Tag Archives: graphite

Weekly Art Challenge: GRATITUDE

Hey folks!!

This week our theme was GRATITUDE

Dylan – Thank You, Ink on paper

“I am SO thankful for maintaining my four limbs and use of them from heart surgery as well as the robotic implant replacement of my mitravalve. Fortune comes in many different ways and I was granted a generous nod. Life is good, especially with a gnarly scar. This is have gratitude for daily.”

The semi-faceless feminine figure stands in a defiant superhero pose with classic bows attaching each limb to the core. Powerful imagery! I like the choice to making the figure semi-faceless even with this being a biographical piece. Dylan is guiding the viewer to focus on one particular aspect of her identity, her scar and surgeries, and the impact they have had on her life. Strong beautiful piece, Dylan!

Dylan Gratitidue

 

Emily – Amsterdam Cityscape, Collage on paper.

Emily sent in a piece that she worked on for one of her assignments. She didn’t think it related to the theme of Gratitude, but still wanted to show what she was working on. Emily’s piece is a reflection of her observation skills while she was traveling to Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. In the collage I see a unique culture identity, I feel the tightness of space amongst old architecture in modern times, I sense the layers of history overlapping in the narrow streets, and I relate to the need to creatively react to my environment.

I kind of have to disagree about the piece not having much to do with the theme of gratitude. I think Emily has keen observation skills and her piece reflects the details – though these details may not be the intentional meaning behind her piece – that so many folks are grateful for in the city of Amsterdam in a way that is uniquely hers.

 

Emily - gratitude

 

Bethany – Helping Hand, Pencil on paper

“When I think of gratitude I think of an open hand. A helping hand. A hand of kindness. A loving hand. “

Me too, Bethany!  I love the clean simplicity of the lines and form of the open hand. It correlates perfectly with her statement and further connects the image of a hand with the concept of gratitude. Bethany’s piece reminds me that gratitude has a lot to do with a community and paying forward what we are grateful for.

Bethany Gratitiude

 

Amber The Little Artist, Pen, ink and watercolor on paper.

I grew up with a very creative family. My great-grandmother was a ceramicist, my mother use to paint murals and found creative ways to make our secondhand clothing and small meager living spaces look and feel special, my father was a tattoo artist and had strong drawing/painting skills, many of my cousins are photographers and of course my extended family includes a plethora of artsy friends.

For as long as I can remember I was “The Artist”. The opportunities to creatively express myself since my childhood have been unlimited and I am very grateful for all the love and support I have received by friends and family to pursue the arts.

 

The little artist

 

Next theme: TRANSFORMATION

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Weekly Art Challenge: SPACE

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is: SPACE!

RJ –  Untitled,  graphite on paper

RJ was inspired to create a companion piece to mine (last piece, below) and I am so thrilled with it! There a ‘Alice and the rabbit hole’ charm about it, and I’m a little bit envious of the figure and what he is seeing beyond the space we the viewers stand.
RJ space

Dylan – Untitled, graphite on paper.

 “This is an experiment in playing with foreground, middleground, and background. Details get hazier and edges get softer as objects recede into space.”

What a Beautiful experiment! I am completely enthralled by the expression of this beautiful and noble creature, she looks so proud and confident as she gazes outward toward the viewer. Dylan’s line work perfectly captures the strength and elegance of her subjects.

 

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KarriSpace,

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

 “This has been going through my head all week as I pondered what to do for this weeks challenge. While pondering this weeks theme I thought a lot about how small we are in this universe. How unfortunate it is that we are tied down by gravity and can not go and explore the stars.”

Karri’s dreamy representation of space is the kind of image that would inspire anyone with a youthful heart to wish they were an astronaut! Karri has such a beautiful relationship with color, her layering of bold and subtle colors is suggestive of the magnitude of our galaxy and reminds me how complex and spectacular the universe is.

