Printmaking…. texture studies!

Hello lovelies!

The way the Fine Art Studio MFA program works at RIT, we are required to take two of four “major” studio courses each semester: Painting, Sculpture, New Forms, and/or Printmaking.  I’m pretty sure most of you know what Painting and Sculpture are… and most likely, you know what Printmaking is (in general).  But, New Forms–now, that’s an oddball!  Or at least, it was for me, when I took it last year.  In New Forms, the whole idea is to experiment and push the boundaries of that ever-elusive question: “What is art?”  New Forms can involve media projects, social experiments, sculpture, video, environmental art and/or any combination thereof.  For me, this was really hard.  I usually paint and draw… so trying to think about NEW ways to express the same ideas I usually paint or draw was NOT my cup of tea.  However, I did learn a lot about thinking outside the box, and I’m glad I took the class.

Sculpture was interesting and different for me, too… but that’ll be a post for a different day!  Printmaking was also new… and still is, really.  My first semester, I took Painting and New Forms, second semester, I took Painting and Printmaking and Sculpture.  This semester, I’m doing Printmaking and Painting, and it’s going pretty well… so far… It’s only been 5 weeks–IT’S ALREADY BEEN FIVE WEEKS?! OH MY!

So, today, I decided to share a few of my most recent prints that I’m working on for a Book Arts project for my Non-Toxic Printmaking class.  We did the same project last year, but it’s a repeated project; a culmination of our experience in the Printmaking studio.  Last year, I did two books, based on dry-point flowers and cutouts.  Dry-Point is where you scratch a design or drawing into the plastic plate, ink it up, wipe it down, and run it through the press with the paper.  I usually use dry paper, as well, to get the details of the lines, but NOT the extra ink around the lines… I think it works pretty well:

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Here are some of my other prints from last semester!

Now… here are the ones I’m currently working on.  I’m doing a process called Collographing.  This means that I’m building up texture on the surface of a plate, then using shellac to seal my textures (if I need it… when the texture is made of a gel medium, I don’t usually use shellac).  Once the shellac and/or gel medium is dry, I use several colors of inks to fill the plate, then wipe off the excess (this is usually a LOT, unfortunately).  Then, I run the plate through the press with dampened paper, at a low pressure.  I’m having a lot of fun playing with the textures, which I think builds off my experience as a deaf person, whose sense of touch is heightened… but that’s just my thought!  The “lighter” images are Ghost prints… which simply means that I reprinted each plate without re-inking it.. In some cases, I actually prefer the Ghost! (And nooooo… it has nothing to do with Patrick Swazye… 😉 )

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I’m also continuing to explore dry-point, which is SO fun and meditatively relaxing for me… That’ll be a post for another day, too!  Enjoy these! 🙂  Peace, love and art… -Danielle

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News!… literally! And thesis exhibition title.. HELP!?

Hello lovelies!

SOOOOOOOO, I had the honor of having a bit of a review about me published online the other day!  Not a review of my work, per se… but a review of my online presence and how I can improve my marketing, promotion, networking, etc.  Click here, if you want to read the article!

In my Business Practices class at RIT, we’ve been talking a lot about marketing ourselves online, and what sites are useful, and which ones… well, aren’t.  It’s a lot to learn, and it’s always changing, but that’s part of what makes it exciting.  If anything, I have learned that discipline and persistence usually pay off!  Slowly, yes… but surely!

I have also recently registered to start writing for a website called the Artifice… I’ll be reviewing art-related themes and ideas.  It’ll be a while before I get published, but you can BET that I’ll post on here, as soon as I do!

MEANWHILE… I’ve been trying to figure out what to call my thesis exhibition.  I’m dealing with the book of Revelations from the Bible, and have SOME ideas, but am still not sure.  I want to find the perfect title; one that is subtle, but totally recognizable to those who know the Word.  I want my title to pull people in by intrigue and curiosity, whether they know exactly what the word, itself, means.  Here are some of my ideas:

Revelation (I don’t love this one, because it seems too blunt, but it IS my theme)

Patmos (This is the island where John experienced Revelations.  The word also means, “my killing,” I believe)

Kataklysmos (Greek for a “washing” in the destructive sense… I REALLY like this one!)

