Why I do what I do…

Hello lovelies!

I realize I haven’t really delved into WHY I paint, and more specifically why I am working with the subject of Revelations for my Thesis Exhibition.  I’m not shy about discussing these topics.  In fact, the reason I haven’t written about them can be seen as kind of the opposite; I have TOO MUCH to say about the topics!  Maybe this is because my reasons for painting and for depicting Revelations are personal, and integral to who I am…

Nevertheless, I shall try.  So, grab a hot cup of whatever you like to drink (coffee, please!) and let’s just dive right in! 🙂  I’ll just discuss why I paint in this post… Revelations will come soon! 🙂

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the reason I started making art–on a very basic level–was a blessing in disguise.  I was involved in theatre all through elementary school, middle school, and the beginning of high school.  Suddenly, my sophomore year, during West Side Story, the director said something that exiled me from the stage.  She said that deaf people may not be able to act, because they’ll miss their cues.  She forced me to quit the play, which also marked the end of my theatre career (at my high school, at least… I’ve done more plays and musicals since then, at other locations).

Okay... so our production wasn't shaping up to be quite THIS good..
Okay… so our production wasn’t shaping up to be quite THIS good..

I was heartbroken and cried like a BABY… I specifically remember the hour following my “discussion” with the director.  Long story short (because believe me; this part COULD get very l-o-n-g), I needed a new elective, since I would no longer be enrolling in theatre.  I had always been interested in art, and even took a “zero period” art class, which meant that school started at 7:00 for me throughout high school.  Needless to say, art was the only elective that made sense, because I DEFiNITELY can’t sing… haha!… and PE wasn’t competitive enough.  Funny how things work out, isn’t it?…

So, my junior year of high school, I started getting serious about making art.  I still did other things, like soccer, cross country, church activities, and theatre–at the rival high school (heehee)–but art became more important to me.  I liked it.  I was good at it, if I do say so myself.  I decided to take AP art my senior year, and pursue art in college.  This decision began the frenzy for school applications, portfolio visits, AP credits and class rankings… whew!  I don’t miss THAT craziness!

THANKFULLY, when all was said and done, I ended up at Brevard College in Brevard, NC, studying Studio Art with some AMAZING professors and colleagues.  In case you don’t know, Brevard is a GORGEOUS little town near Asheville, and I wouldn’t trade my time there, surrounded by the mountains, for anything!  My senior year at Brevard, I was presenting my thesis exhibition, and I chose to center the entire show around my deafness.  I’ve talked about this show before, and you can read/see it here!  During my exhibition, I stood, rooted in the corner, surrounded by people who were interested in my art and asked questions, which I answered… all night.  During that show, I just had this sense of calm and peace; I knew that God wanted me to paint.  He has called me to use my utmost for His highest (thank you, Oswald Chambers).

God gives us talents for a REASON.  He does not want us to squander them, keeping our gifts to ourselves.  What good would that do?!  No, He gives us talents to USE them, to bring Him glory.  He gave us His son on the cross, and all He wants in return is for us to choose to follow Him and serve Him with our gifts (which, need I remind you, are FROM HIM!)  I don’t mean to preach or anything, but this is something I feel strongly about.  (Here are some verses about talent, if you feel like taking a gander! 🙂 ) 

Hands shaping clay on potter's wheel
gift

So that is why I paint and make art, in general….Not for me, my professors, or even my clients, but FOR GOD!  I think I managed to keep it KIND OF short… remember, I warned you!  haha…Like I said, I could go ON and ON about this; it’s personal and convicting.  I don’t just create my artwork; God creates it through me, and I am His vessel.  To me, the most successful artworks I’ve created are the ones that just come together… I don’t always understand how or when, but I know a sense of calm when I work on them.  I know that this is God, guiding me to do my small portion of His kingdom work.  That being said, I’m not sorry if this is preachy… it’s just how I feel, and you can take it or leave it!  🙂

As always, peace, love and art!

-danielle

Another revelation, while painting Revelations! … and LET IT GO!

Hello lovelies,

So here it is: my promised post about my thesis show and today’s critique!  Which shall I start with?… how ’bout an IMAGE?!  Here’s one: (there are more throughout)

living creatures

I’ll start with today’s critique.  I’ll come right out and say that It did NOT go how I would have liked. The professor was not “too” critical or anything like that, and I did get some helpful, constructive feedback.  No one was mean or “overly” nice…

so WHY was it not my best critique?

Well, in retrospect, I realize that many factors built into today’s mood: I was already frustrated because the critiques of my classmates dragged on for FOUR class days already, and we were in the last 30 minutes or so of the fourth class day (that’s 12 hours, spread throughout 3 weeks, at least), and I didn’t think we would even get to my work today.  My irritation and frustration have been growing since the beginning of the semester; I wasn’t happy with painting, my professor was projecting himself on my painting style, and there are/were other frustrations… (I’m just not including those photos)

big eagle lion sketch

THAT being said, when today’s critique was full of the professor “finishing” the painting in his style, verbally, and seeming to push me in a direction I am NOT taking the painting, it was the last straw.  I realized a week or so ago that I MISS my old studio practice.  I MISS pastel sketches, painting in high contrast, using jewel-tones, and trusting myself.  It took listening to my peers and talking with them to realize that I was rather lost, for a while.  I tell my drawing students, all the time, that they should trust themselves and go with their gut… but I wasn’t listening to myself.  Now, I realize that I have to take what is said by the professor, and apply it to what I want to do, how I want to do it.

