We Wanna Throw Clay!!!

Hello!

Okay, so we aren’t REALLY going to throw clay the same way we throw snowballs at a good ole fashioned snowball fight… BUT I am trying to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA… scratch that; I am GOING to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA!

We are almost halfway there already; this will just be a short post to help spread the word even more!  There are SO many benefits of the Arts in our education today… and I consider myself super blessed to be an Art Teacher to such amazing kids.  These amazing kids deserve the magic that can be “spun” by a Pottery Wheel… I’ve started a Donorschoose page for the project, which you can find here:

WE WANNA THROW CLAY

ALSO, any contributions made today or tomorrow will automatically be DOUBLED!  Y’all, that’s crazy exciting!! Not only will you make the initial impact you generously pledge, but using the code LIFTOFF at checkout, the pledge will instantly be doubled.  Then, each time my students are able to use the Pottery Wheel, the impact spreads… like a ripple effect!  I cannot wait to see the look on their sweet faces when we get to have a Pottery Wheel IN our classroom!  And it’s all cause of generous, loving people who care!  I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for you all.

Love always,

Danielle

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Lordy, it’s been too long!

Hello there loves,

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote.  Clearly I need to do a better job of committing to this blog.  I enjoy writing… I just never seem to make the time for it.  It’s one of those things that really relaxes me though–putting my thoughts into words.  I recently began reading a book by Nicholas Sparks (yes, I know, he gets a lot of flack… but I’m a sucker for predictable romances and Hallmark stories.)  Anyway, there was a tidbit in the prologue which got me thinking… man, I would love to write about that!  However, that will be my next post.  This post hearkens to the original intent of my blog; my art.  I’m going to share a bunch of pieces that are for sale; I’ve recently moved and am trying to downsize a bit… plus what artist doesn’t want to share their work?!

A few are paintings that are actually hanging at the Broad River Coffee Shop in Boiling Springs, NC, so you can see them in person if you’re local, and I’d love to meet up and talk about the piece if you’re interested.  If you’re not local, that’s cool too, and we can definitely talk about how to get the piece in your hands… I want my art to go to people who love it and WANT it, regardless of my relation to you; regardless of whether or not you share my meaning; regardless of price, honestly.

Others are some of my more recent greeting cards, quite a few of which are also at the coffee shop.  I LOVE doing these on a custom basis, as well… so if you see something similar to what you might want, holler at me, and we can definitely set something up!  All my greeting cards are handpainted watercolors, individually crafted to meet the client’s wishes (or my vision, if they’re not commissioned).

Anyways, here they are: Paintings first:

Absurd Monotony
$200-negotiable
Map of Self
$100-negotiable
Fantasy Landscape: Dreams are Real
$200-negotiable
As the Train Goes By
$100-negotiable
One by One
$300-negotiable (recent price drop)
Sinful Pleasure
$75-negotiable
Time Passes: Memory Fades
$200-negotiable

And now for some watercolor greeting cards: I’ve been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately… and have a lot of florals to add once I can get my hands on them (they’re at Broad River Coffee Shop, if you want to see!!)  Each card is 5″x7″ and totally customizable, if you want different colors, or say a different animal with a  witch hat, or whatever! My logo and signature will be on the back, and I can add writing on the inside if you choose. Each card comes with a size-appropriate envelope!  All cards are $6 for pre-made, and $8 for custom, plus shipping!  You can contact me here, on FB, phone, email, or in person if you see me! haha.  Typically payment is done through a Paypal invoice, but I also accept cash and checks (and bartering, to an extent 🙂 )

Thesis Exhibition and Defense

So… I know I promised a full recap of the Thesis exhibition A WHILE AGO.  Is it fair to say that I’ve been busy?  Plus, I’ve been exhausted.  You know that emotional/mental/physical let down after a big event?  Yeah.  I didn’t even realize I was anticipating my Thesis Exhibition and Defense quite so much!  I knew it was a huge capstone and kind of a big deal… but WHOOOOO!  Am I glad it’s done!

