For my Docent talk I picked Marilyn Senko’s Summer Landscape Painting’s, with my primary focus being painting # 3. While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole gallery I choose Marilyn for the reason of knowing her better than any other artist in this year’s 2010 Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition. After knowing Marilyn through taking several classes with her I’ve personally gotten to see how she develops her work from start to finish. Luckily, I was in the Outdoor Landscape Painting class in which Marilyn created these paintings. I first met Marilyn during last year in the painting class with Jian Cui during the first session of summer classes.
Marilyn is currently a part-time student at Suny Oneonta Majoring in Studio Art as well as completing a minor in Art History. Marilyn said that since she can remember she’s always loved drawing and painting. When discussing to me her background in art she replied “I remember when I was in 4th grade, I was able to skip a lesson that the rest of the class had to do just to copy a drawing on a large scale because the teacher needed a large drawing of a ship.” Another fond memory she recalled was creating Holiday crafts through drawing and painting. After graduating high school in 1983 she worked as a waitress until 1990 when she decided to attend college. Marilyn completed her associated degree in Fine arts. Her goal was to continue on to complete her BA and receive a Masters in Studio Art. With this, her dream was to be an art instructor at a college. Unfortunately, after her life took a drastic turn, Marilyn ended up going back to school to be an RN due to the economy at the time, and all the cut backs going on in the art field. Several years later, Marilyn decided to once again pursue her dream and started attend Suny Oneonta as a part-time student in Spring 2008. Though there were many things preventing Marilyn from attending school from 1992-2008, she said one thing remained the same, which was her consistent love for art. Back in school, and loving her major, Marilyn decided to sign up for Landscape painting. She had mentioned that she was curious to know what the class had to offer since she hadn’t drawn or painted in several years. Marilyn enjoys taking drawing/painting class because she believes the more she is able to have time to paint and draw the better her artist skills will become. If all goes well, she aspires to teach at a college somewhere other than NY State. She had mentioned, that maybe if she gets good enough, she’ll sell her professional painting’s, and would love to display them in an exhibits. Unsure of what the future will truly bring, she stays optimistic about being an artist because she loves it, and believes it is truly a part of her soul. Other than being a student/artist, Marilyn is a mother and a full-time nurse at Cooperstown Bassette Healthcare center where she works in the cancer level of the hospital. With Marilyn working on such a stressful floor in hospital, the painting class became a joyful and meditative adventure. With being a full time nurse, it’s not often that one gets to stop and enjoy the scenery of an outdoor setting especially on a nice day.
Our instructor, Jian Cui is an amazing Assistant Professor at the State University of Oneonta who teaches mainly in the categories of Computer Art and Drawing. Jian Cui received his MFA in New Media from Pennsylvania State University, and his MA in Computer Art from Savannah College of Art and Design, GA. He also received a BFA in Sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing where he began his art career, being native to this area of China. Jian Cui's works deal with the internal and external conflicts between an individual and the environment. He is interested in integrating traditional 2D and, 3D arts with contemporary digital media. He loves Landscape painting and was the perfect mentor in the outdoor painting class.
In Jian’s class we literally sat outside every day from 10am to 12pm. Within the 6 week course the weather was phenomenal, barely a drop of rain. The class went to various locations spending a week at each one. The Campus Pond was our first serious painting location. The pond is actually depicted in one of Marilyn’s three paintings, which landed its spot in the middle of the three landscape portrayals. Through the paintings, and especially in the way they are displayed, viewers can observe how Marilyn’s artistic quality progressed. The chronological display not only shows how Marilyn’s artistic skills improved, but it also shows how Jian helped us to evolve through lending his students constructive criticism. Along with exploring the campus region, the class was instructed to explore new scenery, such as down town Oneonta which has beautiful old houses. In addition, Jian encouraged his students to paint at home, explaining that a 6 week course was barely enough time to develop gifted painters, thus the weekly homework assignment. The top picture in the display is one of Marilyn’s homework assignments, which depict the street in which Marilyn resides.
The objective of Jian’s Class was for the students to work as an advanced studio art class, where we would use new media’s and subject’s that were not covered in other Suny Oneonta’s painting classes. The emphasis that Jian strived for his students to adapt to was the integration of creative and technical aspects through Painting. Jian's Inspirations for the class came from 19th century impressionist’s artist and, featured landscapes from central New York, many from the Oneonta area. Students were encouraged to work with acrylic and gauche on watercolor paper, thus Marilyn’s submissions of acrylic on paper. The Painting is of one of downtown Oneonta’s most distinct buildings, The Robynwood Homecare Agency located on 43 Walnut in downtown Oneonta. Through observation, I have found that in painting on several of Oneonta’s beautiful streets, the Robynwood building has become quite a popular choice for students to pick for their Landscape Portrayals. Marilyn’s depiction of Robynwood Homecare displays the various rendering skills in which Jian taught his class to learn. This was one of the final locations that the class painted in.
To better understand what Landscape painting is about, I’ll explain how Jian educated the class. Landscape art is a type of painting that covers natural scenery, such as streets, mountains and valleys. In landscape painting, the subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a cohesive composition. The goal of Landscape painting is to capture as many elements as permitted by the canvas. Typically the sky is always included in the view of the artist. Another element that should be taken into consideration when painting is the weather. The overall mood and tone of the painting is often affected by the weather conditions.
Now that we understand what we’re looking for let’s take into consideration the fundamental objectives through viewing Marilyn’s Landscape Painting #3. When viewing Marilyn’s painting, my immediate feeling is warmth, a perfect portrayal of a warm summer day, which may I add, she has done quite nicely in all three. Seeing the bright orange/red brick makes you feel as if the sun is shining right and reflecting off the hot brick structure. The contrast of the house against the cool trees and the almost opaque sky makes the building pop. The sky gives off a very warm and dreamlike setting for the painting. The contrast of the juxtaposed colors makes the viewer focus on the small and intricate detailing that the building has to offer, and more importantly its 3-dimensionality. The warm grayish-white really highlights the bright yellowish-white gingerbread molding that trims that house. You can feel the cool areas in the painting. Marilyn did a lovely job creating the shaded areas in the painting, such as the shadows under the molding and porch area, as well as underneath the trees and flowering plants. The variation in the shades of the green in the foliage makes them seem so lively and real. Overall I’m just really drawn to the picture; to me it’s warm, and familiar.
I think that Marilyn is a very talented individual. I have enjoyed taking classes with her, and getting to know how wonderful she is on the inside. Her love for art is so inspiring to me. Like Marilyn, I too would like to get my Masters in art education. To see how her passion has for art has always prevailed is so touching to me personally. Her patients with school and work, I’m sure, will be greatly rewarded.