Wednesday, November 30, 2016

May 2016 Calendar

After trying and failing to make April into something wild, I think I succeeded with May. This was the first month that I feel I really made the picture into something that it wasn't meant to be. The original picture looked to me like either a bunch of vines (without the thorns - I drew those in myself) with some leaves and heart-shaped flowers, or like ribbons with hearts. Even if it was just meant to be an abstract picture with representing anything in particular, it just looked all cheery and happy to me before I did anything with it. That had to be fixed. I never liked the may picture from the start because it felt too simplistically happy, and I was going to make it into something cool, something wild, something totally different than whatever it was meant to be.

This is a picture of ideas being generated in someone's imagination. Each of the four corners is colored in light gray, to represent the rest of the brain, the part that isn't involved with the imagination. The pointy shapes in the corners are ideas entering from the outside, I'm imaging the ideas being injected in, sort of like squirting frosting out of a plastic bag. The pipes or vines contain ideas, the colors keep changing because ideas keep changing as well. Imagination feels like a run-on sentence that just keeps going on and on and changing from one thing to another, into so many different possibilities. That's why there are no parts of this picture that are just one solid color - because everything is constantly moving and flowing and changing and creating new ideas. So, the ideas travel through the pipes, changing colors as they go because all ideas change a lot while they're traveling on their way to become something, the ideas meet at those hearts, which are the crossroads of different ideas fusing together. I added the raindrops coming from the hearts to make them look like they are bleeding - bleeding in a good way because there is so much passion in the fusion of the ideas that it cannot be contained in the tiny space. From the heart, the two colors mix together to form a new color, which then travels and meets yet another idea and creates another fusion, which looks more like a spiral of two different colors that never actually blend together, as opposed to the hearts which blended the colors and had a new color come out the was a mix of the two, because there are all different levels of fusion and different ways of mixing ideas together. The creatures with the eyes are figments of the imagination, and they also have the swirling colors and are constantly changing. If you look closely, you will see that I made breaks in the pipes where streams of color are flowing out of the pipes and filling in the background area. This is because the ideas refuse to be contained within the pipes and will fill the surrounding area. The piece in the center is every idea coming together into something amazing. 

This is the first time that I did so much shading and blending of colors, a technique that I love and use in later pictures. I'm especially happy with the way that the center of this piece came out, and particularly the part that looks like a flame. 

It's also the first time that I added so many things to the picture that weren't there initially, like adding the spikes to the pipes, making what had looked like leaves into eyes, and adding the drops from the bleeding hearts. This is also the first time that I created so many of my own patterns within the spaces. In January, February, most of March, and April, I colored all of the solid spaces in with solid colors. If there was a circle, for instance, I would just color that circle one solid color and saturation. This is the first month that I did shading and spiral patterns using multiple colors within the same shape. 

I surprised myself with this picture. I hadn't done studio art for years, I had just recently gotten into coloring and drawing within a year or so of when I bought this calendar, and I hadn't gone very far with it. I had honestly expected all of the calendar pictures to look more like January did. February felt like my limit - it felt like that was the farthest I was going to go when it came to coloring the calendar pictures. May just proved me wrong. May was the month that I felt like I was an artist again. It was like, okay, this isn't just a pretty decoration for my cubical - this is real, this is serious, this is art, this is me.

My grandma always liked to color. When my mom and her sister were little and liked to color, my grandma would color with them. She did the same thing with me when I was little. I had always assumed that she was just coloring because I was, but my mom said that my grandma definitely enjoyed it. By the time all of these advanced coloring books became popular (I say "advanced" instead of "adult" because "adult" implies that coloring is inherently for kids), my grandma wasn't able to do such detailed work anymore, but my mom said that she probably would have done advanced coloring if it had been popular earlier. My mom told me that she still remembers the time when she was little and they were coloring together, and my grandma was coloring a rooster, and she used different colors to color in the same feather (like, she colored half of it red and the other half green). My mom was little then, and she had always assumed that you had to color each shape with just one color, and when she saw my grandma color in the rooster's feathers like that, it was the first time she realized that you could do that, that you could use more than one color within the same shape.

I don't actually remember a time when I thought you had to only use one color for each shape. I mean, I may have felt that way if I was doing something for school, but on my own, I don't remember ever thinking that way. Coloring May felt like that moment of revelation that my mom had as a child, when she realized that you weren't limited to just one color. I felt young and passionate again. And May was only my fifth picture - I had been away from this type of art for so long, yet it didn't take much time at all for it come out again. When I finished May, I just thought to myself, You are an artist. You can do amazing things.

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