduction is only appropriate.

My name is Kelia, pronounced “Kayla.” A lot of people, teachers included, know me as “Kayla,” but freak out when they see my name on paper. So don’t worry if when you read my name on paper you wonder who the heck that person is. It happens to the best of them. Once you get over the weird spelling, I think it means we are friends.

First thing first, I am a senior! This is my last semester of college. Last. Semester. How insane is that?! Unbelievable. Three point five years have never gone so fast in my life. If there were a mantra that should be scribed all over every notebook/agenda/wall of incoming freshman, it’s this: Life goes too fast. Appreciate it, have fun, worry less, smile more. Just because you are a college student does not mean you should adopt the stress level of Obama. This is something I wish I would have tuned in on. Have fun while you can and study when you should.

I am majoring in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. I love art. Every type. I love to create. I will probably be writing a lot about this. Expect to see musings about my art classes, which are: Painting with Tim Liddy, Life Size Painting with Victor Wang, Senior Project with Tim Liddy, Digital Imaging with Denise Shilling, and Wood Working with Mark Douglas. If you have no idea who these professors are, go find them and introduce yourself. It’s not everyday you get to hang around actual, real life, thriving Artists. The Art Professors of Fontbonne University are incredibly talented and profoundly caring. They create art, and they sell art. Some of the works are in New York, Europe and Hong Kong. They are kind of a big deal. Shake their hands, ask them questions, be their friend.

The other class: Kitchen Survival: Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well (the special topics course.) Because of the awesome dedicated semester topic of Foodology, this cooking class was offered and I could not resist. I love food, I love to cook and bake and I love to be healthy. Best class ever. I will most definitely be writing about the creations from this class.

I am from Kentucky. I was born in Ohio as a 3 month early premi. I live in Northern Kentucky when I am not in ST. Louis attending school. My family lives about 7 minutes from Cincinnati Ohio, where I plan on landing a job. Expect to read about me missing my family, friends and my amazing boyfriend of 3 years and 7 months. Hey, long distance relationships suck, so every month counts.

Exercise: I love it! I love to run and have run competitively since 7th grade. I have been playing soccer since the age of 4. In high school I ran cross country and played varsity soccer at the same time all four years. I love the dedication and physical demands you ask of your body as an athlete. I found Fontbonne because I was recruited by a past cross country coach and fell in love with the school, the program and the area. I ran Cross Country and Track for 2 solid years, switched to soccer last year, and this year I am doin’ my own thing. I like to lift weights, I like to run, I like to sweat.

I am really excited to share my experiences as a last semester college Senior with everyone! Thanks for reading,


Grinding paint like the masters.

I have been taking Victor Wang’s Oil Painting Techniques class this semester. In the class we go through the painting methods of three master painters;  Jan Van Eyck, Titian, and Peter Paul Rubens. These three painters exemplify the three central methods of traditional oil painting.

Since I have been learning about traditional painting methods, I have been wondering what it was like for a painter back then. They painted when an artist couldn’t go to the store and browse through a shelf full of synthetic oil paints, nicely pre-packaged in little tubes for convenience. This led me to the question, “Where DID they get their paints?”

So, I have begun to research how to make paints. I started by purchasing pigments, which are colored powders that are mixed with oil to make paint. Still, this seemed too commercial. I wanted to know what it is really like to make paint from start to finish. I begun with the easiest pigments to make, which are earth tones. I searched out colored earth of different colors, looking for reds and yellows. I found two that I really like in Des Peres. One is yellow rock, and the other is a reddish colored dirt. I brought them back to my studio, and began grinding…and grinding…and grinding. Grinding it down until I had a powder fine enough to go through a metal coffee filter. The next step is to mix the pigment with linseed oil, and then grind it together. This step takes about 3 hours of grinding for a small tube of paint. Then, when the pigment is ground into the oil, I put the paste into tubes, and voila! Oil paint!

I thought that this project would just be about how it felt for the masters to make their own paint from raw materials, but now I’ve started using them and I can really tell the difference! My own paints don’t have fillers or preservatives, they are pure pigment and oil. I’m hooked.

The amount of time and energy that goes into making paint probably makes buying it end up being a little bit cheaper. However, it is not nearly as rewarding. Now I have started working on a bluish-green pigment made by suspending copper over vinegar(the masters used urine instead, but I thought I would spare my classmates from the smell). The result is a teal rust that I can’t wait to make paint out of.

I plan to slowly replace all of the paints on my palette, one color at a time.