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Thursday, January 5, 2012

  Interview with legendary painter Irene Delka McCray at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Tell me about Teaching at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD).
Teaching is amazing. We (RMCAD) have the most amazing students.
I have been teaching here for 12 years, I started teaching in foundations and fine arts.
I usually teach life drawing in foundations and figure painting classes.

If you could tell your students one piece of advice what would you tell them?
To develop their skills in the direction of their imaginations.

Do you do demonstrations for your students when teaching?
No- I do not do many demonstrations but I show them how to mix colors and I help them with drawing the figures. I want them to paint the way they need to paint and not just copy me.
Do you like to listen to music when you paint?
 No. Sometimes I listen to NPR but I like silence.
                                                                                                                                                                       Photo by Peter Illig
What is the primary source for your paintings?
Philosophical writing. Also, a women’s artist dream group therapist has been extremely important.
I get ideas that interest me and come to me in visual form.

What is the subject matter of your paintings?

I have four different series: 
1: Body in cloth series. (These will be showing in February at the Center for Visual Art ) Click here for more information.

2: Archetypal work (Single way of human being-ness instead of what an individual looks like or is. The archetype stands for all humans.)

3: Portraits as fantasies, dreams, and obsessions. (might come about by talking with friends or asking question. I like to find out where their own imaginations go. Soul self as apposed to what they look like.)

4: Cloth series (upcoming at Sandra Phillips Gallery) I have never left the figure out before.
          click here to see information on upcoming show

Mid Possession
colored pencil & oil pastel  17 x 40 Inches

Would you paint someone’s portrait if they asked you?
I would consider painting a portrait if they asked but they would have to be open to my style of painting.
I would also consider dog portraits: they won’t instruct me on how to paint them.

What would you like people to take away from observing your pictures?
What I would like people to see in my work is something that I experience about being a human: wondering if there is a meaning. Connections between people and what the earth is, is what fascinates me. 
My artwork is not intended to be morbid, but more of a questioning. Looking into something of the actual physical self, and what other connection is.
I don’t paint about a certain time in society. I would prefer for them to be more universal. I’d prefer for them not to have a specific time and place.

How have you been able to influence so many students to become really successful artists?
I am not sure that I have anything to do with it. I really respect every artist’s own imagination. An example of one of my students was Jenny Morgan. She was an incredible student. She came in working really hard, paid attention and cared; she was very intense. 

I am so excited for the upcoming show Threads!  Irene Delka McCray and Barbara Groh's work have a very interesting dialogue. Hope you can check out the amazing exhibit! -Lisa