Tag Archives: mix media

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! 🙂

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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!!


Weekly Art Challenge: OCEAN

Hey Folks!!

This (two) week’s challenge was to create works of art inspired by the theme: OCEAN.

Tony Ocean Bubbles, color pencil on paper.

“I got the idea of a floating ocean when RJ and I went to see Pan at the cinema. In the movie, Neverland is surrounded by a floating ocean with marine animals in the bubbles. And I loved the idea, so here’s my Ocean!”

I love the concept of an entire ecosystem floating inside a bubble! It reminds me of those beautiful and artsy glass marbles with swirls of chaotic colors contained within. My favorite detail of Tony’s piece is the whale’s fin skimming the edge of his eco-bubble. For me it signifies that the marine animals might be contained to their individual bubbles, but they are still free and wild creatures.

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Emily – Untitled – Mix Media (Markers, pencil and Lace) on paper

 “I was feeling a bit halloween-y so I did a Siren character that has ditched her wings and gone mermaid, holding a skull?” 

I love the bits of lace, they are a nice subtle texture to the image and references the the wings the siren ditched, beautifully! Looking at the piece, I am reminded of a few literary images. The Sirens reference Greek mythology. Her stitched transformation into a mermaid brings to mind Frankenstein melding with The Little Mermaid. AND, the skull in the hand is a perfect scene to break out some Shakespeare!

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Bethany – Love Story, mix media on paper

“The titled of this piece is “Love story” because my seven year old wrote love above her head and story upside down on her chest. He is very helpful. Most bodies of water freak me out, the unknown lurking underneath, but I enjoy them from the beach and I love to watch sail boats. This summer, my little family and I got to spend a week down in Florida. We long to return, and from the amount of sand still in the carpet of my Nissan, it seems as though we brought it back with us.” 

Bethany’s piece has this strong meditative daydreaming vibe that I can’t get enough of! I want to be this woman with the sea foam green hair and serene expression as she mentally and emotionally returns to a recent happy and peaceful moment. The soft colors only enhance the peaceful calmness of the figure!

Great job on your first Art Challenge piece, Bethany!

 

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AmberThe Voyage, mix media (tea, acrylic, watercolor, graphite and color pencil) on paper

This week, I chose to remake a piece that I had made a few weeks ago for a different challenge (Unconventional) in a medium that is more natural for me. I enjoy experimenting with new material, such as duct tape; but it is mixing drawing materials on paper that I swoon for.

The ocean is mysterious and vast. Its serene movements and calming blues beckon to our adventurous side and we can’t help but eagerly answer the call. The Voyage is about setting off for the unknown, taking chances and seeing where the tide takes you.

 

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Next week’s theme: DETERMINED


Weekly Art Challenge: DISTANCE

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is: DISTANCE

RJ – Three Bridges, Photograph

RJ’s photograph reminds me that distance is quiet and sometimes peaceful, like a day in the park; and gives us the space needed to see the full picture. The three bridges along the canal are spaced apart and each with their own story, yet they are connected by the flowing water of the canal and together they form the fuller picture seen from a distance.

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Karri – Heart, Collage on Paper

“This week I used pieces of torn maps of all the places my loved ones are, spanning 4 states. Though it might seem like a great distance, they all seem to fit nicely on this piece of paper.”

I love the puzzle aspect of the torn map pieces “fitting nicely” together, despite the distance between the people represented by each piece. The people that love you will always love you no matter where you are on the map.

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Emily – Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, mix media

“Heres my entry for this week. My partner recently left for university, so yeah that’s what this is about “
Emily’s piece reflects the distance of the heart and it pulls the viewer into feeling that distance with her. I like the transparency of the faces over the map. Seeing the lines and shapes beneath facial expressions further suggests that distance is more than space between two points, but also an emotion.
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Amber – Wanderlust, instagram photograph

This was a somewhat difficult challenge for me. I had too many ideas shifting around inside my head. The concept of distance is both spatial and emotional for me, and the two are tightly connected in various ways.

