Back in college, I was a Painting Major. Here’s one of the pieces I completed during my freshman year – a myopic landscape. I remember I painted this piece while sitting outside on campus, and I really enjoyed using so many different colors for the reflection in the water. If you’ve seen some of my landscape collage work, you can really see how my work in painting translated over to collage.
This past weekend, Bosty decided to explore the outdoors by heading off to Charlotte, North Carolina. He was anxious to escape the city and get more in touch with nature – so he started off his trip with some kayaking.
When he was tired of kayaking on his own, he decided to watch others paddle in the water, enjoying the sunny weather and blue skies.
Later he strolled around the park and noticed that a sign said that dogs weren’t allowed in the area – oops!
So he wandered away from the signage and into the woods to get some exercise hiking. He loved running around all the trees and kicking up some dust in the trails.
After a long day of hiking around, he took an afternoon break by the water to enjoy the cool breeze and gaze at the beautiful river.
Before long he felt restless again, so he went off to do some outdoor climbing. Unfortunately his paws made it a little difficult to climb, and he couldn’t make it to the top…
Later he went for a stroll and admired the landscape in another local park. “It’s beginning to look a lot like spring!” he thought.
By the end of the day, he was completely exhausted, so he took a nap with a couple new friends he made, the French Bulldogs Maddie and Brady.
This is an acrylic self portrait that I made back in high school. For the background, I used thick layers of paint and then scraped away at the paint with a palette knife. I painted this portrait a little bit after the first self portrait painting that I made when going through a program at a local gallery.
I get asked this question a lot, and every time I hear it, I’m always surprised it was ever asked in the first place.
“I’m an artist because I don’t have a choice.”
I guess it’s hard for non-artists to understand what I mean, and to understand what fuels me to live the creative life. I’m an artist because I need to be one – I have this inherent drive to make things. It pulses through my veins, and makes me fiercely resistant to the thought of ever giving up the artist title.
When you’ve been making art every week of your life for years, the process of art making gets ingrained in your mind. What may have started as a hobby, or something that was “just for fun,” blossoms into something you can’t live without. It becomes a habit through repetition, and when you finally go without it for a few days, you feel like something is missing from your life – the pangs of art withdrawal. It’s moments like those when I realize I can’t live without being an artist in one form or another. Being an artist is what gives me purpose in life.
Art has also been one of the few constants in my life. Even when times have been tough, like grieving the loss of a loved one or coping with the pain of a broken heart, art has been around for me. During those times, art has not only been a creative outlet, but also a form of therapy that helps me through the days when it’s difficult to stay afloat. I guess you could say that when life gets messy, making artwork is one of the few things that makes sense amid the chaos.
When I was growing up, art had a major role in my life, which is why it makes complete sense that it still does. As a kid, I took art classes at local galleries and whenever it was possible at school. I remember back in high school, it didn’t matter how stressed out I was from my other classes, because I could always count on feeling a great sense of relief when I went to art class. I could momentarily forget all my other worries as I focused on drawing or painting.
Although I went to college for creative writing, I quickly realized that visual art needed to have an active role in my life every year, so I picked up a second major in painting. It was at that time that I realized something – that no matter what criticism I received for my visual art, I was always able to bounce back. Rejection is a pretty tough thing to overcome when it comes to an artist’s work, simply because we are putting ourselves out there when we share our art. And even during the worst critiques, when I felt incredibly sad and didn’t know if I should continue making artwork at all, I’d find myself painting in my room late at night and realize it was meant to be.
As an artist, you would think rejection is something I get used to since it happens often enough in an artist’s career. Although for whatever reason, whenever a gallery has rejected my work, I still find myself wondering if there is any point in continuing to make art. I’m glad that I’ve never given up entirely because of the opinion of a handful of people. No matter what, I’m still drawn to creating something, let it be a collage, drawing, or painting.
So whenever I’m asked why I’m an artist, all I can think is it’s not something I choose to do – it’s something I have to do. I’m an artist because making artwork is what drives me through each day.
I studied painting in college, and this is a piece that I made that was part of an oil painting series that depicted reflective surfaces. I remember really enjoying the process when I was working on this particular painting, it sort of fell together, while my other reflective paintings were more of a struggle.
I feel like still life was something I always dreaded in school. The compositions in real life that we worked from seemed boring to me – not as exciting as figurative work. The struggle was finding inspiration in old objects that were fished out of the teacher’s closet and strewn about in such a way to create interest for the entire class. Nowadays when I tackle still life, I like to work from reference photos of interesting food and drinks that I’ve seen (or eaten) on various trips.
After relaunching my portfolio site, I’ve finally had some time to make some new artwork. This is the first eagle portrait I’ve ever done, and it was interesting tackling an animal portrait after spending so many weeks immersed in coding websites and not making artwork.
You may have noticed that over the past few weeks my website has gone through quite a few changes. I redesigned the overall look and feel, and then started adding a few improvements here and there. One of the big improvements of the new site is the new online store experience. Previously I used Etsy to sell my smaller, original collages. Now you can purchase collages of all sizes directly from my site.
This is a graphite self portrait drawing that I did back in high school – I think I was around 16 at the time that I made this. I remember that I had a mentor at a local gallery back then, an artist who gave me feedback on a few of my works of art. This portrait was made during the mentorship program, and the last piece I created during the program was this self portrait painting.
In general, I think that self portraits are really difficult to do. It’s really tough to portray yourself, especially since we have so many assumptions about how we look based on the everyday routine of looking in the mirror. It’s difficult to take a step back and peer at yourself like an outsider in order to create a portrait. As a result, I feel like most of my self portraits don’t entirely capture the way I look, however I do like to refer to them as portraits that are version of myself.
Marcie, a teacher from Barbe High in Lake Charles, Louisiana, recently contacted me about her class that completed a collage project. She sent along these impressive images of the student artwork, which were completed by high school Art 1 students in grades 9 – 12.
The class looked at my animal collage art and also saw my time lapse videos of how I piece together my collages. Then they used magazines to create a paper collage wheel – which helped the students look at magazine pages for specific colors instead of fragments of photographs.
Next the students selected an animal to focus on for their project. They researched the animal and created posters that included facts on the animals as well as a drawing of the animal in color.
A local interior designer donated old wallpaper books to the class, and Marcie also added scrapbook paper to the materials the students worked with.
Students sketched their animals on black poster board with white charcoal. They used liquid glue to complete the background first so that their animals would sit on top of the background paper.
It was exciting to see each colorful and expressive work of art that was created by this class. I think the class could easily put together illustrations for their own children’s book.
It really is wonderful seeing the work of budding artists. My favorite part of being an artist is seeing how I can inspire or teach other artists. And it was truly wonderful to see the work that the students in Marcie’s class came up with. Hopefully this project will inspire the class to make even more collages in the future.
This is a mixed media collage that I made back in high school – can you tell that I may have been inspired by Picasso at the time? Growing up, I was an aspiring writer. I was constantly scribbling poetry and stories in spiral notebooks, so it was only fitting that I made a work of art inspired by my life as a writer. This piece is made of magazine clippings, oil pastel, pen, and includes an actual broken pencil and balled up piece of paper adhered to the surface.