Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lost in CyberSpace

I've spent - it seems like - a thousand hours looking at this and that, all in the name of "learning"! I don't know for sure what it is that I THINK I'm learning, but I keep at it. Just last night, I went through these - unrelated - topics.

Everything I link is GOOD - I've joined them & intend to keep up with them. Try them too!

Pastels - brands and supports, and lot's of other stuff about them starting at WetCanvas > Explore Media > Pastels, view thread: Sticky: How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies.

Then on to : and that also included packaging Pastels.

Another site for packaging pastels is It looks like a really informative site with the following introduction: This topic will be broken (no pun intended) into two blogs: the first One will concern boxing a painting for shipment; the second will cover record-keeping and other considerations when a painting leaves your hands.

Packaging materials, bags, boxes, tapes, corners at

And before I leave Pastels, a must read for framing pastels is at, Framing Pastelbord by Michelle Weise.

Blogging etiquette

A blog by a female physician that posts about food rather than offend the medical community.

A blog by a Radiologist who thinks of himself as a Samouri physician.

A site Radiology site with the fabulous name Yottalook - a medical directory complete with images.

OK, you caught me - my 35 year medical career was in Radiology. Don't tell anyone!

Of course I dropped by and just to see what was going on! Actually spent quite a bit of time in the We're Related section of Facebook. Only have 5 relatives there, but you never know!

Oh this is a good one. In the Google box, you can ask specific questions without needing to open another site. Like this:

2100 PDT in EST - That will give you the Eastern Standard time at 9pm Pacific time!

45pounds in dollars - That gives you the exchange right there!

45cm in inches - OK, you're getting it! Converts one measurement into whatever you want!

Katherine Tyrrell from recommended the Phillips Folding Chair useful in the field when painting at Katherine highly recommended the chair but did say it was very difficult to find - and it was not available - but if it ever is, I will know what size might best fit my hiney!

Oh Lord, I could go on & on - and will - next time.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding My Nitch in Painting, Part 1: oil versus acrylics

NOTE: Nothing solved or changed, just observations. I would welcome anyone that would like to give real art advice that would enlighten both me and my one reader!

In order to be taken seriously, an Artist usually has a special interest or talent that directs his or her art.

I guess the first thing would be to choose the medium that you will usually paint in. It seems that most artists paint in oils. I've been told to use oils as they are so much more creative and taken more seriously. That is great but I've already invested hundreds of dollars in acrylics and soft pastels.

Besides, there are drawbacks to oils.

FIRST: is the training and education one would need to begin. For instance, there is a technique called 'thin to fat'. This refers to the drying time of oils, so the first layers would be done with a medium the requires less drying time. As you move out on the layer, you can use 'fatter' mediums that require more drying time. What this means is you can't just paint, you have to plan when and where to use AND know what works and when to use it. (I'm already short-of-breath just thinking about it!)

SECOND: the drying time. It is often sited that artists prefer the oils because of the slower drying times. I, for one, prefer the quick drying time of acrylics. I'm sure that has something to do with the immediate gratification response. I want it NOW! Probably not a good thing in the art world, but I still have a lot (understatement of the year) to learn. In addition to the drying time of the oils while your painting, is the drying time required before it can be stacked or sent to its buyer. Where do you put all those drying canvas'?

THIRD: the odor. When I open a painting I've purchased from a beloved artist, the first thing I do is smell it! I love the aroma of the fresh oil. But the thought of having all the 'aromas' of the oils and solvents and mediums is a bit overwhelming for me. Probably wrong about that.

FOURTH: the cost of a 40ml tube.

Titanium White_____$4.04(Dick Blick)__$9.37(Old Holland)
Cadmium Red______$13.99_________$40.73
Chromium Oxide____$7.99__________$20.94
Phthalo Blue_______$7.99__________$14.73

I was advised to use Old Holland. I used the store brand as the lowest comparison I could find to try to show the difference one could find between brands.

I use mostly Liquitex and Golden acrylics. I really don't know why those are the brands I use but they have served me well so far. It would be interesting to know what others use and why!

Titanium White___$4.48(Liquitex)_$5.57(Golden) 2 oz tube
Cadmium Red____$10.14_______$12.10
Chromium Oxide__$5.97________$6.62
Phthalo Blue_____$4.48________$7.99

Although not cheap, you can see why I'm more attracted to Acrylics from a cost stand point.

