Nostalgic for Art

As many of you know, I teach art to 4th - 6th graders.  In the 10 years I've been teaching art, I've gradually produced less and less of my own art work. (I'm certain being a mom for the past 5 years hasn't helped either.) Sure, you could call costuming an art, and I've done plenty of that in the last 4 years (is it really 4 years??...almost)  But...I've done very little, if any, fine art. 

For some odd reason, being on Christmas break has made me nostalgic for the those days in college when I would get so wrapped up in the my studio work, that I would forget to eat.  I would wonder into the photography dark room (yes, dark room...we were on the front edge of the digital age back then), the printmaking shop, or the drawing and painting studio, and spend hours submerged in my work...etching, sketching, painting, sculpting, studying models and still life set ups...I breathed light and shadow, texture and shape...I breathed the beauty of my subjects, and the clouds and hills around me when I would photograph outdoors.  I would completely lose track of time, and have to race back to the dorm just in time for curfew (and yes, I went to a college that had a curfew.)  I loved coming back to my room smelling of linseed oil or turpentine, permanently having charcoal under my fingernails, or having to peel off my jeans because they were saturated with clay.

Today I dug into some of my old portfolios, reminiscing.  And I thought, in an effort to revive my fine arts muse, I would share some of my old work with you.  Maybe it will inspire me to crack open some old paint and dust off my graphite pencils.  I don't have access to a dark room, or a printmaking studio anymore...but I do have canvases, lines, color, light, hands, and most importantly my imagination.  I'm not the best artist who ever lived, but I've always enjoyed creating, and I'm thankful for my gift.

Let's start with senior year of high school, shall we... (Feel free to laugh at this one! I threw it in to lighten up the mood.)

Circa 1998...and my obsession then, "Titanic," of course...and Leo DiCaprio.

Circa 1999...Off to college I went, where I learned to find beauty in the every day things, (celebrities not included).  These are just some sketchbook drawings.  Most of the stuff I did in my classes were life sized renderings.

Circa 2000...I also learned to loosen up, and draw from life, not just pictures.

Circa 2001...I went to Italy and gained an appreciation for the intricacies of the European masters.

Circa 2002...I dove head first into printmaking that year.(We were supposed to be illustrating a book here, and I chose "Lord of the Rings."  Nerd alert...I know.)

That same year, I combined printmaking with my photography.  Seriously, that year was the most fun I ever had making art.  (So sorry I don't have a better representation of my photography.  As I said before, nothing was digital, and I didn't really feel like pulling out all of my old negatives, and photography portfolios today...I'll save that for another day.  "Oh, please, no! Don't!" you say...ok, I won't.)

Circa 2003/ college...oil paint and collage piece inspired by mythology and the period of art known as Symbolism...this is really a horrible piece of art I think, but I thought I would include it, because it is so insane.  I really went through an intense, almost grieving period after college, because a lot of my close friends had moved away, and I felt like I had lost part of my family.  My artwork during that stage reflects this I suppose.

This one is my most recent artwork (not including random sketches not really worth showing.)  It is a pastel work, completed about 3 and a half years ago...right around the time I started costuming...and, well, I've been at that ever since. 

That's all I've got for now (there are bins and bins of stuff in my garage, and well, I don't want to bore you to death.)  I really just posted all of this for myself, so I won't be offended if you think I stink as an artist.  Truly I won't (just don't tell me, ha!)  Costuming is grand, like sculpting with fabric, but there's just something missing from it that I can't quite put my finger on.  I've been a bit emotional about all of this today(probably not the best time to post something...will I regret this?)  Thinking back on things does that to you I guess.  I suppose I'm missing the whole experience, not just the act of creating art.  *sigh*  ...good times...good friends...great memories.


"One should be an enigma not just to others but to oneself too.  I study myself.  When I'm tired of that I light a cigar to pass the time, and think:  God only knows what the good LORD really meant with me, or what He meant to make of me."  ~ Soren Kierkegaard


ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

Your pieces -- many of them are terrific! Really, really terrific! I'll not say more here but don't worry about the dark periods, they were you and they came out. One of my sisters is an artist and she had at least one period like that, and we have artworks that show it. It's just part of her.


Natalie, Jenni! You are very talented! Thanks for sharing another lovely arts & crafts, which you master!

Nabila Grace said…
Your artwork is amazing! So beautiful! :o) One thing I love about art is the stories that it tells over the years and how you can look back and remember your thoughts sometimes in the midst of whatever you were drawing/painting etc. :o) Thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Thanks so much for posting these!
I did so much more art in highschool and sort of dropped it through college because of being "busy" so I am getting back into it over the holidays. :)

Your art is really nice! It really is. I think your costume work does totally count as an art too. :)
Your Titanic drawing is wonderful. :)

Thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Hey, I really loved that last one with the umbrella. Great work.

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