Tag Archives: self portrait

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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Currently Untitled

I started this drawing in 2010 and two years later I still feel that it is unfinished. What I still need to do is to push the darks further toward a more darker velvety texture and bring in some additional mid-tones in the face so that it’s not too pale and washed out. From past experience of painting with Tea, I know I need to compare how the tea staining has changed since I first began the piece and then make some corrective decisions so that it won’t look awkward and unintended. The combination of  paper, type of tea and possibly even the brew strength and temperature of the tea itself will determine how well the tea holds up over time after application. Some staining will fade away while others lose the warm brilliant undertones that is immediately noticed and become a duller shade of amber.

Currently the drawing is sitting in my bedroom behind my dresser waiting for me to return from work. I am sure it would have been finished long time ago if it wasn’t for my job keeping me away from home for months at a time. At the moment there is no permanent title. I know I had a few ideas, I wrote some notes on the back and in a few sketchbooks and random pieces of paper, but still nothing concrete.

The idea behind the piece is the loss of youthful innocence and hard kept ideals through harrowing adult experiences and the desperate attempt to hold onto the withering stems of that former identity.

I choose to represent the youthful ideals through childlike drawings of flowers, the very same that I myself remember drawing in art class as a young child, their wilting embodies the loss of innocence. The figure – based on a photograph I took of myself years earlier when I was crying and feeling at my most distraught – will not look at the viewer or at the flowers instead she casts her eyes to the side and downward, feeling alone in her struggles and sense of loss. The colors are muted to reiterate her sense of loss. I left the figure herself black and white. It’s a bit of a preference of mine to appreciate the graphite marks, both subtle and dramatic, in a drawing and not cover them up with another medium. The figure itself is, in my opinion, the best subject to appreciate those drawing qualities that I love so much.

Most of my more serious work, the pieces on paper, tends to be strongly autobiographical. Like many other artists I use my own experiences as a well from which I draw inspiration from. This piece in particular reflected an emotional turning point in my life when I felt that I was no longer the same person and could never go back to who I was before. A moment that I am fairly certain every adult has experienced, its apart of life. I think the key is to not lose all of your previous self, to be able to still tap into that piece of you that  is still curious and wanting to see the possibilities of what stands before you, but balance our ideals and innocence with experience and wisdom.

Materials are Paper from a cheap roll that I bought in NYC, not sure of the makers, Tea bags, Teas, graphite and some graphite washes.