Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Project 2, § 3: Saying goodbye

This was the second painting I've done (that I can recall) that was done with little view of the outcome. As stated in a previous post, I made a circle and went from there.

This 'little intention' to my work led this painting to be the first of my original paintings--not commission--to be sold! ...and not to a family member.

Since it's my first, I'm pretty excited about it.

Learning to trust the process has not only helped me feel better about my artwork and myself as an artist, but has been beneficial to me in a new way, hah!

The buyer asked if it were okay to be displayed on a wall without the hanging boats, and I said sure. It actually made me feel better he requested this, since I know the buyer. If I didn't I wouldn't care... but since that wasn't the case, I didn't want to run the risk of him seeing what was written on the boats lest he decided to open them in the future. Just weird.

All I have to do now is get a decent photo of it, because I don't plan to see it in real life again.

I feel almost like it's my message in a bottle. Spread the news, painting! Inspire someone!

That's all :)

Project B, § 6: Resolution

Lately the protocol for my body tracing/secret project has been crocheting a single strand and hot-gluing it around the border of the image. I felt I didn't have much else to say on it, and when I pulled a "Bruce Moon" and asked it what it needed, it said "More border!", so I complied.

The other day Shelly made a statement about the border, saying it reminded her of being tied up in knots and how keeping secrets can make us that way. I didn't think of that :) Stemming from that, I've found the crocheting isn't exactly tight knots, so it can somehow perhaps function as a somewhat semipermeable membrane. I'll have to chew on that for a while...

I began crocheting until all the yarn was gone, then began the process of gluing it around the figure. When I came to the head, I chose to go around what I had drawn there.

It just looked like a halo... and I do not feel like an angel, even after getting all that out. After avoiding the head area and continuing to border the rest of the body outline about four or five-fold, I chose to pull off the "halo".

Just not working.

I wondered about leaving it open, but then it was just that... open. It needed to be with the rest of the body. I considered a different way of placing the remaining yarn.

Then it just looked like a Medusa, a gorgon.

*Side note: Some might say that Medusa technically means 'guardian' or 'protector'... which (again technically) is what I am of my own secrets... Medusa is historically seen as both beautiful and terrifying, as I suppose a secret may often be as well.*

But I paid attention to my initial reaction to Medusa, which was negative. I'm thinking this is because it was on an outline of ME. It was scary. Did I want others to think that of me? No. Did some think that already? I don't know... but if I can prevent it, I'll try.

Again... maybe that's one reason we keep secrets in the first place, so others won't judge, assume, reject, laugh, etc.
Back to square one? Not really...

After considering my insecurity of depicting myself as a Medusa, a thought came to mind loud and strong:
"I am not an angel. I am not a Medusa. I am a HUMAN BEING."

Somehow, with that thought, I felt okay with my secrets, my thoughts, and myself. I somehow have reached a goal that I guess I didn't know was there in the beginning.

I will continue to add the yarn as I see fit, but as for now, I feel I've reached a place of peace.

I am finished.

Mona Lisa Smile

This morning during my waking up process I came across Mona Lisa Smile on TV. I've seen only bits and pieces of the film but was glad to come across this specific scene this morning. It connected me back to the Creative Process class, specifically one of our readings when we began discussing what art is.

I love that question.

Someone on YouTube made a video with a few clips from the movie considering this question:

I am reminded of our discussion about learning technique and the "rules" of a process so we can know when and how to break them when creating our own artwork. Like my undergrad painting professor Bohac said, "some rules are made to be broken". He basically taught us about mixing complementary colors to make black (as we weren't allowed to have straight black paint in class--a blessing in the end!) and how white brought objects to the front, black to recede... and that was it. I wanted more guidelines--it was my first painting class, after all--but the openness of it allowed me to explore what fit me best for my own creative process and growth as an artist.

Reactions to this clip? I'd like to read them!

The film as a whole reminds me of Pamela Tanner-Boll's Who Does She Think She Is, because it brings up the issue between choosing a family over career and vice-versa. YES!!

If you have not seen this film yet, I highly recommend it for your summer movie viewing list :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Project C, § 2: Wrapping it up

I let my painting sit for about a week while I worked on my sewing project. Somehow the sewing project took over and I felt I needed to get it out of my system.

Well. Now it's out.

With the time I had remaining before the hanging of the show, I completed the painting, Secrets Untold. The theme came to mind within the first 10 minutes of my beginning the painting the week before, and a poem within the first 15 minutes of that same moment.

