Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week! This week I was struck with a surge of motivation and inspiration, granted to me by a post from an artist I follow on Instagram. Polina Bright is a watercolor artist I’ve loved for a long time, and her most recent post really struck me. She took a sketch she had been working on and, in a spontaneous burst of fearlessness, tore it up. She then glued the pieces onto a bright background, creating something truly incredible. Polina describes her piece as a few things: a manifestation of emotions, what it means to be a woman, and finding beauty in scars. I liked that she didn’t have an initial intended meaning. Instead, she found meaning in her own work. This is something I find fascinating, especially considering I am an overthinker who needs to plan everything to a T. When I saw this post, I knew one thing: I want to rip something up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to destroy artwork. In fact, I still have all of my pieces from elementary school. But I wanted to do this: I wanted to find something I didn’t like or never finished and make something new. I went searching and found this bridge I drew a few years ago on a one of the blueprints from my brother’s construction job. At the time I did this, I really liked the concept of having a bridge drawn on blueprints – in fact, I still think it was a cool idea. However, it fell a little short of what I had hoped. The paper was too flimsy and some of the lines became confusing, so it sat in my portfolio for three years. I decided that I could make something new with it. I also had a canvas that had sheet music on it, which I was going to use for a piece in high school. The sheet music hadn’t transferred very well and rubbed off in some places, so I ended up starting over on a different canvas. This one had been laying around waiting for me to put gesso over it, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to repurpose it! I stared at the bridge drawing in front of me for a long time, debating if I really wanted to do this. I found myself thinking too much, planning, figuring out possible meanings for a piece I hadn’t even started yet. This defeated the point of me being spontaneous, so I suddenly picked up the drawing and ripped it in half. A smile broke out on my face and I knew I was about to make something cool.
I first put the left half on the canvas with Mod Podge. After this had dried, I splattered blue and pink acrylic paint coming from the right side. I then used my POSCA pens to doodle different flowers. I wanted this to appear as though this was growing from the tear between the two halves of the bridge. When I was happy with the amount of flowers, I laid the right half of the bridge down, and ultimately decided I didn’t like how white it was against the bright colors. I decided to use a tea bag to age the paper a bit, which I have always loved doing. I really liked the result when I came back to the canvas, but I wished in hindsight that I had done the same to the left half of the bridge. Luckily, using my problem solving skills, I ended up applying light washes of acrylic paint on the remaining white spaces on the left side to mimic the teabag effect, which helped tie everything together. I put a line of hot glue at the edge of the right side of the bridge so that the edge wouldn’t lay completely flat, before finally gluing this half onto the canvas.
Our plans don’t always go as we expect them to. Our goals and dreams change. We lose people we love and we gain new friends along the way. We face setbacks and we push forward. The only true constant is yourself. You change and grow, but you’re always you at heart. That’s the meaning that I found in this piece. I found that, although life looks so different from how it used to be – how it was when I first found Marywood three years ago, when I first drew this bridge – I’m still here pursuing something I’m passionate about. I have friends who stick by me and a family that supports me, and I have myself. No matter what life throws at me, I know I can push forward. I can adapt, I can take a different path (or bridge). I can admire how much I have grown, and find the beauty in the life I am living. I call this piece (Foundation) Plans Change. If you look between the bottom of the two pillars of the bridge, you can see that the blueprint I used was originally titled Foundation Plan, and when I noticed this, I thought it seemed very fitting. It felt like the meaning had been there all along, waiting for me to find it since I picked out this blueprint to draw on in 2018. I really love this piece and think it came out so cool. It feels so unlike me, yet exactly like me, and that’s what I love about it. I love that I cam feel my art evolving. I hope you all like it, too.