Friday, August 31, 2018

My Photo Picks

       For this week's post I thought I'd share what I consider my top highlights of my photography collection from my years before & in school for photography and painting. 
       I was always super into photography, but started out with a point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix. The timeframe of these photos goes from that time through the beginnings of art school when I had a serious camera, so some of the quality isn't fantastic in some of these and the reason why they're not in my final portfolio.
       I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, as pictures and also as snapshots into my journey and travels as a young artist!

This first one was taken while camping on the Kancamagus highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.


If I ever did pet portraits, this would be the picture I'd advertise with. His name was Eddie, and he taught me not to be afraid of Dachshunds by demanding I pet him and napping with me on the couch.

(I was bitten on the face by a dachshund when I was younger which left me with a scar I still have today. I still prefer the fluffy ones but will tolerate the plain sausagey ones. 
P.S. That poor dog dog bit like two other kids and the last I knew before moving away, he had gone blind and would end up running into my mailbox and we'd have to say "Frank, go home.")


 I was standing at least 100+ yards from this bird (Osprey?), which was perched atop a dead tree in an area of Florida that had been swept by a hurricane recently.
I was standing on one of the back seats in a van, sticking out the sun roof and pushing my camera to maximum zoom to get a look at this beautiful bird.
I'm really grateful I got to capture a few shots of it and that the person driving was patient enough to stop and wait for me to stop hanging out of her sun roof like a maniac trying to get a picture.


This shot taken in Boston reminds me of the house from Up. It looks ready to float away at any second.


 Taken when practicing using studio equipment with my classmates. For some reason at the time I also snapped a picture of the setup we were using, so here's a peek behind the curtain- er, backdrop. 

 A big, eerily beautiful house in the middle of a field in Florida. The house itself was lightly warped from age & weather but magnified with the tilt shift effect here.



Fairy staircases in the forest that surrounds the dirt road where I grew up and where I started my journey with photography.

Below is a rare shot of yours truly, not taken by me but showcasing the beautiful scenery and its effect on me.  


Easter treats and color schemes on the kitchen table in my hometown.

A pretty rock tumble captured in a New England mill town. The long brick buildings still line the rivers and stand with their empty windows looking lonely.

Swans on the Thames. They were very accommodating models.


New York , New York. As a gift for my sixteenth birthday, my brother took me to New York city for a day, where I went snap-happy with my photography and he took in the sights.


A photo from my "ice cave adventure" that led to some good shots but ultimately none that really convey what the space was like behind the wall of ice. Here's a semi decent pic of the toe of my boot for scale and some of the icicles for some reference. 

And finally, after the 700+ step climb up the spire we went on a ramble outside Salisbury Cathedral and I had to stop and get this Constable-esque (Constabulary?) shot of the cathedral. 
By the way, the Bunker Hill monument can bite me after that! 

The way I framed it reminds me of this painting by another landscape artist of the time- 
Mantes, View of the Cathedral and Town through the Trees 
by artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Painting in Progress

 Hello everyone! This week I wanted to give you all an update on some of the finished paintings and WIPs that are currently cluttering up my apartment and not for sale or commissioned pieces.
Some of them involve more planning than others, and are in various stages of coming to life. I hope you like them! Let's begin

This first painting I had plotted out to be of a poem surrounded by small cacti, succulents, and monarch butterflies. I never got around to painting it, so the canvas was repurposed and I painted this design on a whim.
You know sometimes when you're in bed trying to sleep, but not asleep yet and you notice patterns in the blank darkness or behind your eyelids? I was noticing that they reminded me of Navajo woven patterns and might look cool as a painting.  

(I haven't decided if I think it looks cool or not, maybe time will tell).


These are the first tests of a technique I wanted to try that's reminiscent of stained glass or suncatchers, made by filling a 3D acrylic design with lacquer. I consider them moderate successes, and especially useful in pointing out the things I want to fix for the next pieces. I need more practice piping the paint into straight, even lines without odd blobs and thin parts. 

The designs I sketched & traced and then transferred on the prepared backgrounds in chalk


 This one surprised me! It was my first attempt with pouring acrylics. I had intended for it to be the background for a still life of textured flowers, but I ended up loving how it turned out and I really didn't want to obscure any of the awesome patterns. The colors are a mix of matte & metallic so it has a cool finish that will look nice hanging on the wall.
I think I'll give it a good coat of varnish so the whole thing has a nice glossy finish before I hang it up in my house.


 Now for the works in progress- 

       This one is a wavy, colorful background for what's going to be a themed piece in a collaboration with a friend & writer. We'll be exploring the subject of sirens in mythology with paintings, poems, and short stories. Stay tuned for that this fall!


Another poured piece, but at the moment only the background of what's planned to be a funky, bright, and hopefully effortless cascade of acrylic drips & swirls. In my head it's reminiscent of diners, milkshakes, and candy shops. We'll have to see if that's how it turns out!

Up in the corner is where I plan on starting the pour, and also coincidentally where I made a mistake early on in the design. Whoops!


