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!

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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