Discovering, 2005, Egg tempera and gold leaf, 30x40”
These four narrative paintings were inspired by a trip to Tokyo during my sabbatical leave from teaching. In the region
where my son worked, I saw lacey contemporary architecture against a rose exhibition that provided the context for these
Accepting, 2005, Egg tempera and gold leaf, 30x40”
I liked the juxtaposition of Nature and Man. Within this arena, figures metaphorically express the human
conditions of discovering, accepting, longing, and moving-on.
Longing, 2005, Egg tempera and gold leaf, 30x40”
Support for this project is gratefully acknowledged to Ball State University for a 2004-05 Special Leave and a
2004 Creative Arts Grant, to the Vermont Studio Center for a 2005 Residency Fellowship, and to the Indiana Arts Commission
for a 2005 Grant.
Moving-on, 2005, Egg tempera and gold leaf, 30x40”
Tokyo Forever (six panels) Watercolor
180 degree panorama of the Opening Reception
(to use, hold down your mouse and drag.
To zoom in and zoom out click on '+' and '-' on the lower left)
Special Thanks -
This activity is made possible in part by the Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency,
with funds from the Indiana General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts
Derwenskus to present lecture on ancient technique in sabbatical project (11/4/2005)
Gold leaf and rich blue lapis lazuli adorn the ceiling of the Scrovengni Chapel in Padova, Italy — a striking color combination
that stimulated Ball State art professor Marilynn Derwenskus in creating her sabbatical project last fall. Inspired by Giotto, the
artist who painted Scrovengni's magnificent ceiling, and the medieval technique of egg tempera painting, Derwenskus set out last fall
to learn the techniques and update the approach for the 21st century.
The results of Derwenskus' sabbatical are on display through Dec. 27 on the first floor of Bracken Library and will be augmented by a
slide lecture at 4 p.m. Nov. 10 in room 225 of the library. The lecture, entitled "Giotto and Derwenskus: Lapis and Gold Leaf,"
will explain the conceptual impetus for the project, as well as why and how the painting materials were selected.
"For the last five years, I devoted most of my creative energy to egg tempera research," Derwenskus said. "I studied the technique
independently and in the summer of 2003 attended a tempera and gold leaf workshop in France, where I learned skills that directly
contributed to my sabbatical work."
The Indiana Arts Commission helped Ball State fund the purchase of costly lapis lazuli and 14 karat gold leaf, which made the project
possible. Derwenskus followed traditional tempera technique, which calls for mixing finely ground pigments with fresh egg yolks and
distilled water. For a 21st century twist, she used a large sable brush that leaves visible brush strokes and reveals the history of
the painting process. The traditional method uses small, crosshatched strokes that are virtually invisible on the completed painting.
"The four paintings in my exhibition were inspired by a trip to Tokyo to visit my son and his family," Derwenskus added. "It is a
narrative collection, which speaks of his family's impending move from Tokyo to Honolulu."
The paintings, entitled "Discovering," "Accepting," "Longing" and "Moving-on," tell this story while illustrating the juxtaposition of
contemporary buildings and a rose exhibition Derwenskus saw near her son's Tokyo office.
Derwenskus received her master's degree in painting from the University of Chicago in 1988 and came to teach at Ball State shortly
thereafter. She has mentored Honors College Fellows since 1995 and has received numerous grants, honors and awards for her work.