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

Artist Highlight (Friday Funsies)

Hello lovelies!

So, as I sit here finishing up my coffee (always a sad moment), I’ve been pondering what to write about for today’s blog.  I considered an updated photos blog, but realize I have already posted my final MFA work, and have been so focused on job-hunting that I’ve not done a whole lot of new work… sooooo, I figured I would implement “Friday Funsies!”  For me, this will be a chance to reflect on an artist I appreciate and admire.  The artist may be long gone, currently working, or quite up-and-coming.  The opportunities are endless, but it’ll serve as a chance to share my inspirations, and what I like about their work!

If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised that my first “Featured Artist” is Salvador Dali… I’ve loved his work for as long as I can remember; the smooth blending techniques, bright colors, and abnormal juxtapositions that define Surrealism… I could go on!

Salvador Dali was a Spanish Surrealist painter, born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain.  He studied in Madrid, and later came in contact with well-known artists like Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro.  These interactions are what led Dali to his first Surrealist phase, during which he produced “La Persistencia de la Memoria,” or The Persistence of Memory, one of Dali’s most famous works.  In case you don’t know, this is the “melting clock” painting!

the-persistence-of-memory.jpg

 

Surrealism is a movement in art that focuses heavily on the artist’s rendition of his or her subconscious mind.  In the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, written by Andre Breton, it is said that “the Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. To do so, they attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind.”  Although many of the tenets of Surrealism were present in the former Dada movement, Surrealists claimed to use the disparate objects, experimentalism, and juxtapositions more intentionally, focusing on Freudian concepts of dreams. (more on Freud)  “Breton defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express…the actual functioning of thought…in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”2” (MoMA)

My personal favorite part of Surrealism has always been the hyper-real landscape style, and the way the artists add totally unexpected, out-of-place objects that are so beautifully rendered, you can’t help but believe them.  I suppose this sense of suspended disbelief is also what I love about theatre, fantasy novels, and movies… I never thought of it that way, but it does make perfect sense!

Salvador Dali certainly fits the Surrealist motto, as his paintings and life were heavily influenced by his parents and their relationship to their son.  His mother was a devout Catholic, but his father a self-proclaimed atheist disciplinarian.  One can only imagine the struggle a young artist may have faced, due to a potentially divisive parentage.  Dali, the Surrealist that he was, used his experiences as fodder for his work, as many artists do.  Many of the painter’s pieces have been analyzed through the Freudian lenses of dreams, subconscious, and unrestrained thought, all characteristic of Surrealism.

While I could go on and on about Surrealism and Dali, I won’t; here is a link that provides OODLES of information and is a very enjoyable read: http://thedali.org/timeline/. I highly recommend that you visit!  Meanwhile, here are some of my favorites of Dali’s paintings:

swans-reflecting-elephants.jpg
I simply LOVE the hidden objects in this painting.  One of my favorite things about Dali is that you can seriously enjoy them over and over, since new things become apparent each time.  To me, the best art keeps the viewer coming back for more, and I think Dali is a MASTER at that.                                                                                                                                         Swans Reflecting Elephants 
galatea-of-the-spheres.jpg
Dali often used his wife, Galatea, as a muse for his paintings.  Here, I love the way he renders her; you can clearly see her beauty, but he has fragmented it in such a creative way… you almost see it as a whole, then as various spheres!             Galatea of the Spheres 
The-Hallucinogenic-Toreador-1969-70-504x659.jpg
Ah! The Hallucinogenic Toreador! Totally one of my favorites… Just look at how amazing Dali’s hidden objects are, and how beautifully he merges one thing with another, until you see a different emphasis EACH time you view the piece.  

Well, I do believe I’ve probably bored you all by now… but if not, I’ll be happy to share more information with you all!  In fact, here is a link to a paper I wrote about Surrealism and the Femme Enfant… and seriously, get online and lose yourself in the amazingness of Dali and other Surrealist artists… in fact, I think next Friday will be another Surrealist!

With love,

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

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:

IMG_0009 IMG_0010

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… 😉 )

IMG_0354 IMG_0356 IMG_0357IMG_0355

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