Friday, March 29, 2013

Cat People

Cat People © Taylor Barnes

I love the felt hats with cat ears and they are the inspiration for this illustration. 

While working on this piece I visualized a story in which, the hats were being worn by actual cat people. They needed those little pockets to put their ears into and keep them warm - human earmuffs wouldn't hide or fit their little cat ears. Even though they walked among us unnoticed the predator in them would surface from time to time. On those occasions the pupils of their eyes would contract to look like cat eyes and they would freeze and become fascinated by their prey.  

I am still not certain if they are dangerous. This character is cute and cuddly like your typical house cat but looks can be deceptive because she does have claws hidden under that window sill...


Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Don't Know Where I am Going...

This piece is exploring the idea of weightlessness, both emotionally and physically. Titled, "I Don't Know Where I am Going," it is a response to moments when we are carried into unexpected directions, we can't see the way, we feel disoriented, and there is a loss of control — it is not always a bad place to be. The element of air and a sense of openness is prevalent in these recent pieces. Don't we all crave a feeling of freedom and possibility? A sense of "where will I land next?" Savor the moments when routine is challenged, because tremendous inner growth is often the reward. I have a feeling this theme will reoccur over a few more pieces.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Goddess of Freedom

Broken ©Taylor Barnes

Personal work is always so interesting. You never know what may emerge from the inner depths of your mind. Recently I took a friend up on the idea of participating in a guided meditation for 21 days. I was certain I would never follow through and if I did I would find it impossible to sit still.

To my surprise I have become addicted to the stillness. The imagery that I see during these moments has been rather self-revelatory. The idea of floating has been dominating my inner thoughts. Floating has so many correlations emotionally that I can't even begin to define what this means to me. So rather than write about it I have decided to do some illustrations around the concept of floating and weightlessness.

This one is about breaking free of the constraints of the material world. Hope and gratitude are also present on the journey. I call her a goddess because she is demonstrating my higher self in it's finer moments.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Selfless Portraits - Altruistic Art in the Facebook Era

Recently, I came across an article about a new Facebook app, Selfless Portraits. The idea is to create spontaneous, hand-made art based upon the prompt of a Facebook profile photo. In return someone will create a piece based upon your photo. It is anonymous and random which, is very appealing to me.

An artistic challenge - no matter how it is posed - can reinvigorate our commitment to our craft and help us the hone our creative decision making skills as an artist. I can honestly say that how I chose to approach such an open ended project surprised me.

As I reflect upon my process, twenty-four hours later, I feel that this public art experiment was a wonderful, private moment shared by my mind, my hand and my instinct.

As I approached this sketch I had planned to go with color and at the last minute decided I wanted to work in pencil. Color was the natural first choice because of the vibrant tulips but once I made the decision to go black and white I was primarily working with shape, line and shadow. If this was going to be interesting then those elements had better be compelling.

I started with light shading but quickly realized that the man in the photo was more interesting than the tulips he was holding. - His hands carried all the character - full of expression and life, they became the portrait.

The face is barely there as an anchor. The piece built from the foreground to the background. And then I was left with the tulips.

I love to draw flowers and struggled with the idea of making the tulips the only color or at least rendering them. But it was their shape, bisecting the man's face and casting shadows that was far more interesting than the eye-catching color. The shape was the designer's choice. I created an added element that could only have worked in black and white.

When I finished I realized that this exercise in a quick portrait of a perfect stranger had opened up the process and showed me a little more of how my artist's mind works to solve a creative challenge. Patience, the willingness to give yourself over to the challenge one moment at a time, the spontaneity of changing gears when an new creative opportunity offers itself are the elements of process.

I suppose some would call this artistic growth... I call it fun!