Iconoclastic Painting Style ~~ Wanda Maria Ast
Wanda Maria Ast - Polish-American Poet and Artist
Wanda Maria Kowalska Ast was my paternal grandmother, my Bopcia. She, my grandfather, and their four children left Europe and immigrated to America in 1951. They had survived the Nazis, but they weren't sure they would survive the Communist domination of Poland. So they left their homeland in the Old World and traversed the ocean, disembarking in the New World.
Within a few years of their arrival, having mastered her fourth language - English, she began writing poetry. By the early 1960s she was taking art classes at the local community college and began painting. This is a collection of her oil paintings. In the two photographs above you see Wanda standing by one of her paintings at an exhibition, and then you see a close-up of that same painting.
Masculine and Feminine Portraits
An Iconoclast, Devout Catholic, Modern Artist
Wanda was an iconoclast; she liked to break patterns, challenge traditions and disappoint people's expectations. I should qualify that, she liked to break patterns and challenge traditions. It was later that she discovered that when she disappointed people's expectations, she often received intense reactions. She liked intense reactions, even negative ones; she liked being the center of attention.
Eccentric, emotional, intense, flamboyant, sensitive, and very much a bohemian. She was not a typical grandmother, and certainly not a typical American. But she was always interesting and she was always creative. She was also a devout and practicing Catholic her entire life. She never learned to drive, but attended Mass every Sunday, often walking fifteen blocks to mass. Many of her poems have spiritual and religious themes and some of her paintings and batiks do as well.
Her journals were a place for her to think out loud, to express frustration, to record moments of revelation and excitement, to communicate with God in prayer, to record the insights she found in the Bible and other religious works, to record the musings of her inner creative spirit. In her journals she jotted down notes and ideas for future poems and paintings, and even notes for future letters that she would write to family and friends. The journals alone make very good reading.
Wanda did both representational art and abstract art, and much of her work falls within the framework of the modernist period. You can find echoes of many of the artists from the modernists period reflected in her work. For a woman painting in the1970s and 1980s, who was in her fifties and sixties at the time, she made exuberant and unusual use of color. The color combinations and juxtapositions in her work are frequently the first thing that viewers comment upon.
Polynesia and the South Sea Islands
Edmund and Wanda Ast - Creative and Artistic Souls
Just as my grandmother was a painter and poet, my grandfather was a sculptor. He worked in marble, granite, various kinds of stone. He even pioneered a fiberglass process that enabled him to create busts and figures that were very light weight, but looked as if they had been cast in bronze. The final photograph in this series shows both my grandparents and two of the fiberglass sculptures created by Edmund. ( In a Hub called Marble and Stone, I have described the sculptural work that my grandfather completed in Poland before emigrating to America.)
The paintings below are classical nudes, clearly representational, a clear depiction of the human form as it really is, with customary and traditional draping. You will notice that the final two pictures, although they look different in tone and color, were painted using the same model. The difference in color and tone is partly due to the fact that I have the original of one of the paintings, and only a faded photograph of the other. The standing nude in blue hangs on the wall in my home. The sitting nude in blue, which is also in the final picture, was sold at an art exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. All that remains is the faded photograph.
Classic Nudes - Wanda and Edmund Ast
Painting the Human Form
Art, Painting, Batiks, Sculpture
- Marble and Stone - A Polish Sculptor
Edmund Ast, was born and raised in Poland, and obtained a university degree in art, specializing in sculpture and design. This was quite unusual for a young men in Poland in the 1920's. He was extremely talented and worked on many diverse designs in
- Paintings by a Polish-American Artist
A selection of oil paintings completed in the 1960's and 1970's by a Polish-American artist who survived the Nazi, and then the Soviet, invasions of Poland during World War II, and who subsequently emigrated to America with her husband and four child
- Batiks: Ancient Process ~ Modern Art
Batik which is patterned cloth created by using layers of wax and multiple dye baths are both extremely beautiful and time consuming to create. This essay contains general information about traditional batiks and specific information about a twentiet
- Original Batiks - Wax Resist & Dye Process
A collection of abstract wax-resist Batiks created in the 1980's and 1990's by Wanda Ast, an American citizen of Polish descent, who immigrated to the United States after World War II.
More by this Author
The cost of a college education has been rising. What about the generous salaries earned by professors? Are their salaries unreasonable? What kind of salaries do other professionals with less education and training...
In their oral history testimonies, letters, questionnaires, interviews, and journals American soldiers explain why they did not accept German protestations of ignorance and innocence. GIs from the 42nd, 45th, 71st,...
Americans often assume that most German civilians knew next to nothing about Hitlers Final Solution and were unaware that the SS controlled and administered the concentration camp system. While the death camps were...