Here is a monotype I created in a Beginning Printmaking class. I was intimidated by the creation of monotypes and found myself frustrated in trying to create something I genuinely liked. After a lot of trial and error I ended up making this piece, which in the end I was really happy with.
This was my piece for a body casting assignment where we learned how to make molds and cast plaster. I was really intrigued by the crazy amount of detail you can achieve so I wanted to do a somewhat larger body part and put it in more of an uncomfortable way to really get people to look at the details. I painted the feet a skin color and found a shelf that the feet could rest on.
This is one of my favorite pieces I did this summer working on my Research Grant through St. Norbert College. After carefully reviewing images of my family and scanning them in to enhance details that weren’t as visible on the photo itself, I was very happy with the end result of this piece.
I chose a photo of my grandma as a baby being held by her father (who is my great-grandpa). I was intrigued by the highlights of his shirt in contrast with the intense folds in the clothes of both figures. I really wanted to make those stand out within the piece so that it would compliment the simplistic backgrounds which I use throughout most of my pieces.
This series I created is really an exploration of trying new techniques with watercolor and learning more about my family. Looking through pictures from mainly the 1920’s to the 1970’s I found myself examining them pretty thoroughly. I used a cut out of a square to find certain areas in photos that were both visually pleasing and meant something more to me. For example, my family always had pets and including a dog not only connected my family, but it relates to my overall body of work which happens to include a lot of animals/pets.
For the Senior Art Exhibition, I would like to continue to explore old family photos. This is something that came up recently in my artistic endeavours. I want to continue this process I started with my current watercolor paintings where I use a cut-out square and place it around a photo until I find something of interest. Some things are related to family such as hobbies, while other things are more of just something I find visually pleasing.
Conceptually each piece may be a very small part of a photo, but have much more meaning in terms of my personal family. So far just working for a short time with these watercolor paintings, I have learned much about my family just from chatting with my Grandma and Grandpa about these photos. I learned about who is in them, their interests, etc. Something I found is that my Great-Grandma, and even my Great-Great-Grandma loved animals, which relates to my personal interests and my body of work.
I would like to explore a mixture of different media. Much of my work at St. Norbert has included acrylic and oil paints. I explored contrasting high detail with abstract backgrounds. My plan for my Senior Art Exhibition is to add these techniques to my more current work of family photos. As much of my work has included animals, personally I would like to go back to working with portraiture and the figure. In addition, this semester I am planning to do paintings with added material like newspaper, canvas scraps, and other found objects. Continuing this into my Senior Show is definitely something I would like to further explore.
Finally I would like to work more with “canvas pillows”. About a year or so ago I was inspired by Rafael Salas. He had displayed these stuffed canvases (much like pillows) with paintings on them which gave them a more three-dimensional look. I created some of my own which ended up being some of my favorite work made at St. Norbert. I think incorporating this to my Senior Show will add conceptually to the body of work as it will give a more home-like family feeling.
In terms of scale, my plan is to work in a variety of sizes. As much as I liked working small with watercolor, I would love to try and make some of those at a larger scale (maybe 16x20in. Or larger). The canvas pillows I made were also smaller and I think would make a bigger impact if I made some at a more life-like scale. In general my scale of work will get larger then in previous works.
In conclusion, I plan to create a series of work referencing family photos. One piece will be similar to “The Beauties of Nature” piece I created with hanging canvas pillows but in a life-like scale. Another piece will actually be a mini series of watercolor pieces that I would like to just continue to add to. Again, I would like to explore with larger sizes with these watercolor pieces. Finally, as I am going to start working with portraiture this semester, my last piece for the show will be portraits exploring abstract backgrounds and emphasizing on the parts of photos I think are the most important.
