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!
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.
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:
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!