When I was seven my mother allowed a rainbow “priest” named Blue to bless me. His blessing (or prediction, depending on how you look at it) was that I would forever wander, that I would find plenty and nothing at all – or something along those lines. He also gave me a piece of glass made from lightening striking the ground and told me I would eventually lose it, I did.

I travel a lot, both for work and for pleasure. The happiest years of my life are those with distance covered, the most depressing years are those that were stagnant. The people I love the most in the world are scattered all over it, I am never near enough of them. But, I can’t stop moving about because that is when I will feel the distance from everyone and emotionally shut down.

This is a theme that I plan to return to and fully explore in the future, but for now I present a photograph of an antique toy car, an old map of Denver, postcard of Wyoming and a tiny teacup – representing me – to represent the time, emotion and spatial aspects of distance in a way that is connected to me.

 

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Next challenge is a two week challenge and the theme is: OCEAN!

Thanks for stopping by!


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.

 

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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!

 

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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: PARADISE!

Hey Folks!!

This week our theme is Paradise!

 

DylanDog, charcoal on paper – Dylan’s interpretation of paradise is an emotional state of being that she receives from the companionship of animals. As someone who travels often, there are moments spent with my cat or dog that top any moment abroad or any adventure.

“The wonderful animals in my life are my paradise. Despite any events around me, being around animals always calms me, centers me, and points me in the right direction. Animals bring clarity to my life in a world of indecision. They are my favorite teachers and greatest motivation in life. Animals are my personal compass and paradise.”

 

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KarriPaint Brush, Watercolor and pen on Paper – I think many folks would relate to Karri’s idea that paradise is something you can create for yourself. In an era full of external distractions, many of us actively seek out small spaces or moments that are a distraction from the distractions.

“As I sat down and pondered the idea of paradise the typical thoughts came to mind. A beach on the ocean with palm trees, the sun shining… so I started to draw out a little scene of Horn Island thinking that this would be a great image of paradise that a few of my artist friends could relate to. But, then I looked up at my jar of paint brushes and realize that paradise is something we, as artists, create for ourselves. So my paradise is in my brush. The paradise that I can escape to daily.”

 

The paint brush

 

 

AmberThe Orchid, mix media (pencil,watercolor, pen) on paper: Another week with lots of ideas rolling around my head! In the end I decided on ‘The Orchid’. When I think of Paradise, I tend to think first about the details of a paradise more so than the actual location of such a place. It is in the details like nature, color or texture – for example –that will push any place from feeling mundane to feeling like paradise.

I picked the Orchid as my detail partially because I find them to be so elegant and beautiful and also because The Orchid family is vast in numbers! I once read that there were over 20 thousand accepted species of orchids in the world. Some are more common and easily recognized, but others are rare and unique – known only to grow in a small little corner of the world.

In my eyes they are a work of art and their presence can make a paradise out of any place.

 

The orchid

 

 

Next week the theme is: Where the Wild Things Are!


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!!


Mother and Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago for The Weekly Art Challenge, I posted an unfinished drawing of a mother and child. A portrait of a very close friend’s sister-in-law and young nephew. It was far from completion and something I worked very hard on for about three weeks. Finally I completed it and thought I should share the outcome.

When I started the piece I had all sorts of whimsical ideas from floral backgrounds to, what would be for me, a challenging style and painting application; but in the end I choose a more classic style to capture the motherly tenderness I saw in my friend’s photograph. The color in the background is a reference to her auburn hair and fondness of Japanese Maples. I mixed several warm earthy reddish tones together and applied the wash in multiple layers, often using tissues to gently remove color and create a dreamy intimate space for the figures.

The mother in the image will not receive her portrait until the holiday, and I am eager to know if she likes the piece. I sincerely hope she does, at the moment this is my favorite piece in my portfolio.

You can visit my Etsy site if you are interested in commissioning a similar portrait for your loved ones.
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