Armageddon

Apocalyptic Hope

Blessings (According to several concordances, Revelations is the only book of the Bible that promises blessing to its readers)

That’s all I’ve got at this point.. let me know what you think! 🙂

Peace, love and art!

Danielle

4 Living Creatures Around the Throne… in process!

Revelation 4:6-8

Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.  In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty.”  who was, and is, and is to come.”

Hello, lovelies!

Today, I thought I’d share an in-process painting, along with some sketches for it… This piece  is about the passage above, from Revelations.  As I work, one of the most difficult things is figuring out how to get my point/expression across without repelling any viewers and/or overwhelming the formative structure of the piece.  This one has been a STRUGGLE.  I had a great idea, sketch and start to the piece last semester, but since then, haven’t been happy with the piece… until today.  I worked about 4 hours or so on it this afternoon in the studio, and I think I’m back at a point where I can continue to move forward with the piece.  I’m not going to bog you down with words this time–it’s all about the images, tonight!  So enjoy! 🙂  and PLEASE leave feedback about the paintings, or questions.. whatever floats your boat!

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peace love and art,

Danielle

20 miles of thoughts

Hello lovelies!

I know, I know… I’ve been slacking BIG time lately.  Things have been so busy between school, studio time, and training for my 4th marathon–kind of fourth… I had the flu during my actual fourth one, so I don’t count that “attempt…”

So this morning was a 20-mile run, followed by a GORGEOUS drive out to Jasper, NY for a funeral of a dear family friend’s relative.  While I wish the reason behind the drive were happier, let me just tell you… the countryside of 390 S through New York, past Geneseo… SIMPLY STUNNING.  I can only imagine how it must vibrate with color in the Fall (you know, that season with cooler weather, pumpkins, leaves crunching… yeah, I’m SO ready for it, too.)  So, during all that, I was thinking of what to write about tonight, and I decided to make a list of 20 personal thoughts about art… one thought for each mile I ran.

You’d think I would have had more time to come up with a good topic while running 20 miles… but really, your brain just thinks about the next mile… haha

so… here goes!

  1.  Drawing is the root of ALL things art…  This was a good enough concept for Van Gogh, and it’s certainly key for me!

2.  I’m not even gonna alter this one… directly from Michelangelo, himself: “The true work of art is but a shadow of the Divine perfection.”

3.  And along those lines, as I was running this morning–and other mornings–I see the sunrise, and am constantly reminded, through the symphony of colors and still air, that God is the best artist there is; everyone else pales in comparison.

4.  When it comes to artists, though, I really like aspects of Salvador Dali, Degas, Courbet, Ian Strange, Greg Simkins… that’s only a few.  I love adding new artists to my inventory!

5.  One day, I really REALLY want to own a coffeeshop/art gallery combination.  Art, coffee, and sharing those gems with other people? … YES, PLEASE!

6.  So this isn’t art… but I really do love cooler weather… days when I can wear a sweater and NEED it, enjoy a HOT cup of coffee, and hear the leaves crunching under my feet.

7.  Honestly, if I hadn’t had a bad experience in high school theatre, I don’t know that I would have begun painting…

8.  I paint because I feel like it’s God’s work… I’m called to do my little part for His kingdom through my artwork, however directly that may be.

9.  I have a thesis exhibition in APRIL… TIME WILL FLY.  Fortunately, I don’t have to totally freak out yet…. YET.

10.  I believe that a lot of things can be art… I know that’s a controversial statement, and I could probably write an entire post dedicated to the topic… I probably WILL write an entire post dedicated to that topic…

11.  I simply adore chalk pastels and oil paints… definitely my favorite media.

12.  My mom is SO much more creative and artistic than she will EVER give herself credit.

13.  She also used to always ask my brother and I for paintings… now we’ve each given her some, so I hope she’s happy 😉 haha

14.  Monuments Men is a really good art-related movie, about WWII… Mortdecai is another good art-movie… definitely a silly one, though.  But Johnny Depp… need I say more?

