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. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Concentration: The Emperor

This is the first oil painting I've done since the disastrous still life that I did at the beginning of the year, and honestly, I feel like the results are a lot better. I have not finished, and hopefully will by tomorrow, but I feel that this is a good piece, especially considering where it's coming from, and that it shows a lot of improvement.
    This is a painting of my brother, who does not want me to divulge information about him ever, so I will only say that the Emperor is a card of strength.  It is associated with the number four, which is considered one of the stablest numbers in numerology, and is also associated with the earth, which is the stablest element.  I have never known my brother to compromise on anything, and his unyielding sense of morality is one of his strongest qualities. A bit like Ron Swanson!
A draft sketch of the shadows that I really liked!

Sketching it out on the canvas. Note the nose.

I fixed the nose! And added shading areas.

Beginning the fabric, which is always my favorite part.

The bricks will keep changing, I kept
painting over them. 

The wall hanging on the left really annoys me.  
The bleachers were also difficult. 
I know the color of his skin looks weird in the pictures,
but it looks better in real life I promise!
I think the crown is pretty great. 

Background people and fixing the face!

More background people and extra

I would like everyone to know that I regret my decision to stay on blogger and not switch to weebly when I had the chance.  It's just not letting me move the pictures! That's why this looks so horrible, okay, I promise I'm an artist. Sort of. 
     But more about this painting! It is fun to make, and I like it.  Also, the oil staying wet longer has allowed me to go back and fix the little things, and honestly I feel like I have paid so much more attention to this painting than I have paid attention to my art in a long time. And I know it's been taking forever and we only have a few more weeks to do everything, but I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I have done this painting as well as I could. 
    I didn't use any liquin either! The last oil painting I did, I doused everything in liquin, but I didn't use any this time, and the paint went on so smoothly. I love the way everything blends together, and how you can still see some of the brush strokes. It makes the painting look so concrete and abstract at the same time.  
    I will be posting the final painting as soon as I finish it, which will be some time next week, and I am excited to show you my next series of six!  Hopefully my improvements will be evident as I go through each medium again.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Concentration: The Moon

The moon card is a symbol of creativity and intuition, as well as an uncertain or vaguely identified future. Dave chose this card for himself, and those were the qualities he mentioned when I asked why he chose this card.  He also said that this card corresponded with his birthday,  So, I guess, that was why he got the moon.
    Though the symbolic aspect of this card might not be up to par with the others: Charcoal!!! The light of my life, the beauty of my soul.  I started this twenty minutes before class ended on Wednesday and finished it halfway through class on Monday.  I know that I should not be proud of my speed, but it was really refreshing to not do a piece where I got all caught up in the specifics and was able to just draw.  Also it came out 1/4s decent, so I'm pretty happy.

Day 1
Like, 15 minutes later 

The linework is represented here.  Um, He chose an odd picture to send me. He's making a face while looking down into the camera, which is held out at arm's length, but the face he's making looks sort of like his normal face.  That is to say, I had some trouble with the facial proportions and his arm.  Also, Randy, the cat.  I should not be allowed to draw animals.
Day 3
End of day 3
I think the fabric came out okay. And, props to me, I think the moon was a fantastic idea, and I think I did it very well. I tried to match the craters and stuff up to the actual moon, but I don't think I did it that well.  Also, I redid his eyes several times, but I don't think I ever got them just how they should be. He was widening them, and his head was also titled, so it was difficult to accurately draw his face. Honestly, the only thing that I feel went wrong here was my initial drawing, because my charcoal technique is amazing.
     Just saying
The final

I thought this was going to be the final
but it wasn't that great

Overall, I am happy with house this turned out.  Yes, I could have done better, probably, and no, this doesn't really look like the picture I was given, but I think that it is a good addition to my concentration, and it looks pretty much how I imagined it would look when I began. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Concentration: The Fool

The Fool, or card 0 in the deck, is seen as an optimist who wears their heart on their sleeve and ventures fearlessly into the unknown.  Often pictured with a bindle over their shoulder and white dog at their heels, the card is seen as a sign of blithe innocence and freedom.The person whom I've chosen to represent this card is one of my oldest friends, Ryan, who remains upbeat, even annoyingly so, when I find it difficult to do so.
        There is a reason behind each medium that I choose, and for Ryan I chose prismas because I feel that the medium is immutable, and it takes a lot of effort to create something from prismas that is worth any attention.  Both of those descriptors, I feel, could be applied to my friendship with Ryan.  Although, prismas remain my worst artistic enemy.  I thought I had it down with the mice, but honestly, I should just stay away from faces.
       That's what Ryan said: "Maybe stay away from faces, dearie."

One of the final days

Close up of the face before I put other shading in
The face before I erased it the first time
Day 1, photo 1: I was so hopeful 
Beginning the face for the first time

I had high hopes still, on day 2
Say what you want about my artwork, but I do cloth
pretty well 


 Honestly, I don't think the final was as bad as it could have been. Did I make some poor artistic choices? Yes, but who would I be if I didn't?  The picture was taken in the gym lobby, and that's why I made the walls yellow.  I wish they weren't so yellow, but the color lends a more "prisma" feel to the entire pieces.  Like, it meets my expectations of what I think a prismacolor piece should look like.
      I think my most daunting obstacle is my lack of talent as an artist.  Because I truly dedicate myself to my work, and I try to make my artwork beautiful.  But my vision exceeds the my capacity to express it.  I hope I don't wind up insulting someone by drawing their face poorly.  Everybody I know deserves way more than that.
      Speaking in terms of the work, though, I think that this was one of the best prisma color things I have ever done my life. Not only is it relatively large, I believe I managed to keep a consistency of quality across the entire work, technique wise.  I wish, of course, that I had done better with color, especially his skin color, and better with the shape of his face.  To me, this picture just doesn't look like my friend. I know that the AP graders are unaware of what my friends look like, but I am personally disappointed in myself.
       His knee, shirt, and jacket, though. I am proud of those.