Winner Fine Arts Spring 2019 Scholarship Program: Maria Bueno

MARIA BUENO of Goodyear, Arizona is majoring in Painting at Arizona State University. She was awarded one of the two  Fine Arts Scholarships in the Spring 2019 Scholarship Program after submitting her watercolor “St. Anne’s Church in Molo, Illoilo City, Philippines”.

St. Anne's Church in Molo, Illoilo City, Philippines 21.75x14

“St. Anne’s Church in Molo, Illoilo City, Philippines” 2018 © Maria Bueno 21.75×14 Watercolor

Maria’s  goal is to work as a freelance Illustrator in magazines, newspapers, and books.

In her student statement she wrote: Right now, I work in a graphics position for State Press, ASU’s digital campus newspaper. I dedicate 8-10 hours every week for 2-4 header graphics that appear for the articles written by students. The topics that I interpret concern political events and opinions. Also, apart from my article graphics, the magazine has run two of my independent cartoons titled, “Historical Figures in College” and “Sparky Variation Challenge.”

I have interest in Byzantine iconography, political cartooning, caricature, character design, concept art, jewelry making, forensic art, and art history.

I look up to many historically significant artists including Gustave Dore, Edmund Dulac, Michelangelo, and John Singer Sargent. I admire Gustave Dore for his composition, beautiful technique, and storytelling application. My favorite Dore works are his etchings of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Like Dore, I also love Edmund Dulac for his composition, color, and storytelling. My favorite works of his are his illustrations of The Little Mermaid. I admire Michelangelo for his application of art to theology, rendering of the human figure, and philosophy of excellence in art. My favorite Michelangelo artwork is the Sistine Chapel where God gives life to Adam. I very much enjoy John Singer Sargent for his beautifully executed and composed portraits and landscapes. These artists are my ‘heroes.’

A large portion of my independent body of work regards fairy tales and myths, stories of relationships, and parodies of historical figures. I have had one show at Stark Gallery in Phoenix and have also done chalk performance art for the City of Goodyear.

By the end of my career, I hope to benefit society by inspiring my audience to see art as more than just an impractical indulgence.

Winner Art History/Museum Studies Spring 2019 Scholarship Program: Ann Hewitt

ANN HEWITT of Fairfield, Massachusetts is majoring in Museum Studies, Anthropology, and Ancient Studies at Mt Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She is pursuing a Museum Nexus as well as as a double major in Ancient Studies (an interdepartmental major between Art History, Classics and History departments) and Anthropology. She wrote: “This semester thanks to the Laurel fellowship from Mount Holyoke College, the Norman Woodberry Scholarship for Study Abroad from the World Affairs Forum, and the Ismene Phylactopoulou Memorial Scholarship, I am studying abroad at College Year Athens in Greece. To live in Europe for three months and to have class in museums and walk amongst monuments I have only seen in photographs has been life changing. It has also given me new perspectives and has strengthened my resolve to continue in the museum field after graduation and to begin a PhD program in Art History.”

Applicants wrote essays in response to the following statement: During their extensive travels in Mexico, Frederic and Eileen Whitaker often painted similar subject matter. Compare their approaches using the two paintings – “The Fruit Market” by Frederic Whitaker and “Se Venden Naranjas” by Eileen Monaghan Whitaker. 

The Fruit Market and Se Venden Naranjas

(Left) Se Venden Naranjas 1975 © Eileen Monaghan Whitaker 22×30 inches Watercolor   (Right) The Fruit Market 1969 © Frederic Whitaker 22×30 inches Watercolor

Ann’s essay: 

By comparing the approaches of Frederic Whitaker’s “The Fruit Market “ (1969) with Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s “Se Venden Naranjas”(1975) we are given tremendous insight into their individual visions of the world. While Frederic Whitaker’s watercolor gives us sense of place, Eileen Monaghan painting gives us humanity.

Frederic Whitaker painted a vibrant view of a “tianguis”, the traditional weekly open air market, where the heart of Mexican culture beats. These itinerant markets held in designated public places are setup and taken down in the course of a day. In rural communities the market is an event not to be missed because apart from providing the local population with food, it is an opportunity to socialize with others.

