Tag Archives: Women Painters

Women In the Arts: Drawing New Boundaries

© Uriél Dana 2017

When I began my painting career artists did not have the luxury of the Internet. We sent slides to galleries and publishers, waiting weeks for our precious and expensive images to be returned in our self addressed and stamped return envelopes.

Women artists were not welcomed as they are today. Luckily, few knew if I was a male or female by my first name. It was a great advantage. By the time my work was accepted, galleries could not decline the art if they discovered I was a woman. It may seem ridiculous, but they were different times.

There has always been an underlying and widespread belief that women were not as good as men in the arts or there would be more of them in the history books. People often mistake the lack of visibility of women in the arts with women not being great artists.

Only now with restoration techniques and the global access of diligent art historians are we finding treasures created by women in the vaults of museums and churches. We are learning just how many creations of famous artists were in fact made by their wives and daughters. It is even believed that the ancient cave paintings around the world were likely painted by women.

Women in the past were rarely allowed to train in the arts. They were allowed to do pottery, weaving, and textile arts such as needlepoint but they were limited to still lifes or florals. They were also allowed to “create for love”, the original meaning of the world amateur.

These restrictions were because women were not allowed to look at the human body. (This was also a hurdle with women trying to become medical doctors). Drawing a man’s genitalia would quite literally make her an outcast for life.

When tight boundaries for women are removed they excel in all of the arts. Artemisia Gentileschi, the daughter of a painter, became the first woman member of the Accademia dell’Arte. (Unfortunately, she did so before her artist husband. We can imagine how much fun that was…)

Elisabeth Vigée LeBrun was the daughter of two artists and had royal patronage by the time she was 14. She painted royalty across Europe and Russia but became most known for painting Marie Antoinette and the French aristocracy. It was no picnic. She complains in her autobiography about having to work like a slave to pay for herself, her daughter, her teachers, the maid, a domestic, a carriage, a cook, a household, travel expenses and a husband fond of fancy dress.

In Holland, Judith Leyster was only allowed to study painting after her banker father went bankrupt. She not only bailed her father out financially with her talent, but she supported her whole family. To add insult to injury nearly every painting she did was misattributed to Frans Hals. The list goes on and on.

I was very fortunate to have an extended apprenticeship with one of the six originators of what came to known as California Visionary Art. Years later I married him. However, much like Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau, I had established my own art career before risking being in the shadow of another. Owning our own voice as an artist will keep us out of the shadows. We have the pens, the pencils, and the brushes to draw our own boundaries when it comes to being a woman in the arts.

Boundaries are rarely designed with a straight edge; they have nooks and crannies and soft areas. Each time I was able to get my foot in the door as a woman I left a shoe there to keep it open for another. Artists, male and female, need to nurture one another, not compete. Creativity does not flourish with a closed heart or mind.

It is said, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heals”. Being a woman artist in the 21st century is very much the same.

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Featured Image: Academy of Realist Art (ARA), Toronto, Canada.

Discrimination of Women In the Arts

In the arts, discrimination continues to be a major issue. Here are some stats from Guerrilla Girls West, the conscience of the art world.

90% of Art Models are Women.

65% of Art Students are Women.

20% of Art Faculty are Women.

Nearly half (45%) of all professional artists are Women.

In “blind” art competitions (where the juror does not know who did the work) the percentage of women artists accepted is consistently close to the percentage of women who enter the competitions.

Art Museums represent an average only 15% of women artists in curated (invitational) exhibits. Minority women .003%.

Only 4% of museum acquisitions are work done by women artists.

Gender clearly over rides quality when gender is known.

Here is a link to a short article I wrote on the world’s warped perception of women in the arts: Women in the Arts: Drawing New Boundaries.

Interview in Narrative Paths Journal

Uriél Danā

An eye opening interview with Bay Area fine artist Uriél Dana. Narrative Paths Journal is a literary magazine focussing on new philosophies and ideas.

You can read the full article here.

Writers Guild Foundation: Veterans Writing Project

Beginning  May 14, 2016,  I was chosen for a year’s tutelage with the Writers Guild Foundation in Beverly Hills. The Foundation is attached to the Writers Guild of America, who represent screenwriters & playwrights nationally.  I was fortunate enough to be one of only 50 people selected from applications that were received all across the US.

Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Project
Group photo of all the mentors & students on location in Beverly Hills. I’m the long haired blonde in the middle.

I can not express the gratitude I have for being part of the Writers Guild Foundation 2016 Veterans Writing Project. Two days alone was life changing, can’t look forward to what the rest of the year brings! Thank you Final Draft with gifting each participant with a one year subscription of Final Draft 9!

 

Featured Art: Central European Biennale, 2016

Bay Area fine artist Uriél Dana featured in the catalogue (in German) from the Central European Biennale heldin January 2016 in Austria at Castle Hubertendorf.   Uriél had 4 paintings listed in the book.

You can see more of her artwork here.

Featured Art: Studio Visit Magazine Winter 2015

Studio Visit Magazine Feature

Bay Area fine artist Uriél Dana is featured in the Winter Edition of Studio Visit Magazine, Volume 32. Her oil paintings are inspired by San Francisco’s nouveau cirque culture. Uriél has said, “These are not just people in costume but represent a rich array of human talents that incorporate theater, literature, aerobics, dance, poetry and above all, mystery.” Humor and whimsy are also added to brighten the mood for what many consider dark times.

“For over three decades I have been known as a surrealist painter. I have also been a practitioner of Tibetan Dream Yoga since childhood as a way to control a sleeping disorder. Surrealism is defined as the mixture of two realities not normally found side by side. These two paths are intimately intertwined for me. This is how I have lived my entire life.

In 2011 I consciously began to paint people I think of as “living surrealists”. These are real people reinventing new ways to see the world. I paint them to inspire others to unleash their creativity and as a reminder to all that we can create our own, positive reality.”

You can see more of her artwork here.