Flying Picayune Lagniappe

Reading this circus poster in mainly in French meaning: Flying Picayune (small) Lagniappe (something given or obtained gratuitously). The reasoning behind this name is when at a circus, the performers are giving you their skills and are introducing you to their lifestyle. This lifestyle is so mysterious that we often can’t decipher the true focus of the show. Is it the animals or the people or the numerous props?

Flying Picayune Lagniappe

The faces are ambiguous of human qualities, yet are quite animalistic, i.e. the lion’s mane. The censors reflect the ability of the circus to allude to the ambiguity and mystery behind what an audience experiences at the circus. In spite of these attributes, the text brings in the playful and fun aspects of the circus. Each circus is different, however, all aim for the enjoyment of the viewers. Regardless of the concept, circuses are meant to be a joyful experience for all involved.

the Process

At first, my only idea was to put paint on the canvas because the white proved to be quite intimidating. I chose blue because it was a vivid yet calming color for me. I began doing research on various vintage posters and how far circus poster media has come. Some examples:

These images all gave me a range of ideas to contort and paint. I began sketching clown faces and animals, and that’s when I came to the conclusion that I would blend the two. I began with the heads, then clown faces.

After trying different faces, I decided to go more realistic and build in features before worrying about the makeup/detailing. I also did a few studies on light in portraits through photoshop.

At this point I found myself struggling in drawings of reality. I redid each face 4-5 times, especially the smaller face. I was surprised the smaller one gave me so much trouble. But I soon found my happy medium. Next obstacle was choosing what type of font to use. I googled different fonts until I decided to create my own from various form I found.

Once I did the form of the letters, I chose to design them.

Something still seemed to be missing. It WANTED MORE. So that’s what I gave it :). To play on the theme of mystery I decided “censor” their eyes, the same way they censor what the audience sees and experiences. Also, during our first critique, Devin advised running a wet brush over the letter since I did them with water-soluble crayons to allow the letter to pop more. I took her advice and I don’t regret it. After these changes, I saw a piece I couldn’t help but love, hope it touches you as well.


Welcome to the Circus

Alice Neel “Circus”

In “Circus”, Alice Neel uses form, value and color to suggest this sense of viewing from an almost aerial position. The organic forms and the suggested movement of these forms around the set of geometric shapes create a free flowing circular image. The circular imagery allows the viewer’s eyes to smoothly glide across the plane. The suggestive movement and the spacing of each object/person portray a feeling of looking back at a memory. The color palette contains bright pops of color, with yet a quite muted tone and gray value. This color palette is odd when thinking of circuses, due to them normally being characterized by only bright colors and excitement. Additionally, the suggestive tones describe an almost melancholy experience or down-point in life.

You never know if you don’t try.

The best thing one can do for me as an artist is to provide me with an open white plane and instruct me to experiment with the mediums given. This begun our 3rd journey through liquid media.

Risks. I gained an enormous amount of freedom through taking risks on this piece. For everyone, every risk is different. For me, it was letting go of being so precise with lines and edges, and allowing colors to mix and flow into each other. I was hesitant at first, but then I let go and allowed for the painting to guide me to where it wanted to be. With learning to let go, I learn a lot more about myself as an artist, and how far my abilities and go.

1. we directly observed the self-made still life created by our groups.

2.we drew the foundation of detailing in order to ensure correct proportions – do details just the main blueprint for our work. I decided on a zoomed-in view between the legs and flowers to the right.

3. make a mess of the white space. I took the boldest colors and placed them in the biggest areas of white. I allowed for the watercolor to go where it pleased. I enjoyed the drips and blending of colors. Allowing it to do what it wanted, made me relax as an artist and let the media speak for its self. I played with changing the washes and values of tones in different spaces – I just made sure every space had a tone. i didn’t want to leave any white space because of the dominance of color throughout my piece.

First Round

Second Round

Third Round

The Finale

Key adjectives to describe my piece- abstraction, freedom, minimalist, suggestive and descriptive.

Challenges – definition, space (depth), and form

Be the light that shines through the darkness.

For our second piece, we were to focus on space – close, mid, and far views. I chose to focus on the lamp posts positioned throughout campus. I enjoyed the lines and strokes created by the water-soluble pencil. I could have improved the reality of the further viewed post, esp. by fading out the colors and lines as it is actually seen.

Other comments: provided the feel of the lamp-post playing hide-and-go seek; enjoyed the repetition, and enjoyed the quality and textures created.

Others that I found enjoyable were:

Erica – loved the looseness and fluidity of the strokes.

Lexi – enjoyed the depth created in space, and vivid colors; could be more cohesive, the left side was too light in comparison to the right.

Suzy – absolutely loved the abstract qualities of the piece and that fact that it’s still identifiable; the colors were subtle and vivid in relation to each other.

Bell Peppers and Paint – Who Knew..

Learning to work with watercolor proved to be quite challenging. First obstacle is determining how the amount of water affects the pigment required for to create the look desired. Second is learning the effects on paper and being comfortable enough to just let the transformation happen on its own. As an artist I tend to want my work to occur how my mind processes it as, but I have been attempting to  allow it to take its own form and say when it’s finish instead of possibly over-working the piece.

For our first work, we were asked to observe and study a fruit or vegetable, and to process how light affects it and the various layers of colors seen. Next we were to create studies of the vegetable/fruit. My choice was a green bell pepper; I was attracted to its size and vivid color. A green bell pepper has numerous layers of greens and yellows and I truly enjoyed playing with the effects of each.

We later held a critique on our first assignment. We discussed the frustrations  and loves, as well as each others’ pieces.

First was Belinda’s pear. It seemed to display a narrative of the pear journey through the seasons, and I loved the numerous colors and how they complemented each other.

I also loved Ellie’s “Irene”. It was so delicate and precious, that you can not deny its presence and beauty.

Last but not least, was Devin’s watercolor palette. I was drawn to the looseness and mix of the watercolors. You can tell that she enjoyed playing and discovering what the colors could produce.


August 23rd of the year 2011 marked the beginning of my journey in liquid media. I chose to explore painting in order to expand my knowledge of ALL forms of art. As an artist, I feel that you should be well-rounded in skill. I’m not saying that you have to be the best at everything but it doesn’t hurt to explore our range of talent.

So over the next few months, this will be the series of events I experienced in my journey with liquid media.

Unexpected Inspiration

I love finding beauty in various places I love going. Shopping in Urban Outfitters, I always love the fitting rooms. The wood work is modern and unique; especially since we were crafting tables I saw it fit to post.

Fitting RoomsSeating