The painting is divided into two parts; the top third direct us visually to the markets white and grey awnings which highlight the scene. Between this space we notice on the left a dark green and brownish canopy of trees which contrasts with the turquoise sky emerging from cloud cover on the right. Below is a long dark stuccoed roof of a building upon which part of the awning is fastened. The composition on the lower part of the painting is a figurative scene which begins at the left corner with a woman in traditional dress, holding a basket over her right arm, entering the market place and following the direction of two other woman in front of her. Frederic Whitaker paints from the vantage point of someone observing the market and watching people enter and follow this path to the background of the composition where the majority of men and women are assembled.

We can almost smell the piles of pineapples and oranges in front of the vendors and hear the sounds of the people walking by. Frederic Whitaker captures the markets ambient mood through grey and rose color shadows cast by people, fruit, and the awnings and through his use of perspective he conveys the intimate atmosphere. This is especially noticeable in the way he reduced the area of the figurative scene by painting all of the action – the buyers and sellers of fruit and 30 loose sketches of shoppers- underneath the large white awning. This canopy is supported by of rope scaffolding, corners stretched and affixed to something unshown. Frederic Whitaker painted 4 ties that hang on sides of the awning – their function to tie up after its use for storage. The figures primarily seen from the back, ¾ , and side view move the viewers eyes along the scene. Frederic Whitaker’s use of color, both warm and cooler tones, balances the picture. The browns in the pineapple skins match the dress of the woman who is an orange vendor and the stucco roof, just as the turquoise color of the sash of the woman entering the market is repeated on blouse on a woman in front of her and on the skirt of a woman approaching from the other direction, dark shirt of a man in the market and lead up to turquoise sky.

Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s painting shares many of the warm colors that are seen in her husbands painting. But unlike his work, where there is little expression, her painting exhibits empathy, revealing the souls of the characters she portrays. She gives us an understanding of the life of indigenous woman in a rural Mexico who sell the oranges in the market. The days are long and tiresome, only one basket has been sold and another is half empty.Two woman positioned one in front of the other, sit with their legs outstretched. The woman in front, depicted from the side is older and is perhaps the mother. Her greyish long hair is braided and wrapped around her head. Her skin is weathered and her expression appears to be resigned to her fate as she gazes off into the distance. Behind her a daughter who has a look of acceptance on her face, while a younger girl on her left seems to questioning why? The difficulty of their lives contrasts with the beautiful way the composition is depicted the rich colors beiges, reds, oranges and blues belie the harshness of their lives.

Winner Spring 2019 Fine Arts Scholarship: Samantha Packer

SAMANTHA PACKER of Pringle, Pennsylvania, is majoring in Fine Arts and Art History at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Her watercolor ” Noah” won one of the two Fine Arts Scholarships in the Spring 2019 Scholarship Program. 

"Noah" 2018 © Samantha Packer 7x8 inches Watercolor

“Noah” 2018 © Samantha Packer 7×8 inches Watercolor

She wrote in her student statement: As a dual major in Fine Arts and Art History, I am interested in both the process of making art and the study of those who have made an impact on the world of art. I am a painting major at Kutztown University, with a strong interest in watercolor and hope to continue exploring the intricacies of this medium. My deepest interest lies in the outdoors, and I have begun to incorporate this love into some of my work. I am also fascinated by the human body. The works I have included in this portfolio focus on my exploration of the delicate colors and textures of the human skin, with the inclusion of tattoos. These paintings allow me to paint realistic skin and make the tattoos seem as if they are a part of the body, not just laying on top. This process has been quite the challenge for me, with some failures and problem solving. With watercolor, I am learning how to deal with mistakes in a medium which is often unfixable.

Watercolor, like many other activities, has a long learning curve. I began working in the medium in fourth grade, taught by a teacher whose specialty was watercolor. As I progressed to high school, I began teaching children aged 5-13 at a private studio. I believe teaching students how to paint in watercolor helped my own practice immensely, as I had to push myself to be able to explain how to best manipulate the paint. After a two year hiatus from which was spent working mainly in oil, returning to watercolor has been an interesting challenge. Remembering back to the basic lessons I taught my students has helped me to be patient in regaining the feel for the ratio of water to pigment, being more careful in saving highlighted areas, and how to solve the problems that arise.

This series of tattoo paintings is ongoing and I would love to one day have amassed a professional body of work which could be shown in a gallery. For an art student, scholarships are invaluable to our ability to continue buying the supplies we need to progress in the art world.

