Monday, February 6, 2017

Your Monday...


...Sketch update!

Mondays are hard.  It's been slow going today over here in the Frasca household. 

Since we have returned from our week vacation with family, I feel like its been a long process to get myself back into the groove again. It's always like that for me, if we go away for a while.  

Anyone else have that problem, too?

I certainly lost a bit of my steam, but I think I'm finally getting back on track again. With that said, I must apologize and admit to you that there is a week of sketches missing... >__<

In my defense, though, I was sick with a cold the whole vacation.  And there was a beach....and free drinks...

Anyways!  Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

1/29/17
Envelope

I don't know...don't ask?  An envelope enveloping a letter.  It looks painful...

1/30/17
Book(s)

Growing up, I always wanted a full on library in my grown up house.  That didn't happen, obviously, but I do have a nice virtual one...

1/31/2017
Stars

If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets...I keep mine in Jars though...

2/1/2017
Focus

Narrowing down that field of vision...Easier said than done in real life...

2/2/2017
Beach 

Ahh...just makes me want CONSISTENT 70 degree weather...Hear that North Carolina?...

2/3/2017
Clean

Anyone else view the bathroom as the dirtiest one in the house?

2/4/2017
Music

I listen to music while I work in the studio...I have a wide range of things...but no country...definitely no country....

I'm hoping to remain consistent for the rest of this year long exercise, but I'm only human...and sometimes lazy.  

Forgive me. 


XO





Friday, February 3, 2017

Behold...


...My workbook.

It's really the only thing that has been and will probably ever be the most organized thing in my work life.  This book is basically a documentation of my work.  It holds completed concept compositions, color studies, notes and other tidbits.  

I don't know, it's weird - there's rituals.

Whatever.  

I started the series process with the chalk wall, but it ends in this book where I record the final decisions.  The composition details may get tweaked a bit, but the core components usually do not change.  

Anyway, this spread represents my work for the word Unfurl, and here is a closer look at the completed concept:

Unfurl Concept Design in graphite on Tracing Paper

The definition of Unfurl:
  1. To spread or shake out from a furled state, as a sail or flag: unfold.
  1. To become unfurled.

Trying to configure these compositions beforehand has really been an experience.  I'm pretty sure the "guy" that secretly monitors those google searches has probably flagged me by now because I have fallen down that rabbit hole more times than I can count.

Seriously, anything from actual taxidermy museums in the area to the accurate size of the human heart. Plus a whole lot more weird shit.

It's not easy finding usable reference material or explanations of things.  Finding out the meanings of certain elements has brought forth a surprising amount of information I did not know beforehand.  I've also had to get creative and do my own reference photographs for certain parts.

It's been interesting.

I should probably operate on a safe search setting...

Anyway, for Unfurl, I wanted to create a concept that portrayed the emotions present when experiencing a crossroads in life.  I met one of these crossroads when re-examining the path I wanted to take for myself as an artist before the new year.  Questions, doubts and uncertainty plagued me the last few months of 2016 until I finally made a decision and a plan unfurled.

see what I did there?

Once I had the concept idea in my head, nailing down the particular elements that represented those themes followed.

Unfurl in Watercolor
I chose a weathered paper look for the background to help give the piece a sense of age because I felt that this particular theme was far from a new concept.  The compass rose was added to help reinforce the uncertainty of choosing the correct path or direction, hence all directions featuring "North".  

Detail from Unfurl
The crow is another element added for a sense of mystery and danger.  While these avians can represent death and war, they can also mean new beginnings and change which feeds into those feelings of uncertainty for the future. I also feel that the bird is an appropriate element because they have an excellent sense of internal direction driven by instinct.  I think everyone has this instinct but our minds cloud the connection so much we no longer trust gut reactions.

Detail from Unfurl
To soften the piece and add a bit of femininity, I chose the bloomed Chrysanthemum and colored pearls to represent optimism, joy and balance.  I wanted to represent the sense of hope that comes with a new path or beginning as well.  Plus, I've always loved the traditional meanings of flowers and the subtle messages one can send with a simple bouquet.

Finally, we have the smallest and most subtle detail, I think.  The thin thread in the pearl within the crow's mouth.  The photograph doesn't translate it very well, but the thread is actually painted in iridescent gold so that it shimmers slightly.  I chose this small element to represent the thread of life.

I've always been in love with mythology and couldn't help but be drawn to the stories of the three fates, among others, growing up.  I find them so fascinating.

So there you have my analysis.  I know what I was trying to convey in this piece to a viewer, but I'm really interested in outside interpretation.

What do you see/feel when looking at this piece?

Someone told me that this piece looked like it could be a family crest of some sort which I thought was pretty interesting.

Anyhoo, I'm off to continue my work on the next piece in this series - thanks for stopping by! :)



XO











Friday, January 20, 2017

And So...


