Tuesday, May 23, 2017


This is my slideshow that puts together all of my breadth and my portfolio as an example of work produced by an AP Student.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Concentration: The Wheel of Fortune

Day 1

I just wanted to show Adrian how I forgot his pupils

Before I colored in his hands and added the charcoal

With the charcoal, or maybe just his hand?

The final

Adrian chose this card because he feels like his life depends on the fortune of the winds.  Either things are going well for him, or things aren't good at all. The changeable nature of his life led him to chose The Wheel of Fortune to represent him.  As you can see here, I sort of ran out of time to give him a proper oil portrait like he deserved, so I played around with white charcoal! Which is always fun, and I don't do it nearly as much as I should.  The wheel behind him is a symbol found on the white tarot, I think, and the letters are "TARO" which, if read in a continuous circle, spell out "Tarot." 
   I didn't only use white charcoal, though, I also used black charcoal to darken up some areas! And add shading to his face and his jacket, as well as attempting to give him some pupils. I think I did a good job with this one. My biggest problem with white charcoal is that I forget that I'm supposed to be coloring in the lights, and letting the paper speak for the darks, but I think that I avoided that pretty neatly here. Adding in the charcoal later certainly helped with that. 
      I also like how the wheel ws shaded. There could have been a bigger contrast, with the brights of Adrian's face being placed against the dark of the wheel, but I think that it would have looked inconsistent. And it's so nice to wrap up my series with a well-proportioned hand! It truly feels like we've come full circle (pun).
       Again, I think that this picture shows growth in my ability. And hopefully I'll only continue to grow in the future! 

Concentration: The Hanged Man

I have always wanted people to see the world as I see it. That is what I attempt to do through art and writing. The Hanged Man wants to do the same. In a traditional tarot card, he is hanging by his foot, upside down, so he can gain a new perspective. For this card, I drew myself in a mirror, looking back at myself.  This is how I see. There are no symbols or addendums in this card beyond that.
   I waited three months to do this card. Three months of absolutely no charcoal whatsoever. It was very, very difficult.  And I think it's definitely one of the best, not only because it's charcoal, but because it combines all of my strengths--partial faces, backgrounds that seem really busy and concrete but are just a bunch of lines, confusing fabric shapes.

Sketching it out 

Adding value

So, there it is. The same things as always, when talking about charcoal. I love the values I'm able to produce with it, and I really like the depth the mirror adds.  The hair was a little difficult, and I don't think I pulled off my leg as well as I could have, but in general, it's a pretty great piece. There's not a lot I can say to the struggles of making this, because it was relatively small and took me two class periods.  And I don't think that you can say that I incorporated techniques from other mediums here, because my skill with charcoal is the basis for my entire art skill.

Concentration: The World

The World card symbolizes integrity and accomplishment. It is the end of the cycle, the twenty first card in the deck, and is a completion of sorts.  The woman I portray in this card is Ty, who has a lot of life full of great things ahead of her, and is not finished in any sense of the world, has achieved great things. She is extraordinarily brave and is a very honest person. She chose this card for herself, and I am happy that she did so.
    I rushed this piece, and I think that is why it is such poor quality.  Mostly, I am upset over my choice of paper, which was teal, and so every yellow that I put down turned green. I spent so much time on that when I should have been spending time on my figure, but I didn't feel like I could change my paper because I had already invested so much time into it, and I had 2 weeks until everything needed to be in and three pieces to go. Basically, it was a bad feedback loop that kept getting worse.
    I really messed up on her skin tone, and her face. Because the paper was so small, I didn't have enough room to work with, and her face doesn't really look like Ty. The skin color looks a little better in real life, but I wish it was smoother and better shaded.
    The things I wish I could change about this picture would be, I wish I had taken more time and used a different, bigger piece of paper.

Day 2

Day 1

Day 4

Concentration: The Hierophant

This card would have been better if I'd been able to do it reversed. The Hierophant, placed normally, speaks to someone who operated within the bounds of society, while reversed it means someone who is struggling against society. The person in this card has a very strong opinion on the ills of society, and how they can be changed.  He is endeavoring to change society, without stepping outside of its bounds, almost like a covert agent. The crown of oak leaves he has symbolizes wisdom, or, at the very least, knowledge.