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it–I did.  Thoroughly.  Although the two years I’ve spent at RIT have been FULL of ups and downs, I’ve really learned a lot and enjoyed myself here.  I’ve grown as a person, an artist, a critic, a curator, a writer, and so much more.  It’s going to be pretty hard to say goodbye in a few short weeks.  (I’m loading up a U-box on May 19th and sending my entire life to oblivion… okay, that’s a bit dramatic… I’m sending my POSSESSIONS to my parents’ house for a while, since I’m not yet sure where I’ll be living after May!)

So, now the show….

It was, in a word, AMAZING.  My family flew in from North Carolina, and my sweet Uncle even drove up from Jersey, just to see me and my work!  I’m so blessed to have such a loving, supportive, and all-around awesome family.  I would truly be nobody and nowhere without them!

The crowd was rather huge; I stood near my work most of the time and talked to people, and watched them looking at my work.  It is one of the most fun things, for me as an artist, to watch people interact with my work.  I love to see them get lost in it, question it, bring friends over, and talk about it right in front of me–since they don’t know I’m the artist… haha!  SO FUN.  I got lots of compliments and interesting questions, too.  Totally makes everything worth it when you get a chance to share your art with other people.  It’s a vulnerable time, yes, as artwork is often very personal… but it’s like an intimate dialogue, and I always learn more than I anticipate.

I was even able to get a couple sales from the show… I’ll be honest; sales are nice, but that’s not why I make art.  So to create something that I’m happy with and have enjoyed so much, and then have someone else find enough meaning in it that they want to buy it, to look at daily, is an incredible thing.  I truly consider myself blessed to be able to experience this interaction and help bring something to another’s life!  There are still quite a few pieces that are in my studio, though, that I would like to sell before I pack up the U-box… if someone loves something, I’d rather it have a happy home than risk damaging it during travels!

There’s so much more that I could say about the show, my artwork, how I feel… but that would be a BOOK!  The Defense went really well–totally not what I expected, but I’m pleased and my committee is, too!  So that’s all that really matters.  Now, I’m focusing on finishing up my Thesis Document so I can get it published and printed!  Once it’s all available online, I’ll embed the link and talk more about that! 🙂

So, I know I’ve already shared most of these images before, but wanted to include them again, simply because that is what my Thesis is all about.  If anyone has any questions–personal, artistic, commissary, or otherwise–please feel free to contact me at any time!

ANDDD that last one, in the wee bottom right corner, is just to show where it all started… GOOD GRIEF! 🙂 It’s been a wild ride!  SUCH fun!

Updates and Thesis!

I know I’ve been rather MIA as I work on my MFA Thesis Exhibition.  I’m not entirely sure why, except that I’ve been busy!  I thoroughly enjoy writing, though, and will be picking back up with the blog now that my Thesis is winding down… hard to believe it’s nearing the end of my second year of graduate school at RIT!

The main purpose of this particular post is simply to share what my work looks like, currently.  Right now, things are mostly finished, and I’m just letting the pieces rest for a bit, so that I can clear my head of the “tunnel vision” and return in a couple days with fresh eyes to do any last-minute touches!

I’ve still got to finish hanging mechanisms for a couple pieces (three, to be exact!), and edit my thesis paper.. perhaps I’ll include the entire paper as a blog post one day… it’ll be super long, since I never know when to stop talking! 🙂

Anyways, without further ado, here are the PAINTINGS so far… I did not photograph the two sculptures yet… yeah, my show ended up with seven pieces (the Biblical number for completion and wholeness), even without my planning it that way! God is so awesome!  I know these images are rather large, and may be difficult to see on a still screen, unless your computer is way bigger than mine!  But I like how big they are, because you can see the details more fully.  After I post the sculptures, too, I will spend some time blogging about EACH image and what it means… so hang on, we’re going for a ride through Revelation! 🙂

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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?!

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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

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