...It begins. 

Last time I talked about the process and decisions behind choosing my theme Unravel, but where does one go from there?  

How do you tackle 15 different compositions representing one thing?

Lucky for me, this is where my big-ass chalk wall comes in handy.  Oh and that poll I did plus a ton of Internet research.  

I tried to think about it from as many different angles as my brain would allow.  The light bulb went off when I looked up the definition to unravel. What if each piece was titled with a word that was related to unravel.  Like a little web, all the pieces would be interconnected and break my gigantic problem down to smaller, more manageable parts that I could work with to bring this series together.  

Oh Thesaurus, how underrated you really are. 

So again, I made a list of all the words related to Unravel that jumped out during my scan.  Then, I narrowed that down to the final words that thrummed in my mind the most. 

I bet you're trying to read the words in the picture above, aren't you?  Sneaky.  If you're counting, there are only 14 that I have written out so far (above) but I'm sure a 15th will emerge later on to fill that last gap.

My approach to this after I wrote the words on my wall, was to start building compositions around the ones that stuck out the most for me and go from there.  Ideally, in a perfect world, I would drum up all the compositions first then just start painting, but I also don't want to force the process either because that does not produce desirable results.  Plus, these compositions are a bit more intricate since I'm relying on subtle symbolism and color choice to convey thought or emotion.  If this series is a representation of me, then I want to put forth every effort for a well thought out concept.  In doing so, I hope to bring my work to the next level and truly grow.

I jumped right in and spent the last week of December working out as many compositions as I could, or as many as would fit on the wall opposite the chalk wall.

Turns out that's 3, in case you are wondering.  

Doesn't seem like very many, but you have to understand that these compositions are built to be transferred right to the watercolor paper once I'm ready, and this series is going to be, hopefully, 15 portrait oriented 16" x 20" pieces.  

Definitely don't know how to go easy on myself...

Anyway, I just finished my first piece in this new series (which you have most likely seen already) and next time I'd like to share with you my process, for those that are interested in such things.  I'm always fascinated by the motivations and reasoning behind the work of other artists so I like to share those details when and where I can.

Stay tuned!



XO








Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Week...


...Down!

You didn't think I would last this long, did you?

Well, don't count me out yet! 

I'm actually enjoying this little exercise, though if I'm honest, I was sure this one would have ended up feeling like a chore.

But before we commence with the picture show, I just wanted to let you know that next week's recap will be a week delayed since I will be out on family vacation during that time. I promise to be diligent in completing my daily exercises, so stay tuned for those sketches in a couple of weeks!

Anyway, Here is last weeks sketches for your enjoyment (and as always, don't judge me ;)):


1/8/2017
Thankful

Thankful for the piercing, insistent gaze love of a certain fuzz butt that sometimes lurks in my Studio...NOT thankful for the "SBD's" he leaves behind -__-;
1/9/2017
Kindness

It's as simple as giving a helping hand to someone
1/10/2017
Inside

Ye ol' "If I fits, I sits" scenario
1/11/2017
Outside

Yep. I couldn't help it. 
1/12/2017
Jump

Have courage to take that metaphorical leap
1/13/2017
Friendship

Anyone else always forget their umbrella?
1/14/2017
Love

Mmmm....Donuts....




XO





Friday, January 13, 2017

Choosing...


...a theme...

well, I thought it would be difficult, and I'm probably jinxing myself for future series development here but it didn't take long to choose one after I understood the approach. 

Basically, a series of artwork can be built around anything.  

Cue my head exploding. 

It was too much for my brain to conceptualize; too many options/possibilities to determine and I knew I would get stuck on that alone if I wasn't careful.  Further research uncovered a handy list that helped categorize some general concepts to consider:
  • Traditional subject matter
  • Style of art
  • Word inspiration
  • Design elements
  • repetition series
  • "Time" series (seasons, days, time of day, etc.)
This list helped narrow it down for me and immediately word inspiration jumped out.  

A series built around a word...  

I was intrigued. 

A little voice in my head was like:  "Really? Don't you think that's too narrowly focused?  That seems like a lot of work for you."  

To which I swiftly and promptly replied:  "cool your heels woman.  Sit down and shut the hell up, this is the ticket!"

This speeding train will not be stopped by insufficient self doubt.  Nope.  

So I started making a list of words.  Admittedly, it was very short. I got to 4 when I went back and circled the one I wanted.  Hence my opening line about how easy it was to choose. (furtively looks around while knocking on wood vigorously to avoid any jinxes)

I did give myself a day or two to sleep on it to ensure I didn't lose interest or something else more appealing came along.  In the end though, it stuck and I chose the word "Unravel".

Why?   Hmm...how to explain it...

Okay, imagine a giant, beautiful artificial lake kept in by a dam.  

Got it?

