Feb 5, 2008

Professor's 'Passages in Portrait' watercolor reveals family history

by Amanda Sullivan
For many students, art is simply a form of beauty meant for admiration, but for Sandra Day Slayton, art is a form of inspiration and personal reflection. Slayton garnered her inspiration from her family and the trials they endured. Her exhibit, Passages in Portrait, is a representation of her life story. The exhibit opens Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Slayton is an Assistant Professor of Communications at Liberty University. She has worked for Liberty since 1999 and has a Masters in Graphic Design from the University of Michigan as well as a Masters of Fine Arts from Radford University. Slayton’s family history is rich with detail. She is the oldest child in a family that valued order and discipline. Slayton said that her mother’s strict hand played a key role in her artistic development, as her mother would punish her by placing her on a chair in a corner, allowing Slayton’s imagination to run wild. “I discovered rainbows in the light beams from the windows in the door and many dogs and horses in the wood-grained paneled walls in our mobile home,” Slayton said. “My mother was instrumental in developing my imagination.” Slayton’s father also played an important role in the advancement of her artistic talents. Her father, a World War II veteran, worked as a welder. Because of the extensive traveling required by Slayton’s father, she was forced to restart her life almost every three months in a new neighborhood. “I became an introverted child who would rather stay in the house and play than take on the bullies,” Slayton said. Slayton’s mother noticed her reclusive tendencies and, rather than force her into potentially uncomfortable situations, handed her daughter clay and crayons for enjoyment. The materials were Slayton’s first real art supplies, spurring on the future artist. The undeniable family involvement in Slayton’s artistic development played a key role in the inspiration for the Passages in Portrait exhibit. Slayton’s exhibit features different representations and stories of several family members. The paintings were completed in watercolor. “This body of work, Passages in Portrait, is a return to my artistic roots in the choice of watercolor as the medium as well as the subject matter represented in this exhibit,” Slayton said. After the decision to revert to her original love of watercolor painting, Slayton spent many hours and weeks working to achieve the desired effects in her paintings. The paintings presented at the exhibit were all painted between the years 2005 and 2006. Slayton works hard to achieve excellence in her painting, but that is not her only goal. “My heart’s desire is to give my Father, God, pleasure.” Slayton said. “When I paint, I feel his pleasure.” She also hopes that she will inspire students to use their God given talent to create beautiful works of art. Sandra Day Slayton’s Passages of Portrait exhibit will be held Feb. 7-29 in the Visual Communication Arts Gallery in room 160, Studio B. The exhibit is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Mondays from 2 to 4 p.m. Contact Amanda Sullivan at amsullivan3@liberty.edu.
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