 

karri space

 

Emily – Untitled, drawings on paper

“I was in Amsterdam this week and then in London for the weekend! For me the theme space was about how I usually draw the things in the space around me to practice my drawings, so i’ve attached some quick drawings from my personal sketchbook that are from spaces I was in in Amsterdam” 

Emily’s statement reminds me a lot of a Buddhist teaching about being present in the moment. I see that with her images, the awareness of the moment and the details of the space that she is occupying. I am loving the red ink drawing below. Its a simple ink drawing of a window and lanterns and I find it comforting. I find myself waiting for a friendly face to look out the window and notice me.

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Val Moonlight – photograph

“I took this in our sideyard and I thought the moon was pretty”

Val was inspired by the moon seen from our backyard and the space between it and herself. Her photo suggests a longing to connect with the moon, a longing that reaches back generations. Taking the photo in a familiar space invokes the emotional attachment we have with the moon.

 

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Amber – Stretching the Void, pen and ink on paper.

This piece went through a lot of transformation between the various thumbnail sketches and mental pictures to the final image. I started with an idea that I would fill a page with odd shaped bubbles, each containing a person struggling to stretch the bubble out. Then the image was a single odd shaped bubble with a single person and this bubble was submerged in rubble full of modern distractions and materialism. Eventually, while sketching the final piece, I realized that the image needed to be only this one person struggling to maintain her small space within a void.

It felt emotionally accurate to see this sole person fighting for space within space. The nothingness around her is both open and claustrophobic.

 

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Next week’s theme: GRATITUDE

To our readers and followers, We hope that everyone has a joyful, safe and abundantly happy Thanksgiving with family, friends and the folks that love you the most. Even if you are not in the States celebrating this holiday, we still wish you a wonderful and thoughtful day.

Peace,

The Art Challenge crew.


Weekly Art Challenge: DETERMINATION

Hey Folks!!

This week’s theme is DETERMINATION and it appears that we all were feeling determined to complete something of importance.

RJ – CowAcrylic on Canvas

RJ is determined to create a large-scale acrylic painting of this sweet jovial cow! He is in the beginning stages and doesn’t want to rush the process – slow painting is part of the goal – but will keep us informed as he goes! and THAT FACE! Who doesn’t want to be nuzzled by such a face? The bold choice of colors compliment the cheerful persona of this cow and the perspective creates an intimate connection between the viewer and subject. Can’t wait to see it finished!

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Karri – Prayer

“I posted this sculpture in a previous post when it was in its beginning stages. It has taken months to get to this point and is still not complete. There have been days when I look at it and think, “it’s made of paper, and I could just set it on fire!” Lol. Having said that I am determined to make it work.”

Wow, this piece has come along since the first time we saw it! She still so intense and focused internally, that I almost want to tip toe around her so as not to disturb her. I imagine that the intensity and focus felt by myself and other viewers is a reflection of the determination Karri is feeling while creating her. Don’t burn her, Karri! She is just as determined as you! Another piece that I can’t wait to see finished! 🙂

karri determined

 

Bethany – Determination – Pencil on Paper

“There are many things I’m determined to have, to complete or keep up in my life. Things like getting the dishes done, keeping the toilets clean, homeschooling my son and being a wife. But there is one thing WE have been determined to have….another baby. So this is my baby in the womb, holding my heart cause it’s my greatest determination.” 
There is a lot of love and longing in Bethany’s piece and statement. I like how her determination for her family to grow is expressed with a clear drawing of the child holding a meticulously shaded whole heart and surrounded by undetermined scribbled lines. The scribbled lines representing in once sense the womb and internal spark of her desire and determination, but in another sense the scribbled lines also express that little else is as important to her than both present and future members of her family. Lots of luck with your determination! Any child born into a creative loving family is a lucky soul! 🙂

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EmilyMan, Acrylic on Canvas Board

“A while back I started a painting to practice painting skin because I was awful at it, today and thanks to this challenge, I FINALLY finished it like I had wanted to. This challenge was me being determined, and thank you whoever chose this theme because I really don’t think I wouldn’t have finished it without feeling determined to do so for this challenge! aha”

Painting skin can be one of the most stressful accomplishments for an artist! Emily’s work since joining our group has continually and happily surprised me.  Just when I think I have a grasp on her evolving style she presents us with a piece that exhibits her growing talent in a different direction. I love the man’s facial expression. You see an elderly man with wrinkles, thinned hair and aging spots; but his eyes and countenance express an observant and youthful mind. Great Job!