15.  Studio life is utterly irreplaceable.

16.  Speaking of which, when I get a “real” house one day, my studio will be significantly larger than my living space.  Seriously.

17.  I’m always learning.  I really don’t think I will EVER become an expert at anything–artistically or otherwise–because there will always be room for improvement.

18.  I like to try new artistic methods and media… I want to be an ARTIST, not just a painter.  I am definitely primarily a painter, but I want to be proficient enough to express an idea in whatever medium best fits the idea.

19.  Green is my favorite color, but probably one of my LEAST favorites to use in a painting.. haha.

20.  Art-making should ultimately be fun..  There will be times when it’s hard, frustrating, or times I simply don’t feel like painting, but in the long run, I believe what my grandfather, Pop, always says…”Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  I told my Drawing students that the other day, because it’s so applicable to EVERYTHING in life.  EVER.

Thanks for reading my 20 blurb-thoughts… I know they’re not all related, but who cares?  My life is a hodge podge, so of course my thoughts are, too…

peace, love and art!

Danielle

Rainy dayssssss…

Hello, lovelies!

So, we have another (the second in a row) rainy day here in Rochester, New York.  I really don’t mind rainy days though.  My Cochlear Implant does, as it can’t get wet… but that’s an easy enough fix!  I love rainy days because they’re the perfect days to relax, ponder, write, read, paint… I do these things every day, though… haha!

BUT, rainy days make it easier… listening to the rain hit the windows–or a tin roof, if you’re lucky–, smelling the leaves, watching the breeze, breathing deeply and resting in the wholesomeness of the day… it’s really quite lovely!  As I was thinking about these things, I started wondering about other people… what are other people’s favorite things about rainy days?  Now I’m starting to sound like Maria from Sound of Music (another great rainy day activity… MOVIES!)

SOOOOO, I want to know YOUR favorite rainy day activities!  Post them below.. post pictures… send me emails… whatever floats your boat (there’s almost enough water for boating by now 😉 )

As always, peace love and art! … can’t wait to read your responses (PLEASE DO RESPOND…haha!)

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Danielle

MFA year 1 at RIT!

Hello lovelies!

As I was running this morning–in the rain, getting all sopping wet before the first day of my internship–I was thinking about what I’d write today.  So, since I’m starting an internship at the Memorial Art Gallery today, and have done lots of “stuff” to get my art where it is at the moment, I thought I’d do a quick blurb about my first year in the MFA program at Rochester Institute of Technology.

First off, I’m from the SOUTH…. so, I was looking for cold weather, and boy, Rochester did NOT disappoint!  Last winter was lovely!  My only concern is driving in the snow… but my fabulous roommate has promised to teach me this year!  (Last year, I lived in campus housing, so I used a campus shuttle most of the time)… right now, it’s been so hot lately, I’m just ready for FALL!  And pumpkin-y stuff!

BaileyYeah… that’s my nephew; cutest thing EVER!

Anyways, when I first started at RIT, I knew I wanted to paint, but I didn’t know WHAT, exactly.  So I turned to some old ideas I’d been wanting to try.  I’d always wanted to paint verses and stories from the Bible, so I started with Isaiah, when God promises to lift us up on wings like an eagle, to not grow faint or weary… it sounds beautiful…

SOUNDS beautiful… my painting did NOT reflect that, so I put it away for a while, until the time was right, and I took another route; Erased Still Life grid paintings.  To do these, I literally draw a still life, and then use sighting tools (kind of imaginary horizontal and vertical lines, transferred from the still life to my paper) to check my proportions.  Once I got the still life as accurate as I could, I erased it.  Yeah, I spent 3 hours or so drawing, then erased it… sound crazy?  I guess I’m crazy… haha 🙂

But I didn’t erase the WHOLE thing.  I erased all the still life objects I’d drawn, yes, but I left the grid!  So I used the squares and rectangles to create depth with COLOR.  These ended up being SO much fun, and led directly to what everyone knows as my “rooster painting.”  This is ACTUALLY called Peter’s Denial, as it is derived from the gospels, where Peter denies Christ three times before the rooster crows.

