This is the first oil painting I ever did, and I made it back in high school. I really enjoyed painting reflections back then, and a couple of years later when I went to school for painting, I created a series of paintings that focused on still life and glass reflections.
Here’s another collage that I made back in high school. This was during my phase where I was focussing a lot on figurative art and also liked to draw on top of my work with oil pastel. As you can see here, the figure was drawn almost completely in oil pastel. There was actually cut paper underneath all that drawing. It was during this phase when one of my classmates asked me why I always covered up all my hard work by drawing on top of it. It was at that point that I realized I should try to make works completely from paper – and see how I could accomplish adding shadows and highlights just by manipulating cut pieces of magazine strips.
“I Dream on Sunsets with my Head in the Clouds” is a collage that I completed back in high school. This was back during my phase where I’d draw on top of my collages with oil pastel – which you can see a little bit of here.
This piece is a little more abstract than the other collages I was making at that time. And yet again I find myself getting inspired to make new work as I sift through pieces I’ve made in the past.
I think this is one of the first self portrait paintings I ever made. I created this piece back in high school – I think I was around sixteen at the time. It was also the first time I really learned how to mix acrylic paints and create a wash before I started the whole painting process. You can see a little bit of purple from the purple wash shining through, since I used it to help with the look of the shadows.
I made this painting through a mentor program at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. I was paired with a painter who taught me about the basics of painting. I met with her about once a week, and she critiqued my work and gave me some helpful advice. In fact, some of her advice is something I still remember and think about when I make artwork even today. She told me that I shouldn’t assume what things look like in my mind, I should pay attention to all the shapes that make up objects in real life. You can see I did a little bit of assuming with this piece since my eyes are football shaped instead of being more rounded.
What’s a little amusing about this piece is that you can see that I had orange streaks in my hair at the time. I had a habit of dying my hair a lot in those days.
Again, self portraits are pretty tough, and you can tell that I was new to the painting process. This piece just goes to show that you have to start somewhere.
This is a charcoal drawing that I did back in college, when we were studying the figure. In college I really enjoyed making figurative artwork, especially portraits. People really fascinated me, as well as the broad range of emotion that can be conveyed in different facial expressions. I also liked how every person has something about them that makes them their own character.
Anyway, this drawing really does show off that I was way more interested in drawing the sitter than capturing the environment he was in. I remember my professor critiqued me on not putting as much effort into his surroundings. What can I say? People are more interesting to me than a classroom full of empty chairs.
The other day, I mentioned that I was going through old sketchbooks. This is actually another one of the drawings I came across – it’s a self portrait that I made with color pencil.
I’m realizing I really need to revisit other mediums and play around with them. These older drawings of mine are inspiring me to start changing things up a bit. As much as I enjoy making collages, I’m gearing up to start having my variety in my artistic life.
The other day I was going through old sketchbooks that were in my closet, trying to figure out what to get rid of. Most of the pages were full of notes, jotted down back when I was in college. However, on some pages I found a few drawings, so I removed the pages that had drawings and threw out the rest of those books.
This is one of the drawings I came across – it’s actually a self portrait. Self portraits have always been a bit of a struggle for me – it’s really difficult to depict yourself. So whenever someone says one of my self portraits doesn’t look like me, I like to say it isn’t supposed to. It just represents a version of me.