Leah Yand Part 3

As a student of both 2D Art and Graphic Design, my work is uniquely informed by each. My current favorite Graphic Design projects are a mix of scanned paintings, illustrations designed on Procreate, and typography layout made using Adobe Indesign or hand-lettering. Just like in my paintings, I love using a bright color palette with peachy oranges, warm yellows, dark and pastel blues, and reds. My affinity for this color palette is convenient when I decide to incorporate my paintings into my design projects. One example of this is my Fantastical Animal Watercolor notebook design. I like the idea of my work being produced as a product available to people outside of an art gallery who might not even be looking for art. I enjoy the challenge of combining a narrative or story with an image. This mixing of narrative and image is a common thread between both 2D and graphic design that I enjoy pulling and seeing where it takes me. 

CD jewel case design for Sigrid 
Sweatshirt mockup with my design Consider the Wildflowers 
Mockup of my Fantastical Animals Watercolor 1 as a notebook 

Initially, I wasn’t intending to study Graphic Design at Whitworth, but after taking Adobe Suite with Jessica Earle during Jan term, I realized its value and efficacy, and it opened me up to even more possibilities with my art. There are so many parallels between both the fields of 2D Art and Graphic Design. Both are about creating an engaging composition while hinting at a narrative with the goal of captivating the viewer’s eye. I began to study design to see if my art could flow between both fields and if I could make art with specific constraints and purposes with programs I have never used before. I’ve always wanted my work to be perfect (which honestly is a losing battle because imperfect art is more interesting) and when I began designing, I strove for that same perfection. However, I soon realized design isn’t about being perfect or knowing how to do everything. It’s something that you have to be relentless about solving. It’s a visual image and language puzzle that can be solved many ways but everyone will solve it a bit differently. It’s constantly asking questions like “Should my work be printed in RBG colors or CMYK? How do I select a textbox in Indesign? How do I make a perfect circle in Illustrator?” Persistence is the key to Graphic Design to me. Trying out ideas that I’m not sure I have the skill to do but figuring it out anyway and having those experiments lead me to an even better idea is so satisfying. Seeing an idea come to life, fit the design brief, and be unique to me and the way I solve problems is also strangely rewarding. I’m still developing skills as both an artist and designer, and in the end, I find that being an artist makes me a better designer, and being a designer makes me a better artist. I’m not sure where design will take me, but I know that the skills and persistence I have gained from studying it will be invaluable to me in my career and in my life in general.  

Book cover design for Agatha Christie’s “Towards Zero” 
Playing cards design (2, back and Jack) 
Playing cards design (back and Queen)  
Playing cards design (King) 

Levi Wilson Part 3: Design and Illustration Work Part One

In my last couple of blog posts, I talked about my digital painting and 3D work. In these next two, I will be discussing my design and illustration work. 

One of my main goals is eventually to work for bands and other vocal artists, specifically in alternative subcultures such as the metal and punk genres. I’m especially interested in poster work and various kinds of merch design, examples of which are featured below. This is because I find music to be a significant source of inspiration for my art and design work. Just for reference, I’m the kind of person who creates music videos in my head when I listen to the same music over and over and this can be a great starting point for paintings and illustrations.

The Altar of Papa Emeritus IV, and unofficial commemorative CD box set for A Final Gig Named Death, 2021, digital media and print mockup
The Altar of Papa Emeritus IV, and unofficial commemorative CD box set for A Final Gig Named Death, 2021, digital media and print mockup

This first project is an exercise in taking a creative approach to CD box design, and for this I chose the band Ghost. Ghost is an occult rock/metal band whose schtick is that they are a satanic version of the Catholic church, with the front man character usually being an anti-pope named Papa Emeritus. They take visual inspiration from a lot of Christian religious imagery, so I wanted to choose a format that would best fit their aesthetic. I chose an altarpiece because not only did I think it was the most appropriate, but I also thought it would be an interesting problem to solve. I took inspiration mostly from the Isenheim Altarpiece, but I plugged in the various characters from the Ghost universe/lore. The illustrations were done in Procreate on my iPad pro, and the formatting was done in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. 