Honorable Mention Fine Art Spring 2019 Scholarship Program: Allison Boyle

Both of the students receiving an honorable mention commendation in the Spring 2019 Fine Arts Scholarship program are studying Illustration at Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s alma mater – Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. 

"After A Long Day" 2018 © Allison Boyle 12x18 inches

“After A Long Day” 2018 © Allison Boyle 12×18 inches

ALLISON BOYLE of Stow, Massachusetts is majoring in Illustration at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts. She received an Honorable Mention Commendation in Fine Arts in the Spring 2019 Whitaker Foundation Scholarship Program. In her student statement she wrote: I love using watercolor to create my illustrations. It’s currently my strongest and go-to medium. My goals for art are to background paint and do concept art for movies and shows; as well as becoming a muralist. I am also considering getting my masters in teaching. My interest for mural painting comes from wanting my art to beautify cities. Though, I not painting murals yet I do enjoy giving to different communities with programs like Habitat for Humanity. I hope to make the lives of everyone who sees my murals more positive; if only for the moment they taking in the imagery. I love attempting realism and am also interested in distorted reality and surrealism. My work is full of bright colors, realism, and expressive mark making.

Honorable Mention Art History/Museum Studies Spring 2019 Scholarship Program – Sidney Petrunich

SIDNEY PETRUNICH of Brownsburg, Indiana received honorable mention in the Art History/Museum Studies category of the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarship Program. She is a student majoring in Art History at Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Applicants wrote essays in response to the following statement: During their extensive travels in Mexico, Frederic and Eileen Whitaker often painted similar subject matter. Compare their approaches using the two paintings – “The Fruit Market” by Frederic Whitaker and “Se Venden Naranjas” by Eileen Monaghan Whitaker. 

The Fruit Market and Se Venden Naranjas

(Left) Se Venden Naranjas 1975 © Eileen Monaghan Whitaker 22×30 inches Watercolor   (Right) The Fruit Market 1969 © Frederic Whitaker 22×30 inches Watercolor


Sidney Petrunich’s essay

Looking at these two artworks, the strong connection between Frederic and Eileen Whitaker is heavily apparent in their depictions of Mexican life and culture. While their approaches to the two individual paintings may look different, they show a similar goal of capturing human energy and form.

When looking at Frederic Whitaker’s “The Fruit Market”, it is easy to assume that he was depicting his subject matter in a more active style than Eileen. The slight sketchiness in the outlining of those visiting the market, the extreme detail in some facial features and the lack of in others, as well as the loose brush marks seen in the sky and fabric make this painting easily interpretable as perhaps an echo of Post-Impressionism, reminiscent of the lively brush strokes and textural markings seen in the late nineteenth century.

It should be noted; however, that while this painting may look as though Mr. Whitaker had instantly captured the activities of the buzzing fruit market, much of this painting was probably pre-planned as there seems to be a lack of underdrawings beneath the water color. Further, the division of the painting shows a large amount of preparation. The background, middleground, and foreground are well-portrayed. Frederic uses the sky and fabric to depict the background, the a bustling crowd viewing and picking fruit for the middleground, and the foreground consists of a triangular formation of pineapples and a lone fruit seller. In contrast, Eileen Whitaker’s “Se Venden Naranjas”, which roughly translates to “orange sellers”, lacks the planar division seen in Mr. Whitakers work and shows underdrawings present beneath the figures and in the background. Markings showing vase placements and figure outlines never fully painted are seen behind the women figures within the painting. It should be stated that one of Eileen’s orange sellers, the one which is seated with a blanket over her lap, is like Frederic’s fruit seller in the foreground of his piece. This may indicate that while they portrayed differing depictions of the fruit market, they may have been viewing the same scene when painting. This may be why Eileen’s painting shows faded figure outline behind the women figures present in “Se Venden Naranjas”.

Unlike Frederic’s “The Fruit Market”, Eileen’s watercolor depiction of the fruit seller’s focuses on capturing the intimacy of the women, who seem to be closely related to each other and are more than likely from the same family. Mrs. Whitaker intends to capture the quietness and solemnity of the outer edges of the fruit market. While Eileen’s painting uses similar loose brushstrokes and outlining techniques as her husband, she illustrates much more detail in the physical features of her subjects and the quality of fabric and baskets seen on and around the women. Her naturalistic portrayal of the women allows her to capture the gravitas of the human form and energy between the women, and the subtle sobriety present in the moment.

