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Part II: CWE-based artists’ work during the pandemic

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

Since the start of the pandemic Carson Foard says she’s found more time to complete projects that have been languishing for a while, “plus I’m reviewing some previous efforts with fresh eyes. Being able to use this sad situation to some advantage has been a blessing for me.”

A little background on this CWEnder: While Foard was working in the New York advertising world in the 1980’s, she took evening classes at the National Academy of Art. She later worked as a financial manager for TWA and moved to the Central West End when the airline relocated to St. Louis. After TWA’s collapse she continued her art education earning an MFA from Fontbonne University’s Fine Arts Department in 2012.

Foard is shown with some of her work including a charcoal and chalk drawing from an anatomy class at Fontbonne University;  left, Mississippi River, Louisiana, Missouri, oil on canvas, 12″ x 18;” and right, Kayaks at Rest, Boat House Cafe, Forest Park, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

Foard says she spends time looking at her brushes and paints thinking “maybe this one…no, that one….OK, ok, this one…I’m not a graceful painter.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

Foard’s Victoria Water Lily, Jewel Box, Forest Park, oil on canvas, 36″x 48.”

“I’m primarily interested in the contrasts and reflections created by landscapes and objects when they are drenched in light, sometimes with elements of structural design contrasted with natural forms. My inspiration is sunlight and color, they make me want to pick up a brush and not let any of it get away.”

For more information, contact Carson Foard via snail mail (a website is in the works), 4814 Washington Ave., Suite 308, St. Louis 63108.

Carla Dawson

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

CWEnder Carla Dawson confided that she had a very hard time starting a new piece when the pandemic began. “It was hard to find beauty in a stressful time—I’ve found I’ve been much less productive this year,” she added, “because I’m an artist who doesn’t look for inspiration, I catch it on the fly.”

In photo above: Peaceful Pond, inspired by a photo taken a few years ago in Colorado, and beneath: Storm Coming In, from a photo of an approaching storm.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

Dawson’s current work incorporates boarding passes from the last few trips she and her husband Dennis had taken before the pandemic set in. “At first I didn’t know what I’d do with them but am now featuring them in my latest work as an homage to those days when we could travel,” she said. “We used to stay in colorful adobe buildings with big blocks of bold color which are shown in this painting. Times are so weird now,” she continued, “I’m feeling so isolated and homebound. Travel seems far-fetched.”

For more information about Carla Dawson, visit an earlier post here.

Sarah Blumenfeld

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Sarah Blumenfeld Carson Foard Carla Dawson

Sarah Blumenfeld said that she’s been inviting friends to paint with her outside, using a live model. “So hopefully the nice weather will last a while longer. Since I can’t be with my regular gang now, it’s important to share and critique and support each other on social media.”

For more information on Blumenfeld’s oil paintings, contact her at blumensarah@gmail.com.

Next up: More artists and their pandemic art

CWE-based artists share what’s on their drawing boards during the pandemic

This is a first in a series of posts exploring how CWE-based artists are faring during the pandemic. I wondered if the coronavirus has altered their approach or influenced their work. While some say they have not experienced a difference (creating art is usually a solitary pursuit, for instance) others have incorporated imagery or titles into their art that speak to these difficult times.

You’ll find contact information in most sections.

Nancy Newman Rice

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

“The pandemic has not changed the way I work, I am usually in my studio (on the 3rd floor of her CWE residence) 8 hrs a day. The imagery I typically use is based upon architectural imagery. But, as I look at the work I have produced since March, the architectural elements have disappeared as if destroyed by an external force leaving vague references to what once was or might have been.”Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich
Covid Isolation I, above, oil on canvas on contra, 32″ x 32.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich  Rice’s Covid Isolation 3, above, oil on canvas on cintra, 32″ x 32.”

Judith Shaw

Clayton resident Judith Shaw steals away to her studio in the CWE when construction behind her condo gets to be too much. Shaw turned her frustration over the sprawling Centene corporate expansion project into what she calls fault lines, “tire track art,” a print and photographic series that was recently exhibited at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

“Clearly Covid has stopped us all in our tracks”, Shaw said. “It has given us a chance to look at ourselves in a new way, to consider how we see things, how we do things, notice the other, learn from each other, and have empathy for others rather than anger towards them.”

“The Centene job site hummed (or should I say hammered and blasted) along during the shut down without interference from high volume car traffic…As a result, I had more interaction with the workers in what I called my “live, interactive studio.” Covid gave me the time and space to become more experimental with my process and collaborate more with the workers.”

“Some of the tire marks embed deeply, others barely skim the surface. We are all asked to consider today: what’s our imprint on earth?  How lightly do we tread?”

George Nikolajevich

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

Architect George Nikolajevich started painting 3 years ago, a year before he retired as Design Principal at Cannon Design.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich  Above, A Street in Sayulita

In an email Nikolajevich said: “I have always been interested in form and color. When I was practicing architecture, I would use pen and ink, and sometimes watercolor. But now I am painting in oils.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich  A Street in Quebec CityNicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich  Nikolajevich’s oil painting of Mahalia Jackson.

Milo Duke

“I’ve been working on several projects; one that I call ‘Plague Paintings’ is inspired by the figure of the medieval plague doctor, whose bizarre costume was actually supposed to protect them–the PPE of the day. I see us all as “plague doctors,” some of us just trying to survive, others busily “doctoring,” effectively or not. I’ve used the MAGA thing ironically or hopefully, the viewer can decide.”Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich
Plague doctors sheltering in place and practicing social distancing, oil on panel, 16″ x 20.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

Plague doctors on Capitol Hill, oil on panel, 26″ x 26.”Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

Wall Street plague doctors, oil on panel, 16″ x 20.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Nancy Newman Rice Milo Duke Judith Shaw George Nikolajevich

Plague doctors reopening, oil on panel, 24″ x 24.”

Contact Duke for more information, milotwduke@gmail.com

Next up: Artists and the pandemic, Part II

It’s not the coronavirus that’s kept the CWE’s iconic “watering hole” dry

You may have assumed, as I did, that the fountain on Maryland Plaza was left empty this summer because it, like city parks, are a magnet that could have been a potential virus spreader. Just another notch in the summer that wasn’t—Movies on the Plaza,  The Cocktail Party on Euclid, 4th of July Kids & Pet Parade, etc.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Urban Gardens  Maryland Plaza CWEScene.com CWENorthCID

However, I learned recently that the cause in this instance isn’t due to COVID19 at all. Instead, after 15 years of operation, the fountain is undergoing extensive restoration to address leaks in the fountain reservoir and mechanical issues with the elaborate system of piping and jets that enable the elaborate displays we have all come to love. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Urban Gardens  Maryland Plaza CWEScene.com CWENorthCID

The $70,000 project cost is being funded by the CWE North Community Improvement District (CID). Word is that work is expected to wrap up next week, perhaps in time to allow a few weeks of operation before being shut down for winter, and installation of the traditional holiday tree in early December.

For information about the inner workings of the fountain visit a 2011 guest post by CWEnder David Strom here.