Illustration and event poster design for the band Calabrese, 2021, digital media
Illustration and event poster design for the band Calabrese, 2021, digital media
Illustration and event poster design for the band Calabrese, 2021, digital media

This second project was an exercise in illustrating and designing event posters. For this I chose the horror punk band Calabrese and created an imaginary tour based off their most recent album Flee the Light. I also incorporated the goat-man imagery from their album cover and the music video for “He Who Flees the Light.” I made the illustration in Procreate and arranged the logo and text in Adobe Illustrator. 

These projects aren’t the first fan works I’ve made for bands, and they won’t be the last. This is especially true for the band Ghost, which has been my favorite band for almost 3 years now. If you’re interested in seeing what I do in the future, whether it’s music-related or not, you can head to my Instagram, @leviathancrowart. 

Delayna Waite Part 3: Butter & Batter Branding

Butter & Batter is a fictional company that I came up with to use as a client for my semester-long branding project. It is similar to a Hello Fresh, but strictly for baking and dessert recipes. Each baking box would include all of the pre-measured ingredients and a step-by step direction card for someone to easily bake their recipe. Butter & Batter is meant to appeal to many audiences, but primarily young people or busy moms who enjoy baking but don’t have the time to devote to shopping for and measuring out their own ingredients.

When designing this logo and brand, I wanted it to feel homemade to represent the feeling of an old family recipe, but still clean and sharp enough to show the quality of the ingredients the customer would be paying for. With this in mind, I hand lettered the logo and paired it with a typestyle that feels handwritten as well. On the wordmark form of the logo, the outer circle varies in weight to capture this hand-drawn feeling as well. When choosing colors for the brand, I chose a warm cream tone paired with a mauve/brown because they feel both clean and give the warm feeling that a sweet dessert would remind you of. The accent colors of light pink and sage green complement the primaries while keeping the tone of the brand light – evoking the joy that homemade desserts bring. 

Butter & Batter Branding Booklet, 2021, Digital Print, 7×8.5 inches folded

Shown above is the final booklet including each of the elements of this branding project. I chose to make the booklet unique by using a partial cutout of the logo on the front cover. The shape of the cutout also resembles a bite – further contributing to the feel of a bakery inspired brand. This booklet has tabs for each of the following: logo and brand identity, print advertisements, web design, and social media, each of which will be outlined throughout this post. 

Butter & Batter Magazine Ads, 2021, Digital Prints, 17×11 inches full page spread

After I established the logo, the next step was to create three print advertisements. The assignment was to have these ads work together as a set, but fit different sizes – one full page spread, one half page ad and one quarter page. For this particular set of layouts, I decided to focus primarily on type – having the company slogan be what draws the viewer in through the use of alliteration.

Butter & Batter Menu Flyer, 2021, Digital Print, 8.5×11 inches

As a continuation of the print advertisements, I decided to create a flyer of popular menu items. The outside of this folded flyer has space for mailing information and the inside includes icons I illustrated for each type of dessert represented on the menu.

Butter & Batter Website Mockup, 2021

Next, I took the brand into web design. I used Adobe InDesign to create mockups for what the home page, product pages, and a checkout page would look like. I then imported the design into Adobe XD to prototype what clicking and navigating between pages would look like on the web.

Butter & Batter Social Media Templates, 2021

Social media was the last step in this brand identity project. I created several templates for the company for events like new product launches, discounts, and flavor of the month. This would make it easy for whoever is managing the social media to simply switch images and text into the layout as events come up. For each “event” there is a post and a story size, but the design is consistent between the two. 

