The self-portrait: Part II


Self-portrait, 36 x 36, ©2007 Deidre Adams

As mentioned in an earlier post, the self-portrait is a very common assignment for art school studio classes. This is one that I did in Painting II last fall. The direction called for making a “psychological” self-portrait. Despite my tendency to agonize over these things and want to read in more than is really there, I do think this came out pretty good and so I use it as a kind of signature image here on the blog and in other places when needed.

If you’re not super-comfortable with your appearance, it can be rather disconcerting to have to stare at your own face for long periods of time. It does help to do it from a photo rather than a mirror, because after awhile it just becomes shapes and values that you are trying to reproduce in a painting, and you can stop obsessing about the strangeness of it. I was working from a printed version of the image below, which I created by montaging a photo I took with a self-timer together with a photo of the side of a train car & a pencil drawing of a quilting pattern from my sketchbook.


You can see that I didn’t get the eyes & eyebrows quite right, but I was very absorbed in thinking about the colors and having fun with the brushwork, and I was not too concerned with making a perfect copy.


This self-portrait shows a big improvement over the one I did in Painting I, which I’m only showing here (left) very tiny because it is so Lame (yes, with a capital “L”).

2017-10-15T16:17:02+00:00 May 30th, 2008|Painting, School|1 Comment

Now for the next thing …


Detour, 39 x 39 inches, ©2008 Deidre Adams

Detour is one of my pieces to be included in 12 Voices, a SAQA-sponsored exhibition which will open at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan, on Sept. 3, and travel for a year afterward. I feel quite honored to be included in this show. Jurying was done by portfolio, and there were 128 entries from around the world. Juror Penny McMorris said, “12 Voices is a welcome departure from the usual survey shows which sample trends. It offers a rare, in-depth look at twelve of the best quilt artists working today.”

I’ve never been very good at the horn-tooting thing, but I’m pretty excited about this show. I’m in some very good company, with fellow artists Teresa Barkley, Elizabeth Busch, Linda Colsh, Judith Content, Angela Moll, Clare Plug, Joan Schulze, Merle Axelrad Serlin, Susan Shie, Ginny Smith, and Kathy Weaver.

School is finally over for the semester, yay! But I still have lots to do before I can fully get my focus back into the studio — I have a couple of big design projects that I need to finish up. But just between you and me, I did sneak a couple of artmaking hours in last Wednesday, the first day after finals. I just had to, for my sanity. That Understanding Visual Language exam was painful!

2017-10-15T16:17:05+00:00 May 18th, 2008|Art, Exhibitions, School|4 Comments

Does technology improve our lives?


©2008 Deidre Adams

This semester, I have two classes with very similar names: Visual Thinking and Understanding Visual Language. It took me a little while to get the names straight, but the basic difference is that the first is a hands-on class, kind of a survey of different software programs combined with a sprinkling of design principles, and the second is about theory and kind of an introduction to some of the higher-level critical stuff that we’ll be getting into down the road.

Since my day-job is graphic designer, it seems like I would have been able to test out of taking this Visual Thinking class, but I’d heard horror stories about how hard they make it to do that, and the class had already started, so I decided to just stick with it — how hard could it be? Turns out it was really pretty fun and had some good assignments. The last one before the final was to do a “social issues” poster. I was rather stuck in trying to come up with an idea, vaguely thinking maybe global warming or something political, but then the answer came up in the Understanding Visual Language class.

‘We were talking about the Cyborg Manifesto, which describes a cybernetic organism — a hybrid of machine and organism — and how this might apply to, say, a person with a cellphone or an iPod with headphones. I’ve really been struck for a while now by how many people walk around constantly talking or texting on their cell phones. This includes two people very close to me (no need to name them, they know who they are!). It also involves the syndrome known as “CPA,” or “constant partial attention,” in which I will be having a conversation with a certain person, when all of a sudden he stops dead, takes the Blackberry out of its belt holster, and proceeds to read the e-mail that just caused him to receive a vibe. Is it just me, or is this crazy? Personally, I don’t see how being a slave to this thing makes anyone’s life any better. Call me a Luddite, but I dream of the days before we all had to be constantly available by cell phone, and when you could have a nice conversation in a restaurant because there weren’t TV screens in every possible direction you could look.

Of course, I have my own issues. I can rarely go more than a couple of hours without reading my e-mail, for instance. I have no idea what gem of wonderfulness I might miss if I don’t get on for an entire day, but I sure as heck don’t want to take the chance.

2017-10-15T16:17:06+00:00 May 4th, 2008|School|3 Comments