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Teachers as Artists: Women of Influence

Maryhill Museum of Art, working in partnership with Oregon Art Education Association and Washington Art Education Association, showcases teacher talent by inviting educators to participate in Teachers As Artists, an annual juried exhibition in the museum’s MJ Murdock Charitable Trust Education Center.

In 2020 we invited regional arts educators to submit work around the theme Women of Influence. The theme engages artists to examine women who have influenced the artist’s life and/or artwork, reflected through any media or style. For Washington state arts educators, the juror was Lisa Commander, Director of Education, The Columbia Gorge Discovery Museum, The Dalles, OR, who describes her process in selecting the featured artists: “My rubric for judging works for the exhibit involved determining how well did the work represent the term influence, defined as “capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”  I asked myself how easily I was able to discern how each artist portrayed these three elements/themes in their work.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington portion of this exhibition was not installed. It is presented here as an online exhibition. The exhibition was scheduled to be on view at the Tacoma Art Museum during the summer of 2020, but that has alas been cancelled as well. We hope you enjoy the exhibition here. 

RM Appleby

Mamiaith (Welsh for mother tongue
Mixed media
36” x 24”

Skyline High School
Keith Hennig, Principal
Sammamish, WA

I find mixed media processes intriguing; it is a constant game of balancing unrelated materials. While readjusting the tension and harmony between lines, textures, colors and images, a multi-layered narrative flourishes. Mamiaith (mother tongue) looks at my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. It is part of a series exploring the stories and history of my family roots and the underlying American power structures that often serve as a double-edged sword. 

Melanie Artz

Unwinding Thoughts
Ceramic  

Juanita High School
Kelly Clapp, Principal
Kirkland, WA

AWARD-WINNER: WONDERFUL WHIMSICALITY 

Unwinding Thoughts is a celebration and dedication to women and to the powerful women in my life. The spool represents sewing, quilting, and art making. Sewing typically has been considered a woman’s craft and undervalued in the art world. However these art forms hold a significant place in our history that is told through the lens of women. This piece celebrates the importance of women, the before struggle and the struggle that women have had to endure, as well as the various social injustices that continue to occur. 

Carolyn Autenrieth

Bundled Vessel 
Porcelain
12” x 6.5” 

Chief Health International High School
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal
Seattle, WA

This piece, from a current series with my mother (in Indiana), brings together diverse media with a focus on connection and communication. My mother, a musician, knitted consistently over the decades, to keep fingers nimble and I suspect as a form of personal expression. I could never understand nor master it, in a similar way that my family could not understand or connect with the visual arts. This piece specifically, is a playful response to her skill. Draped and fired to the porcelain, the knitting becomes part of the hard landscape of my spiked vessels; it melts to the surface, changing it and bringing new perspective. 

Carolyn Benjamin

My Grandmother, Mary Lamb
Oil
8” x 10

Glenwood Heights Primary School
Antonio Lopez, Principal
Vancouver, WA 

My grandmother was such a beloved and influential person in my life growing up and as a young adult. She made a significant impact on my life and as an artist. I admired her strength of character, determination, love for people, positive attitude, and her artistic abilities. I loved her so much, and I know she loved and cared for me.

The portrait that I painted of my grandmother is based from a photo from 1945, after my father and uncle returned home from WWII. My grandmother endured a lot of hard times, and yet she seemed to be such a positive and happy person. She loved to oil paint, but as she got older, she developed arthritis that severely crippled her hands. She kept on painting, switching from brushes to a palette knife. I really admired her beautiful artwork and her determination to keep on painting even though she struggled with her arthritis. I inherited her handmade wooden easel that my grandfather made for her, and her paints, and think of her often as I create my own art, wishing she was still here with me today. She was an incredibly special woman. 

Daniel Brown

Shattering the Glass Ceiling 
Fused and slumped antique plate glass, acrylic paint, resin
5” x 16” 

Okanogan High School
Bob Shacklett, Principal
Okanogan, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: CURATOR’S CHOICE

First of all, the original theme for the show was “Shattering the Glass Ceiling”. I was given a broken blue plate glass window by Richard Rawson. It was from his clothing store in Okanogan, WA and is about 100 years old. I thought blue broken glass was perfect for the theme.

When slumping, many thin cracks developed in the surface layer of the glass. I tried three more different firings and was unable to get rid of them. Since my favorite art saying is “In Art, it is not a mistake, it is an opportunity.” I decided to show off the cracks. First I had to sand the sharp spots. Then I used complementary colors of acrylic paint in the cracks. To make it so it could be washed and used as a bowl for decoration, I sealed the paint in resin.