The last part of this project inspired me to continue in creating social media templates. I currently help a few companies back home run their Instagram and Facebook accounts, so I decided to get ahead on a few of the upcoming events by creating social media posts consistent with the brand. I will use these as I transition into my full-time job with the company this summer.

For more content and personal information, visit my portfolio site at www.delaynareiss.com

Jaycee Shanholtzer Part 3: Art and the Digital Medium

With the development of my graphic design career, I got to a period where I missed doing more illustrative focused work. I wanted to get back into painting, specifically watercolor and oil painting. It was during this time that I decided to get back into creating digital artworks/paintings. Digital art is the best of both worlds; being able to replicate the world of fine art in a digital medium allows for a vast and diverse variety of art (plus less strain on the wallet.) Personally, I already had some experience in the beginning of my art career. Getting back into it was difficult, especially with the further development of technology. There was so much to it and so many layers of accessibility. Thankfully, graphic design and digital art are not too distinctly different and rely on the same mechanics/processes and programs. One of the main programs I have used for digital art and graphic design is Procreate. 

Mushroom Forest, 2021, Procreate, 12×18 inches
Sunday Morning, 2021, Procreate, 20×18 inches

Procreate allows for a variety of mediums, such as painting, inking, airbrushing, etc. There is a lot of accessibility through this program alone, and I have consistently used it for the last year. In the beginning stages of the program, I used a lot of the preset painting tools, specifically the gouache tool. It appears blended yet textural, I used it especially when it came to painting skin. It gave this impression of skin, and it subtly replicated the textures within it. I used this tool consistently and I still use it for sketching and coloring/shading. Digital art was fun to create, and I continued to implement my style in each artwork. 

Romeo and Julies, 2021, Procreate, 18×20 inches

“Romeo & Julius,” is one of my favorite digital paintings I have done so far. I felt inspired once again by Renaissance idealism, I wanted to create another work like my “The Lovers” print. I was inspired by Frank Dicksee’s depiction of “Romeo and Juliet.” Like Rodin’s “The Kiss,” there is this raw and visual depiction of love and affection between the two figures. They were connected and their dynamic was natural, comfortable, and emotional. Making this couple a gay couple, like with “The Lovers,” was done due to my desire for more representational artworks. Including more diversity by presenting more identities, in this case sexual identities. Part of my desire to recreate these old concepts is to present the idea that queer people have always existed throughout human history. It is meant to counteract the idea that lgbtqia+ identities are only recent and a product of this generation. They have been part of our history for centuries. Specifically, with this painting, I wanted there to be both a literal and metaphoric meaning. The clash of dark and light, with their kiss being placed central. The struggle of being openly affectionate as a same-sex couple, the joy of being open but also the fear of being seen. Not only did I want to recognize queer people, but also the societal difficulties that came with it. I was planning to continue this type of artwork, creating a series. I was even considering making this series the focus of my exhibit. In the beginning of 2022 however, I had a sudden change in my creative style. It all started around February, when I decided to start a new series for the Senior Exhibit, which I will tell you about in my final blog post next week. 

Gracie Rasmussen Part 3

This set is a little different from my other work. As you can see from my previous posts, the majority of my pieces are centered around fashion, specifically western fashion. Coming from a rural community, I formed a love for small town living, which in turn, ended up being the inspiration for much of my work. Where I grew up and who surrounded me, also affected my morals and views though. Without writing too much, I believe these prints encompass who I am and what makes me Gracie Dianne. A country girl who loves people, loves where she comes from, and loves the Lord more than anything. I introduce you to the Freedom Series

Freedom Series, 2022, Procreate, 8×10 inches each
Freedom Series, 2022, Procreate, 8×10 inches each
Freedom Series, 2022, Procreate, 8×10 inches each
Freedom Series, 2022, Procreate, 8×10 inches each

Rachel McCoy Part 3

Since I began my journey as an artist many years ago, I have been continually experimenting with supernatural themes in my art. In my Angel Series I explore what these supernatural, spiritual beings may look like. This series was originally inspired by the biblical Lady Wisdom, who is the personification of God’s wisdom as a female entity. I created Lady Wisdom in my ceramic hand building class and decided to continue exploring physical representations of what angels could look like outside of class. The result was the Guardian and the Warrior. All three make up my current Angel Series, which I plan to add to in the future.  

