Edge of Faith May 2017 - Page 36

Melissa Weinman AOF: Melissa, thank you for taking the time to spend with us. Maybe you could start by just telling the readers a little bit about yourself. WEINMAN: I grew up in my mother’s painting studio. She also had a ceram- ic studio. In the beginning, it was more like molded ceramics and then she got heavily involved in paint- ing, and then later on, she actually became a potter. So we had kilns and wheels and easels and paints and all that stuff around when I was grow- ing up. I want to credit my mother with shaping my vision, to a certain extent. When you are a small child, things are pointed out to you and labelled. My moth- er would point things out and just sort of marvel at the beautiful and natural phenom- ena. Because of her, I grew to understand my world in visual terms. It is really quite a bless- ing. I grew up with an artist mother and I went to high school and took a few art courses. It was more like independent study because my art teacher was a wres- tling coach and that’s pretty typical of the midwest where I grew up in rural Minnesota. I had the privilege of going off to college at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. There I had some really great art instruction from Joseph Nicoletti and Gerard Hegarty and it was really wonder- ful because a lot of these guys were taught by abstract expressionists. At Bowdoin, they were teaching us to paint and draw from observation. We actually got to learn to draw the figure. You can imagine, in college, some of my favorite artists might have been Lucian Freud and David Hockney. I loved painting and draw- ing the figure. While I was at college, I had this opportunity my junior year to go to Princeton University, as a special language student because I had a double major in creative visual arts and Chinese studies. I went to Princeton to study classical Chinese among other things. I Southern California to study paint- ing and print-making under Ruth Weisberg, who was a visiting artist at Bowdoin. I fell in love with Southern California and the LA art scene; but of course, when you get your M.S.A. then you’re all set to start teaching at a college somewhere. I started apply- ing for college teaching jobs, and my first one was at the University of Richmond in Virginia. And then I, this is all happening in my twenties now, married and moved to New York City and lived in a loft in Brooklyn and painted for a while and then I ended up teaching for a short stint at University of Maryland Baltimore County. Then, in my thirties, I came out to the Pacific Northwest where I taught at the University of Puget Sound for fourteen years and left in 2004 as a full professor. I think around 2010, I started teaching part-time at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, which was a perfect fit for me because they call it “cla ssical train- ing for the contemporary artist,” and with my realist style and my inter- est in the figure, I fit right in there. So, I taught anatomy for the artist and foundation drawing classes and painting classes and things like that. Which brings me sort of to where I am now, teaching solvent-free oil painting to adults in my own studio in Reston, Washington. That the beauty that I see around me is really God’s love in physical form. So, whether it’s the figure, or whether it’s the flowers, or the fruit, or the landscape or whatever, I really paint because I want to reveal that — His incarnation — in some started painting with Arthur Cohen and Howard Buckwald there. What was great about studying at Princeton was that it was so close to New York City. Up at Bowdoin, I was in Maine, but at Princeton, I could just hop on the train on a Saturday and go into the city and look at art galleries and hang out in Chinatown and try out my Chinese, which was kind of a miserable failure because they speak Cantonese mostly down there and I was learning Beijing Fa or Peking dialect. I finally graduated college and went off to the University of It sounds like you’ve had an interest- ing career and gotten to see a lot of the United States. The Tree of Life 36 • The Art of Faith Magazine • www.aofmag.com The Art of Faith Magazine • www.aofmag.com • 37