During the beginning of my senior year of undergrad I began my capstone course. Interdisciplinary studies is my major with a focus of studio art and art history. The first semester of my capstone is the seminar section. Throughout this section, I researched contemporary artists and assembled all of my research in a capstone journal with various sections; Artist research, exhibitions in Rome, Annotations of suggested readings & general research which referred to concepts, thoughts and direction for my artistic practice. This journal is a tool I will continue to augment, utilize and refer back to.
My last assignment for the semester was to paint 20 portraits within 2 weeks. When my professor, Prof. Catherine Parsonage, @cathparsonage https://www.instagram.com/cathparsonage/ assigned this undertaking I thought to myself holy F%#*!, I can do this right?? super unsure, but I’ll give it a go!
On December 1st, I started with a photo from my image catalog, a vintage photograph of Diana Ross from the movie Mahogany. The angle was difficult and I obsessed over the nose adjusting it multiple times. The failure of the 1st portrait set in some procrastination, only 1 day but when you have 2 weeks to complete 20 paintings 1-day matters! A few days later my professor messaged me to ask how the paintings were coming along, I said crappy, she then replied, “its not about good or bad”. This really resonated with me and helped me get over my feelings of failure. From this point on I would continue on with the 19 more paintings I needed to complete. I began to stop obsessing over anatomical features. Once a certain feature was identifiable, I would move on. I also incorporated new techniques I learned in my painting workshop course, the use of oil paint in a translucent way, and utilizing a rag to connect directly with the canvas.
Throughout this series of twenty oil paintings, aspects of my research subconsciously influenced and surfaced as my paintings progressed. I would say by painting number eight, I began to understand the exercise. The new ways in which I approach a portrait, and the development of form, is the beginnings of my personal visual language.