OK, there is no question that oils have more respect and sell better. But, the other mediums also sell, ie. acrylics, soft pastels, water color and pencils among others.

Tomorrow, I want to explore the subject one chooses to specialize in.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Remembering Lila Bonner-Miller

After writing yesterday's entry, I continued to think of Lila Bonner-Miller. Thinking I might find a link to my Blog since I had tagged her name, I Googled her. WOW, was I in for a surprise!

Lila was born in 1899 and died in September 1996. There were many links to her name - alas, I did not see a link to Painting with Erin and Annie! But two were so interesting. I learned a few things and was reminded of many things I had forgotten. Bottom-line, she was a very accomplished and distinguished woman.

The first article in Pastoral Psychology, Volume 21, Number 5 / May, 1970, Titled Lila Bonner Miller, M.D. by Thomas H. McDill outlined her early education. Most notably, she was the first female to graduate the medical school at The University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.
Her internship was at the Cincinnati General Hospital, and this was followed by a residency in pediatrics. From this experience, she opened her office for general practice in Greenville, South Carolina, for one year. From that beginning, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to practice internal medicine in 1927. It was in Atlanta that she met the Reverend Doctor Patrick Dwight Miller, who was to become her husband in 1931. Her husband's career was also of unusual distinction.

In this same Journal was an article by Lila entitled The Mental Health of the Professional Man's Wife. The article is not available without a fee, but a preview opened with this quote which I thought was interesting!

"She needs to recognize that she has a choice: to be a little girl playing with toys or to grow
painfully into a woman who walks by the side of her husband as a team mate, that not competition but complementarity is the cue to her role."

The next information came from her death announcement in a Presbyterian publication. This is where I was reminded of the Lila I knew.

Lila Bonner Miller, 95, a physician, psychiatrist, educator and Presbyterian social activist, died Sept. 25 in Atlanta. After getting her medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1924, Miller practiced medicine until three years after her marriage to the Rev. Patrick D. Miller in 1931. Returning to Atlanta in 1949, she resumed her medical practice. Noticing that her patients had as many emotional problems as physical ones, she went to Emory University School of Medicine in 1960 at the age of 59 for a residency in psychiatry. Miller was especially concerned that mentally ill people were being released from hospitals and left homeless. As a result, she helped organize the Community Fellowship of Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, a program for the homeless mentally ill.

I spent many hours outside of group with Lila feeding the homeless. I had completely forgotten! My friend Michael Morgan also participated in this. For the most part, these people were severely ill. After the mental hospitals closed, the patients were turned out to fend for themselves. It was scary but fascinating at the same time. No matter what happened, Lila was there and always kept us safe.

My second find is best summed up with an email I sent, and the reply as follows:
On Apr 21, 2009, at 8:19 AM, wrote:
Hi Fran,

My name is Beckie Saar Leone and I live in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Between 1978 and 1985, I attended Lila Bonner-Miller's art therapy in Atlanta. I loved her!

I am now looking into my own art beginnings and began to think of Lila. I googled her name and came across your article:

“Lila” a film by Fran Burst-Terranella Compelling, entertaining documentary portrait of 80-year old psychiatrist, great-grandmother and art therapy pioneer Lila Bonner-Miller. A rich award-winning exploration of aging, work, mental health and family.
from the website:

Could you tell me if there is a copy of this documentary available and what the cost would be. I'd be very interested in remembering Lila!
Thank you,


Hi Beckie - Great to hear from you. I am finally in the process of making LILA available on DVD - hope to have a good version ready by May 1. I would love for you to have one. I ask folks to send $30 for the DVD to help with costs of keeping the film in distribution for the past almost-30 years. Let me know if that is possible for you and please remind me about May 1 to work out details of getting a copy to you.
Thanks again. Fran
Fran Burst-Terranella
Burst Video/Film, Inc
Faculty - Digital Filmmaking & Video Production
The Art Institute of Atlanta

On May 1st, I will order this DVD Documentary.

My last memory of being with Lila is both fascinating and a little bit strange. One of our group members married a prominent Atlanta woman at Ebeneser Baptist Church of Downtown Atlanta. The Reverend Martin Luther King, I officiated and we met Coretta Scott King at the reception. We were the only (perhaps few) white faces in the crowd. Lila sat between us and took care of her 'chicks' as only Lila could do! It was a wonderful and memorable experience. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last. It was built upon deception on the part of our group member. I honestly hope the lovely young bride went on to a good marriage or life she so richly deserved.

