Tag Archives: photograph

Weekly Art Challenge: VAN GOGH

Hey Folks!

This week our theme is VAN GOGH! Van Gogh is famous worldwide for his expressive paintings and tragic life. He is a universal favorite for art lovers.

 

DylanThe Ear Selfie, Special effects and instagram

I love this! If Van Gogh was around today, I imagine his famous post ear-cutting self portrait would have look something like this! Only Dylan could make you envious of her mangled ear and blood splattered throat selfie!

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Karri – Sunflowers, acrylic on canvas

 “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers have always captured my attention. I love that he painted them to decorate a room for his friend Gauguin. The sunflowers in Provence must be stunning. Wish sunflowers around here were just as plentiful.”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are beautiful and one of his most iconic pieces! I love Karri’s loose painterly brushstrokes and soft color palette, she did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of Van Gogh and charm of sunflowers. I don’t think there is a person who can look at a a sunflower and not feel a little bit happier.  🙂

 

Karri Van gogh

 

Bethany

“My rough interpretation of Van Gogh’s Skull with Burning Cigarette. Only I gave him a sweet tea with lemon and a little umbrella, which oddly looks like a flower.”  

If I were a skull, I’d prefer the sweet tea over the cigarette too! I love the personal and cultural (nothing beats Southern sweet tea!) twist to one of Van Gogh’s early and probably lesser known works, but what I like most is that Bethany decided to tackle the skeleton. Most people prefer to avoid drawing skeletons, they can be intimidating subjects. Bethany went for it  and with beautiful contour lines. Great job Bethany!

 

bethany van gogh

 

Emily – Quotes, monotype prints on paper.

“Here are my Van Gogh entries, my first layer of printing went well, then the yellow didn’t! Then I just ran with it anyway creating some strange messy pieces mixed with Van Gogh quotes, not technically amazing pieces but I kinda like the messiness!”

The prints are messy and I like that about them too! The messiness, in my opinion, gives off an energy similar to that of Van Gogh’s thick, bold and animated strokes. The composition, color choices and quotes remind me of street art. I can visualize these pieces becoming wheatpastes around a city. As a humorous thought, the blue piece looks like the sunflowers are growing out if Van Gogh’s head. Its as if his thoughts/dreams can no longer be contained within his head and are now becoming hair!

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AmberDandelions, Acrylic washes and graphite on paper

I loved Van Gogh’s artwork as a kid. He was the first artist that I learned about in grade school and was able to recognize when shown his artwork; this was a major thrill and feeling of accomplishment for a seven year old me.

For this week’s challenge I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, Sunflowers. Karri and I must be kindred Van Gogh spirits!

I painted dandelions (surprise!) in a teacup. Dandelions being my equivalent to his sunflowers and of course the teacup instead of a vase made obvious sense for me. Instead of painting with his preferred thick brushstrokes I chose to work in the muted washes that I lean toward. This piece felt like a collaboration between me and an artist that I greatly admire.

 

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Next week’s theme: SPACE

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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.

 

dylan

 

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.

karri

 

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.

 

emily

 

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: UNCONVENTIONAL

Hey folks!

This week’s challenge theme is: Unconventional!

 

RJ: Ship in a Bottle, Black and White Photograph –

Inspired by turbulent seas at the coast of England.”

I love the dark velvety blacks and pearly silvers in RJ’s photograph, they play nicely with the turbulence of the sea that inspired him this week. Looking at the image, I find myself easily getting lost inside that bottle with the origami sailboat – which was humorously made from a parking ticket, a symbol of desired stillness. I can imagine what the sensation of being tossed around sea and the slight blur from all the saltwater in the eyes would be like, and the desire to park my little boat.

RJ ship in bottle

 

Dylan: Self-Portrait, Photograph/ ensemble –

“As a 35 year old woman, people say that I should not dress like a 12 year old adolescent. I disagree. Clothing for women my age is predictable and tame in color so I frequently opt for vibrancy found in childish fashion. It is not about a desperate attempt to look younger, but an expression of fun color and wacky designs.”

