Famous Friday // Red, Orange, Orange on Red

Mark Rothko, Red, Orange, Orange on Red, oil on canvas, 1962. Location: St. Louis Art Museum.

During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I took my very first art history class. As the semester was coming to a close, we began discussing modern and contemporary art. One day of class was entirely devoted to what appeared to be the professor’s favorite artists – Mark Rothko. Viewing for the first time on a smart board, Rothko’s work appeared to be a haphazard painting of rectangles in a similar color palette. The professor, however, felt much different about this work. He gave us a short anecdote about how the first time he saw a Rothko in person. He was apparently so moved that he couldn’t help but tear up in the museum. Unbeknownst to me at the time, moving viewers to tears was sometimes the goal of Rothko’s artistic vision.

Rothko moved through a variety of different styles that were influenced by abstract expressionism and specifically color field painting. Color field painting, coined by Clement Greenberg, was a trend within abstract expressionism which disregarded the need for figures. Instead, the movement, pioneered by Rothko, took advantages of large swatches of color which was used to envelop the viewer in a world of color.

In Rothko’s work owned by SLAM, the red and orange layers are brought together to mimic sunset for the viewer. Rothko believed in using simplistic forms, like rectangles, in order to convey human emotion.  Continue reading “Famous Friday // Red, Orange, Orange on Red”

18 Things I Want to do in 2018

It’s hard to believe that we’re over 2 weeks into 2018 now! Classes started yesterday, and assignments will soon be due. 2018 is going to be a big year for me, and I can’t wait to see how the upcoming months unfold. Until then, I have some things, 18 to be exact,  that I want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

things i want to do in 2018

  1. Study abroad – I’m currently working on an application to study abroad in London this summer! It would be an incredible opportunity to study art in one of the greatest cities in the world!
  2. Have a 4.0 semester – I want to get a 4.0 to prove to myself that I can!
  3. Read 6 books – I know that 6 doesn’t sound like a lot, but I only read like 2 books in 2017! Reading used to be one of my favorite pass times, and I really miss it!
  4. Study for the GRE  – I want to become a college professor, and the next step is taking the GRE so that I can go to graduate school.
  5. Apply to graduate school – I’m still not sure where I want to apply just quite yet, but I know that I need to do it!
  6. Discover new music – Late last year my roommate convinced me to download Spotify. I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at the suggestions of music that it offers to me on a daily basis. I want to check out new music not only so that I can get the most out of my subscription, but also to get myself out of the music rut that I seem to be in.
  7. Spend less time watching less TV – It seems like everytime that I’m not studying I am watching TV. It honestly gets kind of boring, and I really want to go out and explore more.
  8. Become closer to my sorority sisters – I absolutely love my sorority, so it makes sense that I want to get to know more of the women in my organization.
  9. Try more new foods – My college town is small! We only have a few restaurants, and they serve basically the same types of foods. I really hope to venture to new places where I am able to try different and exciting food!
  10. Read every edition of The New Yorker – As a Christmas present for myself, I bought a subscription to The New Yorker. Obviously, since I bought it, I have to read it.
  11. Become a better leader – This upcoming semester will be my second semester serving in a Vice President position for my service fraternity. I really hope to learn and grow from this opportunity in order to make my chapter and campus a better place.
  12. Make more meals at home – Last semester I was on campus for 12 hours most days of the week. It was honestly so stressful, and I ate most of my meals at the on campus restaurants. This was a super expensive habit that I hope not to bring into 2018.
  13. Enjoy more time with my friends – As college students, we’re all super busy. And I get that. But I want to make more time for my friends in this upcoming year. I only have 3 more semesters in undergrad and I want to make the most of them.
  14. Do something new every month – College is the time to explore and try new things!
  15. Stick to my skincare routine – I have a skincare routine! I really do! But once I get into the busy portions of the semester I forget about it and my skin gets ultra unhappy with me! I hope to avoid this in 2018, and just stick to my tried-and-true skincare regimen.
  16. Visit more art museums, galleries, and exhibits – Oh man, do I love art. However, I live a fair distance away from any galleries. This makes visiting them sort of challenging. But in 2018, I want to stop making excuses and see more art!
  17. Be a better friend – Sometimes it seems like your problems are the only problems. We all know that that isn’t the case. I hope to be more aware of these selfish thoughts in order to become a better friend.
  18. Have a great time – This is (hopefully) my last full year in undergraduate school, and I want to make the most of it and have a great year!

