Last week I had my first studio visit with my mentor for school and it was so helpful. In Chicago I was able to get feedback from other artists at pretty much any moment so it was sort of a difficult transition to go from that to having little access to feedback again. My mentor gave me a few assignments and some questions to ponder over and I’m very excited to get started.
Last week I also started teaching an after school art class for Roanoke City. This means I will be teaching five to six different classes every week for a couple months. The kids were great and I’m looking forward to working with them every week :]
I’m working on so many different things right now. Here are two!
More sugar painting
A special self-portrait…
I’m also working on a commissioned painting, some show submissions, and a secret side project! More info soon. Thanks for reading!
During my residency in Chicago, I had several discussions with my advisor Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. She was awesome and gave me so much inspiration and guidance. During one of my individual studio visits with her, I was talking about my obsession with the color pink, especially bubblegum or Pepto Bismol pink and she said, “Why don’t you paint with Pepto Bismol?” She then went on to suggest that I paint with a variety of medicines just to see what happens.
The next day I think, I went to Walgreens and picked up some of the cheapest medicine I could find. I got the Walgreen’s version of Pepto Bismol, aspirin, sugar free cough drops, ibuprofen, cold medicine, glucose tablets, and glucose liquid, plus some extra things like alcohol swabs and socks for diabetics.
I made a couple pieces with the medicine. My favorite is the first piece that I made. I took a piece of unprimed canvas and pinned it to the wall so that it would lay horizontally with assistance from a chair. I proceeded to squirt, splatter, and drip the pepto, cold medicine, and some liquid watercolor onto the canvas. The liquids sat on the surface of the canvas for days before finally getting absorbed into the fabric and drying. It was pretty interesting to see how it changed each time I went in my studio.
I also experimented with imprinted surfaces. I put a layer of spackle on two small boards and pushed ibuprofen, cough drops, and some bottle caps into it. I also squirted cold medicine onto the surface as it dried. I ended up painting on top of everything once it was dry.
Here are a few more pieces where I mixed paint and liquid medicine:
Thanks for reading!
During my first residency in Chicago, sugar became an important material for me. In week 2, I was thinking about sugar a lot. I thought about going to birthday parties as a child and not being able to eat the birthday cake. I thought about the countless times people have said to me, “You can’t have sugar, right?” I thought about my struggles with my weight, especially in high school. The nice thing about being in grad school is that I was surrounded by other artists who I could discuss my thoughts with.
Like I said in my last post, a colleague suggested that I actually use sugar as a material in my artwork. The thought fascinated me and I was eager to try it out. The first thing I did was research sugar skulls. I knew that sugar skulls are pretty sturdy and last a long time when made correctly so I looked for a recipe and then bought the ingredients. I wanted to make insulin vials out of sugar, but first I needed a mold. I bought moldable plastic on amazon and that worked well, but my final mini sculptures weren’t as clean as I wanted them to be and they broke easily. I didn’t make any more of them because of time limitations, but now that I’m home I plan on experimenting to find a better method/sugar mixture.
I also tried painting with sugar and I was much more satisfied with these results. I mixed sugar and water on a stove until the consistency was gel-like and then I mixed some with acrylic gel medium and sometimes acrylic paint and I left the rest plain. I applied the sugar mixtures on Yupo paper in a variety of ways:
Later on, I made more sugar mixtures and applied them onto unstretched canvas in several layers. This one also has food coloring in it.
My favorite part about this piece was watching the sugar crack and fall off, revealing this crystal texture underneath:
I also painted a long piece of black canvas with sugar. Here’s part of it:
I made a few more pieces on Yupo paper and watercolor paper and even added a few drops of blood to the sugar. Get it? Bloodsugar?
I plan on continuing to experiment with sugar in my work because whether the results are good or not, I really enjoy the process. In my next post, I’ll talk about another non-traditional material that I worked with. Thanks for reading!