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Male Figure Drawing Squirrel: What If You Couldn’t ‘Cause You’re A Girl?

Male Figure Drawing Squirrel: What If You Couldn't 'Cause You're A Girl? oil on wood panel, 24 x 36, 2015

Male Figure Drawing Squirrel: What If You Couldn’t ‘Cause You’re A Girl? Mixed media: oil pastel and oil on wood panel, 24″ x 36″ (60.96 cm x 91.44 cm), 2015

SHE, Fazakas Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday May 23th 6pm – 8pm
Exhibition Dates: May 23th – June 20th
Venue: Fazakas Gallery, 145 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver
Gallery Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday


When I was enrolled at the Visual Arts, Department of Fine Arts, University of Victoria to complete my undergrad, I didn’t fully appreciate the value and privilege of being able to participate in gender equal art classes. Specifically, drawing male nude models.  When I returned to fine art almost a decade later, I still took for granted that this inclusive training was forbidden to women 150 years ago. The opportunity to participate in the group show SHE led me to begin a self-directed investigation into the history of women in art, and was the inspiration for the painting, Male Figure Drawing: What If You Couldn’t ‘Cause You’re A Girl?

Working on Male Figure Model Squirrel

The concept for this painting started when I ordered some art DVD’s (I know, how quaint) a few months ago. As part of my art-immersion lifestyle, no time is spared to consume much of anything outside of art related programming. While watching, The Story of Women and Art, written and presented by historian, writer, and broadcaster Amanda Vickery, I was first inspired to revisit the male nude figure. Her series informed me of society’s daunting restrictions for women in the history in art. In particular, the subject of training, commissions, and access any nude models.

Vickery’s series led me to read, Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists? (1) by prominent American art historian, Linda Nochlin. In her essay, she deconstructs art history by identifying and rejecting methodological presuppositions. Published by ArtNews  in 1971 this essay posed a question that would spearhead an entirely new branch of art history.

In the period extending from the Renaissance until near the end of the nineteenth century, a careful and prolonged study of the nude model was essential to any work with pretensions to grandeur, and to the very essence of History Painting, then generally considered to be the highest category of art.  Life drawing was essential for any artist’s success. Being able to portray the figure in an anatomically correct way meant artists could then make paintings considered significant by their colleagues and collectors. History paintings with religious, literary, and historical subjects relied on the beautiful depiction of the human form. Before the late 19th century, women were generally excluded from figure drawing classes, considered inappropriate for a woman’s supposedly delicate sensibilities. Consequently, women were unable to compete for Academic recognition and commissions.

Many articles I came across referenced two particular women artists in Britain. Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman were founding members of the Royal Academy in 1786. However, they were not included as persons attending the life drawing class in the engraving of Johann Zoffany’s The Royal Academy of Arts, 1771-2 – they were depicted as wall paintings. This was evidence of how women were traditionally excluded from drawing classes, considered inappropriate for a woman’s delicate sensibilities.   There were  also no other female students at the RA during that time.

Johann Zoffany, The Royal Academy of Arts, 1771-2

Johann Zoffany, The Royal Academy of Arts, 1771-2  (male nude figure drawing class)

In 1860 Laura Herford was admitted by accident to the RA Schools after submitting drawings with only her initials, LH. Over the course of the next 10 years, an additional 34 female students were admitted, and a series of petitions began to allow women that same opportunity of study as the male students.

It wasn’t until 1893 (20 years and countless petitions later) that a provision was made for women to study the “partially draped”  model.

In America in 1876, women such as Alice Barber Stephens, was the first woman to enrol in the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and joined the women artists petitioning for more life drawing classes. By 1879, the only nudes available were women models, while male models were modestly draped.

Much of this information is common knowledge (probably) among fine arts academics, but I decided to paint the male nude figure for this show, because many people I spoke with outside of the art world, had no idea of the struggle for equal arts training for women in the history of art.


“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” ARTnews January 1971: 22-39, 67-71

Squirrel Mask by: Archie McPhee

Musing about art

Musing about art with Noah Becker

Musing about art with Noah Becker

Flashback to working on Yayoi Kusama Squirrel

Hi Folks,

I have new paintings in the works, and some exciting news to share soon. In the meantime, here’s a #tbt photo of me working in the studio on Yayoi Kusama Squirrel. Notice the many tiny brushes in both hands!