Dylan’s self-portrait and statement reflects a lot on the pressures to conform our appearances and personality to the social “norm”, especially as someone ages. The social pressure to conform can be a real threat to creativity. I think, perhaps, this social pressure is a reason why so many artists prefer the solitude.

Dylan

 

Emily: Embrace All Parts Of Yourself and Don’t Look Back, mix media photo collage –

“My Pieces for ‘Unconventional’ came about as I was creating another piece from old photography work when I realized that the style may be slightly unconventional. So I got together some old prints of photography work to create collages/mixed media pieces. These are especially unconventional for me because I often have my negative feelings show in my work so it was a nice change to have some more on positivity 🙂 “

I like that Emily’s “unconventional” was not limited to the style and process of her work, but also include the feelings that she doesn’t conventionally express in her work. Exploring new feelings in art is a challenge in itself. In Embrace All Parts Of Yourself, I see the struggle to find a happy balance with the complexity of identity and the assertion to embrace all of it. A person’s identity is made up of layers upon layers – much like the layering of Emily’s photographs. Identity is messy, complex, vibrant and loaded with parts that need embracing!

Don’t Look Back has an edgier gritty feel to it, in comparison to Embrace. It is no longer asking or encouraging you to embrace yourself, its telling you to accept your choices and keep pushing forward.

  

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Karri: Untitled, Watercolor Monotypes on paper –

“This week I thought a lot about this theme. I kept coming back to the same realization that my normal is most peoples unconventional. I am always experimenting with different mediums and materials. I can find art and beauty in just about anything. So I struggled with what would be unconventional for me. This week I have been experimenting with a new technique, monotype printmaking. So these are examples of what of how that experimentation turned out this week.”

I am so happy that Karri took on monotypes for her unconventional challenge. I like the idea of unconventional not actually being a conventional unconventional, but simply something new to try. Her monotypes are lovely. I am particularly drawn to the center piece – a double ghost print? – it is so soft and pretty. It bring to mind a few small and pleasant memories.

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AmberThe Voyage, duct tape “painting” with sharpie embellishments  –

My original idea was to create a self-portrait with duct tape. I even made one, but it was TERRIBLE. So bad, that I won’t even post it! LOL, but I did learn a lot from the piece, technique-wise, and immediately started with the image below, which is still somewhat a self-portrait in an unconventional way. I have worked previously with the theme of octopuses inside of teacups with perched hummingbirds.

For me, hummingbirds will always be associated with my departed grandmother and also represent freedom. Teacups are my form of mediation. When I am happy, holding one filled with tea makes me happier and focused. When I am depressed and feeling broken, holding one filled with tea makes me feel intact and alive. The octopus has become a recent favorite for me. They represent the soul, but more specifically the deepest unexplored depths of the soul. You know there is something powerful waiting there in the dark, you see pieces of it exposed and reaching outward, but it is still a mystery.

The image is not completely finished and I think more of a protocol for a future image.

The voyage

 

 

Thanks for checking us out, Next week the theme is: FIRST


Weekly Art Challenge: THE FAIR

RJ The Carrousel, pen on paper – RJ’s fun sketch is a personal twist on a classic ride, the carrousel. I love how he incorporates animals representing recent travels instead of going with the classic horse. If I had my choice, I would pick the rattlesnake!! 🙂

RJ'S FAIR

 

Tony – The Party, Pencil on paper –

“The clay of the Candle is dancing as well as its smoke. The little spirits gathered and dance.”

 Tony’s piece has a nostalgic presence of past fairs and old timey festivities. The treatment of the wax drips and smoke reminds me a lot of winter fairs. The spirits are either dancing or skating, depending on how you look at it.