General Project Timeline:
-Aug 26 through Oct. = Watercolor Mini series
-Nov. through Jan. = Canvas pillows
-Dec. through Mar. = Portraiture/Figurative paintings
-Mar. through April = Presentation/set-up of show
Please see Canvas Pillows, The Beauties of Nature, and Watercolor Mini Series posts for images referencing my inspiration for the Senior Exhibition.
My final piece was another mini series of illustrative animals. Since my family recently adopted two bunnies, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some more cartoon-like pieces. Here I was thinking about grass rather than leaves, so I used a lot of water and acrylic paint to make the drips for the background to represent the grass. After applying the paint and water I hung it on the wall while still wet to get them to run down one side. Then I waited a little while, flipped it over, and repeated with the water and paint. They turned out really interesting after being dried completely. Since the bunnies were originally grown up together and very noticeably have a strong relationship with one another I wanted them to face each other when hanging on the wall to sort of give this sense of connection between the two of them. Since they naturally are both mostly white with little bits of color, I think they turned out contrasting very well with the background.
My fifth piece was really a collaboration of multiple pieces. This was really an experimental mini series which I used to just play around with oil paint. I played with thick paint, thin paint, using a palette knife versus a paintbrush, different contrasting colors, etc. There were definitely some I wasn’t very happy with, but I was really glad I did this short series to get some more experience in the medium and using it in a variety of different ways.
My fourth piece came to mind while I was drawing my geckos in a more cartoon-like way. I really liked the sketch I came up with so I decided to draw all three of my geckos in the same style. Afterwards I wanted to paint them as a mini series. My geckos already have some pretty unique colors so I wanted to keep them the same for the painting. This piece was meant to be much different in that I would continue to use the drips, but rather than continue going extremely detailed, I wanted to draw my animals as a cartoon as a way to break from the hyperrealism. The most difficult part for me in this series was trying to really make these solid black lines clean and neat. I think for the most part I was successful in that area, but would have liked it to be even cleaner. The drips became more of an abstract application of greens and yellows using my palette knife. It gave the same, similar effect of the drips, with a slightly different approach. As I finished one of them, I also had some 4 by 4 inch canvases I wanted to put some paint on so I used my palette knife again to create a unique abstraction using the leaf colors as well as the backgrounds colors for each piece. I was super happy with how those turned out in contrast to the gecko paintings and I loved the solid background colors so I decided to do another set of smaller ones. These ones were the colors of each of their skin. All together I was very pleased with the final presentation. This was a very exciting way to still be able to create a high contrast without such detail.
I decided to title this piece, The Beauties in Nature. I thought deeply about this piece and its meaning to me. I was really focused on painting these animals/insects that I would contrast with an abstract painting of nature. I think a lot of times people will take these beautiful pictures of landscapes and nature without thinking about some of the beautiful creatures within it. That being said I made these creatures more detailed than the background to emphasize on them. I threw in a couple detailed things like the dandelion, the flower, and the log which I felt helped to give the viewer the assumption that the animals are part of this landscape without actually being attached to the canvas. I really wanted them to float freely and be able to twist and turn as if interacting with the background. The final presentation was really what I had imagined. Deciding to drill several holes into the white wood panel so that I could really play around with the animals positions was super helpful to completing it the way I wanted. As I had wanted to continue in each piece, I had added a lot of drips into the background and the strong contrast between that and the animals, in my opinion, turned out to be very successful.
The second piece to my series is based off an image I took at the Milwaukee Zoo in Wisconsin. This was probably my favorite and least favorite piece of the entire series. It was my favorite because I was extremely happy with the small details I was able to create within the whole piece and the contrast between the drips, the details, and the dark shadows. It was also my least favorite because of the heavy repetition of those details and amount of time the piece took all together.
All in all I was very happy with it in the end. I feel like the amount of detail and contrast in the piece was fully achieved the way I wanted it to. The drips were a great part of the piece that helped to really push the contrast which I was pleased about because I wanted to continue the drips on every piece of the series. I had a lot of enjoyment watching this piece slowly but surely become completed.