Day 2

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5


So, as you can see here, this picture represents the tragic story of me drawing it right, and then just hardly messing it up so, so badly. I mean, maybe drawing it right isn't even right, because look at his neck. I know he has a long neck, but it's not that long.  Also, I messed up pretty badly on his smile, just because I'm not that good with smiles. 
I mean, the painting didn't come out horribly. The Empress was a whole lot worse, so I feel like this shows how I grew over my use of different mediums, again. And I'm really proud of the trees and the clouds in the background. Like, they are just beautiful. Amazing, if I do say so myself. And I think that going back in and fixing his face did change things a little.  It made him look less awful. Also, there's a consistency of skin tone, which my last acrylic didn't have, and the shading isn't that bad. It's a little more advanced.  
This is not the worst piece I've ever done. Is it the best? Highly debatable. But again, and think that it shows growth, which I can be proud of. Even if I did make my friend look like a giraffe. 

Concentration: The High Priestess

My friend Alice, pictured here, has, out of all of my friends, the strongest connection to tarot cards herself. The High Priestess is also another card that is associated with strong femininity and the power that is associated with that, and that was why I chose this card for her.  The symbol behind her head is one that is very common in pagan religions, that of the maiden-mother-crone, or the cycle of life as it relates to the moon.
     Another interesting feature of this card is that it features black and white "pillars" which are also commonly featured in The High Priestess card. Although in Alice's case it's the white of a wall and the black of the doorway, the background mimics the traditional set up for the card.
     I chose to do Alice in pastel for the same reason that I chose to do Aiyana in chalk pastel--the colors of chalk pastel are strong, but I feel that the medium itself is unbound.  The lines can be softer and more organic, while the colors are still impactful.
Working on the face

Completed face
Again, halfway through the picture 
Okay, so, for some reason it's not letting me put a caption on the final image, but the final image is here.  I forgot to take pictures while working on this piece because I finished it really quickly. It's a pretty tiny piece. But, as you can see here, I took some of the things that I learned from prisma colors as well as the watercolors and used it here. I used red and orange under the skin first, before putting the pastel skin color over top. And Alice's shirt has multiple different colors, such as purple and neon green, though in the picture it is only brown. I feel like this piece is a strong example of how my techniques have been building on each other.
     Another thing I really like about this piece is her facial expression. It doesn't look exactly like it does in the photo she sent me, but I think that her facial expression captures a lot of expression as well as looking like a plausible face. Which is a really big jump for me.
    This is one of my favorite pieces overall, because of those qualities.  It shows a lot of growth, and maybe not mastery, but growth is all that I aim for. And Alice likes it too, which is always really gratifying!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Concentration: The Lovers

Blogger decided to put the final image up here, so I guess I'll go with it. 

The Lovers symbolizes not only relationships, but dedication. Though the two pictured here are in a relationship, the card is at most about their dedication to one and other, as well as the things around them. The ivy that binds them together is also symbolic of that.
     This is, I think, the best watercolor piece that I've done all year. As I went through my concentration, I really wanted my work with all mediums to help me improve in all areas, and I think moving directly to a watercolor piece after oil and acrylic really helped with that. I used the paint as less like watercolor and more like oil, which gave it more vibrant colors. Also, I wasn't afraid to layer, which added nuance to other colors.  As usual, I could have sketched it out a bit better, but overall I'm pretty pleased with this piece.  In the first sketch, actually Merryn looked a bit like a serial killer, and that's why I took a picture of it. I honestly don't think this piece looks anything like its subjects, but I don't think it looks horrible in general. So.
First unfortunate sketch

Day 2: Looking a bit better!

Beginning to ink I guess? 

Inking finished!

Adding a base of color with watercolor pencils!
More basic colors with water and skin tones!
Day 4, probably
As you can see, I am much more comfortable with watercolor here, than I was even while doing the Star. There is no splotchy removal of me trying to pull water color off the paper, and though that did happen, you can't tell that it happened. I didn't rub someone's arm off.  There is texture in their hair, and shading in their clothes that doesn't look absolutely horrific. I'm not going to lie, I don't know what's going on with Sasha's arm there, but I guess. I take what I can get. Wow that looks super bad now. Okay, well, let's not focus on that. 
       I think that my shading and highlights worked really well here, as did my choice of color. My technique definitely improved, though it still has the same qualities of some of my earlier watercolors. I am very proud of this piece, overall.