Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jet

I got my cat when I was 19 years old. I had only been living in Orlando for a few months. Originally, I told myself I wouldn't get a pet for a while, but that was a very short lived decision.

I knew I would be too busy to look after a dog so I figured that getting a cat would be a better option. I went to the SPCA and walked past a few cages before I got to him. He made me stop dead in my tracks. He was tiny and crouched behind the wall of his litter box so all you could see were his eyes and ears. When he saw me staring at him he lifted his head and I was able to see his full face. His nose and his chin were both black. It made him look like he had a little goatee. I fell in love with his sweet face right then and there.  I knew he was meant for me. I named him Jet.


At first I was told he was eight weeks old but later I realized that he was only four weeks old. I basically hand raised him, which was a little difficult at first, but he proved well worth it. My first few years in Orlando were very rocky. I had some bad roommates and ended up moving every year for about five years straight. I was unable to stay in one place long enough to develop a true sense of home. I'd watch friendships fall apart and be unable to save them. I was always packing and unpacking boxes waiting for the next thing to go wrong.

Throughout those tumultuous years Jet was my anchor in a world that was continually shifting. No matter where I lived or how bad things got, I always had him. He was My Constant. For all the food and shelter he got, he gave me so much love in return. He went through all of those moves with me and I know that had an effect on him too. I think we both relied on each other for a sense of comfort.

Fortunately, now things are much better. The emotional currents that seemed to follow me around have stabled out. I've developed some amazing friendships over the past few years. I live with my best friend and I can honestly say that it is just plain refreshing to have her as a roommate. The emotional stability that comes from a great living environment has allowed me to grow into myself better and be more in touch with my creative side. I feel like I have roots in this city now - and that is a beautiful thing!

I come home at the end of the day and watch my cat sprawl out on the couch next to me. He has become more playful and relaxed as the years have gone on. I think we both have. When I look back on everything we've been through I can't help but realize how great it feels to sit with him and just enjoy the calmness each others company. We've earned it.


Here is to the next several years together: May it keep getting better and better!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cupid and Psyche

I was cleaning my room and I found an old sketch book I had in high school. I was flipping through the pages when I found this gem:


Normally in my sketchbooks I would focus on a character and not include a background. This was the first illustration I made in this book that just took over the entire page. Most of my illustrations took a few hours but I remember laboring over this one for days. I modeled it after a Pre-Raphaelite painting I saw and just fell in love with the detail. I wanted to recreate every feather, every leaf, every fold in the fabric. I spent hours fussing over how to get the reflection just right. 

When I was done my hands were sore, I had barely gotten up from my desk for days, and my parents were worried about me. I was so proud when I could finally show it off. I even surprised myself with how much I could devote myself to a project. No spot on this piece of paper was spared from my hands. 

I adore this picture for its beauty as well as being a personal monument to my drive and passion. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Open Bite Nike

Ever since I saw the statue of the Nike of Samothrace I've identified with its elegance and personification of victory. Nike is someone who seems to come up frequently in my sketches and illustrations, however, one day I got a great idea for an image that I wanted to depict as a print.


I was so happy with the way this image came out. Simple, elegant, and a beautiful homage to the Greek art that I love so much. However, the perfectionist in me wanted to go back and make the lines on the landscape more detailed. 

So I went back and added more etching. I had to let it sit in the acid bath a few more minutes to eat away a bit more of the lines. Since it was only going to be in the acid for a short amount of time I didn't think it would be necessary to add a protective coating over the rest of the copper plate. I placed the unprotected plate in the acid (this type of process is referred to as "open bite" because you are allowing the acid to eat away at the entire image). 

After only a short amount of time I came back to retrieve my plate and do another test print.


Much to my surprise the acid had made large swirl patterns over the plate. At first I was upset, but the more I looked at the image the more I fell in love with it. Those swirl patterns were delicate and unique and gave the image a sense of romanticism. 

Sometimes, you just have to allow the artwork to take on a life of its own.