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From there, I began another self-guided (forced) painting based on scripture.  This time, I went BIG.  Eight feet tall by six feet wide big.  I was working on a piece that would depict Satan and Hell, and wanted it monumental, like old Renaissance masters’ Biblical paintings.  But it wasn’t working for me… I ended up frustrated and unhappy with the product… so, what did I do?  Well, you can’t erase oil paint… soooooo, I cut it!  Yup; I took a big ‘ole knife and cut the piece, saving parts of it that I liked… Here’s the image before I cut it:

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I’ve learned a LOT since then… and thought a lot more about what I want my work to really say, which brings me to where I am.  I’m working on a series for my Thesis Exhibition, which will be in the Spring.  My work reflects my representation of John’s recollection of his vision at Patmos, in Revelations.  I say that it’s my representation of his recollection to emphasize that it is, in a sense, twice-removed.  I do this intentionally, to allow creativity and expression.  I don’t want to stoically depict the Word in such a way as to shut anyone out.  I believe art is for everyone.  I believe Jesus is for everyone, and I want to use my art to share my love for Christ.  So, I’m really excited to see where the semester takes me, and I’ll be sure to post throughout… Meanwhile, I’m off to the Memorial Art Gallery for my “first day!” Whoo hoo!  🙂

Peace, love and art!

Danielle

Continuing my life (sounds more dramatic than it is..)

Hello lovelies!

I do believe it makes sense to just pick up where I left off the other day?  I’ve always loved friends with whom I can do that… we might go years without seeing each other, but then, as soon as we do get a chance to chat over coffee, it’s like we never skipped a beat.  It’s a nice feeling, don’t you think?  So that’s what we’ll go for, here 😉 So grab your coffee–you can bet I’d have mine if it was an earlier hour (caffeine at 8:30 pm… no, thank you!)…

For anyone who is joining now, my last post was all about how I lost my hearing… the answer to the big question I always get… HOW?… is, “honestly, no one knows.”  The doctors ran test after test, to no avail.  So, 1995; hearing loss, 1996; Cochlear Implant.

Since my last post introduced my deafness, I thought I would share my senior exhibition from Brevard College with you all.  The show is titled Synthesis: The Audio-Visual Connection, and portrays my life as a deaf individual.  Each painting revolves around a specific experience in my life.  Some of the paintings depict ONE exact moment.  You can also read my artist statement from the show here.

Read as much or as little as you want… scroll through the photos, I’m not here to “make” anyone do anything, but I want to share what I love with people I love!

peace, love and art! –Danielle

3. I Love You

Many people might recognize the symbol on the right side of this panel.  It is a plaster cast of the phrase, “I love you,” in sign language.  When I lost my hearing, my family was forced to learn sign language to communicate with me.  This sign was one of the first we ever learned; our love for each other and God’s love for each of us was crucial in dealing with our crisis.  The left side of the diptych contains the letters for “sound” in sign language.  I chose this word partially for its irony, and partially because I have a different type of appreciation for sound than many people.  The ground area is dark, representing the lack of sound.  The letters S-O-U-N-D are white to represent closed captioning and its superimposition on the regularity behind it.

6. Appreciating Sound

Music is a big part of my generation.  While I would like to say that I listen to music the same way anyone else does, I cannot.  Listening to music can be difficult for me because I often do not hear the lyrics above the acoustics.  Physically, it is difficult for me to listen to music because I have to use bulky headphones that are conspicuous and impractical.  This piece also shows the juxtaposition between two types of transmitting sound: one through the cords of headphones, the other through cords within the interior of my skull.

7. Light (In the Darkness)

When I was six years old, I participated in a pageant for deaf children in Chicago.  I chose to represent this event through the imagery conveyed by candles for several reasons.  First, and most directly, during the awards ceremony of the pageant, we all held white candles, lining the aisle.  Because we were deaf, it was completely silent, and we were united by the solitary flames and by a force greater than any of us.  The grouping of three-dimensional candles on the right side of the panel shows the power of unity, while the single candle on the left side represents the difference one light can make in the darkness.  The candles are burnt out to show the lasting effect a person or memory can have.

