Monday, December 15, 2014

#7- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There is not much I love more than the Christmas season, so to have the opportunity to participate in The Colored Pencil Magazine's competition replicating Christmas bows was very exciting. Each month The Colored Pencil Magazine puts out a reference photograph and calls artists to interpret the photograph using Prismacolors. So many incredible artists across the country enter the competition. I have really only experimented with Prismacolors this semester in art class, so I was excited to have another opportunity to improve my skills, but I was also nervous going up against these artists. Most everyone was just drawing the bows themselves, and while they looked awesome, I wanted to do something unique. I really enjoyed creating a self portrait a few projects ago and decided I also wanted to improve my skills in that area. I have to say that putting down the first marks on a face in un-erasable colored pencils was absolutely terrifying, let alone my own face. I began by simply mapping out the parts of the face and attempting to get the proportions right. When I felt confident in that, I began layering in the lightest skin tones and gradually building up. I also placed darker values around deeper parts of the face like the sides of the nose.

Once the face was finished, I moved onto the bow. I used an actual Christmas bow as a reference to get the correct highlights and pattern of the bow. Getting the metallic look of the bow was a challenge but I achieved it by mapping out lights and darks and adding in rods of light. I completed the piece with the hair by layering and layering multiple colors to get the value that I wanted in the direction that I wanted. It was a definite challenge and I had never really done anything like this before, but I learned a lot from the process.

The final product is not exactly what I had in mind, but I am really happy with it. I think it really paid off to take the risk and venture into something that I was really uncomfortable with. This piece has given me new confidence to take on things that others say sound crazy and has also given me a new respect for Prismacolor artists!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nature turns Mechanical

For this project, we were asked to choose an aspect of nature and turn it into something mechanical. To be completely honest, when introduced to this project, I was really uninspired and unenthusiastic. I knew I had to do it, however, so I began brainstorming ideas and remained uninspired. I came upon an image of a chameleon and began to think about how the creature changes based off of its environment. I thought that it could be a really interesting concept to portray the chameleon in figurine form in a workshop type environment changing to be mechanical.

I was finally starting to get inspired so I did a bunch of sketches. It was challenging to come up with all of the different mechanical pieces to incorporate into the figures because I am definitely not familiar with those materials! I did some research and came up with an idea that I was really excited about executing.

I decided to draw three of the figures placed strategically across a long paper. I began by mapping out the areas that the chameleons would be and then started drawing in the details. This was definitely a challenge for me because most of my artwork and therefore what I am most comfortable with is more impressionistic and not so realistic. I do not typically focus on small details, rather on shapes and colors. To think about all of the small details that I would have to include as well as all of the value that I would have to include to make the figures look realistic was really intimidating. I decided that this project, however, would be a great chance for me to put my aesthetic into another project. I practiced a lot and started to get the hang of it! It was a big challenge to get all of the right value in the right places and the correct perspective. I crossed a lot of bridges with this project!

I haven't completely finished yet, however I am really liking how it is turning out. There is room for improvement but that just shows me how much I am improving as an artist. Looking back at my drawings from even last year at this time I can see how much I have perfected my skills and grown into my own style. I am excited to finish this project and see how I overcame an assignment that intimidated me!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed Media Self Portrait

Our assignment for this project was a self portrait, pretty much the most intimidating thing for any art student to hear. I have to admit that I was pretty scared at first. Drawing self portraits has never really been my thing. We could choose any medium that we wanted to use and I decided to do something that I haven't done in a while- mixed media. I love working with different mediums and figuring out how to piece them together and make them work differently than the expected use. I thought that because I was tackling a tough project, I would try it in a medium that I was comfortable with. It sounded simple and I entered the project feeling confident despite my fear of drawing myself. That did not prove to be the case however...

I faced many challenges throughout working on this piece. One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was my dislike of planning. I figured that if I had all of the materials that I wanted to use, it would all work out in the end. I started out the background by placing random pieces of newspaper and scrapbooking paper down. I didn't really know if I was going to make the face out of the paper or if I was going to draw it on top of the background. Because of that, I ended up putting things on and taking things off like ten times. I finally blended watercolors on top of all of junk I had added on originally. I actually really like the effect that it created and fell in love all over again. I had a hard time deciding what medium to draw myself in.

 I contemplated using India Ink, however I have never really used it before and I decided to work with it on a smaller scale before I used it on this piece. I ended up using charcoal and learned a lot about it through this project. The quality of the charcoal gives my piece a really unique look and I am really happy with how it turned out!

My inspiration for this project was the bible passage of Proverbs 31. Within the chapter is listed many qualities of a Christian woman. As a Christian, this is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. It has taught me how to admirable in the eyes of God as well as faithful here on earth. I decided to replicate a Proverbs 31 woman this piece. There are many ways that this piece represents this woman hidden in this piece. First, I used calming colors because a Proverbs 31 woman is peaceful and does not react with anger. Secondly, the majestic looking stamps show how woman are supposed to be respectable, however, I purposely made them messy with some paint splatters to show how we are not designed to be perfect. I also showed the figure laughing to show joy. The final thing is the hidden 31 in the bottom left.

