Art Appreciation capped off their studies of the elements of art and principles of design with a drawing project. Everyone was tasked with the creation a self-portrait using the grid technique. Students drew a one-inch grid on both pages (lightly on the drawing paper). Beginning with one eye and moving adjacently from feature to feature, lines were translated block by block. I advised them to quarter the more complicated squares of the grid to better observe where the features fell relative to the grid line. The objective was to use the elements of line, shape & space coupled with the principle of proportion in the creation of an artwork. This was their third art project of the semester.
Summer school ended the first week of July and after turning in final grades for my course, I came home ready to focus in the studio. As I previously wrote, I wasn't quite sure what to do with this canvas (it measures 36 x 36 inches), so I began by painting the background in a warm palette. When I work on a large canvas like this, I use a second work table so the canvas can lay flat for the first few layers. Following are photos of the progression.
July 19: The subject matter has been transferred to the canvas and blocked in.
July 22: Current state.
|The view from my studio window|
The 36" x 36" canvas for my newest painting spent two months leaning against the wall outside my studio, waiting for inspiration to strike. I recently wrote to my friend Kelly about how I wasn't sure what to do, but I was going to get started anyways. The background came first and I worked with a 1" brush to blend (wet-on-wet) patches of white, pink & yellow.
Here are a few sketches for this painting (as yet unnamed), sparrows and caladium drawn from the garden. Sparrows were in several of my drawings last summer & ever present in our yard. The caladium were planted as bulbs late February. I patiently waited for them to grow and was about to give up when one day in late April they began to push up through the ground.
My latest and largest painting, Here & There is 30 x 40", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas. I worked on it for a really long time...I began painting the background after I returned from my residency last summer. In fact, I used it as an example in my painting class to demonstrate different blending techniques. After layering the background with several coats of paint and stenciling a faint purple polka dot pattern, I drew the fence and then added the origami. The plants and birds were drawn on tracing paper and transferred using the carbon paper shown in the detail below (right).
The origami was drawn from the curtain in my studio. There are nine strands with ten cranes each; Steven and I were married in front of it a few years ago in the city. The origami, a
recurring symbol in my art, has come to represent memory, home and love.
The plant life was blocked in before adding the rest of the grackles. I drew five birds in my sketchbook, transferred them to tracing paper and then moved them around the composition to create balance and establish implied line. Even though the entirety of the canvas is covered in pattern, I felt the top right corner had too much negative space, so I added a bird in flight to activate the space and add movement to the static image. I've been teaching art appreciation for seven years now; the elements of art and principles of design are constantly on my mind as I work to express my ideas.
This is the second painting to contain a large 'family' of birds. I come from a family of five, as does my husband. My mom is also from a family of five and her mom was one of five siblings. It bears noting that Steven and I have a zoo of five in our house; three cats and two dogs. Five has proven to be meaningful and numbers have long been a significant part of my content. My thesis work dealt with specific numbers, derived by measuring spans of time and representing them through stamping, typing or a encasing hundreds of pins in shadowboxes. Over time, the numbers I have dealt with have simply grown smaller. Trained as a printmaker, I have a natural tendency toward repetition. If I'm not editioning, I find another way to do the same thing over and over, hence the recurring imagery and patterned backgrounds.
I hope you enjoyed viewing the development of my painting!
Full Stop is an installation by Tom Burckhardt, currently on view at the McNay. It is a life-size, imagined art studio made of only cardboard, paint & hot glue. The space is filled with all sorts of fantastic details to absorb; a shelf stacked with books I wish you could pick up & read, art supplies everywhere you look and art historical references throughout the room. As you walk through, you are confronted by a blank canvas, waiting for inspiration to strike. It's an installation that is accessible, familiar and skillfully done using a medium associated with foundation design courses. I loved it. It is on view through April 10 at the McNay in San Antonio, Texas.