Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Today, as in the past, artists deal with problems or aspects of life which they feel are important. They explore the physical and spiritual world in which they live, and they invent ways to seek their discoveries and reactions. They may experiment with mechanized forms, or they may create imaginative forms never dreamed of before. Painters may express their fears and frustrations, show social injustice, or reaffirm the dignity of man in various ways. One wonders why anyone has any business in art unless he comes to it with high ambition; and even if he fails in reaching the ambition, he will have led a better life than most men will have known. To me, life is a continuation of excitement and wonderful experiences. In recording some of these experiences, there is nothing more fascinating than the challenge of water color. I always seem to approach water color painting with a mixture of awe, anticipation, fear, and a good measure of love and dedication. The spontaneous freshness of transparent water color is a delight to me as a viewer. As an artist, however, the act of creation can be an almost endless frustration. Man has always been confronted with unanswerable problems of human existence. No one escapes from despair and depth. I believe through the contemplation of paintings, and perhaps through painting a person; may find meaning and value as a personal experience. Through commitment, exploration and the risk of decision-making, one faces the true self. I find water color the best media suited for the realization of the “moment” and the moment is important. The continuous activity of my own life is reflected in the "moment in motion” and its visual stimulus. The presentation of nature as expressed through its everchanging moods has become an aim in my painting. Water color, to be done effectively, must have my involvements prior to the actual painting. Much sketching, planning, and throught go into the preparations. Each of the elements of line, color, and shape must be part of the total visual harmony in the compositions, but each element must have an identity of its own. A wash of clear water, dampening the area I am about to paint, is followed by many quick brush strokes applied on the paper. Many areas can be washed in freely with a broad flat brush. Fluidity follows all of the stages. As the paper dries, the shapes and lines applied become harder of edge and richer in color. When all final details are complete, I let the painting dry, then add line and over-washes where needed. I try to keep my approach objective as well as subjective. When the basic statement has been finished, I stop for the time being, though I may come back later for a brief session. Subject matter can be anything to the artist, and it may be translated into paint. For the past several summers my paintings have been derived from the Kansas lakes, the ever-changing skies, the aging rocks, and the growing weeds which are all very important to me. There have been many times when I have been very close to the facets of variable Kansas; it is in my paintings that I try to express my closeness and man's basic oneness with nature. The visual forms of nature in infinite variation and changes are a constant source of both stimulation for my painting. All of the arts in one way or another, some to greater or lesser extent, interpret life. Art is the result of a process, a way of living, a record of life. Each effective work of art is a picture of a sensitive human being’s involvement in life. Communication is one of mankind's valuable accomplishments. There are many kinds of ideas and feelings which can only be communicated through painting. Art has the responsibility and the privilege of sharing this significant experience with others. Not to paint, as Renoir has said, would be unbearable to me.


Dr. Joel C. Moss

Date of Award

Summer 1966

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1966 Gertrude E. Furney


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