The woman most influential in my work is my mother. My father was the first refuge manager of the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge, a waterfowl refuge. My mother had my sister and I paint watercolors of ducks for his office when we were 7 and 8 years old. On the way to delivering the framed paintings, I dropped mine and broke the glass. I was devastated. My mother was able to console me by explaining how not all paintings had glass. This stuck with me. You learn by mistakes, sometime even more than not making mistakes. Also, like many of my generation, beginnings were quite humble, but my mom was able to make simple things into treasures. She made an inexpensive meal of pasta seasoned with butter, salt and pepper which was not just noodles, but special wagon wheel shapes for special occasions. She made clothes and curtains, and much more. Today, I love making art inexpensively, so often use cast off items. For example, most of my metal sculptures are made from the sheets of metal full of holes that are people used for their projects. 

Jenny Davidson Brammer

Mom 
Photo
11” x 14” 

Enatai Elementary School
Amy MacDonald, Principal
Seattle, WA 

My mom inspires me:  

My mom was diagnosed in 2006 with Frontotemporal Dementia. This disease affects her speech and memory.   

One can never be completely prepared, nor plan for what lies ahead in life. My mom has always done a remarkable job of being a mother, a friend, and a wife. While parts of her can no longer “mother me” in the way she once had, her essence continues to. She communicates her affection for me and the world around her in a new, yet fully familiar way.    

This photo was taken around the time that her dementia was becoming progressive. The image reminds me of who my mom is in spirit and soul, and how she has given us unconditional love, knowledge, wisdom, strength, and a passion for art, nature, and life. The cactus is her crown. Even as some of her speech and mind are wilting away, she still feels joy and the sun on her face.   

I am a mother of two school-aged boys, and I aspire to be as brilliant as my mother. I hope to prepare my children to go out into the world securely knowing that I love and cherish them, regardless of my ability to be with them as I am today.   

Heroes show up in different ways. Mine is my mother.  

Remy Coutarel


Erin, Drawing Me
 
Print of the scan of sketchbook

7” x 8”

Gabriel’s Art Kids
Gabriel Miles, Principal
Bellingham, WA 

Erin is my life partner, my lover, my friend and we share a love of art that is experienced through our shared companionship. 

She inspires me everyday to see and explore the world that surrounds us; she is another pair of eyes that supports me to see a new perspective in my experience. 

I am not the artist I am today without her. I am reflecting the influence of her through the art we create. 

Carl Clausen

Dagmar Objectified 
Engraving
8.5” x 13.5”

Bellevue Public Schools
Kirkland, WA

Dagmar was an American actress, model, and television personality. In the early 1950s, she became one of the first major female stars of television, receiving much press coverage and made the July 16, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine. She was one of several female personalities objectified in a stereotypical “dumb blond” role. Here she sports Chine-collé lips created in the printmaking process in sharp contrast to the black and white imagery of the time. 

Tracy Fortune

Windows to the Past and Future, series of 5 artworks 
Wool felting
5” x 7” each 

Lakes High School
Karen Mauer-Smith, Principal
Lakewood, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: HONORABLE MENTION

As a genealogist, I have been inspired by the women in my family tree. Between 1620 and 1910, as single or married women, my fore-mothers left their their home and families in Scotland, England and Ireland to settle in Canada or the United States. I admire the bravery, determination, passion, sense of adventure, hard work, commitment to family and faith of these women. Like pieces of glass in a church window, these are key pieces in who I am. Photos, taken on my travels to places where my ancestors lived, served as inspiration for this series. Windows are a favorite subject of mine, as they serve as a metaphor of how in the present we are able to look back at the past and envision the future. 

Jessica Garrick

Poppy Pods in Green Vase
Charcoal, watercolor, wax
12” x 15.5” 

UCDS
Paula Smith, Principal
Seattle, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: HONORABLE MENTION

My mother is one of my greatest influences. She has been a teacher and artist most of her life who constructs ideas in an artistic way. She has the expectation that children are capable of interpreting and communicating complex ideas through art. As a child she surrounded my brothers and I with many opportunities to think artistically and to express this from our own perspectives. The piece I submitted for this exhibit, “Poppy Pods in Green Vase” is based on an arrangement my mother made in her house. The color and space were striking and I wanted to explore the imagery. I constructed this image through layers of different media. The combination of process and aesthetic reminds me of how colors, forms and memories come together to create meaning in an image.

