Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Confessions of an Artist

“My name is Renee’ Holmes, and I AM an artist!”  There!!  I said it!!!

Yes!  I am an artist!  I make that confession because for so long, I have denied that fact and have pursued another career in which I worked, unfulfilled, for more than 20 years!  I’ve now come to the realization that being an artist isn’t a choice.  It’s who I am, and I must hone my artistic skills.

In addition to my new artistic career, this blog is a brand new endeavor for me, one in which I’d like to share my journey towards my Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in traditional illustration, a brand new industry for me).  Until eight months ago, I didn’t know there was such a thing as traditional illustration!

Since I’m embarking upon all of these new endeavors, I’ve decided that if I commit to blogging about my artistic journey, I will learn all that I can about the industry and those who have contributed to it so that I can share it in this blog and, hopefully, help someone else get the courage to pursue a new, much-desired career.  I believe that if we have an unquenchable desire to do something, it is our calling and we must answer the call or we will not be truly fulfilled and we won’t reach our fullest potential! 

I attend an online studio art program through the Academy of Art University based in San Francisco.  The fall semester is underway and has already proven that I will be a much better artist and emerging illustrator at the end of this 15-week session!  We are just beginning our third week in classes.  Up to now, I’ve enjoyed my journey at AAU and have experienced tremendous artistic growth in two short years!  But more important that the growth in artistic skills is the increase in my level of confidence!  Just like in the Mastercard commercials, that is Priceless!

Here are some works I produced last Spring, 2013:

This was the first “at-home” assignment of the semester.  I struggled tremendously on it because at the time we began the painting, the class had just begun.  It turned out much better than I expected, however.

These are paintings that I did in FA616 – Portrait Painting.  One is a painting of a model from class.  The other is a self-portrait, our first “at-home” painting.  Both were done early in the semester, and I’d say that it was quite successful considering my inadequate painting abilities at that time.


These were completed about midway through the semester.  At the time, we were learning to accurately and effectively handle color temperature and value.  It’s amazing how those two things can result in great execution!  Once again, one is a model from class and the other is an “at-home” self-portrait.

This, I think, may be one of my most successful pieces in the class!  I even completely it quickly, unlike the others!  I decided to paint the same guy as the one a few weeks before this one because I loved the color of his shirt and jacket.  The objective was to paint ¾ of the figure taking into account color temperature, value AND hands.  It was a huge job because the canvas was so large (24x36), larger than what I’m accustomed to.


This was another “in-class” assignment.  This model was difficult to paint.  Most of us had problems with her.  But it was extremely successful in regards to temperature, value and rendering.  By this time (week 8-11), painting was becoming quite natural, and I was beginning to see in the shadow as well as quickly and accurately control color temperature.

This was my final project, a painting of my son as he surfs on his cell phone.  (It’s really an IPOD Touch.  We were pretending!)  I need to make a few corrections on it based on the critique that I received from the professor.  This, and several of the others above, will be a part of my midpoint review, but those corrections must be made first.

I must say that I truly love life because of my decision to pursue a passion.  It’s true.  I did leave a lucrative career.  But that’s okay!  It’s been said that “if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life!” (Confucius)  I will experience that feeling very soon. 

With this blog, I hope to give someone the courage to pursue a passion, whatever it may be.  Each of us has been given a talent that will help the masses, and we must use that talent or we will always feel something is missing.  Even though I’m just beginning my journey towards my new career, I don’t feel that something is missing any longer!  I’m now fulfilled, and all the work that must be done to get through each week of school doesn’t feel burdensome. 

So, go for it!  Do one small thing each day towards a goal, and you’ll be surprise at how quickly that goal will come to fruition.