I used straight color from the paint tubes Phthalo Green (blue shade), French Ultramarine, and Burnt Umber (all Artisan brand water mixable oil color) to create shades of almost-black on the remaining yellow of the canvas. I was no longer satisfied with the texture of the stippling and chose the flowing texture of the ribbons above.

Once the painting was complete, I moved on to paper boats. The poem suggested secrets being like ships sailing to a destination... hence the boats. I wrote down secrets of my own--one on each square of paper--and made a boat out of each square.

I initially made 11 ships but chose to use only 10 for space and aesthetics.

Next began the stringing process. This was interesting for me because I had the canvas propped on top of two chairs, facing up towards the ceiling fan, while I sat beneath it marking the places where the string was to be drawn through. It reminded me of marking planets in a system, or moons around the planet.

The little square in the middle of the circle is a piece of tape keeping the string in place while I measure it for length. Since the strings were placed at various points in a spiral coming from the circle, but were temporarily hanging off the same side of the painting while I measured, I had to keep picking up the canvas and flipping it over to eye where the boats were in relation to one another and see if strings needed to be longer or shorter.

The end result from below:

You can't really tell from this angle, but each ship from the center of the circle is a bit lower than the other, creating a spiral effect. The one farthest away is the lowest one, the one in the center is the shortest.

In retrospect, I realize that the secret that meant the very most to me--and the first one I made--did not make it onto the final piece. Makes me sad actually, regardless of whether it will ever actually be read.

The image of the boats making a spiral remind me of a shell... something so fragile yet often stands the test of time...

...like a secret.

Project D, § 2: Grueling pace

That one late night came back for an encore the second night in a row, but progress continued to be made.

I understand why I was working so late. It wasn't just because of the deadline of the art show approaching, but it was also my getting into the flow of the production of the project and my desire to see where it would take me. I kept asking, "What's next? What's next?" despite my efforts to maintain my desires for where and how I wanted the project to end.

While I sewed, I realized the tension of the thread changed mid-stitch. Was it the fabric choice? Needle type? What?! It became very frustrating--I was ready to keep going but the tools of the trade were rebelling! I fiddled with the tension dials and let out some choice words... so involved... but it was something I needed to get used to.

The scrap thread pile continued to grow...

The hands came together...

And another needle broke.

AND, as you can see in the above image, my zigzag stitch decided to drop the right-hand stitch quite often. As I was trying to work through the issue on scrap fabric, the needle broke. What a gross noise.

I decided to choose practicality over formality and go with the single stitch for the last few hands, since the zigzag stitches were no longer forming. Eventually, on the second-to-last hand, the single stitch began to not catch. The bobbin was full, the needle was sharp, and the stitches no longer caught.

Did I run my machine into the ground? In the end, I did what my family members before me had done in regards to money, possessions, and food: you make do with what you have.

I broke out the glue gun.

Project D, § 1: A sewing project

While I was home with my parents for the auctioning of my grandpa's possessions, I asked my mom to help me figure out my sewing machine. I received him almost two years ago and just had trouble getting the hang of how to work it, and in my frustration just let it sit. While Mom helped me through my learning curve, she gave me some buttons and fabric she had in her sewing kit from the 70's and 80's that she knew she wasn't going to use again.

My project already had family in mind, so my mom's contributions significantly helped this project's progress; the more family I could include, the better.

I used fabric from my late great aunt (cut from clothes from the 60's-70's) to make some human forms:

My dad was able to buy a window frame at the auction (it was just leaning up against the house)--score one for Grandpa... and as a background, Mom's square of fabric is used:

Throughout the process of sewing, threading and re-threading the machine became second-nature :)

Slowly but surely it began to come together.

...but it took a long time. Before I knew it I was working on the project for seven hours straight (beginning at 8pm or so, only to look up hours later and find a clock that read 4am).

Snags... no pun intended:
Broken needle

This could be caused by various things, yet it was often trial and error to figure out the exact cause, and often involved re-threading the machine a few more times...

Coming together!

* * * * *

My thoughts on this project seem to revolve around still finding the balance between family and school life. Lately I've felt the need to mend relationships between others, mend my own feelings, and still find comfort. Working with the fabric has so far provided a means for me to feel more connected with family while focusing on school (i.e. the images in the project are school-related).
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