Lady Wisdom, 2022, ceramic, 12x12x5.5 inches, multiple views of Lady Wisdom, first in the Angel Series
Warrior, 2022, ceramic and feathers, 11.5x12x6 inches, multiple views of Warrior, second in the Angel Series
Guardian, 2022, ceramic and feathers, 10.5x11x5.5 inches, multiple views of Guardian, third in the Angel Series

Maya Markillie Part 3

Topsoil, 2021-22, glass and weaving, 35x35x2 inches, $950

My third piece shown in the Senior Exhibition is named Topsoil. This piece is another creation from my independent study where I was exploring the possible relationships between glass and weaving. At the time, I was learning all about the importance of topsoil in one of my environmental science classes. The important things to know about topsoil are that it is full of the key nutrients we need to grow our plants and crops, it has extremely high levels of micro-organic material compared with other soil levels, and our modern agricultural practices are ruining it. Topsoil is essential to our production of food, but constant tilling, monoculture, and runoff from pesticides and other byproducts of modern agriculture are destroying this layer of soil that we depend on! We need to increase the amount of food we grow each year, which leads to this vicious cycle of finding the fastest and cheapest ways to produce food without thinking about the health of the earth. I was really shocked by the fact that I hadn’t heard about the crisis beneath our feet that humans are perpetuating. The idea that we are destroying such important parts of our ecosystem without thinking about it seems to be a common issue leading to the overarching issue of global climate change. So, I thought I would highlight this overlooked issue in one of my independent study pieces.

Topsoil (detail), 2021-22, glass and weaving, 35x35x2 inches, $950

I started with the tapestry part. I wanted to convey the microscopic layers of organic material and microbes that exist in the top five to ten inches of soil. I used sheep wool yarn, alpaca hair, and a natural fiber yarn that I found at art salvage. I first laid out a design on paper and then taped that paper to the back of my loom and began the weaving process. Weaving feels sort of like a meditation for me. The more I weave, the easier it is for me to drift off into thought while my fingers continue doing the work!

Topsoil (detail), 2021-22, glass and weaving, 35x35x2 inches, $950

Once I was about two-thirds of the way done with the tapestry, I had already decided that the glass elements would be enlarged soil microbes. They are supposed to represent living organisms that most humans would probably never get to see, but that most of us depended on for food. I ended up fusing together a bunch of thin pieces of glass to get the organic shape looking how I wanted it. I also got to make use of my favorite Bullseye Glass Company sheet glass which is called streaky “petrified wood” glass. Bullseye hand rolls this glass with four different colors that have different striking capabilities once fired, which create awesome reactions that can be likened to petrified wood! It’s exciting stuff.

Topsoil (detail), 2021-22, glass and weaving, 35x35x2 inches, $950

Anyways, I ended up fusing four microbes and then attaching the hardware to each of them. Right before hanging up the finished piece for our exhibit though, I got some feedback that having an uneven number of microbes might make more visual sense, so I ended up making one more for a grand total of five microbes and one finished tapestry! I am really happy with the result of this piece because it ties together an issue that I am passionate about with artistic materials that I am passionate about!

Find more of my art at: mayamarkillie.wixsite.com/portfolio

Erkhes Otgontsetseg Part 3

Our athletes had a successful year during 2021-22. We had competed in multiple NCAA Div. III Championships, including women’s volleyball, men’s basketball, swimming, and track and field. Therefore, I had to create these important posters for the championship games to support the athletes. In the posters, I chose certain colors and backgrounds to represent the specific sports. This was a great opportunity to support our athletes through posters that reached many students and fans.