In conclusion, while their artworks focus on separate subjects within the crowded markets of Mexico, their approach to capturing their subject matter and energy show not only their individual take on watercolor depictions. Frederic and Eileen Whitaker’s portrayal of their subject matter contain similar drawing tactics, shading practices, and textural markers. Their use of loose brush strokes when capturing energy, their interest in emotion and feeling in their art, and the similar presentation of the fruit seller seen in the lower portion of Frederic’s painting in comparison with Eileen’s orange sellers all portray their communication and sharing of ideas while working. Their individual approaches to painting render their relationship with one another, and their sharing of ideas and practices within their art.

Honorable Mention Fine Art Spring 2019 Scholarship Program: Elizabeth Ogle

Both of the students receiving an honorable mention commendation in the Spring 2019 Fine Arts Scholarship program are studying Illustration at Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s alma mater – Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. 

"The Writer's Boudoir" 2018 © Elisabeth Boudoir 10x20 inches

“The Writer’s Boudoir” 2018 © Elisabeth Ogle 10×20 inches Watercolor

ELIZABETH OGLE of Boston, Massachusetts  was honored for her watercolor “The Writer’s Boudoir”. She is majoring in Illustration. She plans on working at a publishing house, and after a few years, move into freelance work as an illustrator and cover designer for both children’s and adult literature.

She wrote in her student statement: Watercolor is by far my favorite medium to work in. To me, its luminescence demands that the artist observe and translate the subject matter as light. Working in watercolor, particularly from observation, has helped me to progress as a painter and as an illustrator by encouraging this mode of seeing. I love the way that watercolor preserves the texture of the paper beneath, lending the illustration a kind of “grain.” Many of my illustrations are highly detailed, and with watercolor, I can showcase that detail with crisp precision. I sometimes enjoy using touches of colored pencil and/or pigma microns for such details, and appreciate the way that watercolor lends itself to combination with dry media.

I am a bookmaker as well as an illustrator, and I often use watercolor for the illustrations in my books. I recently designed, illustrated, and bound a book with five original watercolor illustrations depicting Homer’s The Odyssey, the pages of which, when spread flat, form the shape of a Greek key. I presented this project at last year’s Undergraduate Research Conference at UMass Amherst.For the past three years, I have been working on a novel and character illustrations which focus on humanism and the empowerment of women. I hope to complete the manuscript (with watercolor illustrations) before I graduate, and to publish the book with a good publishing house.

Jessica Worthey receives an Honorable Mention Commendation in the Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Art History Scholarship program

Jessica Worthey, a student at Tarrant County College, was awarded an Honorable Mention commendation for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Art History Fall 2018 Scholarship Program. Her hometown is Fort Worth, Texas. The essay writer was asked to describe the differences in the way watercolor artists Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker approached architecture.

The two watercolors used as examples in the essay question were Frederic’ Whitaker’s Baroque Façade, 1968 and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s Horton Plaza, 1980s.

Her essay: 

Frederic and Eileen Whitaker are both accomplished representational watercolorists, especially with their works with architecture. Though both worked with architectural subjects, each artist possesses a vastly different style of rendering and defining these constructs from one another.

To begin, Frederic Whitaker’s Baroque Façade possesses a more classical approach when it comes to depicting architecture in Fine Art. The artist excels at interpreting the finest details that supply the work superb dimension, truly defining the most intricate and defining features that give life to something most people find rigid and stale. The richness of the colors used, especially so with the deep dusty blue sky that lifts the foreground into focus, grab the viewer’s attention and pull them in into discovering all of the ornate details the building has to offer. The brightness of the tree in the very front also aids in this focusing of the building as well, as it helps to alleviate the overwhelming presence the building could have as it takes up the majority of the piece, and also works to center and solidify the position of the façade itself as one in between the two rich colors.

