New Territory

sea anemone oil painting
New Territory, oil on canvas

Just before my last semester in college one of my art teachers finally got me to start using oil paint instead of acrylic paint. I was scared because I hadn’t been formally trained in oil paints and there seemed to be a lot of rules for using them. Something about turpentine and mediums and oils. Plus the drying times are so different.

My first oil painting was rather dark and I had trouble making it brighter, largely because oil paint takes infinitely longer to dry than acrylic paint does and I wasn’t very patient.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake with my second one.

I decided to take a very different approach with my second oil painting. Super thick sections of paint contrasted with very thin sections.

While researching potential subject matter I came across some pictures of tide pools and sea anemones. They amazed me with how squishy looking they were and the different colors they could be. After looking into them a bit, I determined they would be the perfect subject for my second oil painting ever.

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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.

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Fester, oil on canvas

My paintings are meant to express emotions. To me, the emotion expressed in Fester is very clear. And if it isn’t just from looking at it, check out the title.

It is an open wound, a sore, and it is festering.

Up until my junior year of college I never had a reason to fester. Life, although generally boring, was fine. No real drama and no (real) reason to be upset.

But then it happened. My most dramatic moment. My first college boyfriend broke up with me and a few weeks later was dating my best friend and roommate. The most dramatic part being that they initially lied to me about it.

I was angry and upset and I began to fester in my awful feelings.

Fester was created over two years after that whole debacle. I was more than over the situation and onto a new beau, but after this painting was finished and I saw what I had created those memories and feelings came to mind. I wasn’t transported back and I didn’t feel the way I had before, but I remembered very vividly how I had felt. What it was like to fester in anger and pain.

And I liked it.

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Chaos Becomes You

Chaos Becomes You, oil on canvas

After accidentally creating multiple figures in paintings I decided to give a go at purposefully creating figures in my abstract paintings.

My figures ranged from stoic to exuberant. With this attempt, I wanted chaos. I wanted the figures to blend in and stand out all at the same time. I wanted them to be dancers, gracefully blowing in the wind and excitedly jumping for joy.

I chose to make this painting on three canvases to really activate the space in the painting and that around it. I wanted them to need each other but be able to stand alone.

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Figure Paintings

When I started my Senior Portfolio for painting my senior year I was all, “I’m going to paint emotions and there are going to be these vague figures in them that people can identify with.”

That’s actually not true. I started with these weird drawings of these flower type things that had orbs of light instead of petals. I really liked them a lot but my teacher thought they were just a warm up for what was to come. So I had to scrap what I thought was part of my portfolio. I was sad about it, but I got over it I guess.

I started doing more brainstorming and then one day I made this really weird drawing of these shadowy figures. There was one that was different than the rest and I made up this story in my head that the rest of them were trying to get the different one to conform to their ways but he refused.

And then after that I made my first figure painting (shown above as the featured image).

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My Serenity

So, I’m a pretty high intensity, high stress person. I worry about everything most of the time.

Take today for example, I was freaking out about several things. Crying, worrying, the whole shebang. I know enough about myself that I can’t just wallow in that anxiety or self-pity or whatever it is, I need to get busy and think about other things. So I started knitting and watching a movie. And that helped for while the movie was playing but then it was done and my mind started working up again.

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Craft Fairs

This Sunday marks my first ever craft fair as a vendor. I will be participating in the In the Dome Fall Fair Holiday Shopping Bazaar. It’s inside one of those strange dome buildings, hence the name, and I think it will be fun.

I have a few art shows under my belt, but I’ve never participated in a craft fair before. Oil paintings generally don’t come to mind when you think craft fair, but I’m going to give it a shot. I’m also going to be selling scarves, a few ceramics, and some cards I made out of handmade paper.

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Release/It Is In You/My first sale

As a senior art major at Saint Joseph’s College one must take Senior Portfolio. This involves a decent amount of reading and planning as well as art making. The main point is to create one cohesive group of works to put into a (semi) solo senior art show at the end of the year. Bonnie Zimmer, my instructor for the course, really stressed having a solid theme or context for all of the works.

After a lot of work in my sketch book I came up with my idea- feelings. Sounds basic, but there’s more to it. Art (to me) is about feelings. How a painter feels while he’s painting, how a viewer feels while she’s viewing, and all the feelings that come before and after. All of these feelings work together to create the art piece. The artist has an intent for a painting but leaves her work open to interpretation by a viewer who just had a really bad day or just received really good news or whatever. And all of this is combined to create what everyone thinks of the artwork.

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Trying To Stand Out

This is my first oil painting ever. I feel like you can tell it's not the most well-done thing ever, but I still enjoy it and what I was able to do with the new paint.
Trying to Stand Out, oil over acrylic on canvas

As mentioned in my post Painting, the painting above is called Trying to Stand Out and was my first oil painting that I did alone without direction during the process. It’s actually painted over an acrylic underpainting that had been meant for a different painting entirely. (The other painting got changed from a 3 canvas work to 2 canvases, so I had an extra).

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As a child I did not like to paint. All I used was watercolor and I was terrible at it. I used too much water, the colors bled into each other, and everything turned brown. I always ended up frustrated and disappointed in what I’d done, a sad thing for someone who enjoyed art as much as I did growing up.

I wanted to be an artist. I didn’t know what that meant, but if I got to draw all day then I was set. Fifth grade art class was what set that in stone for me. I got selected for an extra, special class that only fifteen or so students were selected to participate in. We got to leave regular class and design our own nesting dolls. And I was chosen. I was never chosen for anything, let alone my art skills. It made me feel special and talented. It made me want to make more art.

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