Whitworth Pirates NCAA Div. III Track & Field Championship Poster, 2022, Adobe Photoshop CC, digital media, 1080x1350px
Whitworth Pirates NCAA Div. III Swimming Championship Poster, 2022, Adobe Photoshop CC, digital media, 1080x1350px
Whitworth Pirates NWC Championship Final Poster, 2022, Adobe Photoshop CC, digital media, 1080x1350px

Dylan Griff Part 3: Whitworth Art + Design Branding

Whitworth Art + Design Brand Booklet, 2022, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign, 9×5 inches closed

An unofficial branding project for Whitworth University’s Art + Design Department, this project includes brand guidelines, color and font usage, design elements, and logo creation. Whitworth’s Art + Design Department enables students to make work that expresses themselves, tells a story, poses a question, solves a problem, and is backed by the history of the medium. 

Whitworth Art + Design Branding, 2022, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign, size variable

Whitworth University’s official brand guide was referenced in this project by maintaining usage of the university’s color palette for primary and secondary colors. However, this project departs from their brand guide in typography usage in order to create a look that is signature to the Art + Design Department.

Whitworth Art + Design Logo, 2022, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign, size variable

The brand logo is a reflection of the place that brings the department together, the Lied Center for the Visual Arts and our Bryan Oliver Gallery. Representing Lied’s triangle beams and descending hallway, the logo has familiar ties to the space where students spend their studio time.

Whitworth Art + Design Elements, 2022, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign, size variable

With the addition of ‘Design’ to the department name, using the plus symbol as a recurring design element was important in visually communicating how the department is taking on the graphic design program with more emphasis and recognition.

More work at www.dylangriffdesign.com

Uziel Gonzalez Part 3

In the fall of my Junior year, I decided to take Community Arts in Practice with Professor Katie Creyts. The class sounded interesting, and it was different from my studio and art history classes I was taking. Our first project of the year was to create two murals for Women’s Hearth in downtown Spokane. The drop-in center provides services for women who are experiencing homelessness including clothing, access to showers, food, and more like arts and crafts classes. Before I took this class, I always knew I wanted to participate in the making of a mural. This class just happened to provide me the skills needed to create one for the community. I saw how important it was to create a connection with the community and to be able to approach the project with an open mindset. It was an article we read for class that really introduced me to the importance of having the arts present in our communities. The writing was created by Eastern Washington graduate students who surveyed women at Women’s Hearth about the art projects they participated in. One example was a bracelet in which they chose each bead and assigned a memory, an experience, or something personal to it. What impacted me the most was how deeply meaningful the project became for the group of women. It created a space for them to share their experiences and stories through the small colorful beads and be able to connect with others. 

Various community arts projects, 2020-21

After a semester’s worth of community arts, I knew I had to continue to work in the community. I decided to add the Community Arts minor and made all my classes fit in the few semesters I had left. I became more involved with the Art club on campus and wanted to plan even more projects to engage students with the visual arts, regardless of if they were art majors or not. We’ve been able to host various projects and events like a collaborative club sticker, an arts festival with other creative clubs on campus, and a zine workshop in collaboration with the library. 

Co-op events and collaborative sticker, 2021-22

In the summer of 2021, I was hired by the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement to work as a summer associate for Spark Central. The organization is a non-profit dedicated to breaking down barriers to creativity in the West Central community. This space was the perfect location to be able to engage directly with the community. Along with the Program Manager, I planned a Digital Art club where I would be working with students from 4th to 8th grade on digital art and design projects. I showed the students to work in design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Procreate on the iPad. I knew this was where I needed to be. In the community working through the arts. It was a great opportunity and I’m thankful for the chance to share what I know about art and design to students in West Central. That summer only solidified my desire to participate in community arts and the importance of having these projects for kids. 

