Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What I Learned this Week about Laughter

portrait, Sylvia, acrylic, mixed media
"In the Mirror"
©Antonia Ruppert
Acrylic and Mixed Media
Do you ever laugh at yourself? This week I learned that part of being human is being able to laugh at your own experiences.  My 9 year old spent some part of this evening watching some of my old videos and laughing. 

This was NOT a “laugh with you” kind of laugher.

She said look at your clothes, why did you wear that? (And I thought my clothes were just fine.)

She then said, “Look Mom, look at your dancing!” After some moments of watching, she finally said “You freak me out!”

I had to say OK and laugh with her. Some of my old videos were a bit much -  to say the least.  We had a moment together.

I am working on a poem - an ode to my youngest which I will share with you next post.

Pictured in this post is another painting from my series Faces of Strength.  “In the Mirror” is a rendition of Sylvia. Another painting of Sylvia is posted here.

This week I learned to not take myself so seriously. Have you laughed at your own self lately? 

Go ahead, look again at those old videos. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Faces of Strength: Feeling Honored

Faces of Strength painting_Antonia Ruppert
"I am Honored" ©Antonia Ruppert
Mixed Media on Panel
After meeting with Chinniese to hear her story and paint her, I became aware of other words to associate with motherhood. Honor. Wisdom. Patience. Let me share with you some of the gems she shared with me.
  • Chinniese said, “It’s an honor to be someone’s mommy.”
  • She relies on prayer to find the wisdom she needs daily.
  • Though she felt overwhelmed at first, she would not change it for the world.
  • Chinniese learned to be excited and embrace her daughter for who she is.
  • She considers being a mom as another way of being a good steward.

We talked further about one of her life lessons: having patience with herself.  She explained that we can beat ourselves up, but God does not look at us like that.  He looks at us with grace (free and unmerited favor).  I felt after talking to Chinniese that she has great patience with herself - as a parent and as a person.

Besides having this type of personal patience, Chinniese has a circle of friends which provides added wisdom on how to do things. She wants to see her friends and other women built up - to know that they too are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Meeting with Chinniese and creating the painting of our experience together was awesome. I painted her from life—only adjusting some parts slightly afterwards.  In the process of creating the final art, it dawned on me several times that I could add anything I wanted to tell her story.  Hence, the hair barrette was added to show the youthful quality of the left figure.  Additionally, I decided to use her own words in the painting - words from our conversation as well as themes which guide her - honor, patience and trust.

What three words describe your life as a mother or your relationship with your own mom? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you would like to see this painting as a greeting card—be sure to go to my Fine Art America page.

I am thankful to Chinniese for allowing me to hear her story and thankful to you for joining me today.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center: "Women of Many Colors"

Antonia Ruppert at Chicago Urban Art Retreat  Center on 2/2015. Joined by (L-R) Ponmalar Velayutham, Dianna Long(artist and curator), Karla Ramirez Rosas and Addie McCall - Photo by Andres Gomez 
The Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center show "Women of Many Colors" group exhibit opening earlier this month was unlike any reception I've experienced lately.  Here is a picture of some of the artists who participated.  

It was like this extended conversation with other artists', family, friends and strangers that I did not want to walk away from. At one point guests were asked to share about a social justice issue on their minds. The discussion was real and transparent.  Here are a few more pictures below.

Artist and scientist, Karla Ramirez Rosas flew to the show from Mexico City to be with us.  Chicago artist, James Allen, is also shown below talking about his passion for the community.

Mexico City artist, Karla Ramirez Rosas talks about her work.
Photo by Antonia Ruppert.

Chicago artist, James Allen speaks passionately about his love for the community.
Photo by Antonia Ruppert.

The show is up until March 21st, 2015. The information is:

Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center (Liz Long Gallery) 
1957 S. Spaulding Ave. Chicago, Il. 60623
Hours vary -  so call ahead: 773-542-9126

Thanks so much to Dianna Long for curating the show, to my family and friends who came to support us, Andres Gomez for his picture of the artists and to all the Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center volunteers who helped staff the door, pass out materials and bake cookies for us.

Thank You!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Faces of Strength: Inner Fortitude

"Holding the Treasure" © Antonia Ruppert
12 x 12-  Mixed Media on Panel
Prints are available on:
What is your story of inner fortitude?  I want to hear it. This week I met Lulu who had an amazing story of strength.  She taught me a new word - “fortaleza”  - the Spanish word for fortitude which means having courage in pain or adversity.  

Lulu spoke of the time when her husband died a number of years ago.  He was extremely kind and her angel she said.  During this period of raising her children, she learned fortitude through God’s strength.  “If he did not help, I don’t know how…”  Her voice trailed off, but I knew exactly what she meant.

Do you understand this as well?

Today, Lulu is full of spirit and light.  She says her main focus is God, family, grandchildren and her kids in that order. (Sorry kids.) She believes making a life for others - thinking about others is the best way for her.  I will be creating a painting about Lulu’s story next.  I’ll post it here when it is completed. 

Pictured today is “Holding the Treasure,” another rendition of Jenny, who I previously interviewed and painted.  From her love of making chicken soup to 365 days a year of love, this mixed media acrylic painting shares her story.

