Friday, February 3, 2017


...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.


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! :)


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