Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Taking stock of it all

I am less than a day away from Christmas break and I cannot wait to be done!!!! (Has it been so terribly obvious with my lackadaisical approach and publishing schedule with this blog?)

Still, while it might seem that I cannot wait to be done because I am so done for and fed up with school/teaching, that's not the case at all. Rather, I am ready to be done because I have been working incredibly hard and have been investing myself more completely than I ever have in my teaching and working artist career and I believe that it is time to take a nice long Sabbath from all of it that will enable me to be good and ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

After Christmas break finishes, once I get back to school in January, I will have less than a week and a half of instructional time with the student artists. This means that they are all working on final projects and otherwise being the almost completely autonomous visual artists that I have been working so hard to help them become. I am seeing them create in more original ways that require less of my explicit instruction. I am seeing them have more confidence in their skill sets in large part because they have serious skill sets to enough to carry them in all of their creative endeavors. They are showing exceptional examples of refined technique and showing inventive ways of manipulating materials and mediums that they know quite a lot about at this point.

All of this being said? I am so incredibly proud of what I am seeing of all of my student artists. I am continually amazed at their talent, their deep investment into the creative process, and their exceptional abilities to CREATE and not simply make "things."

As for me? This past weekend (as I mentioned previously) I wrapped up two graduate level classes and I also was able to do a number of other things on my "to-do" list. One of them was to both start AND finish a commissioned painting from picture reference. I had been going back and forth with the client for a while about what should be painted and although the final painting ended up deviating from the direction that was first established, the finished painting is one that we both are very happy with and I (especially) feel like speaks well of both my personal style AND the general direction that I have been taking anyway with my fledgling aspirations as a fine art painter. Here are some stills of the painting in it's different stages...

Blocking it out and just layering paint/color

Refining the different areas in order to build the correct value and establish better structure overall

Almost done but the tree trunks still need some work

Still wet but I call it finished with the heavier brush work on the tree trunks and the value absolutely the way it should be

The last thing to do with the painting to finish it off was to sign it and this is how I am going to be signing my work from here on out...

Does it look like my name? It shouldn't. It's something that could be thought of as just a graphic that I am also now using on my fine art portfolio website but for me? Well, it's much more a visual reminder of how I am managing to do all that I am doing in my life - for work, school, and creative art endeavors. No matter what I am doing, I am trying my best to point it all back to the sovereign Lord who has provided me with all that I have. All that I am creating IS so much for Him and it's not about me and I feel like (for my purposes) "signing" anything I create with a visual representation of the holy trinity and excluding myself definitely puts credit where credit is due to to begin with.

Since tomorrow starts my Christmas break, I'm going to be devoting myself to thinks of His works so that means there is definitely going to be some charitable events in there (I might share some specifics them at some point but I am hesitant to because I don't want to appear as if I am tooting my own horn for myself) but also a lot of time with my family and plenty of painting to establish the new series that I am embarking on in my own personal studies of visual art.

And so? I guess this is my way of saying Merry Christmas to you all and may you be blessed in whatever way you choose to celebrate this season.


  1. Andrea, you are blessed with a great talent. It takes a great amount of faith in God and yourself to step out and begin a new adventure in your life. You are headed in the right direction. I hope you have a peaceful, restful break and return to your students with all the Lord has given you to share.
    God Bless, Cynthia S.

    1. Cynthia - Thank you so much for this uplift. I have needed it. Truth be told I have been really struggling with this new adventure. I feel like I have sort of started it but I am still unpacking and putting things away from my previous one. Aside from all I have reported, I have been working hard to tidy up the last of the two weddings I photographed and it is has been SO hard. 1) I burnt my hand pretty severely with a hot glue gun a couple of weeks ago and the wound ended up getting infected and then 2) emotionally I feel like the wedding edits are taking their toll on me because I am feeling the tug in my heart to not completely leave it behind. One of my best friends (at work) said to me that I don't have to stop doing the photography work all together and this just has to be a break maybe but I know of my own heart and my own creative processes that it does have to be a clean break and then don't turn back. Don't get me wrong - I will still be flexing my photography skills but as far as it being a business? That part has to be done. And because it has to be done, I know there will be a lot less opportunities for me to do it because that's just how it works: when you don't make time for things, there won't be the time for them. I am so blessed by the affirmation you have given me because lately I have been feeling like I am recovering from a bad break up where I was the one who made the break!


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