What? You didn't think just because school was out for Summer Break that the adventures would stop in my life? No. Far from it!
This week was the Sandscript unveiling ceremony at Pima (I wrote about it a couple of weeks back - see post with hummingbird in it). I felt like a seasoned veteran in that I knew what was expected of the artists during the ceremony, and that feeling of standing on the stage. Does it get any easier to be on a stage in front of a packed audience? That would be a firm NO. But...it was nice to be able to help those who were new to the event what was going to happen. No specialized awards for me this year, but I have to say that the publication is beautiful. The team did an outstanding job of putting the magazine together. There is definitely much to be proud of from all aspects (submitting visual and literary artists and those who worked so tirelessly to complete it). This endeavor by Pima is truly remarkable, and they deserve every award received.
End of semester is also bittersweet. Not having the routine of classes and studying. Not seeing your favorite people each day. Knowing that you won't see some ever again (which, in some cases, that's not a bad thing! Ha!). It came up in conversation again this week, but the lessons learned during this journey aren't just the ones from a textbook. I think some of the most valuable ones are those challenges we students face in the big melting pot of college life. And while my perspective is far different than the average college student (insert non-traditional title here), I still have to cope just like everyone else. And believe me, THAT is not easy on the best days! Try being exhausted because your crappy neighbor kept you up after a major study session (or in my case, after a three-hour intensive paint session) and then trying to stay awake and focused in class but you are hungry and are down to your last dollar. Being a full-time student (yes, you can also insert poor) is not easy.
Circle back Susan. Circle back and focus. :)
I have this ongoing struggle between the two sides of my creative brain since I discovered that I can paint - the photography side versus the painting side. How do I make them mesh? Yes, I can use the photography for painting reference. But there is a real part of me that wants more. Each genre poses it's own set of challenges and rewards. Each provides me with endless enjoyment. But again, I want it to be more as I continue to find my own artistic voice. Last semester I worked on a project for a class that allowed me to use each medium and blend them into an end result body of work. I must apologize to you, my audience - it is extremely difficult to photograph these finished pieces so that you can see all the subtle nuances that I incorporate into my work. I know there are some who won't (or cannot) appreciate the hours I've put into this, just know that I'm very proud of these pieces and hope to do more in the future.
Here's the history behind this work: I started with a series of photos that I knew were really good; I set them aside to use as reference for watercolor paintings; I painted a couple but wasn't really satisfied; I then had a conversation with my professor and asked if I could somehow print a digital image and then paint it (believe me, her saying"yes you can" was mind-blowing!); I figured out how to convert my original image into a line drawing and then tested different papers to see which would work the best with watercolors; I printed a series of images that I knew had cohesion to be a body of work; and then I set-about painting them. What unfolded was exciting. Their uniqueness meant that I could do something that wasn't seen every day. I could use my original photographs and then make them even more original by painting them. Are they photography? Are they paintings? They are simply me. That's the beauty in this body of work. I could make both sides of my brain mesh and become something that I definitely want to pursue in the future, especially if I get to travel. Yes, I want to plein air paint. Yes, I want to photograph. But this would allow me to have another version of capturing where I've been and what I've seen.
So the photos I've posted here are of the least successful image in the series - NOT because it didn't work, but because the other four images were of doors, and this was of a window. Also, the coloration was vastly different than the other images too (being intensely blue, where the others were more muted and neutral). It was like when you watched Sesame Street and they began singing "one of these things is not like the others...". When I had the five completed, this one needed to stand alone. Incidentally, this photo was my favorite of the entire series I shot. Below, there are three photos: one the original image; two the watercolor painting; and three the meshing of photography and my painting. Also of note, they are not meant to hang together (because I don't want the viewer to do a side-by-side comparison of the paintings to the original photograph). Each are meant to hang individually depending on target audience. I've put them together here, so that you can see the similarities, see the process and see the differences.
Which should also give you a clear view of the workings of my creative brain! I hope this was interesting? I get asked a lot what inspires me. Sometimes inspiration comes from trying to figure out a unique way of sharing my artistic voice in this world where there truly is nothing new. I don't want to be "just another painter" or "just another photographer". I'd like to be original too.
Anyhow.....must get going. Have a great week everyone!