This has to be one of my favorite things that I have ever created because it has so much personal meaning to me. I am happy that I tackled the self portrait and I actually kind of want to do another one in a more risky medium for me!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Color outside the lines: Final

I have completed my water color and pen project. Since the last post, I have cleaned up the lines and added some more color in certain places to tie it all together. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coloring Outside the Lines

For this project, we received a list of themes, mediums, and elements of art that we could choose from. While reading through the list of themes, the only thing that continuously jumped out at me was the title “Color Outside the Lines.” For me, I have always been such a creative individual. Color outside the lines is in some sense my life motto, as everything that I do is just a little bit different. I like to think differently and create differently than outlined by others. I knew this was the theme that I wanted to build upon. I did not want to do something completely basic because that would be the opposite of the theme! I began to think about how being creative and unique is not something that can be grown or form, it is something that one is born with. I love photography because of the emotions that can be found behind all of the memories. I remembered how my family has kept multiple photos from my childhood that highlight my uniqueness. I decided to incorporate some of my favorites into a series of pieces.


I am fascinated with how watercolor looks juxtaposed with pen and ink, but I have never tried it on a large scale before. I decided to take a risk and explore that area with this project. I thought that maybe I could take some of the photos where I am acting outside of the box and “color outside the lines” with them. To do watercolor, I knew that I had to use watercolor paper, but I was not sure how I was going to copy my photos onto thick paper. I decided to try it anyway and it worked! I am glad that I took the risk because it really paid off. That was the main hurdle that I had to jump throughout this project.

Pen and water color example 

I edited the photos so that they were really faded. This was to emphasize the dullness of normalcy and to give me the opportunity to highlight the main figure in the photo. Once I printed out the photos, I began outlining the main figure with a fine line pen. In addition to simply outlining it, I added in value with lines in various thicknesses. After all the value was added in, I put in the color using water color pencils. I thought that water color pencils would be better than paints to be able to get more detail. I created some value with the pencils, but the majority of it came from the pens. I experimented with various textures and colors to create a very vibrant and upbeat feeling.

The overall project was not much of a risk for me as I did not experience many issues along the way. Despite this, I learned a lot from this project.  I have never created a series of pieces such as this that are all cohesive and enhance one another before. Making all four individual pieces work well together was at times a challenge, but I think working on that skill will definitely be beneficial in the future. I really like the final pieces and absolutely love the joyous and bouncy feeling they bring across to viewers. When I showed the pieces to my mom, she said that she was overcome with happy memories. She said that it transported her right back to the happy scenes. I think that I really captured the theme well but in a very non-conventional way and I am happy that is has inspired others! I am not completely finished, but here are my almost completed pieces!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Second Oil Painting

Final Piece

Second oil painting is done and I have to say, I may have a new favorite medium. From working will regular oil paints with this project and the previous one, I have learned so much about the quality of oil paint. Oils blend extremely well as a result of their texture and the length that it takes to dry. I love being able to blend the colors to receive new values right on the canvas. Just a few weeks ago, I still had the wrong conception that oils were tricky to work with and didn't always get you the final piece that you want. After completing two whole oil paintings, I completely disagree! I have learned so much about oils and cannot to build on those skills in the future.

Original Sketch
Reference Photo

The theme for this project was titled “Odd Interiors.” While we didn't have to use oils, I chose to in order to expand the skills that I learned during the last project. I began thinking of uncommon interior spaces, but the only things that I could think of were not very odd. I kept picturing rooms and houses and buildings, all of the typical spaces that come to mind upon hearing “interior.” I kept brainstorming by scrolling through the camera roll on my phone in hopes of finding some form of odd interior. While searching my photos, I began to have major summer withdrawals, seeing photos of my friends and I over summer vacation as well as pictures from many trips taken. I decided to take that inspiration and channel it into my new project! I immediately thought of a summer basic, lemonade. For me, lemonade means warm summer evenings outdoors with friends, complete with lightning bugs and fireworks. I jumped on the idea right away by making lemonade at home and taking a bunch of photographs  of the glass with many ice cubes in it from different angles. Taking the photos made me fall even more in love with the idea as I began to envision how I could achieve the icy forms and texture with oils. The painting would also contain a large, central focus on the inside of a straw which would contrast the color of the lemonade and background. How’s that for an odd interior?

In Progress

While painting, I encountered some issues that made me question my decision. My idea didn't seem as exciting and fresh when everyone’s comments seemed to be “It looks like a Pok√©mon ball!” in reaction to the interior of the straw. All of the comments made me question if my “odd interior” was too odd.

