I've been working on a new piece for about a month now, and the other night, I "finished" it.
I'm calling it "Because the Grief is Still So Near (In Loving Memory)" and it is inspired by the loss of my grandmother. Here are some in progress shots:
But, I pulled it off of the shelf I had set it on last night, and I realized that I wasn't quite happy with it. I don't know what it is, but I feel like it is missing something, like there needs to be some sort of unification between the roses and the portrait.
The way that it turned out is how I originally intended it to look, with only the absence of tendrils of thread that I originally wanted to hang down from the roses (I just thought it looked too sloppy). I don't know if I need to add a little bit of pink into the face, or what. I am toying with the idea of adding a magpie to this piece too, perhaps clutching a rose petal. I seriously don't know.
I think I will take a long look at it this weekend to try and resolve the issue because I want to be happy with it since I put a lot of time into it.
I finished this piece about a week ago. It's the first thing I have produced in a long time.
I am currently working on a new body of work that revolves around my experience with grief over the loss of a loved one and the depression it has exacerbated. This is the first of those works, which will rely heavily on symbolism to convey a message.
I wanted to find a way to merge the collage work that I was doing in Undergrad with the watercolor portraits that I did in grad school and this is the result. I am using the limited color palette, silk laminated paper, and watercolor techniques I used in grad school, while re-introducing the acrylic paint, stitching, and 3-dimensional elements typical of my undergraduate work. I am also introducing the use of gold leaf, which is something that I have always wanted to include in my work, but never quite knew how to do it.
This piece is meant to be confrontational and express the sense of duality I feel about living with depression. The way I present myself to others (at work for instance) is a mere facsimile of myself. I like to think that I come across as strong willed and confident, but I feel like that is just a mask I put on in order to make it through the day. I really feel insecure, anxious, and generally unsure of myself, which is not how I want to be. Of course, self portraiture is a reflection of self perception. You paint yourself the way you see yourself and that sense of self is influenced by thing such as depression and grief.
The black and white nature of the portrait represents this duality, which is why I have chosen the magpie bird as a symbol for myself. They also have contrasting personality traits: they have been known to be shy and reclusive, but in urban environments are quite sociable with humans.
I think it is important to note that the gold is not meant to be simply decorative, it is symbolic as well. It is meant to represent enlightenment and understanding, which is something I have been working towards over the last few years: attempting to understand the world, the way the world works, and most importantly, myself. I chose to paint a golden circle to represent the idea that it takes a lot of focus to attempt such a level of understanding. But, the 'shadow' of the circle is dripping and dissolving into the background because depression sometimes makes it difficult to achieve and maintain that level of focus.
The imagery and text on the silk laminated paper relates back to these symbols and concepts. The background text reads "things aren't always what they appear" a reflection of that duality. The feather print in the portrait reflects the use of the magpie as a symbol for myself.
I am currently working on the second piece in this body of work. It is about half way done and I expect to have it complete by the end of next week. It's been a little more time intensive than I expected it to be!