8. Soundwaves

This is more of a mechanical piece, representing what happens when my implant battery dies.  Often, people ask me whether the battery gradually loses power or if it just dies suddenly.  As this painting shows, the battery dies suddenly: one minute, I am having a normal conversation, hearing the same things non-deaf individuals hear, and the next, I am thrust into total silence.  I chose to use complementary colors to add to the “noise” of the soundwave, especially compared to the stark almost-black quiet of deafness.

9. Downsizing

This piece is one of the most direct representations of general deafness in the series.  The left side of the diptych incorporates the original Cochlear Implant I received when I was six years old.  All the pieces included are actual components of the implant.  The right side of the panel portrays a larger-than-life painting of the BTE, or Behind the Ear, which is the implant I currently wear.  This piece not only shows my personal progression with the device, but also portrays the incredible growth of technology within the realm of Advanced Bionics.

4. Why

The right side of this panel portrays the cochlea.  As the title of this piece suggests, the doctors at Johns Hopkins do not know why I am deaf.  They only know that my cochlea does not function as it should.  I have chosen to pair this image with a telephone because it creates a balance between man and machine; natural reception and synthetic.  The turbulent clouds surrounding the cochlea, while representing an interior existence also signify the trials in my life; past, present and future.

5. Implantation

The left side of this panel is spanned by an audiogram.  This particular audiogram portrays significant hearing loss in both ears.  Since I was five years old, I have been profoundly deaf in both ears.  The imagery of the rose has several meanings in this work.  Perhaps most recognizably, the rose represents Christ in my life.  When I lost my hearing, I turned to Him, and He has given me the strength to overcome my obstacles.  On a more personal note, the rose also represents the pajamas I wore during the surgery: a silky white nightgown with roses and other flowers.  The ground area is light, representing the innocence of a child thrust into a world of silence.  The fading drips and squares represent the impermanence of mankind and memory.

10. Tragedy to Comedy

From the time I was seven years old, theatre was a huge part of my life, and until I was in tenth grade, I could not picture my life beyond the curtain.  In tenth grade, that changed.  My theatre teacher felt that actors could not be handicapped by a necessity to read lips and began covering her mouth when she spoke to me.  This, along with several other incidents, caused me to leave the stage and find something new.  While I was frustrated and angry that I was losing a passion, now I have to thank her.  Without this trigger, I do not know that I would ever have discovered my even greater passion for art, hence the paintbrushes.  As with the candle, the painted brush is cleaner than the three dimensional ones, to represent the future.

New pictures… and how I became deaf

Hello lovelies!

So, I decided I wouldn’t do another post until I got my photos all organized and whatnot…I think having MOST of them on here counts, right…?  Yeah, it does.  haha 😀 But seriously, though.  Most of my artwork is now viewable on site, and if you have pricing questions, for now, just send a message!  I’ll work on getting specific pricing information on here for you all, but I’m technology-ed out for today!

Since I’m quite new to this whole thing, I though I would share a bit about myself and how I got to where I am (or at least part of it… I can talk a LOT at times):

I was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1990.  I’m the second of three children in my family, which makes me the CENTER of the family (not the “middle child”) haha… My brother, Travis, is 3 years older than me and has a lovely wife (Shannon) and little boy (Bailey), who turns ONE YEAR OLD this month!  I love that kid… a lot.  My sister, Amy, is about 3 years younger than me, is about to finish her last semester at High Point University, and is engaged to an awesome guy named Daniel… So that’s us kids… I LOVE my siblings and don’t know how on earth I would survive without them!  So many shenanigans growing up… man, those were the good ole days!

