I have officially completed my third semester at Marywood, and every semester I feel more and more at home here. I’d like to take a look back on this semester and share some of my work with you all! This semester I took Figure Drawing and Sculpture I, as well as my second Art Therapy class, Approaches to Art Therapy. All three were amazing classes and I had such a great experience in taking them.
When I was in high school, I took a figure drawing class at a nearby college, so I went into this class thinking I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t wrong, necessarily, but I had so much to learn – and I did. There is so much more to the human figure than what you see on the surface, and honestly, this can be a difficult concept to grasp. There’s so many different bones and muscles that I still can’t name, but I’ve learned to see how these different parts work together to create the whole figure. I felt like I really grew in this class as an artist, and I although I know I have more to learn, I’m proud of the drawings I created.
I really enjoyed my sculpture class this year. Our first piece was to create something based around the idea of childhood. I created Lovely, a unicorn surrounded by swirling water, based on the song The Unicorn by the Irish Rovers, which tells the story of how the unicorns were too busy playing in the rain to get on Noah’s Arc during the flood, and this is why we have never seen one today. This song was a staple of my childhood, so it felt perfect for this prompt. I made the skeleton out of wire and wrapped it in yarn and thread. The horn and hooves were done with copper wire to give it a bit of sparkle. This piece was a long process, and Cornelius – which is the name my roommates and I gave him – endured a few breakdowns. It was all worth it, because he now hangs in our dorm as our protector.
My next piece was a welding project – which I was originally scared to do but ended up enjoying it. We had to take twelve feet of steel rods, cut it up, and out it back together. I arranged mine so that the rods moved in different directions, trying to meet up in the center. However, they never truly meet, despite it looking like they do from several angles (in the first picture, it looks like they connect, but you can see that they don’t in the next image). I really loved the tension this created, and the idea that the rods would continue past each other were they extended encourages us to keep moving forward. I titled this one Missed Connection, inspired by a song by the same title by The Head and The Heart (I have a song thing going, I guess).
My final piece was supposed to be a representation of me, without it actually being me. I chose to depict a snake holding on to and protecting a copper flower. Snakes have always been my favorite animal. They often represent evil, but I much prefer to look at them as a symbol of transformation. Snakes shed their skin, representing a new cycle in their lives. For me, that means taking on the challenges in life and moving forward, growing from the past and taking on the future. I made the snake out of wire and covered the skeleton with a cut up t-shirt and lace ribbon to mimic the design of scales. I made the rose using flat copper strips that I rolled and bent in on itself, and then connected it to the snake with wire. I don’t have a title for him yet, but I love how my snake came out and I’m planning on keeping him on my desk as a little motivator.
Approaches to Art Therapy
While not a studio art class, my art therapy class encouraged my inner artist in so many ways. Art therapy does not require fine arts skills, and although I have them, taking that requirement away allows for an artist to create what they need to. Art making without rules fuels your soul, and I’ve been overcoming my perfectionism for the past year by learning this. My class was wonderful – all of my peers are brilliant and I’ve made amazing friendships within my major. I feel really comfortable with them, and I feel like we all support each other greatly. The first image is a mandala my classmates and I created together. Mandalas are used often in art therapy. They are meant to reflect your inner self, so each portion of ours reflects an individual and comes together to encompass the class as a whole. The next image is a visual journal I did about the humanistic theory. Humanistic theory encourages the client to pursue what they need in that moment, rather than focusing on the past, future, or on any diagnosis. This resonated greatly with me, as I feel that one’s current needs and desires are a reflection of every part of their life – past, present, and future. I had the person at the top of a mountain, showing that they accomplished their goals, whatever they may be at that moment.
My next piece, Self-Care, was for our final, where we explored a specific approach to art therapy. I did mine based on Person-Centered Art Therapy, which is a humanistic approach that allows the client to really guide their own therapy. The therapist refrains from interpretation, and instead acts as an active, empathetic listener to the client as they interpret their own work. This means that any growth from this type of art therapy is truly self-made. I created a figure who could be related to by any number of people, regardless of gender identity or race. There are words showing through from the background, such as ‘courage’, ‘growth’, and ‘liberation’, which indicates that the figure has assigned these words to themselves and taken them to heart, literally wearing them on their sleeve. From their hand, an edelweiss flower (which represents courage) grows, showing that their growth comes from within them and is self made. The gold that spirals around the flower reflects onto the person’s skin, their hard work shining through.
I truly had an amazing semester. With all of my classes in person, it felt like normalcy was right around the corner. I made so many great friendships this year, and this semester really solidified them. The small class sizes and the plethora of inspiring professors makes for an environment that allows you to thrive with the support of so many people. I feel that, not only has my artwork grown, but I, myself, have grown. I know that I have so much more to achieve, and I’m so exciting to see where next semester takes me.