Famous Friday // American Gothic

Grant Wood, American Gothic, oil on board, 1930. Location: Art Institute of Chicago. 

I go to college in a tiny town in northern Missouri. Kirksville is home to three colleges, but there still aren’t many non-school sanctioned activities to do in town. One of the most common pastimes for Truman students is going to a bridge outside of town known as train bridge, where, you guessed it, trains cross. Sure, there are great views of the nighttime sky at train bridge, but train watching is a strange hobby for college students. However, a little more than an hour north of lovely Kirksville is another small town called Eldon, Iowa. Eldon is home to the Dibble House, which is most famous for being the backdrop to one of the most famous American paintings of the 20th century – American Gothic. This painting also launched Grant Wood as one of the pioneers of the American Regionalist movement. The Regionalist movement aimed to represent America as it truly was, without the cosmopolitan cities. Because of this, art like Wood’s resounded with the Midwestern population because for the first time the Regionalist movement was for them rather than for those living on either coast.

The artist, Grant Wood, is a native Iowan himself, and he found himself in Eldon where he found the farmhouse which he painted in his his most famous work. The farmhouse was built in the style of carpenter gothic. In North America, home carpenters used the abundance of wood around them to construct arches and towers reminiscent of the European Gothic style. By painting this home, Wood recognized the family home as being the physical symbol of the family which resonated with many at the time of its publication.

He used his sister, and his dentist as models and painted them in clothes resembling what he saw in his old family photo albums. Although the two figures appear together in Wood’s painting, the two never sat together for their portraits to be painted. Instead, Wood worked with them individually and created sketches which he used to craft American Gothic. Their posing resembles that of the Northern Renaissance Style probably because Wood had previously studied art in Europe. And was particularly interested in the works of Jan van Eyck like the Arnolfini Portrait pictured below. The Arnolfini Portrait pictured below also deals with domesticity in portrait form, which Wood may have drawn inspiration from.

Jan van Eyck, Arnolfini Portrait, oil on oak, 1434. Location: National Gallery London. 


At first glance, Wood’s painting seems to truly represent what life in the Midwest may have been like during the 19th century. However, scholars have debated alternate meanings, and suggested satirical explanations for the seemingly odd composition.

Continue reading “Famous Friday // American Gothic”

Lifestyle // Preparing for a New Semester at College

For me, classes start next week for the spring semester. Winter break flew by, and it’s hard to believe that in seven short days I’ll be getting back into the swing of college. Here are five of my best tips to prepare yourself for the coming semester. pfns

1. Get your schedule in order!

Whether you use a physical planner, or a digital one (my favorite is Planner Pro) make sure that you write/type all important dates on your calendar. Make sure you include not only academic dates like due dates for assignments and exams, but also personal dates like vacations, sorority functions, and friends birthdays. This will totally help you manage your time once the semester is in full swing.

2. Buy school supplies

Buying school supplies is absolutely my favorite thing to do. For some reason, I just love being surrounded by pens, highlighters, and paper (what’s on my back to school list?). However, I usually forgo buying textbooks until after the first week of classes.

3. Start (or keep!) working on your personal brand

Crafting your personal brand is going to take time, and it’s more of a long-term project rather than one that can be completed in the days prior to returning to school. Don’t know what a personal brand is? Here’s a great link that describes what it is. Here are some of my best tips for creating (or improving your personal brand):

  • Build an online presence  –  this can be done by creating your own domain site, and through social media. LinkedIn isn’t the college students favorite form of social media, but it may be one of the most important. I recommend keeping your profile accurate, and up to date.
  • Use your online presence to write about what you know – this means that you should be using the skills that you’re learning in your classes to write about things online. For me, this means writing about famous artworks, and museums that I’ve recently visited.

4. Clean up your living space

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be back in your college apartment at least a few days before classes begin. Take a little bit of time and vacuum your floors, and wipe down your countertops and tables. You’ll be so glad that you’re living space is cleaner once your first week of classes begins.

