My new piece is almost finished. There's just one more piece that I have to add and I am really unsure where I want it to go or what I want to make it out of.
I want to make a magpie to go above my head to the left. Originally, I wanted to paint it on cotton muslin with acrylic, but now I am entertaining the ideas of watercolor on silk laminated paper or painting it in watercolor directly on the background. I need to play around with it.
I am still anticipating having this piece done by the end of the week.
Also in the last couple of days, I finished another book: "Silk Flags and Cold Steel: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Piedmont" by William Trotter. I really enjoyed it.
I think it was a little bit of a misnomer to say this book focused primarily on the Piedmont, because some of what is discussed takes place on the coast and in the mountains, but it is very difficult I suppose to narrow the book down all to one region since the war was really a statewide affair.
One reason that I found this book very interesting is because it focuses largely on the politics leading up to the war and during the war. That was a topic that I never really thought about, especially when it came to the state I have lived in all my life, but I found it enlightening and helped my perspective of the war.
This book is a really easy read and I would highly recommend it.
I am actually really proud of myself: I have done a lot of work on a new piece. It's a self-portrait I am calling
"Self-Portrait with a Magpie (Things Aren't Always What They Appear)". Essentially, it is a piece about living with grief and depression and how you try and conceal from those around you. So, whereas you may look and act normal around some people, you may let your grief show around others: a melancholy duality.
This duality is emphasized by the presence of the magpie which is a symbol of illusion: thing's aren't always what they seem.
Here are some in-progress shots for this piece:
I still have to figure out how I am going to add the magpie to the piece. Originally, I wanted to use acrylic on cotton and stitch it on, but now I am considered both water color on silk and acrylic painted directly on the background as options. I think it is going to depend on how the rest of the project comes together.
Hopefully, I can finish this piece by the end of next week.
The amount that I have been reading has decreased over the past couple of months. I haven't had as much time as I would like to read.
I did recently finish "The Life of Johnny Reb:The Common Soldier of the Confederacy" by Bell Irvin Wiley.
I must say that I really enjoyed this book. It's excellent if you want to know anything about what it was like to be a soldier in the Confederate Army. Even though I have lived in the South all of my life, I know very little about the Confederacy, so this book was super informative.
The book is very well researched and doesn't and contains a lot of information regarding almost any aspect of every day life for a Confederate soldier. Each chapter deals with a different topic from how the soldier enlisted to food to how they fended off boredom. Even though it is immensely detailed, it is not tedious to read, and gives you an accurate read of the life and times of those soldiers.
I recommend it to anyone who has and interest in the Civil War.
I received my award at ECU last Friday. I'm so glad that I got off work to go because it was so wonderful to see everyone and made me realize how much I need to really start working again.
I've decided to put the weavings that I want to do on hold. They are totally doable on the table loom that I have, but I think having a floor loom would make my life so much easier. Unfortunately, I found one on Craigslist, but the woman sold it before I could go look at it. So, I'll keep searching. It was't really what I wanted anyway.
Since last Friday I have done a lot of sketching an writing. I think that I want to find a way to merge my Undergraduate work and my Graduate work, and I think that I have decided to go back to making textile collages. I still want to work with silk laminated paper and self-portraits, but I want to bring in that collage aspect and play with the duality of the silk paper: it manipulates a lot like paper, but it is really fabric.
I will continue to work with a limited color palette, but I also want to bring in gold leaf. I sampled gold leaf on fabric during my time as an Undergrad, but I've never done anything with it. I found a liquid gold leaf that behaves a lot like paint and I'm excited to use it. Sheets of gold leaf can be so frustrating to work with at times since it is so fragile.
I've decided to bring in the gold since there is a lot of symbolism attached to it. It is associated with wisdom and enlightenment, which I feel is appropriate with regards to what I have learned about life and myself over the past year. I am a different person than I was when I created The Phenomenology of Impairment and that should be an important aspect in my work moving forward.
In addition to the symbolic meaning of gold, I want to play with other symbolic items: magpies (which I want to use as a metaphor for myself), roses, poppies, feathers, and forget-me-nots. All of these things mean something to me and using them in addition to self-portraiture I think will heighten the message I am trying to convey.
That being said, I have wanted to do a series about grief since my grandmother passed in 2011 and I feel I finally know how to do it. My grief over her passing contributed a lot to the depression and anxiety I have felt over the last few years, which is what my thesis was ultimately based on. I still grapple with that sense of grief every now and again, and I don't know how long it will take me to get over it, or if I ever really will.
I think I want to call this body of work (Expressions of Grief) and yes, the parentheses are intentional. So far, all of the working titles for this body of work feature a subtitle in parentheses and are related to an expression of grief or sadness. I am reminded of an aside in a play, which are written in parentheses. Asides are directed at the audience so they know what is going on, but the other players on stage don't. This holds special significance because I feel like I am trying to convey something to the viewers so they have a deeper understanding of what the piece is supposed to mean, but the other players, my family and/or sometimes friends, don't really have any idea what is going on.
So, I think ultimately there will be a series of small pieces that lead up to a series of five larger images based on each stage of the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
At least that's the plan anyway.
I can't believe I haven't updated in over a month, but I've been super busy and super under motivated until recently.
I've done a lot of thinking the past couple of days. I found out at the end of last week that I won the ECU Humanities and Fine Arts Master's Thesis Award and I am beyond thrilled. I truly can't believe it. But, it has made me think about what I've done since I've graduated and I'm disappointed in myself. I want so bad to work on my art, but I can't seem to sustain the motivation or will myself to make time to do it. And, I know that it really isn't much of an excuse, but by the time I get home, I am just so tired I don't to do anything.
I really want to do better and am going to try to.
I think what I am going to do is focus on creating some smaller, collage type pieces and focus on the weavings that I want to do later this year, after school is over. I know that it is really going to be difficult, but I miss painting and sewing and want to get back to it quite desperately.