My First MFA Project

Last week I began my first week in Marywood’s MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program! The program is a bit different this summer because it is being conducted entirely online. Today I am going to share the project I worked through and completed in my “Rendering Ideas” class. For this project we had to choose a theme along the lines of an environmental or political issue around the world today. The subject that I chose was deforestation in our worlds rainforests.

The first thing that we had to do after we decided our topics was create a few sketches to visualize our ideas. Here are three of my sketches:

I wanted to emphasize the damage that humans are doing to the rainforests, and specifically chose the toucan because as a well known tropical bird it could be used to represent that the area was once a rainforest habitat. I ended up using the first sketch because I felt that it was the one that most simply portrayed my idea. My professor and fellow classmates also helped me choose this one as well. Their input was very helpful the whole week!

I did a drawing of the concept that I chose in order to make a plan for my painting. After my drawing was approved by my professor I used tracing paper to transfer my drawing onto an illustration board. I have never used illustration board for a project, but I found that I really enjoyed using it for painting! I’ll definitely be using it again in the future. Some details were lost in the transfer of the drawing, but I intended on adding them again when I began my painting.

When I paint I prefer oil paint over acrylic, but for this project we only used acrylic. I hadn’t used acrylic for a while, so I had adjust to a less familiar medium. When I paint I begin painting darker colors as a base for my lighter colors. I used the same technique for the stumps that I did for the ground. You can see this dark under layer in the first picture. I really liked how the toucan worked in this image, being the most colorful part of it really helped him stand out.

Every day my class met, and we discussed the progress that we were making on our projects. That helped me a lot through my painting process. I ended up adding some space onto the right side of my image because the toucan wasn’t centered on the canvas. This was something that I wasn’t aware of until we discussed it on our daily zoom call.

Here is my final piece! I really like how it turned out in the end. After each layer of paint dried I added more and more details until I was finished. I peeled the painters tape off of the edges of the painting to get the clean boarder that you see here. I really enjoyed this class this week and learned a lot in the process. Once again, it was great to get input by my other classmates that really did help me improve my project. I can’t wait to see the other projects that I get to tackle next week in my “Conceptual Exercises” class.

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