This piece is the final one, as well as my art final, for my Intersections of Human Nature series – at least for this semester!
These past few weeks have truly been an adventure as I explored integrating human forms, faces, into other natural ones – landscapes. When I tentatively and carefully started this process I began by painting landscapes. Then, I repeated the landscape, and integrated human faces within them. In my next piece, I refined that process. But in this last one – I flipped the process. Instead of turning escapes in portraits, in this final piece turned a portrait into a landscape.
This piece is a based off of a photo of me – though it is not a self portrait. Thought there are element or features within the portrait that look like me, that is not the goal. Having this broader goal helped keep the painting loose through-out the process, and help me stay unattached. The figure in this painting is looking up to the heavens, mouth agape, and eyes shining with remnants of tears near the eyelid. I hoped to paint a portrait of amwoman distraught – almost like ‘mother nature’ being distraught in the destruction and apathy towards her in humanity’s irresponsible actions (that also hurts humans, which are a part of nature). I played with the idea of basing it off the famous Pieta sculpture, but decided not to in order to avoid any theological disputes or arguments -which would not be the focuses of this painting – though environmental theology is important to me. And so, instead, it is based on me, as I look distraught and hopeless towards the heavens for an answer to these problems that we face
When I proposed this project, I chose to reference a few artists – including Walton Ford. Ford is a printmaker who “blend[s] depictions of nature with historical events and sociopolitical commentary” according the Smithsonian American Art museum. His style is similar to those of traditional natural history painters hundreds of years ago – scientist artists who attempted to let other know about the world before photographs were easily accessible. His pieces, though realistic, are also a bit surreal – a goal for my paintings, especially this one. Here, I’ve painted the background the classic manila yellow and framed the portrait within the piece – similar to how artists did back on the day on (now) yellow-aged paper. Rather than drawing a thick line, as this would distract from the piece, I varied the concentrations and ‘wash’ of the edges.
To express the ‘nature’ aspects, the brighter lighted areas of my reference photo I turned to white stone – in a similar fashion as the Monet inspired cliffs in Zion, and the darker areas into the deep green, blue and reddish hues as I saw in Soberanía. I also added some natural subtleties – with vague tall as well as shrubby green forms reminiscent of trees, and my necklace and shirt reminiscent of rivers.
This was a very fun piece to create, and is definitely one of my favorite pieces, part of one of my favorite series (though it comes close to the Charcoal Portraits of 2014) that I have done thus far – and I am happy over how they all came out.
Here are some process pics:
This is a photo of the completed 3-part series of Intermediate Painting @ St. Norbert College. I am so grateful for this experience – and I hope I can continue it alongside my future adventures.