In the studio working on Yayoi Kusama Squirrel

In the studio working on Yayoi Kusama Squirrel

Yayoi Kusama Squirrel, 24 x 36, oil on wood panel, 2013

Sandy Cheeks, Squirrel Costume, Halloween 2014

Yes, it’s Sandy Cheeks!  Originally I was going to dress as Space Hat Squirrel for Halloween 2014. However, once I figured out how to make the space helmet, I figured I could easily go as my favourite squirrel cowgirl.

I decided to go as Sandy Cheeks, once of the main characters in the SpongeBob SquarePants television series. Yes, she’s a squirrel, and is the most notable, and only female character in the series.  I purchased the white top and pants, but made everything else. The helmet was created out of clear packing tape (over a half round shaped planter, laid down plastic wrap so it would not stick), felt, ribbons, and coloured foam for the flower). Oh, and a glue gun.  I don’t have a great photo of the tail, but I cut up an old faux fur, glue gunned it, and stuffed it with cotton. I even glue gunned the tail to my shirt. I worked like a charm, and and I still able to use the washroom. At the last minute, I realized if it was attached to my pants, that could have proved to be a fatal error.  Thank goodness for testing the outfit before leaving home. It worked out perfectly.

Sandy Cheeks

Sandy Cheeks, Halloween Costume 2014


Sandy Cheeks with Horse. Remember Sandy is from Texas. LOL.  (mask by Archie McPhee)



Sandy Cheeks with Nikki Minaj


Sandy comes from the state of Texas, known from the episode Texas, but she exhibits many characteristics of a stereotypical “cowgirl” character by going to every city in Texas. She speaks with a heavy Southern accent, and uses typical Southern slang words and phrases, such as “howdy” and “y’all”. She is very fond of her homeland and its culture, as most notably seen in the episode “Texas,” in which she grows homesick for it and considers leaving Bikini Bottom to return to Texas. In that same episode, she takes great offense at SpongeBob and Patrick’s negative remarks about Texas, and violently attacks them when they continue to insult it.

Sandy Cheeks

Sandy Cheeks

Sandy is most likely one of the most intelligent and levelheaded characters on the show. She is a multi-talented scientist and inventor, and originally came to Bikini Bottom to study sea creatures and their lifestyles. In “Chimps Ahoy,” it reveals that she is employed by a trio of chimpanzees from the surface, named Professor PercyDr. Marmalade, and Lord Reginald. As an inventor, Sandy is capable of creating extremely advanced devices with ease. Her inventions include a manned space ship, a teleporter, a submarine that can shrink to microscopic size and go inside a person’s body (Squidward Tentacles), and even a Protogenerator 2000 cloning device.

Sandy is also very athletic and physically fit. She and SpongeBob share a favorite pastime of karate, and frequently fight each other for fun. The karate they use appears to be stylized to fit that of “play karate,” as they both mainly fight with chops and kicks in a cartoonish manner. There also appears to be other forms of fighting in the series, most notably in “Karate Island,” where three other fish demonstrate unique fighting styles, (which looks more like stylized versions of Kung Fu rather than Karate.)

Read More


Space Hat Squirrel

Space Hat Squirrel by Carollyne Yardley

Event Photos and Video: Co-Mix Art Exhibition and Sale | Martin Batchelor Gallery | Integrate Arts Festival

The Martin Batchelor Gallery, Irma Soltonovich and Efren Quiroz invite you to unleash your inner super hero.
Visit the Co-Mix-Art exhibition and sale at Martin Batchelor Gallery, part of the Integrate Art Society (Integrate Arts Festival).

 More show details here.

Excerpt of video by Efren Quiroz (Carollyne Yardley speaks about Bunderwoman)

Full video by Efren Quiroz (Carollyne Yardley speaks at 32.10 – 33:18)

Carollyne Yardley and Brad Pasutti

Carollyne Yardley and Brad Pasutti, Opening Night. August 15, 2014


Deer, Crows and Squirrels. Another day at the farm

I was taking a video today, and here are some stills from the clip.

Squirrel and Crow circle the garden

Squirrel and Crow circle each other in the garden


Crow yells at Squirrel.

Crow yells at Squirrel.


Crow brings a friend

Crow brings a friend


And the chase is on.

And the chase is on.


Meanwhile, the deer are hoping nobody notices them.  #headsinbushes

Meanwhile, the deer are hoping no one notices them. #headsinbushes

Funny Face Squirrels, Video Flashback – time for a new one…

I’ve been thinking about making another video soon. If any of you recall the one I made for the Funny Face show, which showcased the super fabulous Sophisticated Squirrels series.

Anyhow, while I muse on the new video a bit, here is the Funny Face Squirrels here.


Posted at Youtube: July 13, 2011. Video by Carollyne Yardley