Upper School Gallery

Large-Scale Paintings 

Honors Art Portfolio 

Every year the Junior Artists create large-scale paintings inspired by small-scale collages. This quarter-long project involves building frames, stretching canvas, and preparing supports. Also, artists develop a series of three small collages, one of which they "scale up" using the grid technique. This technique allows artists to translate a small image into a much larger painting while maintaining the correct measurement and proportion. Painting is a step-by-step process that begins with an underpainting, which is followed by a "grisaille" or a layer of greys, and then finally the application of hand-mixed acrylic paint. 

– US Art Teacher Ann Murphy 

Reality Party
 

There are two main influences on this painting: the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden from Genesis and Alice and Wonderland. At the time of making these collages, we were reading Genesis in our English class and we were in the middle of creating our Head-Royce production of Alice and Wonderland. The main elements of Alice and Wonderland inspiration are the forest-like green cave in the background and the whimsical cherry blossom type flowers, along with the red checker table cloth, which feels very "Mad Tea Party." This painting uses elements of both stories to play with the idea of reality and truth and being able to understand reality/ truth and whether we are able to choose to see it or not.

 

Food for Thought

This piece represents the overall state of health in our country. I was interested in exploring what drives the relationship between attitudes toward curative versus preventative healthcare through an artistic lens. The pills spilling out of the manikin-like head in the center draw focus to the fact that most people in America are brainwashed into believing that taking medicines are the only way to lead a healthy lifestyle. However, the larger than life vibrant fish and vegetables surrounding the face represent the robustness and effectiveness of using nutrition as a primary means of healthcare. I also wanted to dip into the idea of large corporations encroaching and corrupting the industries of healthy foods by promoting pill-popping culture. This idea is represented by the sugar covering the tomato, a food that would normally be considered healthy. I hope that this piece drives the viewer to think about who and what are influencing their health related decisions.

Party Animals

I believe that everyone, even animals, needs to have a little party in their life once in a while. I tend to take life too seriously sometimes, so I decided to create this painting as a reminder to let loose and experience the sweet things the world has to offer. I chose animals instead of humans in the painting because animals show us on a daily basis the kind of energetic and positive attitude that I aspire to have. While I don’t have a dog myself, dogs seem to always bring joy wherever they go. The candy and balloons represent the small yet important things that we find pleasure in. These things may be taken for granted but they brighten people’s lives constantly. This whole painting is meant to evoke a sense of happiness with its vibrant colors, party spirit, and lighthearted animals. I hope that by looking at this painting, you think of what makes you smile in your everyday life, and remember to take a step back to enjoy it.

Reach


Reach is the action of this painting. The girl has burst out of her home life and is reaching for a beautiful, glowing fantasy world full of lush purple flowers. The hands are trying to pull her back down into the home world she is trying to escape from, which offers only a handful of spiky, icy-blue flowers: similar to the multitude of round purple blooms of the fantasy world, just less desirable. But the girl hasn’t seen all of her home world yet. If she simply looked beyond her own home, she would see what a beauty the real world is, full of fields of bright lupine flowers, clusters of daisies, sunlit hills, and cotton-candy clouds. The reference for this painting is a 4-inch by 6-inch collage that I made and scaled up to a 46-inch by 64-inch acrylic painting on canvas. I began work on it during the winter of junior year, and completed it in the fall of senior year. I began with a charcoal sketch, followed by a sepia wash, then a grisaille, and finally full color.

If you really look at the painting, and think about what each part represents, you may be able to see that I am trying to show how with knowledge, you can do anything. In the bottom left corner, we have a book representing the collection of knowledge/learning phase. In the middle, I attempted to create Neil deGrasse Tyson representing the enlightened/intelligent phase. And in the top right we have a half-man-half-bird creature representing what I like to call godhood, where you are able to take your knowledge and create something amazing. Finally, I chose the background because the windmills complement the birdman and because the background contains softer colors, allowing the viewer to focus more on the three important elements.

Dancing with Imagination
 

This piece is based on a collage made from pictures we found in magazines. Over several weeks, we flipped, cut, glued, gridded, measured, and finally applied multiple layers of paint to create our final painting. My goal of this painting was to have fantasy and reality flow and ebb together to create a cohesive and abstract piece of dual reality. Taken apart, they are simply a moon, a woman, a fragment of a face, and space, but put together are capable of a different meaning.The woman is the center of this painting as everything is connecting to and touching her. She dances not with a male counterpart, but with her imagination. She straddles both worlds, with one partner being the hazy sunset with its arm around her waist and the other being the whimsical space holding onto her hand. The eyes in the bottom corner act as an anchor of reality and tangibleness in this painting and remind us that we can not wholly escape reality. I think there are many focal points that your eyes gravitate to in addition to the woman. The shining of the star, the white etherealism of the moon, the pain in the eyes, and the brilliance of the sunset. I wanted no piece to simply serve as a setting for the foreground, overlooked and then discarded after one glance. I wanted every piece of this collage to bring something to new and I hope I achieved that.

Oakland, We Have a Problem

The composition draws your attention first to the spaceship, then the beauty of mountains, then the cracking city. Overall, the painting pulls together the crises in Oakland. The spaceship represents our mentality to look towards the future, instead of looking to fix the problems we have at hand. The mountains are a mirage of beauty, hiding the broken-down city.

In the foreground of the painting, a bridge extends to the bottom edge of the painting. The one-
point perspective of the bridge invites the viewers to traverse the boundaries and follow the boy
in white onto the island. On the island, clumps of shrubs glow in the moonlight. The height of the
shrubs grows as they move away from the boy, and it leads the viewers to the new focus. The
house, unlike its blue and green surroundings, has an orange, brick facade. Orange is the
complementary color of blue, so it makes the house distinct. The house is only one story high,
but it has an observatory on the top of its stairwell. A girl is flying a butterfly-shaped kite on the
roof of the observatory. The kite flies up into the sky. At the same time, moonlight shines down
on the girl. This downward movement leads the viewers to trace from the girl through another
set of butterflies back down to the boy. The viewers have completed the journey when they
return to the bridge. The bridge becomes the viewer’s exit from the imaginary world to the real
world, and they can resume their daily lives.