My art influences my teaching and my teaching influences my art. Following my mother’s example, I constantly try out artistic ideas by exploring with materials, tools, and techniques. I believe that continuous learning is at the heart of the art of teaching. I learn from fellow artists to evolve my understanding of tools, materials and development of ideas. Through the experience of building my personal artistic sense I build my ability to transfer this to my students and broaden their ability to interpret and communicate their ideas through art. 

Cynthia Gaub

Frida in Fabric
Fiber collage
27” x 17” 

North Middle School
Mitch Entler, Principal
Everett, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: HONORABLE MENTION

This is one of a series of women’s faces. Frida Kahlo has always been one of my favorite artists. I hope I have captured something about the artist’s love of self-portrait in this work. 


 

Jennifer Hilbert

Canyons 
Acrylic paint, paper pulp
10” x 10” 

Southridge High School
Molly Hamaker-Teals, Principal
Kennewick, WA 

Inspirations derived from artist Georgia O’Keefe. I’m a geology fan, and nature will always provide channels to recreate in any media for me. Soils interest me, rocks, and canyons formed by various means of erosion, wind, animals, and man. My love for the desert still remains, and hot sunny days in the Southwest are demonstrated in this painting. Adding dimension to the canvas encourages canyon formation. 

Tamara Hoodenpyl

Grandmothers 
Ceramic
15” x 20” x 15” 

Ridgefield High School
Christen Palmer, Principal
Ridgefield, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: BEST IN SHOW

“Grandmothers,” is a reflection on the unique relationship I have had with my grandmothers. While both are gone now I rely on my memories to connect with the fierce love they bestowed on me. Weather stepping up to be my champion or chasing me down a dirt drive to whip my behind, my grandmothers taught me how to suit up and show up. 

Megan Hosch-Schmitt

Ode to Louise 
Ink and colored pencil on paper
9” x 12” 

Seattle Country Day School
Kim Zaidberg, Principal
Seattle, WA 

This drawing was made in response to the prompt, Women of Influence. The artist Louise Bourgeois was, and continues to be, an incredibly influential figure in my artwork. The intertwining of nature, hands and fabric seen in her body of work all resonate in some facet of my own art making. Her dedication to her craft, mixed media experimentation, and ability to create work late into life is inspiration to the artist I aspire to be. 

Laura King

Gold Stitched Dress on a Blue Background 
Thread and watercolor 
11” x 14” 

Shorecrest High School 
Lisa Gonzalez, Principal
Shoreline, WA 

This artwork reminds me of my mother in her wedding dress. It has a presence and life of its own. There is a vibrancy and positivity that are reminiscent of her. I am one of 10 children, and my mother had a calm strength, and positive outlook on life. On April 3, 2007, she was killed in a mass shooting in my home town. 

Laura King

Red Stitched Dress with Roses on Green Background
Thread and watercolor
11” x 14” 

Shorecrest High School
Lisa Gonzalez, Principal
Shoreline, WA 

Yvonne Kunz

Service Oriented 
watercolor, ink, pencil, beading on paper doilies
16” x 20” 

Mountain View Elementary School
Heather McCarthy, Principal
Lacey, WA 

My artistic practice consists of improvisational drawing and collage inspiring play and exploration. As my work is figurative, a weekly figure drawing practice deepens my observational and representational skills, while providing source materials for my paintings. Finally, my encaustic practice is a longer, slower process where I paint, scrape, and fuse layers upon layers of wax, pigment, and damar resin.

I bury images in layers so they are unpacked by viewers with long, slow viewings. Working in mixed media in my drawings and collages — stitching in paper, found text and images, researched primary sources — metaphors and narratives surface in time. I want the viewer to search through the layers, to create associations as images are revealed.

Over the past twenty years, my voice has been consistent, honest, courageous, and, sometimes shy. It is an exploration of layers of my being: sexuality, motherhood, my personal belief system, “home”. My art oscillates between realistic figurative imagery to symbolism of personal identity: aprons, IUDs, ladders, teeth, wishbones, and the Hail Mary. My art is an attempt to connect with a personal community that is fractured, with a sense of place that feels fleeting, and a family history which is slipping away. 

Mary Mann

Isabella and the Mermaid 
Oil on wood panel
18” x 24” 

Science and Math Institute
Elizabeth Minks, Principal
Tacoma, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: WONDERFUL WHIMSICALITY 

My daughters have both had the greatest influence on my art. More than any other human beings, they have transformed my life out of great love. This particular painting pays homage to my eldest daughter Haley and her ridiculous relationship with her cat Isabella. 

