Each year, the resident artists at the Banana Factory Arts and Education Center in Bethlehem, PA have the opportunity to display their work as a group for two months in the large main gallery on the first floor, (The Crayola Gallery)
For the first time ever, this year's show was split into two separate exhibitions, with each group having their work up for 1 month. This permitted each of the 30 artists to have a larger space in which to display. (Overall, I thought each exhibit looked, *amazing!*)
I opted to submit a single piece for this exhibit entitled: Metamorphosis
This is the piece that I started on First Friday in December of 2013 during an evening of "Live Painting" in my studio. I never had any idea how this piece would look when it was finished, as this was one of my very first geometric mandalas and I was seriously swimming in uncharted waters.
While it's common for me to start something and come back to finish it at a later date, this was the first time I worked on something for so long, (8 months!) a little bit at a time. I'd usually see one new element at a time and how it would fit, and then I'd execute it. Sometimes I'd play around with the image in the Procreate app but mostly I'd just sit and look at it until the next bit was revealed.
A few things I learned during this process?
- I really enjoyed discovering how I could create a sense of push/pull using color, patterns in combination with the black lines. Staring at the finished painting, certain elements seem to come off of the canvas then fade back as others pop forward and take their place. That's just so cool!
- I learned to let go. When I initially used a ruler and compass
to lay out this piece, I did so really quickly. (because the Live Painting was about to begin and I didn't have anything started) By not taking my time to lay it out, the geometry isn't exact and as a result, the painting isn't perfectly symmetrical. Rather than redraw/rework major sections once I'd started painting, I instead chose to use creative thinking to problem solve design issues when one area inadvertently overlapped into another. While many of my previous paintings were completely spontaneous, with "mistakes" commonly made part of the design, (generally seeing all mistakes as learning opportunities) I'd specifically avoided working geometrically because I'd felt that there needed to be a certain amount of precision and attention to detail for a piece if it was going to "work". Working on Metamorphosis, I can't tell you how frustrated I'd get at the imperfections. One of the ways I think I was able to let go was by seeing some of the "creative decisions" made by the Modern masters at MoMA. Sometimes I can get way too caught up in how I think something should be which is probably both my greatest strength and my biggest flaw.
- One coat of paint isn't enough. (Or 2, or 3) I love working over a black background and this piece was reading really dark until I realized that I had to keep adding more layers if I wanted to even out the tones yet still make the whole thing pop.
- While I didn't set out to use any specific design elements from any culture or time period, it was really interesting in the end to see all of what showed up.
Overall, this was a monumental learning piece for me
If you'd like to see the piece from start to finish, please see this set on Flickr. Part 1 of the exhibit was on display through the month of September, 2014.