Various projects made for the Digital Art club and Spark Central, 2021

Meredith Fultz Part 3

These next three paintings come from my first series, where I explore and unpack my own experiences from my teenage years. Exploring these themes was challenging and emotionally draining, so it is often hard for me to look back at them. With that being said, these pieces are some of the last representational and figural paintings I have made, and they mark the end of an era in my own artmaking. Though they represent something darker, I look at these paintings fondly, and see them as a landmark in my artist journey.

Untitled, 2021, oil on wood panel, 24×36 inches

This piece was the first of the series, and it really captures some of the more general aspects of my experience in high school. I wanted this painting to seem dark and surreal so I used unusual symbols and objects to try to communicate all the awkward, lonely, and sad feelings that are common in anyone’s high school experience. While I wanted to make general statements about the teenage years of many people, my work in this series has always been extremely personal as I incorporate symbols that only I know the true meaning of. 

Happy Birthday, 2021, oil on wood panel, 24×36 inches

In this painting, I wanted to capture my experience with having a difficult relationship with my birthday. In this particular piece I am lamenting the absolute failure that was my 15th birthday. That summer was one of the loneliest of my life, I had no friends, and spent most of my days alone in my bedroom. That summer was when I started questioning my identity. All of my feelings of loneliness and questioning cumulated on my birthday as my mom and dad were the only two people present at my party, my siblings didn’t even bother showing up. I sobbed at the dinner table while eating my cake. I look back at that day and can still feel the pain that my 15-year-old self felt, and wished someone could have been there who understood.

Untitled, 2021, oil on wood panel, 36×48 inches

This piece was one of the hardest to make and details some extreme events and bullying that happened to me in high school. At the bottom of this painting, I photo transferred some articles and social media comments that targeted my family. Prior to making this piece, I never had the heart to look at these comments. It challenged me in a way that felt uncomfortable, but I wanted to face it head on, and take back control of the situation. 

Jaime Crain Part 3

As my series extended through the 2022 spring semester, the content remained consistent, but the color and compositional choices began to change. While heightened color had been one of the key goals for this series, I only really began to push that concept this semester. My figures now exist under dramatic and almost cinematic lighting. Blue began to make an appearance in my work. While I’ve always been drawn to warm colors, I’ve deepened my appreciation for the way colors interact when—even within a very specific range—warm and cool colors interact. The blues in my recent work serve to make my favorite warm orangey reds warmer—thanks to the law of simultaneous contrast. I enjoy working with a limited palette. Certain colors feel more like me than others. For example, I almost never choose a cool yellow, but violet makes an appearance in every piece. Green usually isn’t a part of my paintings, although it is one of my favorite colors. Through this careful selection and dedication to my practice, I feel that I’ve developed a recognizable style. 

Idara, 2022, oil paint on wood panel, 32×48 inches
Berg, 2022, oil paint on wood panel, 24×32 inches
Triad, 2022, oil paint on wood panel, 24×32 inches

Although most of my senior year has been spent with this series on wood panel, there have been a few departures. I still see these pieces as consistent with my body of work, though. One of my experiments, “Simple Joys,” dealt with the most difficult body part to depict. Its purpose is to function as a sort of portrait without the familiar head and shoulders formula. My most recent painting, “Faction,” began with an abstract wash of thinned paint. The shapes and values I initially put down informed the composition. The first layer acted similarly to the grain of the wood panels I’ve used.

Simple Joys, 2022, oil paint on cradled board, 14×18 inches
Faction, 2022, oil paint on cradled board, 24×18 inches

As I near graduation, I can’t help but be ecstatic for what work I will make in the future. My studio practice will be integrated in my life regardless of what the rest of it looks like. Yes, I am proud of and excited about the work I’ve completed and exhibited this year, but as one of my instructors once said, “this is only my undergraduate work.”