Emily determined

 

Amber –  Nadia (Mix media on paper) and National Parks (Photographs)

This week was particularly hectic for me. I was making my final work-trip to Southern Utah and I was working nonstop on the final piece (Nadia) for a portfolio I needed for a residency application. My determination to complete the piece in time for the deadline was a success by three days! Yay me!!

Nearby our job-site are a few national parks and I was determined to see as much as I could before work took me away from this magnificent landscape – its not often that I am in this area of the country. I didn’t get to go on the long day hikes as I hoped, but I did succeed in seeing a clear view of the La Sal Mountains from where I stood at Balancing Rock – the first time I was there the mountains were hidden by clouds. I also drove through the CanyonLands and got a small taste of the adventures that I could have, since I am determined to visit again. AND I finally saw Newspaper Rock. I have seen photos of it for years, and saw the sign every time I passed the entrance to Canyonlands. I am fascinated by petroglyphs and the nameless artists who created them thousands of years ago.

 

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Nadia

 

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La Sal Mountains from Balancing Rock in Arches.

 

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Driving into Canyonlands

 

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Newspaper Rock

 

Next theme: VAN GOGH!!


WeeklyArt Challenge: PRETENDERS

Hey folks!

This week our theme is: Pretenders

 

RJ: I’m a Fish, graphite on paper.

RJ’s piece cracks me up! I love the sly stubborn expression of the monkey as he determined to convince you, the viewer, that he is something other than a monkey. It leaves one to wonder, Why does he want to be a fish?

 

rj pretender

Karri: Daniel, the great pretender – photograph

“This week I spent a lot of time with my 7 year old nephew, Daniel. He has such a huge imagination. Playtime consists of sitting at his Lego table. There are much more than just Legos there. He can sit for hours and play with the dinosaurs and the Lego men and the army men pretending that they are real. Just one Lego piece can be a person. He is the ultimate Pretender.”

 

Karri’s piece reminds me of a well known Picasso quote:

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.

Children have the most vivid imaginations. They see worlds within worlds and artists have spent centuries repeatedly trying to capture that innocence and spark that so rarely exists in adulthood. Looking at the photo, I am curious to know the story that young Daniel drew from collection of toys.

 

karri pretender

 

 

Amber: Untitled (for now), pen, ink and graphite on paper.

I struggled with the challenge this week. At first I was stuck on an idea that was good in theory and in my head it looked great, but the image would not manifest itself on paper. I was beyond frustrated!

After some complaining to RJ and several wasted art days, I started fresh with a new inspiration. The inspiration for this week’s piece came from a favorite and influential childhood book, The Velveteen Rabbit. As a highly imaginative child, I had come to believe that my stuff animals were in fact actually alive. In my mind they would have thoughts, dreams and individual personalities. I believed they loved me as much as I loved them. The Velveteen Rabbit, only confirmed the accuracy of the beliefs of my seven year old self.

This incomplete piece expresses that wish and belief that the games are not only pretend, that the toy is in fact as real as the child (or perhaps the toy itself) wants to believe. I mixed toy rabbits with the real to blur the line of reality and pretend. I also added the dandelions to emphasize the power of a wish.

 

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Next Week’s theme: DEGAS


Weekly Art Challenge: FEATHERS

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme was FEATHERS!

RJ: Chopstick Feather, found object.

RJ would laugh and tell you how he just did something spur of the moment so he would have something for this week’s challenge, But what RJ won’t take credit for is the creativity that one needs to think about transforming what most would see as an insignificant piece of trash – chopstick wrappers – into a piece of art.

There is the clear environment aspect of this image. The recycling of materials, the affect that our everyday trash has on the environment and our neighboring species and then there is the ephemeral aspect of the piece itself. This is a photograph documenting something that no longer exists – much like the mid century Art Happenings – and it eerily feels like a documentation of a now extinct species. A reminder that existence is ephemeral.

 

RJ feather

 

 

Karri: White Pigeon, Watercolor on paper.