Sarah Neal

Our Lady After Death 
Paper mache, polymer clay, wire, fabric, acrylic paint, gold leaf 
16” x 12” x 12” 

Harrison Prep School 
Kevin Rupprecht, Principal
Lakewood, WA 

Our Lady After Death is the divine feminine offering grace and compassion, while recognizing the frailty of our bodies, hearts, and minds. She is a representation of a vast love. 

Cynthia Ellice Noyd

Points of Light 
Chalk on paper board
12” x 12” 

The River Academy
Erik DeVries, Principal
Wanatchee, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: SECOND PLACE 

Influences come in many different forms and are woven into our personal histories. Strong and caring women have influenced my life at different ‘points’ through time. In this work, I’ve written the first names of my strongest influencers in chalk on a black chalk board, as these women represent my education. The women’s names sit on a strong grid structure, the grid connects and is shared. The names are smudged and not completely visible, representing that the influences come and go- yet remain present. The points of light represent the spirit of each woman, Shinning beyond their mere names. 

Jodi Patterson

Plated 
50 (plus) linen napkins, catsup A-1 sauce, lipstick, digital images 
 

Eastern Washington University
Dr. Pete Porter, Dean
Cheney, WA 

The female artist who inspired this work is graphic illustrationist, Sue Coe. Sue is a lifelong animal rights activist who makes bold and daring statements with her art. Her praxis involves immersing herself in the difficult space of her subjects — slaughterhouses, CAFOs, etc. I admire her grit and bravery. Through her, I learned the value of direct immersion for research, no matter if it is personal or political in nature. In this case, I visited several cattle farms to take portraits of cows and embraced the mud, flies, smells, etc. the cows live[d] within. 

Erin Pedersen

Lego Lucy 
Lego pieces
40” x 40”

Iochburn Middle School
Greg Wilson, Principal
Lakewood, WA 

I started doing Lego Art when my youngest was 3. I needed an artistic outlet that would allow me to work at night when the kids went to bed and required little cleanup. Through the years I have love working with Lego as a medium. It helps me connect with my students and my own kids. I did Lucy because as a kid she was awesome. As an adult I realize how influential she was. 

Gale Riley

Lunch with Faith; Tribute to Judy
10” x 43”
Mixed media: ceramic, metals, fiber, glass, plastic, paper 

King’s High School
Bob Ruhlman, Principal
Lynwood, WA 

Faith Ringgold’s portrait quilts are truly amazing and inspirational. In my composition, I incorporated sketches of some of my (beloved!) students with a plate I threw in high school sewn onto a table-cloth bandana. I wanted to create a table setting of sorts, similar to those of Judy Chicago, that would represent me. I love scarves and accessories, especially ones with a Bohemian aesthetic. Although half of my teaching assignment is Ceramics, I consider myself an illustrator and draw all the time! By reclaiming the throw-away watercolor paper my students discard after just working one side, I am able to make postcard art for friends who live in care facilities. The table is big enough for all of us, come set a place for yourself too! 

Mary Rowland

Cup Series; Inspiring Women
Casein paint on canvas
38” x 38” 

Bainbridge High School
Kristen Hazlip, Principal
Bainbridge, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: THIRD PLACE 

The most influential and inspiring women in my life are those who are closest to me.This collection of paintings came from the direct inspiration I found while sitting with each one of these strong, independent women over a cup. Each time I met a friend or family member I noticed we always had a beverage in a cup while we shared enriching conversation. I was continually inspired from having spent time with them. This group of esteemed women range in age from my 92 yr old mother to my 28 yr old daughter. Some women I know as family, others are life long friends and coworkers. All the women are intelligent and college educated and represent a wide range of careers from retired art teacher, para educator, and nurse to corporate executive. They live in several different parts of the country with different religious and political views. Many have raised families, some as single moms. Some have had very long marriages others have never married. The one thing they have in common is they make the time to stay connected to other women in their lives. They have each built a community of strong, influential women over the years through sharing their life stories, listening and laughing over a cup. You too can reach out and inspire the women in your life make the time to pour a cup. 

Mary Rowland

“O ha bien I nesa” (Norwegian for “bone in the nose” an idiom for Strong, Capable
Casein paint on canvas
48” x 48” 

Bainbridge High School
Kristen Hazlip, Principal
Bainbridge, WA 

Jess is a 28 year old strong, capable, independent woman who inspires me every day. She is intelligent, kind, tenderhearted and passionate. A high school science teacher, her love for learning, life, and purpose inspires her students, fellow staff, friends and family. She is of Norwegian decent, 4th generation of strong college educated women like her who set out to live life to the fullest and make a difference in the lives of others. 

