Self-Portrait TIME!!

So I usually don’t get too excited about self-portrait. I’ve only done it once before and it was an oil paint of me playing the saxophone.  it turned out pretty good, but I wasn’t really satisfied, though to this day I’m not sure why.  I was really excited about this one though.  I’ve become a fan of charcoal, even though I was terrified of it before I even came to this class.  I would see my friends back do amazing work with it, then be too afraid to try out myself.  For this reason, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to try this again in a classroom setting.

I can see how the exercise with the still-life of boxes, pipes and papers applies to this project.  Instead of focusing on the image of ourselves in the mirror as a face, we start with light and go from there. This focus on lightest light to the darkest dark and the areas in between kept me from being so overwhelmed on this project to the point where I don’t finish project (which has happened plenty of times before in other art and academic classes).

I was so happy to stand back and be able to say excitedly, “THAT’S MY NOSE!!”…”Wow!”.
I paid enough attention to detail that I could recognize it and that was my first personal reward of the project.

 *so I was truly terrified of starting my lips so the paper looked like this for about an hour. Once I got over that and focused on variations of light this is what came out:

 was even enjoying my chin in this. I am so in love with this project and its meaning for me.

I think there are place where I could work on smoothing out the texture.  Sometimes I like the roughness and sometimes I really want that smooth quality…

I really love (still loving it, even though we’re done) because I’ve just become ok with myself and what I look like.  I can look at myself when I wake up and believe that I look good, that I’m beautiful and hope you feel the same way about yourself when you look into my eyes.  To come to this point in my life is big for me.  Then being forced to look at myself in the mirror, not for a quick once-over, but for hours was amazing to me….I was so happy to be more than okay with that. Then to take it a step further and have to put it on paper, basically showing others what you see and putting yourself out there (literally) for others to see.  It was an amazing process for me and I enjoyed every moment of it. I really don’t remember having one stressful moment while doing this project.  ❤

Bethany W.

Also I really enjoyed the Bethany Walters’ final product…especially the area between her nose and chin..because it’s so uniquely her. I could easily guessed it as her mouth, because she stayed that true to our proposed method. (See above)


So this new project involves animals! I love animals, even though I’m scared of most of them.

We were asked to choose a few animals and mine were: HORSE, FALCON, TIGER.

I chose the horse because they’ve always been one of my favorite animals.  You can see their muscles working from the outside, even when they’re just walking.  I also love them because of the books I used read about horses.  They also spoke of horses as something delicate, full of emotions and some type understanding.

Falcon – One of my brothers LOVES falcons.  He really wants a pet falcon.  He always talks about how he’s going to buy a wrist guard for safety and that he’ll just wait for me (as the big sis) to somehow get the falcon for him.

Tiger – Around the time I was my sister’s current age (10) I was obsessed with tigers; specifically orange tigers with green eyes. These are also two of my favorite colors, by the way.


Creation of my final product:

I used a pine cone, pins, a plastic smoothie cup from Mollie’s Cafe, a few copper metal rings, sharpie marker, white lace material, orange cloth and staples.

At the time of this project I was really home sick…or more like family-sick.  I was really missing my mother, brothers, sister, aunt and uncle.  My mother, siblings and I are the only ones who live here in the U.S. and it’s rare that we get the chance to speak to our family in Jamaica and my aunt in London.  I haven’t seen them since I was about 4 years old, so it’s been 17 years..even more for my mom.  We’ve also had so many issues with having my uncle come to the U.S. from Jamaica and even with my aunt getting a visa to come visit from London.  I really missed them and was extremely overwhelmed by that feeling.  As usual the circumstances (good & bad) have an effect on your artwork.

Soon the project became something totally connect to my family and I wanted to make something to represent us to help work through it, if possible.  The object that made up my project because to symbolize different/more important things about my family:

-pine cone (falcon head)- my brother; also erectness of head – my mother
-plastic cup (body) – protective covering also distorts what you see on the inside
-copper rings inside (treasure, delicate insides) – my younger brother…there’s so much intelligence and love and softness in him that might not be visible if you just saw him walking by
-one wing – though we appear paralyzed/down from the outside, that falcon head is still lifted, because we’ve survived and still fly
-orange/black (tiger) – my little sister


  • box
  • grounded
  • immovable
  •  full
  • takes up space
  • broad
  • square
  • wide/tall
  • peace-like, calm
  • heavy/weight


  • itchy
  • sanity, lack of
  • floating
  • unsure
  • spotted
  • interrupted

February 9, 2011-
Shapes…Light….Not an object

It’s a really interesting sometimes difficult, sometimes comforting concept to focus on light or shape rather than the object.