“The most amazing thing happened this weekend. A beautiful white pigeon showed up at my house. Turns out it was very tame. We feed it and gave it water. It hung around all day. One of its favorite places to be seemed to be on top of my head.”

What an exciting experience and beautiful image! I love the transparent softness of Karri’s watercolors, they inspire the viewer  to want to reach out and embrace the pigeon, and be apart of this moment.  Karri’s use of  color emphasize the gentle innocence of the moment and the childlike glee of being chosen by the pigeon. Beautifully done!

 

Karri feathers

 

EmilyFeathers, pen and ink on paper

 “I tried to capture the delicacy of a feather by using dots”

I think the dots were a smart choice and that Emily did a fantastic job capturing the delicacy of a feather. The black and white image has an ephemeral softness to it, like any moment the wind will come and the little dots will scatter across the page. The more colorful feather, while still retaining the essence of a soft texture, express a vibrant charge of energy, like a dramatic movement is about to occur. Beautiful!

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Amber: The Unconfined, Pen and ink with graphite on paper.

For me the most obvious association with feathers is freedom. 

Originally I had in mind an image of a sleek cat staring nonchalantly outward at the viewer while standing within a pile of loose feathers. Somehow the image evolved from a confident predator capturing his prey to the prey confidently expressing their freedom from control and fear of the cat and cage. I had thought about including a reference to the Greek myth about Icarus by including a version of him inside the cage; but, shortly after I started the basic sketch of the image, I felt that an empty cage worked better with the idea. I chose Canaries because they are a common bird found in cages and I had recently read that they are symbolic of freedom, which seems rather ironic.

 

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Next week’s theme: PRETENDERS

 


Weekly Art Challenge: FEAR

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme was FEAR!

Dylan: The Unfamiliar, photo

“Dry heaving, cold sweats, tunnel vision to my worst nightmares, and sheer panic are what I experience when I am forced to be in unfamiliar dark place. I have had this phobia since childhood and it has not lessened in value with age.”

Dylan’s statement gave me chills and reminds me why I, an adult,  still can’t sleep with limbs hanging over the edge of the bed, exposed to what lies beneath. I find myself trying to make out what exactly it is I see waiting sinisterly behind the ajar door.

 

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Karri: The Web, Graphite on paper

“Spiders are a very common phobia, but the spiders don’t bother me nearly as much as their webs. I hate walking through a spider web. that said, I can’t ignore the beauty in watching one being created. The deliberate dance around the delicate strands. Why does this carnivorous architect have to spend such an annoying trap. Doesn’t he understand that it’s the last thing I want on my wall or on my face!”

I love that Karri drew the web without the spider, to further reinforce that her sole issue is with the web itself. I can’t blame her, webbing in the face is creepy and never a welcomed feeling, no matter how beautiful they are. The graphite lends well to the nearly invisible and delicate quality of a spider’s web.

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Emily: No Fear, photo mix media collage.

“I accidentally managed to get a piece of art work in for this week. I’ve recently started an art foundation course, which is a scary thing for me. I had a piece of work from a dark room workshop that I wanted to experiment with, and I thought the woman in it looked really fierce and bold, and the words that came to me were NO FEAR. For me fear has ruled my life for far too long, trying to have no fear is currently where my head is at”

I admire that Emily used the theme not to express a fear, but instead show fear no mercy. I love her choice of colors juxtaposed with the dark blacks and greys of the photo. The effect gives this strong woman an eerie supernatural strength.

 

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Valarie – Fear, Pen, Pencil and watercolor on paper –

“ I create Fear from Inside Out because he is always afraid of everything”

Val did a great job drawing Fear. I liked that she gave him an ambiguous surrounding. The cloudy blackness reinforces who fear was and how fear can make you feel small and isolated. Great job Val!

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Amber: The Dinner Party, unfinished sketch on paper –

I know my fear – cannibals – is irrational, I joke about it all the time; but it is still one of my most common nightmares and a major reason why I avoid places like Florida. I don’t recall being squeamish in my youth; and I theorize that my vegetable based diet has made me more sensitive over the years to gore and violence of becoming dinner. Ironically I love (some) zombie movies/shows because they are the only thing that actually scares me, but still have to tightly close my eyes and cover my ears during the scary parts, even if I have seen that episode of The Walking Dead 10 times..