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KarriThe Fair, Acrylic on canvas

“It is that time of the year! The time for long hot summer days with fried food, roller coasters and ferris wheels. I love the fair, but my favorite part is when the sun goes down and you can really see all the beautiful lights. In this painting I was trying to depict the crowds of people illuminated only by the lights of the vendors and the rides.”

I love the softness of Karri’s brush strokes. It transforms the night scene into a dreamlike fair experience, the kind that inspired you to soak it all up before it is gone.

karri fair

 

Emily – The Fair, photograph –

“This week I have gone with photography as my medium, it was too lucky to miss as this week there was a fair in my local town so it was a perfect opportunity. I wanted to capture the energy of the fair by involving the blur of the lights in my images”

Emily’s photograph reminds me if what it is like to be intoxicated with the energy of a place and moment. While looking at her photographs I am not only sensing the movement in the lights, but also imagining the blur of indistinguishable sounds and smells. I almost want to hit play on an 80’s soundtrack and get lost in the blur.

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Emily Fair 1

 

 

AmberThe Nose Picker, watercolor and pen on paper.

When I think of the fair I first think of classic rides such as the iconic carousel horses and classic fair food like the infamously sweet cotton candy, oh how my tummy aches just thinking of the sugar overload!

In maintaining the classic image of the fair, I chose to connect with my inner Norman Rockwell in producing this image of a young boy riding the carousel and picking his nose because he assumes that no one is paying attention. Someone is watching, a shocked little girl who is about to lose her cotton candy to a hungry puppy! I didn’t finish the piece, obviously. I redrew this image several times over this week and in the end I stopped working on it when it hit me that I wanted to do something completely different with this piece in a different medium; and I didn’t have the time to change direction.

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Next week’s theme: REFLECTION!

 


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: Age!

Hey folks!

This weeks theme is AGE.

RJ: Old Hands, Pencil and photo graph – Our RJ just had a birthday last week and like most normal people, the topic of aging is on the mind. I liked that drew the hands instead of the face. It feels more appropriate for an artist to focus on our hands. The more we create the more we notice the changes in our hands.

 

 

 

Amber: Pears, Instagram Photo – I wanted so badly to draw/paint this. But a hectic work schedule ate up all my free time. So instagram to the rescue! I wanted to focus on the act of aging. the pears still have a part of them that is youthful and firm while another part of them is loosing that desirable youth rapidly. I think it the same for people. We age differently and how we age is affected by our varied lifestyles. Some of us maintain a youthful appearance but inside we feel the pains of age, others look decades older but inside they could feel no different than they did at age 30. I like the duality and struggle between the appearance and reality.

 

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Weekly Art Challenge: CHANGE

Hey Folks!!

This week the theme for our fun art challenge is “Change” and was picked by our new creative participant, Tony! Welcome to the fun Tony!

 

Rj: Change of Breakfast, Photographed Happening –  Lucky Rj was enjoying a week in France and with the limited materials he had to work with Rj’s piece became a reflection of a different pace of life one would experience while traveling. He wanted to show how a different location and can offer a change of perspective and using a moment that almost all people share, like eating breakfast, he was able to illustrate that feeling of change. And to add some playfulness to the image he transformed a sheet of paper too look like a croissant.

 

Tony: Same but Different, Acrylic – Tony’s piece is a statement that we all naturally change with age but yet we are still the same person from the beginning to end. Change is something that can not be escaped and those same changes does not make a different person, physically.

 

Amber: The Snake Girl, pen and ink with watercolors – For my piece I wanted to illustrate a spiritual transformative act, the shedding of one’s outer and confining layer to free the inner-self. My inspiration came from my own personal fascination with snakes, their use in religious mythologies and their often cultural association with women. When I began sketching this piece I intended to draw myself shedding the snake skin, but as the sketch progressed I saw that image wasn’t me, she was someone else unknown to me who I guess needed to be released.

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

Next week theme is: Mythical!