One detail in particular that caught my eye, as it most likely did to others as well, was the subtle hint of blue in the concave cavity of the rose window and the dark blue the window holds itself. This pop of color led me to other features around the window: the deep green shadows surrounding the sun-like disk feature, leading my eye up and around to the hints of bright green defining where the sculptures defined themselves from the cornice-like structure of the façade, and eventually to the top where the flat of the building was colored with earthy red hues, which caught my attention by being complimentary to the greens I had just seen. All of these pops of color are appealing to viewers, as buildings do not inherently bear these hues and can be seen, as I mentioned before, as stale. These subtleties in the change of color in which Frederic Whitaker defined the building’s façade of complex Baroque architecture is still realistic and gives the work as a whole a stated presence to the viewer, all while being stylistic to Whitaker’s tastes and appeal.

The Baroque style is known for its dramatic presence in the art world, especially present in the variety and stark contrasts with lights and shadows. This intensity is not lost with Whitaker’s rendition and it is clear the artist wanted to keep true to the original craftsmanship of the building, and he did so by vividly enhancing the many defining features, especially so in the main focus of Baroque Façade, including the tympanum, the rose window, and ornate sculptures that lie above the main portal into the building. Whitaker aimed to enhance the beauty that was already present, rather than morphing the subject into an artificial spectacle.

While Frederic Whitaker’s depiction of architecture is based on staying true to the composition of said architecture while making the subject more appealing to viewers, Eileen Whitaker’s approach to the same subject is much more stylized and even abstract.

In her piece Horton Plaza, Eileen disassociates the façade of the building with all other architectural and infrastructural features that may surround it. The building is only encompassed by fading and blended patches of color: a light blue wash above the top, possibly implying the presence of the sky, and light earthy red washes along the right, left, and below the building, most likely suggesting the presence of other buildings and terrain. Even so, there is little sense of solid space, as the wall depicted has no defined edges on the bottom or on either side, essentially freeing the wall of feeling stagnant or solid, characteristics that are typically associated with architecture. Earthy brown colors are used for the interior past the arches which exude feelings of warmth and security, which contrasts the vibrant and dark exterior that can be interpreted colder which pushes the structure out and suggests a feeling of space. Even with the prominent placement of the street lamp in the foreground, the lamp trails off to fade away at the same place the building does, so while the lamp gives the viewer a sense of where the building is placed in space, it is not concrete. Due to the way the artist created the wall, which can be described as free-willed and fluid, the subject becomes organic in a way that allows more human interpretations, such as feelings and emotions, to the work.

In this way, Horton Plaza is personable and lively in a way the actual structure cannot be. The use of colors is tactical, as Whitaker only uses very few varieties, including black, yellow, brown, red, and blue. With the limited use of colors, the expectation for the outcome of the piece would be one that is, again, stale. The ways she manipulated the watercolors is what gives her artwork life; the ill-structured and fading strokes of watercolor coupled with the sporadic lines of splashed paint across and around the subject give so much character to the already nontraditionally painted building. Through her methods, it is assumed that the feelings produced by the architecture, such as excitement and warmth, were experienced at the actual site and reproduced into the work presented. Horton Plaza is almost ethereal in this way, almost as if it is otherworldly because of the fluidity and personified character she granted to the work. The way Eileen Whitaker depicts her architectural subjects is exciting, carefree, and abstract in that she does not let the typical structural norms that come along with architecture define or take over her work.

Hailey Thrasher receives Honorable Mention for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Scholarship program

Hailey Thrasher, a student at Jacksonville University, was awarded an Honorable Mention commendation for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Art History Fall 2018 Scholarship Program. Her hometown is Anderson, South Carolina. The essay writer was asked to describe the differences in the way watercolor artists Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker approached architecture.

The two watercolors used as examples in the essay question were Frederic Whitaker’s Baroque Façade, 1968 and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s Horton Plaza, 1980s.

Her essay: 

Each artist carves out a certain style for himself over the course of his career that makes his paintings wholly unique. His body of work takes on a distinguishable and iconic style, much the same way that handwriting is entirely unique to every individual. Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker were both known for their paintings of architecture. However, they each approached this subject matter in very different ways.


In “Baroque Facade,” Frederic Whitaker takes a very calculated, formalized approach. His color palette is limited, relying mostly on shades of gray, brown, or blue to define his surfaces. He builds his colors slowly, layer upon layer–starting barely more than transparent and gradually building more pigment into the painting. However, through his many layers of watercolor, Frederic Whitaker never loses the hallmark lumosity of the medium.