Find me online at jaimecrainart.com and on Instagram @jaimecrainart and @jaimecraindesign

Domestic, 2021, oil paint on cradled board, 24×36 inches

Leah Yand Part 2: Watercolor Exploration

I fell in love with watercolor in Professor Katie Creyt’s Watercolor 1 class. I was struggling to choose which medium, or mediums best conveyed what I wanted to say visually. I found that in watercolor. It had all that I didn’t know I had been looking for: it was unpredictable, it could be layered, and the mixture of water, pigment, and paper was constantly doing interesting things. I found a medium where my thoughts could flow freely. I could react instinctively, and it just straight up excited me to play with and constantly be discovering new effects, never doing the same thing twice.

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on Aquabord, 30×22 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

It wasn’t until after I heard Melissa Lang, an amazing local Spokane artist who came to speak in one of my classes, that I decided to go deeper in experimenting with watercolor. I liked the work I had done previously, but always felt like there was a certain type of art I loved the most, but just didn’t know how to make it. Melissa Lang’s work woke me up. She makes abstract oil paintings and I just loved them immediately and couldn’t understand why. The next few months I made watercolors like crazy. After that semester I found all I wanted to do was experiment more, and each painting I made I found myself a little closer to what I had been looking for: an expression of me on paper. 

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on paper, 24×18 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

The artwork I am making now is larger than when I first started this Exploration in Watercolor, as my series is now called. That’s why there is such a variety of painting sizes in the exhibition. Some of the smaller landscape paintings are early works I made in watercolor that hit the chord I had been searching for visually. I used aquabord for two of my paintings, which allowed me to take away areas of color and add them back in. The aquabord pieces probably changed the most out of all my paintings as I continued to work on and evaluate them. My works on paper were the result of me battling tape, paper ripping, and bringing new materials to accentuate what I was liking about watercolor. I used ink and a white paint pen to carve out areas of emphasis and take the paper back to white. I also added texture with acrylic paint and thin fabrics. The paintings in this exhibition are the result of countless hours of experiments, spurred on by feedback from my professors and classmates, and my passion to create what I’ve always wanted to say visually.   

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on paper, 24×18 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

Emily Zacek Part 2: Figure Drawing

Untitled (Nude 1), 2022, charcoal and conte on paper, 25.5×19.5 inches

I focus primarily on both painting and drawing within the visual arts, yet I approach each of these quite differently in content and form. As seen in my Safe Haven series of oil paintings, I tend to use brushstrokes and paint quality to create vibrant landscapes and interactions between figures within a scene. In this collection of figure drawings, I hope it is clear that I approach drawing materials and content differently, focusing more on the dynamism of mark making.

Untitled (Nude 2), 2022, charcoal and conte on paper, 19.5×25.5 inches

My first experience with chalk pastels and charcoal was in high school. I fell in love with their ability to smoothly blend. I began drawing portraits, constantly using my fingertips to smooth the colors and lines to achieve as much realism as I could; however, now I see more value in the stark lines and layering that can come from direct application of these materials. 

Untitled (Nude 3), 2022, charcoal and conte on paper, 25.5×19.5 inches

I feel more freedom to explore and play with this approach. I can allow the charcoal and chalk to interact with the tone of the paper I choose, speaking for themselves in my drawings rather than feeling tied to the representationalism I used to strive for. The formal elements of my most recent works are much more dynamic and striking.

Untitled (Nude 4), 2022, charcoal and conte on paper, 25.5×19.5 inches

My formal and compositional choices contribute to the mood and message of each drawing as well. Having a minor in psychology, I have become increasingly aware of the tie between outward bodily expression and the inner workings of the human brain. The human figure is dynamic, expressive, and complex, even if in a stationary position. Using specific colors (or a lack thereof) and intentionally placing the figure on the page, different reactions and emotions are drawn out of the viewer. This dynamic connects me to each drawing, and connects viewers to them as well, achieving the relationship and connection that I strive for in my art making.

Untitled (Woman in Cloak), 2022, charcoal on paper, 19.5×25.5 inches