When I was five, I lost my hearing in both ears, making my profoundly deaf.  I had experienced some problems with gradual hearing loss in one ear, and when that ear went entirely, my mom asked the doctors what the chances of my losing ALL my hearing was… You know what he said?  “one in a million…”  So, I guess I’m THAT “one in a million.”  About two months later, at Myrtle beach with my family, I woke up one day and couldn’t hear anything at all.  Being my innocent and clueless little self, my biggest concern was whether or not we would still get to ride the lazy river that day… I still love lazy rivers… Man, it would be nice to be floating down one now with a good book…

but, I digress…

For about a year, my parents tried to find a doctor who could help me.  People told my mom to send me to boarding school for the deaf, and there are some great options, but my mom knew that wasn’t what she wanted for me.  I thank God that He gave her the strength and love to see that, because my life would probably not have been what it is, had she sent me away.  Eventually, my parents were able to find Dr. Niparko, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  He agreed to do the surgery to give me a Cochlear Implant (I’ll do a whole post on how that works later), but since the surgery wasn’t approved for kids yet, I had to wear hearing aids for 6 months first, just to check that I was truly deaf… let me tell you; when you have NO hearing, hearing aids have nothing to AID, so they weren’t helpful… So, summer of ’96, my family went up to my grandparents’ house in PA, and settled in for the surgery.

I’m not gonna lie; I was TERRIFIED.  I was only six years old, and I wasn’t sure what would happen.  I honestly don’t think I really even comprehended the fact that they were going to cut into my head and insert the device and it would allow me to hear.  I vividly remember the MRI machine and the “bigness” of the hospital.  Fortunately, God surrounded me with love and family, and I was NEVER alone through the process.  The doctors even allowed me to carry a stuffed dog my brother had given me through the MRI.  They even gave the dog a hospital band that matched mine.  I was so happy!

Surgery lasted about four hours (I don’t remember this, but I’ve been told), and I remember waking up and eating a blue freeze-pop and watching Winnie the Pooh… don’t ask me why I remember that, but I do!  Haha… childhood memories are strange, I guess? After surgery, my parents and I stayed for several days at the Children’s Hospital near Johns Hopkins, and I remember how heavy my head felt all the time.  It seemed impossible to hold my head up, physically.  But spiritually, God did all the holding for me, and has, ever since.  I’m not saying it’s been easy, because, at times, it hasn’t.  There were long adjustment periods, scary nights where I couldn’t sleep for fear of waking up blind, broken Cochlear Implants (yeah, I got in a bathtub on Christmas Eve one year… the device is not supposed to get wet…), but there are also too many positive things to count. Doors have been opened to me that I never would’ve otherwise explored, and I am excited to see what comes next!

There are a lot more details, stories and things I could say, but that’s the very basic gist of it.. and I realize it’s a rather long post, so I think I’ll stop there for now… no need to flood you all with my whole life–sob–story right off the bat!  I might scare you away! haha 🙂

Anyways… peace, love and art!

-Danielle

Baby steps… gotta start somewhere!

Hi!  So, in case you don’t know me, I’m Danielle Burch.  I’m an artist.  I’m a graduate student at RIT.  I’m a Christian.  I’m a runner.  There are a lot of things I am… but I am NOT the best with technology.  However, I know that I need to advertise and market my artwork online, if I want to get anywhere these days!  So, this is a start.

I was sitting in my Business Practices for Fine Artists class this morning, and realized that I have access to so much social media… I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress, but I simply don’t use it like I should.  This is my statement to say I am going to resolve to do better.  What “better” means, I don’t know yet.. It may be that I post once a week.  Maybe more.  Maybe less.  Either way, I’m going to post more often than I do.

What will I post?  Well, my artwork, obviously.  But I’ll also post articles that I find interesting.  I’ll post my thoughts on various topics within art.  I’ll post exhibition information, maybe contest information… some posts will probably have nothing to do with art.  Others might make you sick of art (is that even POSSIBLE?!  I don’t think so.)

So, first things first: I’ll start by getting my artwork ON here, so you all can see it.  And please, PLEASE comment; I want to know what people think… I also want to know what questions people have–about my work, or about art in general.  I am not saying I’m an expert, or that I know everything about art, but I LOVE sharing what I do know, and I LOVE learning new things!  So PLEASE, contribute! 🙂

-Love, peace and art!

xo, Danielle