The moment I had that “revelation,” I felt like Elsa, from Frozen….”let it go!”  So here’s a picture from buzzfeed, ’cause who DOESN’T love Elsa?!

get-frozen-again-as-elsa-sings-let-it-go-in-25-la-1-16133-1390324078-27_big

Over the past several weeks, I have realized that my thesis exhibition is MINE.  Yes, my professor is there for guidance and can certainly teach me new things, but ultimately, I cannot let him force me to compromise my vision.  And a vision is exactly what I am depicting.  I’m re-presenting (’cause it’s already been presented once, by John) John’s visions from Patmos in Revelation…. My professor–and others–may not “get it,” but for a while, I was painting for my professor, and I lost my way.  I realize that I live, breathe, and paint for an audience of one: God.  When I let go of what my professor was pushing me toward, I was able to regain some of my old truthfulness.  I know how to paint.  I may not be the best artist, but that’s okay… I just need to be true to myself, paint for God, and allow Him to work through me.

YES, that feels good.  YES, it is a huge sigh of relief… BUT my professor’s “stray-causing”…? (I’ll call it that) is not without benefits.  Through my frustration with painting, I realized that trying to paint ALL of Revelations is ridiculous.  There’s so much I can never understand or fathom. God even says very clearly that “no mind can comprehend…” (1 Corinthians 2:9) The more I think about it, also, the more I realize that part of my vision of Revelations is NOT painting at all… it’s sculpture.  When I read about the seven bowls from Revelations, I do not see them as paintings, but as actual bowls!

Am I a sculptor?  NOOOOOO… haha… BUT, I did take Sculpture last semester, and honestly, I enjoyed it a LOT more than I expected to… or than I let on.  AND, I realized that, for me, a huge part of being at RIT is learning to be an ARTIST, not “just a painter,” and what better way to express my growth as an artist than to present an interdisciplinary show?  What better way to represent Revelations than how my initial vision portrays it?  That’s what Revelations is, after all: Visions.

So, that being said… I’m thinking three paintings, and seven bowls.  Both numbers are Biblically symbolic and significant… Three for the Holy Trinity, the anti-trinity (which is depicted in one of my paintings, along with the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the 4 living creatures around the throne of Heaven).  Seven is one of the most common numbers in Revelations, and is a symbol of wholeness and completion.  Here is some research based on the numbers 3 and 7, in Revelations, specifically:

“Next to seven, 3 is the most commonly found or referenced number in Revelation. An angel is charged to cry three woe’s to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13). The murdered bodies of the Two Witnesses will not be allowed to be buried but rather will lie openly in Jerusalem for three days before they are resurrected. Three unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to FIGHT the returning Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13 – 16). The new Jerusalem, created by God for placement on a new earth, will be shaped like a square with three gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).”     —http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/3.html

There’s way too much about the number seven for one “nugget,” so, click here.

Here’s one last image for you… I’m toying around with the idea of Hope, and how to insert that… so this is a cute dove I’m considering… I’ve done several different sketches in different poses, but this guy is the only one I snapped, so far:

dove

So, I don’t know exactly what my thesis will be, in the end… but I know who I want to rely on for guidance, and I have a rough plan… for me, that is enough.

As always, peace love and art!  RENEWED! -Danielle

No excuses!

Hello lovelies!

So, I know it’s been AGES since I posted anything… and I really have no excuse; I’ve just been busy!  Super busy.  Good busy, but still.. BUSY.

I’ve finalized a title for my thesis exhibition: Kataklysmos.  It’s Ancient Greek for “A washing” in the destructive sense, which seems quite fitting for a thesis exhibition all about Revelations!  When I first searched Revelations/destruction synonyms, thesaurus.com gave me the English word, Cataclysm… For some reason, this is way harder for me to pronounce, and doesn’t seem to carry the same power as the Greek version.  Plus, I love the idea of using one of the ancient Biblical languages in my title.

That being said, there’s a LOT of pondering going on with planning my thesis exhibition… maybe even some new paths… but I have my first thesis Committee Meeting next week, so I won’t spill any beans until after that (once “the beans” have been approved! haha)

I’ve also begun my internship at the Memorial Art Gallery, been working on job applications for post-May… yikes! AND I went home (NC) last weekend to visit the cutest nephew EVER, and my family, AND to see my sister’s soccer game!  She plays for HPU, but is done in December, so I just HAD to see one more game!  I’ve seen her play since she started, about 16 years ago… so I didn’t have a choice…

All of us at HPU last weekend! Go Panthers!
All of us at HPU last weekend! Go Panthers!

Now, today is Columbus day.. we didn’t have any classes (YES!), so I was in the studio all day, and will be there most of tomorrow.. I have critique on Thursday.  I say all this jazz, basically, to supplement the fact (I’m MAKING it a fact, so it’ll happen) that I will write an exhaustive post about my thesis and ponderings, including images on THURSDAY! It’s long overdue, really…

Until Thursday!  —Danielle