Recently, we were assigned a project based on a field trip to a local museum - the Talbot Rice Gallery, Dovecot gallery and studio, and artist Luc Tuymans. I wasn't able to attend because I had a one-on-one with one of our visiting speaker/illustrators at the time, but I had recently been to the Museum of Modern Art II with my book binding class, so I went with that.
We were to create a piece of art based on what we saw and how it influenced us. But we didn't have much time to do it (as in, I had about an hour first thing Friday morning). We're in the middle of a term paper deadline and the final semester review is looming, so this was to just be a quick and fun thing.
And here's where my entire semester tied together.
At the museum, they took us back into the archives where I saw Le Chants des Morts (The Songs of the Dead) - a book of poems by Pierre Reverdy, illustrated with marks made by Pablo Picasso. (CLICK HERE to see what it looked like.)
I loved the idea of these simple abstract shapes framing the lovely words. So, I thought I'd do something similar. But how? I didn't have time to buy any new art supplies because the art store wasn't open yet. I had to punt. Then I remembered the project we did at the beginning of the semester. It was a performance art project where several of us painted symbols of our new home into a silhouette of Edinburgh caste all over an enormous piece of paper taped to a wall. We ended up with an enormous scribble of blue paper, which we were planning to throw away. Until I had the idea to make a cat and tape it to the window next to my desk. It's about five feet tall and looks amazing with the light coming through it.
I made blue marks onto some bumpy watercolor paper I keep around then scrubbed the paint to get rid of any globs so that they'd dry quickly. In the process I ended up with some lovely textures marks (it was an old crusty paintbrush - gotta love it). Fellow student Michal saw what I was doing and said, "Hey, it's an 'e' for Elizabeth!" So, I flipped it over - no more "e." Ha! Fixed that!
For the poem, I used the India Ink teacher Kasia has been having us use in our figure drawing class. I've loved making shapes with the ink and a simple paintbrush. Turns out it made for nice text too.
I chose one of my favorite quotes by Steven Wright about his enormous seashell collection because I'll be using it in my TEDx talk, which I'll be giving in February (more on that later).
In the end, all these ideas, experiences, and supplies came together and I made this.
Surprisingly, I actually love the way it turned out! During our feedback session someone suggested I do a series of them. I figured it would be a wonderful way for me to get down into the screen printing studio, so I've done it! More on that soon. Meanwhile, who knew!? I'm suddenly an abstraction artist!
Gads, I love it here.