Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As You Wish

Since taking so many portrait shots for my photography class, it has become increasingly more important to me to have some record of my adorable parents.
Since my youngest brother, Grant, was born ten years ago, my mom hasn't agreed to pose for photos.
Which is silly, because she is gorgeous.
My dad approached me and asked if I would do a couple shoot for the two of them, because he really wanted photos to capture their relationship.
Which was incredibly sweet.
Thus began the project of convincing Mom.
However, in the end I put on the famous Rachel "game face" and steam rolled her with having everything set up and arranged in advance.  
I find it best to just be bossy with her sometimes.
It turned out beautifully.
She and Dad were their silly, flirty selves, and Mom really seemed to relax when I spoke to her about the poses I had in mind for the two of them.
The trick was looking back at photos of the pair that Mom liked from when they were first married.
I loved this project--it was my favorite kind: a challenge to capture people's personalties, digging through road blocks and arriving at a natural, genuine, and successful finish.  
Story: this past Christmas, my dad surprised my mom with different monster finger puppets.
They were like a silly advent calendar.
Since Christmas, the puppets have accompanied my Dad into surgery, made their way all around the house with love notes and small conquests on neighboring knick knacks, and have even been stuffed down vases when the love birds got into an argument.
I really wanted to remember this time with my parents, when all of our relationships with one another are at their very strongest.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tea Time

Today is my first day of summer vacation, and I have eased into this grey morning.
I enjoyed a sweet phone call with my almost cousin-in-law about sewing (I'm finally going to learn!), a beautiful quiet time in the breakfast nook, and wrote a host of to-do lists for this next ten days before I move to Atlanta for my internship.  
Oh, and I finally used my new tea ball and loose leaf to make some grown-up tea that my dear friend, Bowen, got me for Christmas.  
Every break I drink copious amounts of tea, and it always drives my mother nuts the amount of little accessories that I have to leave out on the countertop.
So, I dug through my dowry corner of the basement (totally have one of those now for all of my family's thrifting been doing for Cam and I) and pulled out two antique trays from my grandmother.  
I'm so happy to put them to use: I love when the beautiful can be made practical.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Lamp

This fantastical lamp could not have been created without the engineering prowess of Cam and the electrical knowledge of my brother, Fletcher.
I made a LAMP!
It's a big deal for me to have made something pretty AND practical.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Remember Harpy

For our final project in Sculpture, we were given a carving assignment. 
Carving is quite the undertaking: you have to wrap your brain around the restriction of using only subtractive measures because once you chisel a chunk away, you cannot put it back.
For Remember Harpy, I wanted a visual reminder to myself of what I can be at my darkest.
As a woman, I can choose to be a swan, a songbird, or a harpy.
Swan: captivating, elegant, and vain.
Songbird: lovely and adding something beautiful to the world.
Or harpy.
There is a long piece of history about the harpy:
In Greek mythology, the three harpies, or furies, were bird-women who were sent to torture and carry victims to Tartarus. 
Some sources say harpies originated as beautiful women who were warped into beasts.   
Since their appearance in mythology, they have cropped up in artwork in a variety of forms: sometimes beautiful, sometimes disfigured, and always evil.
They appeared again in Dante's Alighieri's Inferno in the forest of punishment for self-murderes.  
Suicides were encased in trees and harpies ate their leaves.    
The word "harpy" as an adjective is used by the character Benedick regarding the lady Beatrice in Shakespeare's play, Much Ado About Nothing.
He begs the prince to give him any range of unpleasant tasks to complete rather than "hold three word's conference with this harpy."

Where since I think it has evolved to its current conotation: a cold, shrewish, nagging woman.
Synonyms for harpy on dictionary.com include:
battle axe, dragon lady, shrew, gorgon, carper, critic, fault-finder, nitpicker, scold, and belittler. 
This harpy is a vice I have been battling intentionally this year.
She always resided in my breast, only unfurling her wings in my most extreme moments of selfishness and indignation, as poor Cam recoiled from my talons.  
Women, consider: how often do you nag?
How often do you consider yourself mistreated, abused, or unloved?
How often do you expect others to interpret your roiling emotions and fickle intentions?
How often do you give yourself the benefit of the doubt, but do not extend this simple courtesy to others?  
I am speaking from hindsight, here.  
I have bested harpy many times over the past year.
You see, when her wings unfurl, I can sense her coming.
When I feel irrationally angry, misused, or unappreciated, I know she is on the way.
So I fight her with gratitude, prayers for understanding, and the simple words: 
"My feelings are selfish and illogical right now."
In my sculpture I wanted to depict a woman skeletal, yet beautiful.  
Her muscles are pulled taut, forcing themselves into wings, leaving her powerless.  
As women, sometimes we hate our voices as we dispel acid on our victims--we feel helpless as we hear out mother's nagging coming from our own lips, and yet we plow on to make ourselves feel justified.
Harpy is a ship headed for destruction, imprisoned by her own vices, and she looks on in horror with gaping maw.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Praying Hands: Be still and know that I am God

