As I continue to contemplate who I am in relation to my artwork, I'd like to take a detour and discuss my most recent art piece.
This piece was created for a challenge (I've done one every month this year). The theme was "Holiday Spirit" and my challenge was to convey how this holiday season affects me, my family, my friends and my community.
The holiday season for me is more about the people and being together. My family and friends are diverse in their beliefs, but I believe we all have common ground with our spirits. Whether or not this meets the criteria of the challenge doesn't matter to me. (I never "win" the challenges anyway.) The process of creating until I feel it's done is my goal. Below I will break down what happened in my process.
When I review a challenge's "assets" and rules, the assets which are the pictures in which I must use 3 and a texture. I can add new assets as long as one of their assets is the main subject and the new assets are under public domain or have full commercial rights. That being said, I had a hard time deciding which of their assets would be the "main" subject. The man standing with the blue coat and hat is one as well as the little girl in white. I liked their poses. I knew right off I had to use the man in blue. But how?
My first thought was to create snow globes and use the many city scenes from the diverse cultures depicted in the assets. The more I thought about it - how was I going to show them all in a picture - became cities on floating islands inside the snow globes. But, it doesn't snow in all places... then my eyes fell upon the couple sitting in the snow. It was perfectly situated. Easy to extract, the camera angle was great. When I decided to put them on an island... that's when my muse came out to play. That was when I realized each island would have it's own climate.
I knew I did not want to create something resembling the normal "holiday season" I grew up with. Definitely no Santa Claus and no organized religion. (Although there is a monk and some orthodox Jews - they are there to depict culture.) So I continued to pull together floating islands - sadly not finding all the cultures I wanted to represent due to needing pictures of primarily their backsides and stay within the copyright laws. As you can see the Mexico representative is not backside, but at least looking in the right direction.
I still did not have a background to go with my theme of diversity. I bounced ideas off my newlywed husband (I believe we are newlyweds for a year, yes?) and he is way more creative than I give him credit for. I asked him... is there an angel nebula? I did find the Dust Angel Nebula - but none were public domain. So I created my own star field out of a pair of wings and bright stars. I overlayed them on an unnamed star field. Here is where I decided to take the word "Spirit" and use it literally. My dear husband was the one to help decide that the planet earth should be the planet in view - not some sci-fi planet looming on the horizon.
I ran the "finished" piece through a couple filters. After looking at that I decided to remove the filter from the background stars and earth. I finessed and tweaked, adjusted lighting and shading and then added a few clouds and mist to help the poor islands floating without any "atmosphere".
Then, I submitted the artwork. I had until December 15th. I cannot control my muse. When she comes out to play, she plays hard. So what part of this shows who I am? The part where I refuse to make something everyone would expect from the theme? Maybe, just maybe, my art always reflects who I am in some way.
Whatever your beliefs are - go out and be with the people you love and invite someone new to your group.