Does this painting resonate with your story? Have you experienced “fortaleza” that inner fortitude I spoke of at the beginning of this post?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.  Thank you!

In fact, if you are local to Chicago, I’d love to hear your story in person at my next group show which opens this Saturday.

Valentines Day Opening

“Women of Many Colors” Group Art show curated by Dianna Long.  

Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center (Liz Long Gallery) - 773-542-9126
1957 S. Spaulding Ave. Chicago, Il. 60623

Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 (1-4pm) Art show opening reception
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - Last day of show. It closes at 4p.m.

Whether I see you in person or simply connect in this space, Thank You for being here!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Faces of Strength: Awaken to Joy

"Awaken to Joy" © Antonia Ruppert
12 x 12-  Mixed Media on Panel
Prints are available on:
Waking up to joy. I know it’s hard to feel joyful when it’s storming outside (as it was yesterday here in Chicago).  Waking up at 2am when it’s your turn for “doody" duty is usually not a joyful moment either.  If you feel 100% joyful, read no further because that is what I’m talking about today.

I was a guest at a friends Naidy’s baby shower.  My friends and I found a way to bring a smile by writing encouraging and funny notes on the diapers:
  • I Poop Butterflies
  • I’ll Thank You Later
  • I’m God’s Little Reward
  • Don’t Forget to Love Me

I had to laugh imagining my friend changing diapers in the middle of the night with these messages on them.  Awakening to joy is all in how you frame it. 

Last week, for my Faces of Strength project, I interviewed and started painting “Jenny.”   She experiences the highs and lows of motherhood and yet finds simple joy in receiving love from her kids. When they look at her with love - she gets a huge thrill.   

I painted this piece "Awaken to Joy" based on what Jenny said.

"Awaken to Joy" © Antonia Ruppert
Progress 1: Paint and smooth on primed panel

"Awaken to Joy" © Antonia Ruppert
Progress 2: Add lists and collage/Mod Podge it
"Awaken to Joy" © Antonia Ruppert
Progress 3: Add tissue paper with words and acrylic medium
"Awaken to Joy" © Antonia Ruppert
Progress 4: After drying: Add glaze of color and drawing
It was an exhilarating experience for me as I added lists and collaged pieces to the panel thinking of how I could express this idea of joy.

The other day, before my youngest fell asleep in the car, she said, “I love you Mom.”  So of course I’m tearing up driving down the expressway.  Like Jenny, it was simple, but it filled me with joy.  I wrote the memory in my journal so I would not forget it.

Are you awaking to joy?  Whether you’re in a snow storm or another storm of sorts, it’s all in how you frame it.  You might be on diaper "doody" or in another season of life.  Remember its all in how you frame it.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Faces of Strength: No Stopwatch for a Mother's Love

"I Arise" © Antonia Ruppert
12x14-  Mixed Media on Panel

Does a mother’s love have a stopwatch? What about an online timer? This week while painting, I was reminded that these do not exist.  I realized for perhaps the 1000th time that a mother’s love is strong and should not stop. I’ll write more about this today and also invite you to my next group art show.

I interviewed two mom’s and worked on drawings and paintings of each for my "Faces of Strength" project.  
"I Arise" progress © Antonia Ruppert
"I Arise" progress © Antonia Ruppert

I learned and was reminded that:
  • Patience is the number one quality you need in motherhood.  (Sounds like being an artist)
  • Mother’s don’t get to whine. 
  • The best thing about being a mom is that look of love from your child.
  • Getting up at 4am daily to care for one’s family is not too early.

If you are curious about what’s on the minds of mothers and women in general, I invite you to my next group show:

Valentines Day Opening

“Women of Many Colors” Group Art show curated by Dianna Long.  

Feb. 14, 2015 (1-4pm) Art show opening reception
March 21, 2015 - last day of show. It closes at 4p.m.

1957 S. Spaulding Ave. Chicago, Il. 60623
(Chicago, Lawndale Community)

I’d love to meet you there.  I will have four paintings and a time based piece with paintings, drawings, photography, words and music. The idea that I can compile these various media to create a moving story to share fascinates me. 

Right now, there is no stopwatch for my girls.  The best thing about being a mother is the Thank You I get from my 21 year old and the hugs from my 9 year old. The best thing right now about being an artist is getting to talk about this in my work.

How does this resonate with you?  Comment below or tell me in person at the show.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Caras de la Fuerza (Faces of Strength)

©Antonia Ruppert - In progress
I am working on a new series titled "Caras de la Fuerza" (Faces of Strength). The painting shown above is from the series and is in progress. I am drawing and painting mothers in my community. This is to show the strength and beauty I see daily and build community.  I am painting these mothers by taking time to interview them briefly and draw them from life.  During this session, I will take photographs from which I will paint from. 
Of course, over coffee, we'll have discussions regarding our hopes, day to day living, motherhood and life in our community.  After completion, I will host an exhibit where all of the mothers from our various cultures can meet each other and come together. 
I am working on all new pieces with pastel, acrylic and collage. Each finished piece will be around 12x12.
I will continue to post the progress of each piece. Stay tuned.