I paint stories from my life with unfettered embellishment. Some of my imagery is inspired by decades of practice as a registered nurse. I’ve developed a love for the human body including the internal landscape of rivers and grottos of fluids and secretions. At times I find visual beauty in disease and aesthetic poignancy in death.
Although several images correlate with the female experience, I do not consider this ‘woman’s art’ any more than paintings of war or sports are considered ‘men's art’. However, I feel that many aspects of our lives as women go unreported, and unharvested as subject matter - for examplemenstruation, pregnancy, lactation, are often bypassed.
Another challenge I give myself is to reveal the human form as beautiful without resorting to the common templates of conventional or even classical beauty.I try to achieve this by suffusing my figures with sublime emotion such as spiritual or sexual rapture or distorting anatomy so that it rides the boundary between the magnanimous and the impossible.
My mother used to say, “I like your pornography!” Actually my paintings were deemed “non-pornographic” by an erotic art dealer who proclaimed them to be "non-titillating.”My simple purpose is to reveal the aesthetic and emotional beauty of our intimate relating. Like a farmer in the field or a woman pouring milk from a pitcher, I hopethese portrayals may one day be thought of as standard genre painting.
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About Egg Tempera
My preferred medium is egg tempera. The yolk of an egg is mixed with powdered pigment, then brushed onto a wooden panel, which has been coated with a chalk/glue ground.I am enthralled with the sensuality of its handling and the optical effects that can be achieved. Egg tempera is known as a difficult medium that requires many hours of preparation, underpainting and glazing. I believe this effort supplies the traction and suffering I need to produce the pure and deep art that I strive towards.
Early Renaissance artists, such as Giotto and Giovanni Bellini are my stylistic mentors. Painting at a time when oil painting was not yet perfected, these artists bridged the era of the Byzantine icon and the High Renaissance.
Egg tempera is still practiced today by icon painters of the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches.The act of painting is considered an act of prayer and the completed icon is literally kissed by worshipers (to the frustration of later restorers). This sacred tradition dovetails precisely with my mission of sanctifying the body.
Arbrador has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S.A., including South Bend Regional Museum of Art (Indiana), Woman Made Gallery (Chicago), Wenatchee Valley College Art Gallery (Washington), and the Bade Museum of the Pacific School of Religion (California).
Arbrador won first place at the Anatriptic Arts Festival in 1992 (California) and at the Art and Healing exhibit at Artwest Gallery in 1997 (Wyoming).
In 1995 Arbrador created the lecture, "Botticelli's Forgotten Medium; Egg Tempera Past and Present," for presentation at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.
In 1998 Arbrador co-founded the Society of Tempera Painters, inspired by the original Society of Painters in Tempera (founded in 1901 in England).
Arbrador studied Egg Tempera with Koo Schadler, Dianne Mitchell and Christopher Castle, Classical Realism with David Hardy and Artistic Anatomy with Rob Anderson.