The piece is obviously unfinished and I was going to be complete it in the pen and ink style of my more recent pieces. So far I am happy with the sketch, but unsure of what I should do with the back wall.

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

Next challenge: FEATHERS


Weekly Art Challenge: CHANGE

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is CHANGE! 

RJChange Of Luck, Penny and pen on paper —

I think RJ’s piece is a beautiful reminder to the viewer that you have the power to change your luck by changing your perspective. I like the simplicity of line and stipple along with the proportion between the penny and the drawing. The enlargement of the drawing insinuates that making a change can increases the rewards for taking control of your luck!

 

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EmilyStress/ Move Forward – pen on paper –

“Change is very relevant to me at the moment and I’ve found I’m awful at dealing with it, I get lots of anxiety and stress over it, yet I still always have this need in me that I want to be productive and moving forward in my life. So my pieces are just me realizing that it may be confusing and stressful for me but to move forward I need change

The energy in Emily’s piece reminds me a lot of her photos from FAIR challenge. The movement and use of bold neon color express the chaos of change and the resulting difficulty to focus. I can feel the anxiety and uncertainty of inevitable changes she is trying to express.

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AmberWishes – Mix Media (acrylic, graphite, pen and ink) on paper

For this week’s theme I decided to literally change a previous Art Challenge piece from something that I was not too happy with into something that I am happier with.

One of the hardest lessons for any artist to learn is that it is OKAY to make mistakes. And yet a better lesson, those mistakes don’t have to be mistakes.

 

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Before

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Next theme: FEAR!


Weekly Art Challenge: Repetition

Hey Folks!!

This week My fellow artists and I tackle the theme Repetition.

 

RJ: Repetition Rabbit,  pen on paper – Whether he knows it or not, I honestly believe that RJ is a natural printmaker. His rhythmic lines and marks always have that linear woodcut quality about them. I look at that rabbit head and I can see it printed multiple times and beautifully matted. His little rabbit silhouettes are precious and characteristically spot on. RJ used the theme this week more as a practice exercise and study of rabbits. The piece as a whole reminds me a lot of those beautifully drawn scientific studies of plants and animals in old encyclopedias. It shows his ability to pay attention not only to visual details of a subject, but to the nature and character of the subject too.

Repetition Rabbit

 

Dylan: The Study of Human Decomposition, Mix media (Clay, styrofoam wig base (deconstructed) tissue paper, various glues, and Great Stuff expanding foam) – I have known Dylan since college and she has always had a fascination and appreciation for the raw beauty of a bruise. While most people would be put off by the sight a discolored skin, she would love every bruise and bump on her body as if they were a gift. So when she sent me her images for this week’s challenge I was not in the least bit surprised. I think her words best describe the thoughts and process behind her current work created for a local theme park..

“I absolutely adore repetition and asymmetrical balance!

In my study of human skin decomposing, I found that many things had to be taken into account such as humidity, placement of the body for blood gathering, and how long the corpse had been a corpse. Upon doing a two year death in very low humidity, I assumed the body would look like this. 

The repetitive channels and the rippling form of the flesh convey an symmetrical pattern yet have unbalanced symmetry from the direction of the small channels and lines. I am eager to study the two week, high humidity form next. It is amazing the beauty that can be found anywhere if you look through an artist’s eyes.”

 

Study of decomposition

 

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Amber: The Cycle, Pen and graphite on Paper – I am about 3/4 finish with this piece. All week my mind was running through several ideas that reflected the concept of Repetition. First an image would spring to mind, I would mentally play with it until my thoughts about the image would lead me to another idea and so forth with the cycle. Eventually I began to see how there was a creative repetition to my thoughts. An idea would slowly formulate and bloom until the inspiration began to wane and roll over to a new idea. It’s a cycle that can easily consume an artist.

While I was playing with ideas that would fade into new ideas, I was also doodling randomness in my sketch book with pen and pencil shadings. I have always loved my doodles that combined pen and pencil work and at some point I knew that my final image for the piece was going to be my old favorite, the beautiful dandelion, combined with my preferred doodling technique.

