New abstract painting adorns
Langford Architecture Center


What began as a creation for a senior capstone art course at a central Texas university is now adding to the ambience of the Langford Architecture Center at Texas A&M.

Currently adorning an entire wall in Langford’s first floor atrium, "The Big Picture," is a 192 x 106-inch abstract oil painting created by Michelle Haberl, who graduated in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She is the daughter of Jeff Haberl, a Texas A&M architecture professor.

"It's an expression of my heart," said Haberl. "I like to think that my spirituality is expressed through the artwork, even if it's abstract — it has a feel of what's going on inside."

The piece ended up quite different than what Haberl originally envisioned.

"I had an idea of doing big murals during the fall 2009 semester," said Haberl, who was then beginning her senior year at Southwestern. "I wanted something big. I was looking at the dimensions of a regular ceiling and saying 'well, 9 or 9 ½ feet would be tall enough.' It was kind of an intuitive judgment."

At first, she thought the piece would be more representational, possibly biblical heritage stories, she said.

"I'm really interested in the story of the Book of Revelation, so I thought it might be something along those lines," she said.

She also considered portraits of her friends or something depicting the history of Southwestern University before she settled on creating an abstract piece.

"It started out with an ephemeral feel to it, starting out as leaves or fire, something feathery," she said. "I was working in layers. I would work over the entire canvas with house paint brushes focusing on one color, and then I'd go back and work in the negative spaces."

As the semester came to a close, the piece remained unfinished.

"At Christmas time, it looked liked orange leaves fluttering, or piled up. At that point grades were due and I just sort of had to leave it. It was too big to bring home and work on," she said.

During her final semester at Southwestern, Haberl was required to exhibit her work in a senior show, but she didn't think the large painting fit in with the other pieces in the show, so it remained unfinished.

"I went ahead and did some smaller work, still big, but half the size of it," she said. "As I worked on the other pieces I gained more knowledge on how to do this one. When I finally finished the exhibit, I came back to it as a fun project, realizing I might not have more time or space to work on it. I didn't know who was going to see it but I did want to finish it."

Instead of doing layer after layer, she said, she began working with just one layer, putting down the shapes.

"I think it has a very musical feel to it,” she said. “It kind of reminds me of a cityscape."


- Posted: Sept. 3, 2010 -

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


Click on images
for slideshow

Update your contact info and share your news!

The College of Architecture strives to keep up with former students and share their successes in the archone. newsletter. Please take a moment to update your contact information and tell us what you've been up to. Click Here
bottom page borders