4. Go to the doctor

For most of us, college is a time where we delay getting medical care and just hope that our problem magically disappears. However, this is horrible for our health (and may cause future problems). Sure, you probably don’t want to spend a few hours right before going back to school at the doctor’s office but you’ll feel much better after having a checkup.



Museum Monday // A Century of Japanese Prints

The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the most prominent art museums in my area. They’re known for their Asian pieces (my favorites are their pottery collection), as well as their classic and modern collection (they have a really great Van Gogh collection). However, the museum is huge and there is no way to cover the entire museum in a single blog post. Instead, I’ll be discussing a small part of SLAM’s collection. This exhibition is known as A Century of Japanese Prints

The collection consists of works from SLAM’s modern and contemporary collection, many of which have never been displayed before. In 2016, SLAM exhibited a collection called Conflicts of Interest. This exhibition was able to be displayed due to a generous donation of 1,400 prints to SLAM. Conflicts of Interest focused on Meiji-era military art. The A Century of Japanese Prints exhibit, however, focused on civil works and creative printmaking.

The exhibit tracks the influence of the West on traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking, and how the creativity of the artists developed overtime. This mimics the shift in the modernization of the ideology after the Meiji period, which wanted to rejuvenated the culture and industry of Japan. Below, you can check out one of my favorite prints that were on display. This exhibit closes on January 28, 2018, so go and check it out while you still can!

Onchi Kōshirō, Tokyo Station, from the series “Recollections of Tokyo,” color woodblock print, 1945.

Famous Friday // Water Lilies

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 200 x 426 cm, oil on canvas, 1915-26. Location: St. Louis Art Museum

I think that it’s so cool that SLAM has the centerpiece of one of Monet’s triptychs from his famous water lilies series (the other two pieces can be found at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). Known as the Agapanthus Triptych, these three paintings were united briefly in 2011 at the Nelson-Atkins, in 2012 at SLAM, and then in 2015 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the triptych together, but I have spent some time admiring the central piece located at SLAM.

Visually, we see clumps of water lilies floating atop a blue and violet toned waterscape. Towards the bottom of the canvas the blues and purples begin to transform into greens and yellows. The painting itself is massive, and meant to be displayed with the other portions of the triptych so that the viewer could be fully enveloped into the watery landscape.

This is a familiar scene to us as Monet has painted over 250 different works of his backyard in Giverny, France. Each painting is different, and focuses on a distinct portion of his massive garden in each work. He also experimented with painting during different time of day, which is why much of his works from the series look vastly different. Monet focused on painting his outdoor garden for nearly the last 30 years of his life as cataracts were interfering with his vision. The garden itself was grown by Monet, himself, as well as several hired gardeners. Together they worked for years to control the garden in order to mimic a Japanese scene.

Today, these works in Monet’s Water Lilies series can be sold for more than $50 million and greatly contributed to not only the impressionism movement at the time, but also modern art.

Lifestyle // What’s on my Back to School List?

The spring semester is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to start gathering your supplies for the upcoming semester. Here’s what’s in my back to school shopping basket.

Pilot G2 Pens

These pens are seriously so great! I’ve been using them all throughout college because they hardly ever skip, and a pack of pens will last me an entire semester! I always buy them in black so that my notes look more uniform. Buy em here.

iPhone Charger

It seems like my iPhone always dies during an important moment on campus. I always carry my portable phone charger in my backpack, but the ends of my charger began to fray, so that means that it’s time for a replacement. Buy a new charger here.

Laptop Case

I love my new backpack but it doesn’t have a built in laptop sleeve! I’m afraid of scratching my MacBook Air, so I really need to buy a case for it. I’ve been eyeing this Herschel sleeve in a trendy millennial pink.


Famous Friday // Sunflowers

Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 1889. Location: Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam.

Several summers ago when I was in Amsterdam I found myself dashing into the nearest museum in order to escape an approaching thunderstorm. Luckily for me, the closest museum was the Van Gogh Museum! We spent what seemed like hours touring the floors of the museum, but I couldn’t help but be drawn to this sunflower painting in particular. Of course, the museum was filled with so many other masterpieces by Van Gogh, but I felt as if this one was most characteristic of Van Gogh’s work.

