Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Pretty fishy :))

This piece is also a project from Art III. It is the result of an assignment where we used silk dye. I'd done something similar to this in eighth grade, when we used wax and stuff to batik with a visiting artist. This time, we use gutta and fancy silk dye that stains your fingers and clothes.  (I think my fingers were blue for a while.)  I chose a fish because I thought I could do some cool watery stuff with the dye and because I secretly like fish almost as much as sheep.  I wish I had a picture of the watercolor I made as a sketch because I actually like it better than the final product... Probably because I spent days on the watercolor and the silk actually went more quickly than I expected.  I had some fun with salt, which gave it a kind of bubbly look in some spots.  It was great fun :))  Like I said I'm not as happy with the final as I was with the sketch, but it was something new and I did have a lot of fun making it.

The Beautiful Laura

So this piece is one that I made almost two years ago as my "final project" for Art III. I really enjoyed painting a watercolor of my little brother Jonathan earlier that year, so I decided to do another. I picked out a picture of Laura from when we got our pictures taken earlier that year.  I don't remember whether I projected and traced the image onto the 18"x24" watercolor paper....I think I just drew it out the best I could. I then painted the whole thing with watercolors. I probably could have used a bit more value in the face. I hadn't really worked this large with watercolor before, besides the portrait of Jonathan, and it was a bit tricky to keep it wet so I could blend it all like I needed to. It was also difficult to make her hair really dark like it needed to be, but I think I managed pretty well with that one :)

 My favorite parts are the dress (this picture got cut off a bit... you can see more in the original. I jus kind of squiggled the brush around) and her eyes, which are just gorgeous in real life. Overall I was very happy with how this piece turned out; it is one of my favorite things I have ever done.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I am not left-handed

This is a sketchbook assignment from a couple months ago. I rediscovered it while flipping through my sketchbook and thought I'd share it with y'all :))
It is a self portrait drawn in pencil with my left hand.
I'm beautiful ;)
I am not left handed.

I like sheep

In case you didn't notice from one of my previous posts, I like sheep.  I decided that I wanted to paint a sheep with oils.  So I printed some references:
Sheep!  I chose that guy in the middle as my model.
All of these sheep are a weird off-white color, and that's no fun, so I decided to add a little more color into the wool.  I did the shadows with purple and the highlights with yellow.  It was a bit tricky not to make it muddy, especially because purple and yellow make brown... I think I did a pretty good job though :)
First I did a red-orange wash on my square canvas.  I think the orange color helped me make the blue of the sky as bright as I needed to.  I spent most of my time on the sheep trying to get the texture and values just right and finished up with the sky and the grass.
It's a beautiful sheep.
Sorry this picture was taken at a weird angle...  It was still wet so I left it at school over the break and I will take it home to take a better picture when we get back :))
This is probably my favorite piece I've done this year.  I love how it's realistic-ish and abstractish at the same time.  I also enjoy telling people it's a self portrait and explaining that "Rachel" means "ewe" even though that's not a very funny joke.  I can't wait to bring it home :))

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Anxiety Monster

This piece started as a sketchbook project.  The prompt was "the concept of anxiety."  I thought, what does anxiety feel like?  It feels like a fat nasty monster squatting on your shoulders and scratching at your face, making you super tired but you can't close your eyes.  Anxiety feels like insomnia and panic and tension and like you're slowly oozing all your energy out of your ears and like you want to cry yourself to sleep but it's not allowed to be bedtime yet.  So that's what I drew.
sketch in colored pencil and Prismacolor markers

It's kind of creepy, and it makes me a little uncomfortable and a little scared, but hey, anxiety itself makes me a lot uncomfortable and a lot scared.  I accidentally made her (who is kind of me) look a little zombieish, which is not totally what I was going for... She's not dead yet, she just feels like she's on her way there.

I talked to Mrs Rossi and told her I wanted to make it a real project, and she told me mixed media would be cool.  And it just so happened that we were experimenting with visual journaling that week.

Best. idea. ever.  Thanks Mrs Rossi :))


So I started by printing off some pictures of rats and ROUSs (rodents of unusual size) and lizards and lizard feet as references and to kind of put some method in my madness.  Then I just started gluing stuff down.  I used tissue paper, wall paper, old patterns, newspaper, charcoal, paint... It was a lot of fun.  I just kind of kept on going.  At some point, though, I decided I didn't want to overdo it so I had to stop.
This by itself was cool and all, but it didn't really mean anything.  It's just a background.  So I looked in a mirror and drew a face, so I guess it's kind of a self-portrait, but I took a lot of liberties.  I also kind of forgot about my nose.  I don't really need that, do I? ;)  I watercolored the face and gave myself some oil pastel hair and glued myself down.
Um, on second thought, I think I do need a nose.

It's not done yet... I still have to do the monster.  Kind of the most important part.  I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Update: Just to clarify - This piece/post is a hyperbole of my feelings.  I'm fine, really :))

Kathryn on the Couch

I started this piece this summer at an oil painting/figure drawing workshop with Rose Datoc Dall at SVU.  I got to paint from live models instead of just photographs for the first time.  Which is SO COOL.  It was tricky, though, because people aren't statues... they move!  But it was much better than working off of a photograph.
It was really cool to see all the different styles and perspectives of the same model.  Oh and my piece is right in the middle there :))
I was super super nervous about the whole thing, because I'd never used oils before and they seemed really intimidating.  It was kind of super overwhelming to go to the art supply store and find the brushes and everything that I needed because there is just so much stuff.  And for some reason oils just seem so fancy and official to me, like only "real" artists are allowed to use them.  Which means they must be super hard to use, right? And you have to be a super fantastic artist to be worthy to even attempt, right?
Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little.  Anyways, the point is, I was a little freaked out for no good reason.  It turns out... I love oils!  It turns out you don't have to be official and fancy to use official fancy paint.  I ended up using oils for the first project I did for this class, the pair of pears.  Because they're awesome.
I didn't have enough time to finish the painting over the summer, so I decided to pull it back out again and see what I could do to finish it up.
In progress... 
Still in progress...
(I apologize for the quality of pictures taken with my cell phone... Shame on you, cell phone.)
Kathryn on the Couch
My palette... Kind of all the same color.

I kind of messed up the colors of the fabric we wrapped Kathryn in (whoops), so I had to invent a color for the background.  I also added some more dimension to the fabric with highlights and shadows, and deepened the shadows on her skin since I was scared of the dark this summer so she is super pale.  Confession: I'm still afraid of the dark.
(Paint, that is.)

You'll notice she doesn't really have a face, or fingers.
Oh, I forgot about her shoulder. Better go paint that.

I just didn't want to paint them, so I didn't.  Artistic license, you know.  You'll notice she has toes.

That's as much as I could handle.

My favorite part
Overall I'm happy with this piece. I looooooove the colors, and I'm pretty proud of myself for putting my big girl pants on and trying oils.  It's not as scary as I thought it would be.  I think it gave me some confidence to explore with other new media, like mixed media for visual journaling.  And, you know, sprinkles.