Friday, November 5, 2010

Art Hero: Faith Ringgold / Murrini Portrait

Faith Ringgold: Murrini Portrait, 22 x 28"

Well I have finally arrived to the final stages for this sustained piece and rather large for this medium. I have worked with piecing hundreds, perhaps thousands of millefiori and murrini to create this portrait of Faith Ringgold, one of my female art heroes.

I am excited to see this in photographic documentation, because it is difficult to see it in reality as a whole with the color being impressionistic in nature. I have really enjoyed working with the tiny millefiori and murrini slices to build this portrait. I have conceptually painted with these bits of colored glass, collaging together textures and effects of color from transparency, to translucency, to opacity. I feel a real affinity with these tiny pieces, and that my little hands were especially made to work with these.

I am not finished. I plan to paint on the face, bringing more definition to the features of the eyes, nose and mouth, as I did with the test tile of Mom's Always Watching (see link).
My daughter, a recent MA grad from RISD, thought though I should document the piece at this stage, before I go any further with it, which I think is a good idea.

I probably would be further along with this piece at this point in the semester if I hadn't taken two weekends to travel and landscape paint. Actually I might again this weekend, but I think it is too cold and the colors are becoming more subdued.

This portrait of Faith was adapted from my 22 x 28" charcoal drawing of her completed in August. In reflection, I am pleased the AIB faculty pushed me to move away from adapting straight from photographs. Although I felt an initial resistance, the connection is more personal now.

My initial process followed what I learned from Esber, and his portrait works in plasticine.
My mentor, Terri Dowell Dennis met with me last week and was very favorable of my process, and outcome thus far. I was going to wait to show her this piece until it was complete, but then thought she might want to see it in progress. I am pleased she visited, and it gives me confidence to see it through to its fruition.

Terri as we closed our meeting told me she thinks I should just take some time to 'play with glass'. I like that idea, but feel very fragmented right now with numerous pieces left to finish up before going to Residency 2. Tony, my advisor, tells me to 'work hard'... and I always reply, "I am!"... Terri tells me to play (with glass). Well I may, but I think the AIB faculty's advice to explore was intended towards application of painting and drawing, so I think I have pushed the glass enough, for the present time. Although I have lots and lots of ideas!

I am having a blast, enjoying the semester, painting, drawing, working with drawing, painting and glass materials. I am looking forward to the next residency to hear the reactions and dialogue about next steps.

I will be meeting with Terri, my mentor, this Thursday at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro to see a print of Kathe Kollwitz, from their collection, and their "Art on Paper" exhibition, for lunch, exhibition dialogue and connections to my work.

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