Van Gogh created several similar works in his Sunflowers series, and had intended to give them as gifts to Paul Gauguin. In total, 12 paintings were created for this series which were painted from 1887-1889. Due to the discovery of new yellow pigments during the 19th century, Van Gogh was able to create vivacious yellow hued flowers, like the ones we see here.

These sunflowers, along with his self portraits, helped define his characteristic style of bold and dramatic brushstrokes. It is quite uncommon for exhibitions featuring Van Gogh to not include at least one of his works from his Sunflower series.

Lifestyle // Alternatives to New Years Resolutions

Can you believe it? Christmas was yesterday, so it’s almost the New Year! And you know what that means… it’s time to start thinking about setting your resolutions for the coming year. Unless you’re like me and setting resolutions doesn’t actually change your habits.


Instead of resolutions, I plan to set intentions and monthly goals for myself. Intentions work better for me because I’m able to focus on how I plan to achieve my intentions rather than just the big idea as a whole. While monthly goals allow me to focus on the smaller ideas that may need my focus.

My main intent for the coming year is to be more focused on my health. This year is going to be one of the most stressful yet because I’m going to be finishing up my undergraduate degree, applying to graduate school, and (hopefully) interning abroad. I intend to keep my health in check in the following ways:

Practice Self Care – I want to be more self aware and make my mental health a priority. Over the course of 2018, I hope to learn how to say “no” more often (especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed), and how to not feel bad about taking some me time.

Eat More Vegan Meals – I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 5 years now, and becoming a vegan seems like a natural transition. However, I live in a food desert where there isn’t a lot of food resources for even meat eaters. Maybe I’ll become a vegan once I move out of my college town, but until then I plan to consume several more vegan meals per week.

Keep Regular Hours at the Gym – Going to the gym totally helps me unwind after a stressful day (or week!) at school. However, I noticed at the end of last semester that I didn’t hit up the gym too often, and I felt more stressed out than ever before. Hopefully, by setting this intention I will become more aware of stress management techniques.

Wear More Sunscreen – I’d like to think that I have a pretty regimented skin care routine, but I always seem to forget to wear sunscreen. I fully intend to be more regular about my sunscreen applications.

Now on to the goals section of my intentions. I hope for my goals to be smaller, more focused intentions that I can tackle each month of 2018. I’m going to evaluate each monthly goal as it comes so that I can better evaluate what is necessary.

My January monthly goal is going to be to finish my intern abroad application. This will help me use the remaining portion of my Winter Break in an effective manner and will take some stress off of my shoulders once the semester begins.

Do you set intentions, goals, or resolutions for the New Year? If so, let me know what they are below.

Famous Friday // Marilyn Diptych

Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, acrylic on canvas, 2054 x 1448 mm, 1962. Location: Tate Modern

During the Fall 2017 semester, I enrolled in a Contemporary Art course simply because it was taught by one of my favorite art history professors. I haven’t had that much of an interest in contemporary art because I thought that I didn’t understand it, or that it wasn’t real art. Several years ago I even walked through a few floors of Tate Modern, in London, hoping to further understand the topic. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t appreciate the contemporary art that was at Tate. But now, after taking a course on Contemporary art I feel much differently. So get ready for this week’s Famous Friday featuring one of Warhol’s most recognized work of art – Marilyn Diptych.

Marilyn Diptych is made on two silver screened canvases. Warhol screen printed 50 images of Marilyn Monroe onto each side of the canvas. This form looks very familiar to Christian iconic diptychs. This could potentially be referencing the way that society places celebrities on a pedestal in a similar way that Christians apotheosize Jesus and the Virgin. Check out an example below:

Jan Gossaert, Diptych of Jean Carondelet, 1517.

Christian diptych art wasn’t the only art movement that Warhol was referencing in this piece. For example, Warhol was acknowledging the works of Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionism movements. This can be seen in the all over composition of the work as well as in the carelessness of the application of the paint. And of course, another connection between the two can be drawn in the fact of the monumental scale of the diptych.

However, like all of Warhol’s works his Marilyn Diptych was not simply trying to critique Christianity, but instead was attempting to critique all of modern and contemporary life. We know that the image that Warhol appropriated was from Niagara in 1953. Warhol is a distinguished illustrator and could have easily drawn his own image of Marilyn. Instead, he appropriated a press release image in order to comment on the consumer society which we live in.