Peaking Disappointment

Peaking Disappointment, acrylic on canvas

I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but my senior year I was required to take a course called Senior Portfolio, which involved coming up with a big idea and creating a bunch of artwork based around it. Then at the end of the year myself and the other art major seniors (there was only one) would have a Senior Art Show, showcasing our work and trying to impress people. (The art show actually worked for me because I sold my first three paintings there!)

My general idea for my senior portfolio was to paint emotions. But how to do this? Color was important. As were brush strokes and medium used.

At first, I created a bunch of “light-flowers” that expressed different emotions.


chalk pastel drawing
This one is sad.
This one is aggressive.


There were many more that covered various emotions like joy and rage, and as I went along they became more developed with more intent and thought behind them.

And you know what my teacher said? “That’s a good exercise, now get to work on your real stuff.”

I’d spent weeks drawing light-flowers and was told they weren’t what I was supposed to be working on. That left me a little bothered.

I didn’t really have a choice. I probably could have stuck with the flowers if I really felt that strongly about them, but apparently I didn’t because I dropped it rather quickly.

That left me in the position of needing to figure out what to do for my senior portfolio. I still wanted emotions and I still wanted color.

According to my teachers, I was a painter. So they told me I should paint. The painting above, Peaking Disappointment, was one of my first paintings for my senior portfolio. At the time I was still too scared to use oil paint, so it was done in acrylic.

I wanted complimentary colors so I chose blue and orange for the background and highlights. I wanted to communicate disappointment, but not in a typical manner. I chose a rocky peak as my focal point to explore a new subject matter.

The rocky peak is precarious looking, but I wanted it to seem at least slightly like a possible configuration for rocks, thus the interlocking and overlapping in strategic places.

The orange rain or sludge is a way of making things look even worse for the sad rock. Not only is he upset about something down below him, he’s also getting rained on by acid or something that makes life more miserable for rocks.

The title is a sort of pun or play on words – it can be taken several ways. (I like titles like this a lot.) Peaking Disappointment because the rocky figure is disappointed about something and he’s peaking down below him. Peaking Disappointment because he is a peak and he is disappointed. Peaking Disappointment because his disappointment has reached its peak. See? Fun.

This painting was rather tedious for me, and at times I didn’t like doing it very much. But when I finished I was happy with the product. Would I do it differently now? Maybe. But for not really having any idea what I was doing, I’m rather proud of my sad rock. It shows my attempt at activating the background in a painting and creating an interesting focal point.

Peaking Disappointment was my first attempt at finding my own way of painting, and I’m happy to say that from this start I’ve been able to find my very own style.


3 thoughts on “Peaking Disappointment

  1. Pingback: Go With Your Gut – KLH art

  2. Pingback: Losing Faith – KLH art

  3. Pingback: My Experience with Beer and Painting – KLH art

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