Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marie Drissel Is Face #97

"Marie Drissel: Face #97," oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Marie and I know each other as fellow students at the Art League. We took regular classes together from Rob Liberace ... year round. Our chance to really get to know each other came on art historical trips ... led by Rob ... to Italy (five years ago to Florence, three years ago to Venice and last year to Rome). We've shared a lot of meals, and Marie is always the most enthusiastic (of the group) about the food and everything else. Her speech is riddled with "Awesome!"s, "Outstanding!s" and "Out of this World!s" -- at both trattorias and museums.

With all that previous together time, I was surprised at how much I learned today about Marie. What a fun day! I think I learned about the six or seven "lives" that Marie has packed into her own so far.

One of my favorite topics was about Marie as a perpetual volunteer ... something she's been doing since a little girl, going off on her own to help at a center for crippled kids. She'd get so excited to go, being uplifted by seeing kids learning to walk again or making strides. Volunteerism has been a constant in her life. She's worked on community affairs, in politics, with rescue animals, and maybe, most notably, in helping to get the Columbia Heights Education Campus, a multicultural, Washington DC public middle and high school combined with community center built and brought to life. Students must learn a second language and are encouraged to learn more from the myriad of other languages native to the student body. The high school was ranked 37th in the nation's public schools by Newsweek in 2010. It's the only public school in DC to earn a place in the top 100 list.

Marie started taking art classes five years ago at the Art League ... and is thankful for what that organization has done for her life. She's happier now than ever. (Art can do that for you.)

Marie put in her sitting time as an excellent model ... but wanted to beat traffic home to DC. I wasn't satisfied with the painting I had at the end and worked more from a photo after she left. It's not perfect (that's not the point here anyway), but there's a bit of the devilish Marie in what I ended up with. And, I swear, I always see things in photos of the paintings that bug me that seem perfectly acceptable in the painting itself.

"The Brogue," oil, 30"h x 40"w, copyright Jill Banks 2007. That's Curtis in the upper left.
One more aside. Marie's husband Curtis made it into one of my all-time favorite paintings, "The Brogue." "The Brogue" was my postcard image for my 2008 solo show "Place Settings" at the Art League. (Curtis is sipping something and shown middle left.) During Marie's sitting, I heard about the start of Curtis and Marie's romance and the great proposal. Fun stories.

There are ton more tie-ins and tales ...

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Here's a Repeat: You've Got to See the School! Register Now...
Wow! I went to see the classroom that I normally teach in ... now expanded to include my previous second downstairs studio at 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Wow again! I'm so excited about teaching there in May. The expansion made all the difference. It gets great light. There's plenty of room. Such a difference. I'll try to take a photo of the classroom soon and post it here. Yea!

Get info about the classes I'm offering on the Classes page on my web site. Portrait Painting and Drawing. Still Life Painting in Oils. A workshop on "Mastering the Business of Art" on May 25 & 26, 6:30-9:30pm. Sign up. Be happy!!!

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