This is indicative of many hours spent honing his skills and knowledge as an artist. Further evidence of his background as an artist is found in his linework. His lines are extremely crisp, and, if one looks closely, one can even make out the faint markings of his linework underneath the watercolors.


“Baroque Facade” is a highly detailed, tonal study of light and shadow. With this light and shadow he depicts depth. The viewer is able to distinguish foreground from background. In this space, Frederic Whitaker seems to inject a somber reverence, as if all life ceases simply to worship this structure. Frederic Whitaker takes great care to preserve every painstaking detail of the architecture. Every acanthus leaf, filigree, projection, and recession is captured.


The building is large and takes up most of the paper, save for a small tree in front. His choice to make the architecture this prodigious commands respect from the viewer as well. Furthermore, the sky in the background is quite dark and verges on being ominous. This adds not only a unifying theme of color to the piece, but also another indication that this building is larger and more prestigious than human life.


Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s approach in “Horton Plaza” is vastly different. Her piece is less structured, but no less thoughtful. Where her husband studied light and shadow, she examines color and the voice it gives to a painting. She makes her entire painting with mostly primary colors. One can make out her wild uses of cerulean, crimson, and a golden rust. Her vibrant colors bleed together, as do her foreground and background. In her wet-on-wet technique, the viewer discovers a mottling of the aforementioned colors. Dribbles of red, blue, and rust cover the paper in implied lines. She directs the viewer in diagonals across the page, stopping at areas of light and human life. These implied lines suggest movement or activity.


Her colors are not the only vibrant part of her painting–so is the atmosphere. Where “Baroque Facade” is devoid of the human form, “Horton Plaza” is teeming with life. One can make out the delicate human forms carefully perched under the archways.


Unlike her husband, she places much more importance on the human forms, rather than the structure itself. Her architecture is unhinged from the rest of the work. It floats in the middle of the page with only her abstract splashes of color and a small lamppost to consume the negative space. Her loose brushstrokes imply her painting was conducted hurriedly, as if to preserve a quickly passing moment in history.


Frederic Whitaker commands respect, whereas Eileen Monaghan Whitaker invites the viewer to indulge in the great contrast of colors and take in the life that is happening around.


“Horton Plaza” is a celebration of the brevity and fullness that is human life.In Frederic Whitaker’s “Baroque Facade” and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s “Horton Plaza,” both artists approach architecture as a subject matter. Both artists also use their academic backgrounds to skillfully carry out these paintings.


Frederic Whitaker applies his knowledge and skill to carefully depicting the captivating light and shadow and quiet awe for the structure.


On the other hand, Eileen Monaghan Whitaker uses her hours of practice and skill to study the deep connection between color and the range of human emotion. She makes full use of her palette with a loose brush to indicate a rushed enthusiasm, as if she is capturing a setting sun.


Each artist went to great lengths to push the boundaries of his or her work. Decades later, one is still able to discern the defining characteristics that set Frederic Whitaker’s “Baroque Facade” apart from Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s “Horton Plaza” as simply and easily as if one was comparing handwriting.

Logan Magee receives Honorable Mention for Whitaker Art Foundation 2018 Fall Scholarship program

Logan Magee, a student at The New School, has received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Fine Art Scholarship program for her watercolors, Celestial Body 1 and Celestial Body 2. Logan, whose hometown is New Orleans, Louisiana won a $2,000 Whitaker Foundation scholarship in 2017.

In her artist statement she wrote:  

Celestial Body 2, 2017, 8″x10″, watercolor, Logan Magee

This past school year was my first year in college, at The New School, to study at Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. Upon moving to a new city, a new school, with new people, I promised myself to stay true to myself during a time of immense change. While being handed stacks of projects every week, in each assignment I made an effort to find some truth about my own art, or rather, to learn a new way to design my truth.

Second semester, after dealing with issues sourcing from homelife, I began exploring my emotions and my body in a way that I felt I could universalize for others to relate to. I am a highly empathic being. When I think of the emotional content I discuss in my work, I’m inadvertently made to understand that others experience some of the same feelings. When I think of visual motifs I use, I know that others will see a piece of themselves reflected in it in some way. Therefore, anytime I search for an answer to something in myself, I also feel that I gain an understanding of how other people work.