Now, imagine a busy city sidewalk during the morning rush-hour commute, like in New York City.  Masses of people with their heads down, moving along their paths.  Each one of these individuals is that serene artificial lake on the outside.  Then, a leak appears and a stream of water starts to escape.  Cue the cartoon character poking its finger into the hole to stop it only to find another leak has sprung in a different part.  Eventually the pressure builds and the dam explodes.  

It's a curious thing, this type of unraveling but it is not the sole motivator of the choice.  No, this just sets the tone.  

I did some preliminary research for Unravel because I wanted to see what first impressions the word evoked outside of my own (by that I mean, I took a poll).  Most of the results ran along a similar vein (ie - thread/yarn/clothing coming apart/fraying), but there were some more interesting answers such as chaos, craziness, plans and humanity that I especially found interesting.  However, the overall tone was for the more negative sides that the word represented (as I interpreted it). 

The very textbook definition of Unravel:
  1. To separate or disentangle the threads of  
  2. To free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve
  3. To take apart; undo; destroy

Bottom line: I wanted the positive; I wanted to solve.    

Now what?  

All of this general research and gripping imagery, but what to do with it

Truly, the inspiration comes from a few precious "birdies" of mine (from near and far).  I've learned, through myself and others, that it is okay and at times necessary to have controlled releases of that ever building pressure inside of us lest our dam unexpectedly explodes on everyone around us.

*Cough*

Friends don't let friends rage-flood their "countrysides".  Just sayin.

So, I will unravel myself.  Beneath this serene artificial lake of mine is a brewing tempest, as is with everyone, and it's time to release some pressure the best way I know how - my work.

This body of work as a whole will be a self portrait of sorts, and through it, I hope I can show others that they are not alone in weathering that inner tempest.

I, too, struggle.  <3
       


XO












Monday, January 9, 2017

365 Days...


...Of sketches. 

Yeaahhh, you read that correctly. 

One of the goals I challenged myself with this year was to attempt a sketch everyday.  It doesn't have to be refined or a perfect work of art.  The purpose is simply to keep my mind engaged in the creative, and to help improve my drawing and thinking skills.  I wanted an exercise that would help me focus, since the series I am creating this year will be focused on just one theme, each.  Plus this challenge has an added bonus of providing a distraction between my main works which allows me to come back with a fresh perspective. 

My studio planner is set up with a word every single day that will drive my sketch.  To help keep myself accountable (because I'm trying to keep it real with myself), I'm aiming to provide you with a little looksie at the sketches every Sunday.  

Without further ado, here are the sketches from the previous week!

(please don't judge me):

1/1/2017
Happiness
What says happiness better than creature pajamas and friends?
1/2/2017
Beauty
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...or a cup of coffee, amirite?
1/3/2017
Sleep
On the rare occasion that I am unable to sleep, sheep will do...
1/4/2017
Garden
I wish there were rose pixies in real life...
1/5/2017
Imagination
You're a special snowflake too
1/6/17
Give
Love is the best kind of gift! (but presents are cool too)
1/7/2017
Secret
How about a secret moon garden? I imagine meteor fish and star flowers and moonlight bugs! 

So there you have it.

My first week of sketches down!  

Keep an eye out for this weeks' group of drawings, next Monday <3 


XO











Friday, January 6, 2017

Daunting Realities...


...of a Solo Show...

I've been scouring the Interwebs for anything remotely helpful about this topic.  Most of the material I've uncovered is pretty useful and slightly daunting.

Intimidating.

Scary.

I could go on, but you get the picture here.

Key things I've learned about a solo show thus far:
  • A solo exhibition is based on a theme, topic, idea, word, etc.
  • A typical show consists of 12-15 works
  • All works relate to the "theme" in some way, shape or form.
12 to 15 individual pieces of work.  0_0

Now, naturally, the amount of work necessary really is dependent on the venue/gallery space, and what they are looking for.  Some may want less or more.

There are a few other things to consider along with a theme, and that is size and orientation.  To be fair, I've certainly seen a few exhibitions that didn't stick to one particular size for their work, but I definitely understand the appeal on keeping things consistent.  If everything is the same size and orientation, then it lends more focus to the actual work.  It's the same thing with framing choices in the end as well.

Did you know that different orientations express different things?  I had no idea either!

I will share it with you too:
  • Landscape - Peaceful
  • Portrait - Majestic/Active
  • Square - Risky/contemporary
The other major point in all of this, is the actual proposal to galleries/venues.  That is a whole different animal altogether; one I will research more on later, but for now my focus is on the 12 to 15 pieces as my first step.

For this year, my aim is to teach myself to be more focused and to improve my planning/research phase.  One of my goals is to do 2 different series.  A lofty goal indeed but I think challenging myself is important.

I will talk more on theme choice next time, though.

Happy Friday!

XO