See the similarites? ;)

I remained in confusion and despair for all of five minutes when I decided to channel the critiques into something better. I altered the shape and values of the straw and fell right back in love. I loved painting the ice cubes and the drink itself. I admit that I was a little daunted at first as everyone is when faced with a tricky composition. However, I believe that this project really taught me a lot of things in that area that will help my take on trickier subject matters in the future.

Still Going 

I learned a lot about overcoming challenges and taking on risks with this painting. I really like the final piece probably better than my first oil painting. I believe that the composition is super interesting and the colors work very nicely together. I am excited with how this painting turned out and cannot wait to expand my oil skills in the future! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Everyday Object Oil Painting

Original Photo

Final Piece

This was my first time using oil paints on a large scale. This isn’t my favorite piece that I have ever created; however, I was really grateful for the experience that I had working with this medium. I learned a lot about the texture that can be achieved with oils as well as how the colors blend together. The final piece did not turn out exactly how I had envisioned, but I think that the oils gave it a unique quality that other mediums could not achieve.

The assignment was to paint an everyday object using oil paints. I was not very inspired looking around my house, art room, etc. Every object looked to plain and boring, and we all know that is the opposite of what I like to create. I walked into my bedroom, continuing my search, and noticed some of the objects on my bookshelf. I keep a lot of objects on there that were gifts or from travels, all of which have meaning to me. I decided to arrange them in an interesting composition and to give new life to them on canvas. I love the angle of the composition and the really bright colors. I am happy with the image that I was able to create.

I think that my piece is really inspiring as it highlights the idea that everyday objects can hold a lot of value, despite their sometimes plain, boring exteriors. By choosing objects that hold value to me, I think that I was really able to capture that message in the painting. I think that recreating and giving new life to everyday objects that many people overlook would be a cool area to explore in the future. I am happy that I was able to practice with oils on this project and had the opportunity to play around with them while also portraying an interesting message. On to the next project! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oil Painting Practice

In Art 4, I painted using oil paints for the first time. We were introduced to a project using oils as our medium, so I painted some small apples to get practice working with the new medium. And I immediately fell in love. Oils are so much fun to work with. You can achieve so much texture and value working with the paints as a result of the paints' consistency. The top apple was completed simply using a brush. It was such a good opportunity to learn how to mix the colors on the paper rather than on the palette. Also, I learned a lot about the importance of layering and the effect that it has on the piece. The bottom apple was done using a palette knife. It was definitely more challenging as I felt that I did not have as much control. I appreciate the opportunity to practice with a different tool as it deepened my understanding of how colors work and different thicknesses the paint can be applied with. Creating these two apples got me super excited to start my project using oils. I am loving the experience and think I may have found one of my new favorite mediums! Here's a photograph of my final piece in progress. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


This past weekend, my good friend and I participated in artSpark, a chalk art competition in Downtown Raleigh. Hundreds of college, high, and middle school students participated in the event, covering the streets with bright chalk! We each had a 5 foot by 5 foot square, two packs of chalk pastels, and two days to complete our chalk murals. It was such an amazing experience to be able to put my design in to the community and to be surrounded by such talented people. I learned a lot from the experience and am so glad that I participated! Enjoy the gallery of my partner and I working as well as the final piece! Check out my partner's blog here:


Original candy land sketch :)

Working hard
There was more chalk on us than the street...
All done!
Final piece!

Reflection Final

Final Piece
really like how my final piece turned out. I have never used Prisma Colors on such a large scale before so I was grateful for the opportunity to fine tune my skills. When we were introduced to the concept of creating a drawing of a reflection of something that is reflective of us individually, I came up with an idea that I kind of decided on, but was not excited about. As soon as I became inspired by the idea of hands coming together and reflecting in this unique way, I could not get the idea out of my head and soon forgot my original plan. These images show my original sketch and some of the final piece in progress. 
Original sketch
In progress

I am very inspired by the idea of people coming from varying impoverished backgrounds, for example individuals in Africa, coming together under one unique culture. I think that the fact that despite having much materially, they have so much spiritually and I really wanted to capture that in my drawing.

I believe that these individuals deserve to have a voice and to be heard! To portray this message and to tell their story, I decided to show all the hands of multiple individuals in one wash basin.

This is representative of the unity of individuals as well as the joy that can still be found even through the simplicity of things. I tried to emphasize the joy and whimsy through the bright colors and native prints. Here are some of images I used as inspiration and reference.


Like I mentioned before, I have not used Prisma Colored pencils on a large scale before. I have had the case sitting in my bedroom but all its done is intimidate me. When I began the project by sketching out the design, I became even more intimidated because the design was very detailed. However, once I got into it and fell in love; I never wanted to put the pencils down! I think that because of the properties of the pencils, it really enhanced my drawing. I love the blending techniques and texture that I was able to achieve with the pencils. 

I think that my piece has a really strong message to tell. I really appreciate the opportunity that I had to tell a story through my art and work with this new medium. I hope that the piece inspires you the way that it inspired me throughout the process of working on it!