What I explore in my art is questions of being. Recently, I have produced multiple pieces on the concept of space, and whose bodies are allowed to take up space. This idea spurned from my own experiences in going to art college, in which I was often the only person of color or black student in my classes. I felt that my presence in the class was exemplary of the little space given to black people both in higher education and in the art world. I felt small. Throughout the year, I thought about how systematically, some bodies are not given the same amount of space, either socially or physically, as other bodies. In the pieces submitted for the Whitaker and Monaghan scholarship, I explored this concept of space in regard to feminine bodies.

I explored this idea through the lens of fashion, and how fashion advertisements tend to make women look smaller. Not only that, but the women shown are usually white, cisgendered, and skinny. To subvert this gender hegemony, I produced two watercolor images of femme-identifying people of color, in poses that are open and wide compared to the restraining poses women are usually displayed in. I also had both models wear puffer jackets, which are articles of clothing that are non-gender specific and consume a large amount of space. I felt that the puffer jacket was the perfect clothing item to serve as the antithesis for the limited space given to mainstream models.

In the future, I would like to continue to explore space as a social construct. I would also like to create more works about emotion and physical state, within myself and larger populations. Being in New York has allowed me to delve into these concepts in an expansive environment, and I believe being in the city has benefitted me overall. Receiving the Whitaker and Monaghan scholarship would be extremely helpful to my staying in the city, as I am no longer receiving financial help from my father, and would not like to burden my mother with extra costs. I was fortunate enough to receive the award last year, and it greatly supported my school project expenditure, as well as books and supplies. For that, I am deeply grateful, and give many thanks to the Foundation for being a big part of my first year in college.

Lauren Taylor Coney receives Honorable Mention in Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Fine Art Scholarship Program

Lauren Taylor Coney, a student at Ringling College of Art and Design, received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Fine Art Scholarship program for her watercolor, Tea House. Her hometown is Newburgh, Indiana.  In her artist statement she wrote: 

Lauren Taylor Coney watercolor Tea House 2017

Tea House, 2017, 8.5″x11″, Lauren Taylor Coney

I attend Ringling College of Art and Design in hopes that I will be able to succeed in my dreams of being a professional artist one day. It has always been my dream to do so and I haven’t slowed down in my studies and experimentation yet. Not only do I spend from 8:30 usually around 2:30 a.m. working on nothing but improving in my artwork, but I also am a Student Ambassador and work events for my school for 2 years now as well as a club leader for 2 years who works and manages everything for a non-profit project I do for the Lazarus Program called the Veteran’s Portrait Project. During this project, we do portraits of local veteran’s in the Fall and then in the Spring semester, we hang them in a gallery show called the “Art of Bravery” show on Veteran’s Day and afterwards, donate the portraits to the veteran’s themselves.

I also was an Orientation leader last year and won the “Outstanding Leaders Award” given out by my school. I am also apart of my school’s student government and work about 8 hours or more a week in our school’s woodshop. I work very hard to be towards the top of my classes and have a very well standing in my school with the students and teachers.I of course do other things besides art, like sightseeing and spending time with friends, but there’s not a time when I’m not thinking about art or being inspired. Even in high school, even though mine did not have specific focuses like some, I took almost every art class my school had to offer and was involved in every art-related activity I could find. Rather it be my high school’s theatre productions that I helped manage backstage for, creating the tickets for the productions, or even just painting simple posters to announce upcoming spirit days, I had to be apart of them.

My dream is to one day be featured on the cover of a New Yorker, but what artist’s isn’t? I lean more towards graphic design and picture books rather than anything else, but I really enjoy a beautiful day out landscape painting, because what is more inspiring that the world around you?

My dream job would probably either be working for the company Illumination (who created movies like Despicable Me, Minions, Life of Pets, etc.) or freelancing for magazines because it’s always the illustration that prompts me to read an article or not and if it’s a popular magazine, my art will be showed to thousands. I also would like to come out with a children’s book one day and have it be some child’s favorite that they always keep for later on when they can read it to their own kids because I still have mine that I’m saving and I just find that to be so special, and I want to give that special experience to someone like the artists that I have gave to me.

I have a lot of high hopes and dreams, but they all have one thing in common and that’s art. I can’t see myself ever doing anything else unless it involves art. It’s been my passion ever since I can remember and I don’t see myself loving anything else as much as I do art.