I had both a thesis meeting and a committee meeting today.
I am no longer worried about expectations that I get too personal in my thesis and after some supportive confirmation from my committee I feel pretty good about the direction of my thesis.
Despite a couple of my committee members never having seen my new work I was extremely happy to hear everyone make observations which coincided with my intent. Connections to the Victorian era, morgue tags, and early explorer’s drawings were made and what I’m trying to say with the juxtaposition of elements was not questioned. We are all genuinely on the same page. (Hooray!)
It was suggested that, similar to how the reference to mortality is an acknowledgment of the importance of life, my indulgence in the confrontation of death and the romanticism of natural motifs is my way of embracing my own idealism.
It’s amazing how much of a relief I feel with the feedback I received today. I’ve become confident enough in the work that I’m doing that I instinctual knew that things would go smoothly. However, I am an anxious person by nature and had trepidations regardless.
After my committee left my studio I began to frantically write down what was said and my first thoughts on the meetings. Once the outpouring began to slow to a trickle I felt an immense wave of tension leave my body and an overwhelming exhaustion settle in.
Anxiety crash. (I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.)
In between meetings I was able to work more on the difficult painting from the previous post and begin the bird portrait project. I am still not sure about the status of the painting but I’m quickly becoming seduced by the bird portraits.
I work from life. I currently have access to the ornithology departments specimens so I pick out a few birds every couple of weeks, photograph them extensively, and then choose the most interesting perspectives to work from. I arrange the birds according to the photographs I like best and then work directly from life to create the works themselves.
These portraits feel right – there is something about them that touches me. I am not sure if I will do these portraits in graphite or gouache yet so I’m going to do one in each media and see what I think. They are 6×8 inches each.
I like the softness of the graphite and I think that the gray-scale reduction would be an interesting reference to the Victorian post mortem portraits that partially inspires the format of these works.
I intended to put patterning behind the bird but it was suggested in my committee that I consider leaving the pattern out all together. I have already asked myself if the pattern are always necessary and the Casualties series with the butterflies has told me that it’s not.
I have thought of putting these portraits in little frames similar to old daguerreotype death photos but I wonder if this isn’t a bit to forceful. It was suggested in the meeting today that the act of containment, either by putting under glass or in a frame, will automatically effect the perception of the the image – this is something to consider as both possibility and cautionary note.