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Painting and Drawing

The artist panelists will present on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Sophia C. '20

Community Culture Compilation

Coming to Emma from a relatively homogenous environment, interacting with people of different cultural identities was challenging, but rewarding for me. My experience has inspired me to create a piece that celebrates the dynamic mix of cultures within our community and reminds us of our unique backgrounds. 

I started out with the idea of painting a compilation of objects, buildings, and symbols that represent different cultures. My original plan was making a mural, so that it can be available to the community all the time. My first challenge arose when I was notified that the wall I had planned to work on might be repainted in the near future. I still wanted the piece to be big so that each element can be seen clearly, so I resorted to painting on a giant canvas. To make the piece as authentic and meaningful to the community as I could, I reached out to students and faculty, asking for their input—what cultures would they like to see included and what image could represent them? In this process, I had the opportunity of learning more about my peers and faculty members, many of whom I had not talked to before! 

The emergency evacuation due to the outbreak of COVID-19 separated me 8,000 miles away from my canvas. Mrs. Slaughter and Ms. Valites offered me a great option: printing out digital work on a large scale. Here comes the next challenge: I have never done digital painting before. I finally decided to give myself a chance and try painting with Photoshop. 

In this project, I took a lot of risks and challenged myself, first by choosing to work on a large scale, then by reaching out and talking to people, now by trying a new medium. I have become more flexible as an artist and have learned to negotiate with changing circumstances and limitations. My process of creating this piece has been daunting yet exciting, much like the experience of being in a diverse environment. 

Because of all of the unexpected circumstances during this project, I am currently still working on this piece and will finish it soon so that it can be printed large and hung on the wall I intended to use at the beginning of this process. Instead of showing an unfinished piece, I have selected my favorite works of art that I created during my time at Emma.

Alice D. '21

"The Closest Stranger"

In my painting, I have depicted my grandfather as the main character. Through my artwork, I want to show my relationship with him. Because of the distance between where he lives and my city, it is hard for me to go visit him often, and so we were not that close. Moreover, as I am studying abroad in the United States, there’s less time for us to communicate. Thinking about this relationship between us, I named the piece "The Closest Stranger."

Alice D. '21 | "The Closest Stranger" | 11'' × 14', acrylics and puzzle on canvas 

I also recorded the process of making this painting. I began the piece with a photograph of my grandfather on a trip that we went on last spring break in Dunhuang China. After I created the basic composition, I began painting on the right side -- drawing the trees. I did not have a final image in my mind when I began and found myself searching for something that I could put on to the canvas.

Next, I chose to glue puzzle pieces directly to the canvas. The puzzles symbolize my relationship with me and my grandfather since we lived in different cities back in China. Especially now, we can only meet once or twice a year. To me, puzzles represent some of my childhood incomplete memories with him. In addition, they serve as a medium that breaks the surface of the canvas and makes the work more unique and more interactive with the viewer.

Because of the pandemic, I had to leave the other pieces I created at school. Although this is the only painting I have with me, I have many more pieces that I am proud of.

Siwon L. '20

Exploration of Color

My body of work represents individuality with the colors I choose. Every piece starts with a blank piece of paper, then I fill the empty space with various colors and shades toward the end, which I interpret as the knowledge and experiences that are gained from our lives. Experimenting with the oversaturation of colors amplifies this idea and brings more emotion to the individual pieces. While working on my pieces, I constantly thought about creating work that cannot be recreated by a photograph, especially through the exaggeration of colors. Many pieces of my work are done with pastel, as using pastel, compared to using other materials, allows me to maintain the vibrancy and vividness of individual colors. When viewing my work, I would like people’s eyes to move along the different textures, lines, and/or highlights.

Alex S. '20


My art has always been driven by fun. Creating something regardless of the results or the purpose is my favorite thing. I very rarely use art to convey something, honestly. Perhaps the pieces gain meaning as they are created, but my intentions are never conscious. I mix colors that feel right, arrange compositions on whims, choose subject matter impulsively, and follow the rules I want to. Especially this year. Without any limitations, I was freely exploring my creative side. With the two paintings of buildings, I tried to mix the strict geometry of architecture with free-flowing paint strokes and expressive colors. With the charcoal portrait, instead of spending days planning, I jumped right in and improvised the process as I went. As a result of this exploration, I’ve ended the year with a few successes and many more failures. But because this year was much more focused on the process and enjoying the creation, I don’t see any of it as a failure. It was all fun to make!

Leave a Note of Encouragement!

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Made with Padlet

    • Emma Artists 2019-2020: Visual Artists - Painting and Drawing

    • Sophia C. '20| "City of Stars" | 16x20, oil on canvas

    • Alice D. '21 | "The Closest Stranger" | 11'' × 14", acrylics and puzzle on canvas

    • Siwon L. '20 | "Summer" | Watercolor and gouache on paper, 14x11

    • Alex S. '20 | "Peachy" | Acrylic, 2020

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