I hope you enjoyed this peek into my work and the lifestyle of always having projects in progress, being started & completed. And often, reworked and retweaked several times throughout the process. Thanks for reading! Have a good weekend  x

Friday, August 17, 2018

Not Your Space

This post will be featuring a music video called Not Your Space by Glass Hamlet, who can be found on twitter and instagram . Click here for the video with full lyrics and credits.

       If you know me, you know I love both music and art, usually the more abstract the better. When I was asked to write about this music video, I was stoked because it was exactly my type of thing both music and art-wise.
       At first I was drawn into the animation. Super dynamic because of the number of artists, and could only have been the work of one person if they'd spent 10 years in an alternate Dr. Seuss-esque reality with only 70s music videos to watch and sheets of acid for food. I felt almost sucked into it myself, as though the groovy and fluid transitions would turn into a vortex at the end of the video and whisk me away to a neon utopia.

      It can best describe it as a dynamic, eye-catching video that I imagine would be the love child of Telex's Twist à St. Tropez and the classic Take On Me by A-Ha. You know, the kind that doesn't stay live-action throughout but keeps the presence and sense of the singer in the video with funky and often abstract animation. What seems to make it such a masterpiece is the sheer number of artists who worked on it- both art students and up-and-coming artists all contributing their images of one idea. (I actually had to pare down everything I had to say about the animation because I could go on forever about the bits I liked)

       But as soon as I heard the lyrics, I was really into the flow of it and found myself going back to check the lyrics many times in a "Did he really just say that?" or "Wow, that was an unexpected reference" way. In the notes I have scribbled down from my first time watching through it, I just have "omg the shade" as a bullet point because OMG, the shade being thrown in some parts of this song is phenomenal.

       The song ticks all the boxes for me for what fits a really good and catchy beat in today's music world. But for me the complexity of the lyrics and the many references to mythology are what sold it as a really fantastic song. It could make probably anyone stop to listen and dance, but for those of you who are into mythology or grew up reading almost too many books, it's fantastic because as you know, it's rare for all the literary references and characters in your head to be relevant in most situations so whenever they come up, it's like scratching that itch and validating that time you spent slogging your way through the Iliad and other waffley books.

       The great thing about music is being able to drawn your own meaning from songs, or choosing to leave it arbitrary and find new meaning in it every time. That's the draw for me behind a lot of songs that don't really make sense or tell a direct story through the lyrics. As my musical heroine Ingrid Michaelson says in her 2016 album, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense.

       There were themes of mental struggle, rebellion, oppression, and self reflection throughout this song, and the part that really hit home for me were these lines-

"And so I leave, and so I retreat, go back to my flat boil water and breathe 

The leaves keep on changing in color 

I say that it's fall 

They don't get what I mean

I point at the sky in disbelief 

I turn back and look in their eyes 

There's no one there 

Just a mannequin 

And she weeps" 

       Often, mental illnesses can shape your view of the world around you by changing your focus or making you more observant to the small things while blurring your understanding of bigger things and it enforces feelings of isolation, because when you try to open up to people and explain how you feel, it's a foreign concept to them. Very often it leads people to believe they're broken or made wrong.

       But because you see the world differently, it doesn't mean you're broken or less valuable. I really hope you believe that because look- 

       If you were to ask the average person to describe the night sky, they probably wouldn't mention the distant swirling galaxies or the presence of yellows in the blue expanse.  But if they did, they wouldn't be wrong. Would Starry Night be as valuable a masterpiece and historic painting if it wasn't highlighting the point of view of someone who saw the world differently?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A post about me, anxiety, the endocrine system, and beauty standards

I still can't believe these are my actual nails 😍 And that means a lot to me, superficial as it sounds. Why?


Growing up with anxiety, I bit my nails for nearly seventeen years and was never able to find a way to curb it, despite being scolded for bad habits or having it explained to me what a gross thing I was doing.  I always had short, stubby nails that I felt made me look ugly, and all my barbie dolls had beautiful long painted fingernails.

Now that I'm older, my anxiety isn't better per se but I've been able to at least outgrow this one bad habit and gotten to enjoy growing out my nails and painting them, and feeling good about them. In the past seven years I've been in a constant battle against my autoimmune disease to keep my nails long and paint-able, and experimenting with nail shapes each time an inevitable break happens. Because with a thyroid condition, your hair and nails don't grow as thick or as strong and break wayyy easier (and in my experience, they also take longer to grow). 

I get that it seems vain, once when I had just started growing them out, when I was working at a grocery store I broke a nail and said "aw, I broke a nail!" and a customer made fun of me for it. I still remember that but I brush it off, he didn't know what it meant to me. But it's an important reminder that everyone is dealing with their own demons and while immediately making fun of someone to their face might be the easiest response for you, it's probably not the most helpful response for anybody involved.

I'm happy that I get to have another hobby and a way to express my art but it is true that it's vain to get too involved in the beauty that's only skin deep. I see it as a personal victory over anxious compulsions and proof that the person I am isn't constrained by what I think I can or can't do, because that can change.

Thanks for reading <3