I am greeting you from the belly of my final's week. 
I have been tinkering with the idea of prayer, worship, journaling, meditation, and art--
and how I can go about communicating those things using bleeding color and ephemera on brown paper.  
For my final in Life Drawing I knew I wanted to do something with hands; 
I had so enjoyed the hand section of my Engineer with Coffee Pot piece.  
My solution was to complete a diptych on hands in prayer.  
I stalked about the Theta Xi house, pouncing on different brothers and asking them how they prayed.
I settled on my friend Sahil's hands, and bullied Cam into sitting still for my second set of interlaced fingers.  
Since my Engineer piece, I've added metallic oil pastels and two different shades of brown paper.  
I would have preferred to work exclusively on brown kraft paper, but my teacher insisted.  
Praying Hands: Be still and know
Praying Hands: that I am God

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fox & Bunny Coffee Mug

I got my coffee mug back that I decorated at a paint-your-own pottery studio with my Alpha Gams.  
I wanted to see what would happen if I did silhouettes with a black and white speckle paint, and I am very happy with how it turned out.  
The inside is all black and white speckle, as well.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Engineer with Coffee Pot Takes First

 I found out this past Monday that my portrait, Engineer with Coffee Pot, got 1st Prize for Drawing in the Student Juried Show!
This entire project was filled with so many precious moments, conversations, convictions, and  discoveries; 
knowing that someone else loved the culmination of these things makes me that much happier.
I was expecting a ribbon and maybe a gift card.
Instead I got an entire gift basket--including a notebook from one of my favorite stationary suppliers, Rifle Paper Co., and earrings made by an old friend of mine who has gone full-time with her jewelry business, Riley Clay Designs
Be sure to check out her shop, she makes beautiful jewelry!  
Now I'm left with the question: 
what am I supposed to do with a six foot tall portrait of Erik?
Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing this piece.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jacob's Dream

I broke into my new pastels for the first time last night.
Literally broke--you have to unwrap and snap them in two if you really mean business.
That's that.
As I patched in the shapes of the model's back,
I saw Jacob appear before me:
Awake, and puzzling over his miraculous dream. 
"Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it!"
Genesis 28:16

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Everlasting Love

 I got to sit in the window light and work on another order this afternoon. 
Thank you God, for rainy days filled with conversation, work, and simple pleasure.
I am always so grateful for an order in which the customer asks for a specific verse that I don't have illustrated in the shop.   
It gives me new perspective: 
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness".
I like to imagine him with a pen, drawing each line of my being so lovingly.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Engineer's Coffee Pot

Here are some photos of my first major experiment in working on a dream I've had for quite some time: to sketch on brown paper with mixed media, ephemera and bleeding color.
This piece was fraught with sweat and joy and eventual heartache.
A life-sized assignment is quite the undertaking.
My friend, Erik, agreed to pose with his coffee pot (a common prop for this coffee connoisseur).
I love how all of my Georgia Tech Theta Xis examine things: with this child-like, and yet calculated and highly intelligent curiosity.
I am most in love with the hand and coffee pot section of the piece.
There are many things I will change next time.
I definitely need to improve my collage technique, use nice pastels (so that they won't darken when spray fixed and cause me to weep in frustration at four weeks work melting away), and develop the background.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Breathe On Me Now

Tonight I could not shake the heaviness in my limbs, my utter inability to sketch.
I prayed at my easel, asking God to bless my work or not, whatever His will.  
That's the thing with creativity--you must call it, ask it to stake its claim--and like the Spirit, you have to wait and let it overtake you.
Like the violins quickening their pace in my heart as I am forced, frozen, to feel it filling, flooding, like the words to this song, like the spirit pouring over my taut shoulders, like the ink spilling down the neck of my final sketch...I ask Him to breathe.   
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