Family Portrait

In my life drawing class we were assigned a really interesting project. I ended up liking it so much that I now give this project to my high school students, which lead to some really interesting and beautiful results.

For the beginning of the project we had to create a symbolic tattoo for each of our family members.

Click on the images for descriptions and  a closer look

Then we had to combine these into one cohesive unit that represented the relationships. I struggled at first with how to incorporate my symbol, since I wasn’t quite satisfied with it anyways and it seemed to throw of the balance and scale of any of my ideas. Then I thought about deconstructing the crane. So I folded and then unfolded a paper crane to see what the pattern of the paper looked like. I used this as a structural element within the design. I really liked this because in the end this family portrait is from my perspective and therefor is true only as far as it is true to me. The rest of my family I placed by their emotional and physical distance to me- my husband the closest, my mother next and also serving the the foundation, the ground, of my landscape, and my sister in the distance. I also ended up including my father as the night. Because of our estranged relationship and his death in 2013, he is in the far distance and connected to my sister. She always worked to have a relationship with him. I based the patterns of the darkness on a blind contour memory painting I did of my father when I was in college.  Then after some color tests in my sketchbook I was ready to begin!

The Crane Unfolded
The Crane Unfolded
Thumbnail sketch
Thumbnail sketch
My Father, Blind Contour from Memory 2007
My Father, Blind Contour from Memory 2007
Getting close to figuring it out!
Getting close to figuring it out!
Color testing
Color testing

Here is the finished artwork!

Family Portrait
Family Portrait, Watercolor 18″ x 24″

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