ART? No, I didn't forget. I don't think I've EVER laughed harder or longer! Lila had invited in a person from the art world to look at the Art Therapy paintings. One of mine was on the board and he told them I had real potential - my picture was real ART!

The title of this picture was "Two lips and a balloon". On a white sheet of paper was a suspended balloon and a set of lips. Period... End...

I laughed all the way home, seriously, tears were streaming down my face and I was stomping on the floor, for about one hour. I just couldn't believe "Two lips and a balloon" could be ART. What do I know anyway?

Well, Lila, that is about it for now. I hope you're watching!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Small Start - nothing profound!

Be patient, this may or may not get to the point. This being my first post, will start a random account of why and how I am where I am today. I don't expect anyone to read this, but if they do, that is OK too. I will take it one step at a time and hopefully make sense of something - or maybe not. Since I've got to start somewhere, I'm just going to dive in and hope for the best.

This is, afterall, about ART. Eventually, I will start to display my paintings. However, I am not ready yet. I started painting daily February 10, 2009. I have over 60 peices completed with lots in the works. My mentor has advised me to make my first 5000 mistakes in private. I'm sure I'll start posting before I hit the 5000 mark, but wonder if I'll ever get past the mistakes part!

I started painting in 1982. I was in group therapy for 7 years in Atlanta and we had drawing boards and oil pastels under our chairs. When I realized our leader was not returning the drawings, I began keeping mine. I have 271 drawings dated from April 1980 to October 1985. The group was run by an elderly Psychiatrist named Lila Bonner-Miller. Lila was in her 90's when I began attending. She was a remarkable woman who had been an Internist until in her 60's. She then retrained and switched to Psychiatry. Lucky for us she did, it was a wonderful outlet to have this resource over so many years. With insurance, it cost me $7.50 a week, at the time, not much more than a movie. I couldn't afford not to go - they kept me somewhat sane!
17May1980 Night & Day, Standing Alone
May 22, 1982
Dec 29, 1984 - Self Portrait
October 1984 To Hell with it Let's Dance
In addition to Lila, our therapists were Elaine Mitchell and Ann McDowell (I think). Elaine was my therapist and a really wonderful person. Elaine was also a distant relative. Her brother, George Stubbs, M.D. and my sister, Beverly are married, celebrating thier 35th anniversary this August. At first it was strange confiding to someone that was related, but Elaine was the most down to earth and understanding person I've ever known. She was a gift and I miss her to this day. She passed away in the early 2000's.

............................... George and Beverly Stubbs, May 2004
Ann is still counseling in Atlanta. After Lila quite practicing, I started seeing Dr. Thomas Bantley, M.D. in Decatur. It was through that connection that Ann met and went to work with Dr. Bantley.
During those 7 years, one man inadvertantly became my first mentor. His name was Michael Morgan. Michael was an art student slash waiter and therapy patient. For many years, we didn't see any specific art talent in Michael's drawings. Finally, Lila coaxed him to show her some of his work. We were all blown away and bought as many pieces of his work as we could. I have 2 of his paintings and gave one to my best friend as a gift.
My 1st Michael Morgan - untitled

Michael Morgan - Roberta Flack album cover

Once in group, I was drawing from memory a poster of hearts by Jim Dine that I wanted to buy. Michael said, don't buy it, paint it your self! I said, Michael, I don't have any idea how to do it or what supplies I'd need. That day, after group, Michael took me to the Atlanta Art Supply store and I bought a six-pack of acrylc paints + white & black, a small jar of gesso, a few brushes and a 10 page tablet of canvas sheets. I spent about $35 and the painting began.

Jim Dine - Hearts 1970

my 1st painting 16x20 - 1983

This was before the days of finding good photo's on the internet. I had a tiny image from a catalogue, about 1.5 by 3 inches, which had no detail to speak of.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Dine. Because of you, I am still painting 35 years later. I have enjoyed my rendition of your painting and it has been displayed in my home all these years. Because of this painting, Mr. Jim Dine has been a favorite and remembered artist in my life all these years. Thank you Jim Dine where ever you are!