A still-life was creating using boxes, pipes and paper and we were told to focus on the shapes.  It was hard for me to see what Nell meant in the beginning, but then once I started to see more of the negative spaces and see how they in addition to lighting basically allow us to make sense of what we’re seeing, I started to get excited.

I still very much used the string method to get correct angles and proportions, but this time it wasn’t as much of a frustration or nuisance as it was when we did the chair. The string felt like a simple piece of efficiency.  I did have a bit of difficulty focusing on the negative space in the beginning.  I would start to draw negative space, but a few times I would stop and end up actually drawing the object.  Seeing others’ quick studies helped to prove to me that if I could truly stick to drawing negative space confidently, then the object would come out the way they should.

February 7-

*They looking nothing like the subject thought they were the same, but I can still see similarities between the two sketches. Loved the sharpie marker!*

On this day we took a stab at blind contour drawing.  During the opening of the class Nell said that this would be a relaxing experience (and I’m not sure why I would doubt her, knowing she’s been teaching this for years), but I didn’t believe her.  We used our hands as the object we were drawing and were only allowed to look at that.  There was no looking down at the paper…nothing existed but the subject (our hand).  We alternated between dominant and non-dominant hands as well as different media. I used sharpie which I liked the best, especially in my non-dominant hand.  I didn’t enjoy charcoal, fine sharpie pens or color pencil too  much for this short project.

I was really stressed out with other classes and work on and off campus and this just seemed like another thing to stress out about when I got to class.   About 15-20 minutes into the exercise though, I was necessarily enjoying myself, but I was definitely relaxed.  If you’re only focused on looking (eyes on the subject) and moving (only eyes and one hand) then there really shouldn’t be anything to worry about.  It reminded me of a dance workshop that an Agnes Scott alum taught where she had the lights off, a candle in each corner, music sometimes on, sometimes off. The atmosphere was peaceful and just there and we had freedom to move out bodies instead of our minds/thought process. It was great. I’ll be honest, I don’t love blind contour, but I definitely can appreciate it now.

Bethany Walter's project

This piece brought up so much about perspective that it made me question which I’ve been doing most of my life and of course I had to relate it to dance somehow.   I feel that when I’m dancing, whether in the mid-leap in the air or falling/rolling to the ground I am always flying; whereas,  others might see it as just a fall, maybe even a graceful one (depending on the context). It made me wonder if whenever I was falling in the past, if it was because I made the decision not to fly.

This piece/project is a reflection of myself and my beliefs.  I believe in God and His diversity. I believe that He has given us weapons of all kinds to fight against those principalities which we cannot see. Dance is the weapon He has equipped me with.  I believe that at the foundation, at the base of each of these weapons is Love , His love that allows us to conquer all. The beauty and color and art that are produced by the combination of His love and our lives is what I wanted to express.

The second day I accomplished my goal of making a bigger mess, both on purpose and accidentally. I also had to go back and change some of the initial angles and redo the earlier proportions that I had made.  The original were too big. They were so big that had I continued to draw the chair, it would have gone completely off of the page. I think this happened because although my proportions within themselves were done well, I went in thinking that the drawing/sketch should be as big as possible since we were asked to take up the whole page. So I had to erase and begin again. This time I was more sure with the string as a tool to create angles and measure proportions. By the end of this day, I was very happy that I had made a mess, because it’s something I struggle with in art/life among other things. I definitely notice the details of chairs more often now when sitting down or walking around campus. It kind of cool how diverse the make-up of a chair is.

We were introduced to charcoal as a new media. I had worked with it before, but was too afraid to continue to work with it. These images are a couple of photos I took of what I had accomplished the first day we were put to work using the charcoal. We were told to be bold and make a mess. I found it kind of hard to get the line quality that I wanted when using the charcoal. Depending on how I held the charcoal, I could make thick or thin lines-which both interested me and frustrated me. During this first day, I really was not interested in making a mess so I made that a personal goal for the next day of working with the charcoal.

We were also introduced to plumb-lines, angles and proportions using string. The first day of using this method felt extremely alien to me, but I began to see why it is used and how it could help me with my art.

1. I love to dance.

2. I played the saxophone for two years and the contra-alto bass clarinet for 4 years.