Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Film Screening at TraillWorks this Weekend!

October 22nd, 8pm
214 Spring Street
Newton, NJ
admission by donation, 
proceeds to benefit Birth Haven

Pass the tissues! This coming Saturday, TraillWorks will be hosting a screening of the film, Who Does She Think She Is? by Academy Award winning director, Pamela Tanner Boll.  I saw this film with artist, Martha C. Hall, earlier this year at the Morris Museum and knew that I had to share it with you at my gallery. I bought the DVD from Amazon within the week and starting planning this screening. 

The documentary film follows five female artists who are all mothers and examines the pressures of following their passions and careers while balancing their individual family lives. When I discovered this film almost a year ago, prior to seeing it, I had already had my son, Joel, and was furiously juggling caring for him, running a household, running an art business, and making my own work. I found this film to be profoundly inspiring both spiritually and artistically, as well as an amazing stimulus of passion. 

Joann Wells Greenbaum with her "Lady of the House
Jennie Traill Schaeffer ©Alex Cena

Amy S. Brooks with her Stained Glass Mobile
Please join us at 8pm on Saturday, October 22nd for a moving and intimate look at how five women choose both their art and their children. Following the screening, three artists (Amy S. Brooks, Joann Wells Greenbaum, and myself) will sit for a panel discussion offering a look at their own experiences mothering and art making.

Amy S. Brooks is the owner of Paradise Stained Glass of Metuchen, NJ and is the mother of two teenage sons. Joann Wells Greenbaum, now an empty-nester, is a successful independent artist from Shohola, PA, a mother of two grown sons. And I am entering motherhood on the other end with an almost three-year old son. I am a painter who owns TraillWorks - my studio and gallery.

This screening marks the end of a two-month long exhibit of women's art in our 1st Annual Women's Invitational Exhibit which featured 13 women who interpreted the play, "Hope Throws her Heart Away" by playwright Susan Goodell. We hosted a play reading in September performed by Tri-State Actors Theater; the artists' reception was held last Saturday and this will bookend the exhibit on Saturday. The exhibit runs through November 5th. To learn more about the exhibit and its artists, click here. View an album of photos from the exhibit reception here.

Admission to the film is by donation. All donations will be going to support Birth Haven, a local 501(c)3 that provides shelter and hope to young pregnant mothers. Just before the film starts, the director of Birth Haven will present a brief overview video of the opportunities and love that the organization provides to its residents. I felt this was a fitting charity to extend support to given the hard choices that both the artists in the film and the residents of Birth Haven have to make to pursue a better life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sitting in Cezanne's Studio

I recently had the opportunity of a European vacation, all due to a marriage in Tuscany of a very close friend. Since I studied in Florence during art school and had the chance to visit again in 2007, my husband and I decided after the wedding festivities were over we would visit somewhere outside of Italy. The original plan was to visit Provence for a week, but a variety of things caused us to switch gears, mostly due to having a little less time than previously imagined. 

 Rue Gaston de Sapora - Aix-en-Provence ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Instead we spend four days located in Monaco, with one day set aside for a trip to Aix-en-Provence. Though I could have spent a week or more relaxing in Monaco, I'm utterly grateful for our brief introduction to Aix and the chance to visit artist, Paul Cézanne's studio

I've loved the artist's work since seeing a show of his at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I now reference his work over and over again to my students. Considered by most scholars to be the harbinger of modernism, Picasso called Cézanne, “My one and only master. … Cézanne was like the father of us all.” It was Cezanne who started breaking down space and playing with perspective more abstractly. Our docent showed us the ladder that reaches almost to the ceiling in the studio; it was on this that Cezanne would climb to get different vantage points of his still lives in order to paint a variety of views in one piece.

Cezanne's Studio, from Atelier Cezanne
We trekked all over Aix and wound our way to the northern part of the city, where the Atelier Cezanne is located. It's a beautiful building, located up a hill, that once was a solitary structure. Our docent told us the trees were quite short and Cezanne would have had quite a view from which to paint in his backyard. Now, that part of the city is filled in with apartment buildings, homes and the trees have grown in significantly.

Atelier Cezanne, ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

When Cezanne passed away in 1906, his friend, Emile Bernard, moved into the studio, occupying the first floor and leaving the second floor where Cezanne worked alone. In 1921, Marcel Provence purchased the studio from Paul's son and maintained the space to preserve Cezanne's heritage. In 1954 when developers wanted to raise the building to make way for apartments, 2 American students gathered 150 investors to buy the property from Provence's heirs and pass on the property to the University of Aix-Marseille. In 1969, the city of Aix took on ownership of the studio.

Cezanne's Studio, from Atelier Cezanne

As a painter, I was pretty amazed to not only see his studio intact, but to walk around and identify objects that I've seen in his paintings - in particular a plaster cast of Cupid. Another compelling aspect was a slot that the artist had designed into the wall, about 10' or so tall and about a foot wide, with a door leading out into his back gardens. The docent relayed how Cezanne used the passage way to port his large works in and out of the studio - for ease as well as to paint portions of a painting, such as the many bathers, outside.

In Cezanne's Studio ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Cezanne's Cupid ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
 It was my husband, Lee, who suggested I sketch some of the studio while we were there. (I have the most fabulous husband!) So I spent about 30 minutes sketching the cupid and a still life setup on Cezanne's table. While I was working, one of the docents suggested to Lee that we walk up the Avenue Paul Cezanne another 15 minutes to Mont Sainte-Victoire, the limestone landmark made famous by Cezanne's numerous depictions in watercolor and oil. At the top of the hill, the city of Aix designated a portion of land, terrain des peintres, or painters' ground, where Cezanne often painted the mountain. Of course, we walked up the road to the hallowed ground of Cezanne and I sat down for a quick watercolor study. While I painted, Lee took dozens of photos of Mont Sainte-Victoire and me painting.

Large Bathers 1899-1906 (130 Kb); Oil on canvas, 208 x 249 cm (81 7/8 x 98 in); Philadelphia Museum of Art

Jennie Traill Schaeffer painting Mont Sainte-Victoire, photo ©2011, Lee Goldberg

Jennie Traill Schaeffer painting Mont Sainte-Victoire, photo ©2011, Lee Goldberg

Though our time in Aix was brief, in about eight hours I learned a great deal about Cezanne, soaked in the city, and got an appreciation for Cezanne's landscapes. Aix-en-Provence will be on my top list of places to spend an extended vacation in the future. I think this visit will resonate with me for year's to come.

 Mont Sainte-Victoire ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer