Art Monday: remembering my first time

I'll never forget the first time I felt my artwork had reached 'professional' quality.

Every piece of artwork on this blog was created after this one drawing. It is the second page of a narrative assignment done in my first year of Fine Arts at university. The series is called The Three Fates and the Acorns, and it consisted of 10 drawings in total. This was page 2, but the first part I had completed and I felt I had created something special.

I had been using .3mm leads since high school, and still had many unformed opinions about mythology, religion and folklore. I was using acorns as a motif that year, both to symbolize nascent wisdom and to represent birth. In the series, each of the three fates (Norse, Roman or Greek, I didn't specify) was dying due to acorns. The one above is drowning because a tiny cluster of acorns is tied to her toe. Fate defeated by wisdom.

Mainly I was really happy with the tightness and quality of my cross-hatching, and the minimal style of disconnected pieces of sinewy bodies.

On critique day, I was initially disheartened as our professor made his way around to see the work before group crit started. He said he didn't get it, it didn't flow, and it was up to me if I wanted to show it to the group. I insisted I should.

In group crit, I went through each piece. Some "ooo"'s, some comments about the line work. A couple of people agreed the deaths depicted in the series were misogynistic. I was taken aback by the accusation. Misogynistic! It had never entered my mind. (Some would say that's the problem, I suppose.)

The professor replied before I could. He had done a complete about-face on the series due to my presentation. He loved it! He began to vigorously defend it as decidedly not misogynistic and said that was overly dismissive, or some such. He marveled to the group that he had not "gotten it" when I showed it to him before crit.

After class, one of my female classmates stopped me to tell me that it was the most beautiful series of the year. A couple of others with her agreed. I left class with a huge rush at the overall responses. To this day though, I worry myself with possible misinterpretations of my art, particularly because so much is secular and science-based.

Sometimes I wonder. How much of the positive response was from my brief explanation, and how much from the images? Does it make the images less potent if they must be explained?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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