I am a native of New Orleans. I studied studio art at the University of Texas at Austin were I earned a BA in Fine Arts (Studio Art) and a BA in Liberal Arts (French). I have more than 25 years of experience as a visual art educator in local parochial, private and public schools in New Orleans, where I was also involved in visual art curriculum development. I currently hold the title of Director of the Visual Arts Program at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and the Art Teacher at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I serve on the Educational Advisory Board at NOMA and am a guest artist with YAYA, Inc., working with teenage YAYA Artists at the Studio. I also serve on the Board of Directors of YAYA, Inc. In addition to being a visual arts educator, I have continued to pursue my own art and exhibits locally.
Artist + Rebecca Birtel Madura
Describe your art in three words. Abstract, organic, colorful
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work? My paintings reflect my continuing exploration of the relationship between representation and imagination through our often detached relationship with nature. Living is a vibrant, historical urban neighborhood provides many sources for creative exploration.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece? I often refer to my sketches, which sometimes have grow out of "doodles". I take pictures of anything that I find interesting from a plant to a pile of debris on the side of the road. Usually it is just a small portion of a drawing or image the draws me in and seems to demand that I explore it.
Where do you draw inspiration? My inspiration comes from my surroundings. I find inspiration in unexpected places-- especially in the mundane, debris and decay, and the unintentional.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus? Richard Diebenkorn, the abstract expressionist associated with the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the mid-20th century ,is my favorite painter. I find inspiration in the beauty of how he uses line and approaches the edges or the spaces between things.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art? When not in my studio or teaching art classes, I can be found at home - working in my garden, cooking, sewing and spending time with my family and when the weather is nice- enjoying my porches.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? I love late afternoons in March and early mornings in October. That's usually when New Orleans weather is ideal. I also love anytime it's raining.
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
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