Hannah Salia

Queen of the Forest 
Acrylic on canvas 
36” x 24” 

St. Thomas School 
Dr. Kirk Wheeler, Principal
Medina, WA 

There are many women that have been strong and positive influences throughout my life, both personally and artistically. I feel fortunate to have been raised in a way that gave full latitude for the growth of my intellectual and artistic potential. My parents and my extended family, including my mother and my aunt, supported my every endeavor and were examples of high achievement and artistic excellence in their own professional fields. In high school, I had a wonderful art teacher that opened the doors to my artistic imagination. In my current life as a visual artist and art teacher, my family, including my two wonderful adult daughters, has been at my side supporting my professional development and artistic growth in every way. I look as well to my fellow artists as vital exemplars of what is possible in the world of the artistic imagination and as painting mentors for my own work. In the end, it is the beauty of the forest that is my deeply abiding muse, bringing the replenishment of spirit that inspires all my paintings. 

Kristina Smethers

Emptied 
Watercolor
8.5” x 22” 

Decatur High School
Jamie Tough, Principal
Federal Way, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: HONORABLE MENTION

This piece honors and also mourns the way women give of themselves and empty themselves in their role as creators and caregivers. The process of trying to grow new life and sometimes losing it before it is fully formed; the pouring of your physical being into growing another; the giving of your heart, mind, and energy into caring for the well-being of others; the struggle to find the balance between self and others; and also of the way we, as artists, pour part of ourselves into each piece we create. The striving to always be able to give a little more, and never be emptied. 

Dana Squires

Pear on Cracked Plate 
Print on glass
23” x 23” 

Individual Teacher Artist
Olympia, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: FIRST PLACE 

Music is the space between the notes.  – Debussy 

My artwork is about the sensual shape of a pear and memories of persimmons, and the space between it all.

Formally, I am interested in flattened shapes and the relationship between shapes, the shape of the space between shapes, the negative space, and the tension of the shapes and the edge of the image. Negative space: the music between the notes, the space between the shapes.

My mother was also an artist and an art teacher. Our approaches are different to both. She is more craft and skilled oriented, I am more spontaneous and impressionistic. I am discovering, however, how much my work is influenced by her. Mom was a preeminent mid-century enamelist, and I love her work, but I am probably more influenced by the way I was raised. I grew up in a small southern California steel town but was surrounded by color and immersed in art projects and culture, fresh fruit and flowers. 

Nothing is more interesting than something that you eat.Gertrude Stein 

What one eats – how and why – is integral to identity. In most cultures, food is tied to religion, mythology and ritual. Food is history, family and community. Food is often women’s only creative outlet. Food is a door to the often-ignored creative contributions of women and their view of the world. Mom was a creative cook in an age of meat and potatoes and jello molds. My mother adhered to the nutritional concept of eating a “rainbow” at every meal. Our yard had lemons, kumquats, peaches, plums, grapes and pomegranates for the taking. I was the only one of my friends who ate artichokes in the 60s.  

My work is my mother in me, and it is inspired by the women around the world creatively who feed their families each day. 

Aybi Taner

Yayoi Kusama from My Eyes 
Acrylic on canvas
36” x 48” 

Individual art educator
Bellevue, WA 

I have a BA degree in Fine Art Teaching. In addition to being an art teacher, I opened may exhibitions and displayed my paintings in many occasions in Turkey, England, Canada, and the US. I currently live in Seattle. I was very fortunate to live, learn, and understand other culture’s artistic ideas, values, traditions, and other aspects. I believe that arts support dialogue and mutual understanding and build positive relationships between cultures. I begin a painting with an idea or emotional reaction rather than a vision of what it will look like when finished.

My artwork is about Yayoi Kusama from my eyes. She inspires me since my childhood because she was brave and she preservers against odds. She has triumphed over a traumatic childhood, sexism, and racism, all while she uses art to quell the hallucinatory symptoms of mental illness. 

Ken Spiering

Ruth 
Graphite pencil 
21” x 33” 

Freeman High School 
Renee Bailey, Principal
Rockford, WA 

AWARD-WINNER: CURATOR’S CHOICE 

This lovely, widowed, grandmotherly neighbor was such a great stand-in for my children when they were growing up, whose own grandparents lived too far away to be seen very often. With this drawing as the beginning, she became the model for a life-size wood carving I did as part of a 10′ X 35′ installation for the Spokane City Hall in 1984. 

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