The continuous life cycle of the dandelion seemed to naturally fit the complex creative repetition that occurs in my head every week when faced with a new art challenge.  I am currently debating adding a hint of color to the image, but I def plan to work the background so that the image pops a bit more and shading in the leaves. Thoughts?

 

The cycle

 

That was this week, hope you all enjoyed the work. Next week’s theme : PARADISE!


Weekly Art Challenge 2.0!!!

Hey folks!

We haven’t worked on our weekly art challenge since the beginning of the year. Some of us were genuinely busy, the rest of us (myself included) were total slackers! haha, but here we are again, ready to get back into the swing of things.

The first theme for Weekly Art Challenge 2.0 is FEELINGS! 

 

RJ: Frustration, Acrylic on paper. – RJ was originally trying to convey the feeling of happiness through abstraction, but it wasn’t working out as he planned and instead of capturing happiness, he accurately expressed his frustration. RJ’s experience is common amongst artists. Our moods affect our work and our work can affect our moods. The choice of colors, the bold brush strokes and the way the darkness smears itself across the image, preventing the viewer from moving past the feeling frustration to the possibilities beyond the dark smear.

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Tony: Happiness, marker on paper. – Tony set out to illustrate happiness and I think it would be impossible to look at his image and think it conveyed anything else but happiness. I like that his illustration literally oozes happiness. From the body posture to the choice of colors and supportive imagery, AND of course – in case you are not sure about the theme of the piece – the word ‘Happiness’ is written across the top in a bouncy la-la-la font. I can see this character in a children’s book or featured on a children’s television show. Young kids would definitely respond positively to this happy lil guy!

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Dylan: Loud Silence, found object – Dylan wanted to express the exhaustion of her feelings.

“I feel like I am only genuine in my emotions when I am working. Everyday life and most people drain me til there is nothing left. The energy is “turned on” only when I am working.”

Another relatable feeling. Those days when you must be “on” but in fact your feeling is more accurately described as “off”.  Its a struggle to effortlessly switch from one feeling to another and I think that struggle increases for those who are naturally empathic to other’s feelings.

Loud Silence

 

Amber: Invisible, mix media on paper (graphite, acrylic, watercolor, gesso, ink,  paper) –  I picked INVISIBLE as my feeling because I think it is a feeling that everyone can relate to, especially in an era where we are obsessed with putting our best face forward for the sake of the perfect [enter preferred social media] profile. I don’t want to criticize social media itself or point fingers and judge folks for spending too much time online, I am equally guilty of overindulging in social media as the next person. I am more interested in illustrating the desire to be seen, to stand out and still feeling invisible with the attention we receive. I wanted to illustrate the feeling of invisibility as a young girl awkwardly holding a bold and matured mask. The mask’s face reflects nothing of her real self, but instead reflects the performance of the visible her or the her that others prefer to see when they “see” her.

Perhaps we are so self involved that we all fail to see each other, thus forcing those around us to try harder to gain visibility? Or, we are incapable of seeing the real person before us because what we see reflects us more then them? These are some of the thoughts that were running through my head as I worked on my piece.

 

Invisible

Hope you all enjoyed this week’s art challenge. Next week the theme is: Repetition!!


Weekly Art Challenge: PIE

Hello Folks!

This week’s art theme is: PIE.

RJ: Chicken Pot Pie, Graphite and pen on paper – Someone has a sense of humor! As always I love the textures and mark making that RJ naturally creates. He has a great eye for detail and his work always look so effortless.

 

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Amber: Slice of Earth Pie, pen and ink – At first I had no idea what I was going to make for the theme. Personally, I hate pies! I never order one and I can count the number of pies I have eaten in my life on one hand. I was struggling for a few days until I remembered one kind of pie that I did love making as a child. Mud Pies!! I was a mud loving kid, always digging holes, playing with worms and making mile high mum pies. This piece is an homage to my childhood games and love for earthly creatures.

Its incomplete at the moment. Some watercolor and more pen work will be added along with additional ants and possibly another ladybug.

 

Slice of Earth Pie

 

 

Next theme: Flight!