Friday, December 31, 2010

December 2010 HITS

This Happenings in the Studio post is a recap of what I've accomplished and experienced as a visual artist over the last 30 days. Short of decorating my Christmas tree with bouncy ball garland and crazy straws, I haven't dedicated time in the studio.

In recent posts I've shared that I'm focusing more on what I LOVE doing. Meaning my art needs to shift to a more verbal form of expression, perhaps morph into performance art, dance, or song writing. I LOVE exercising way more than I do making art, so I've been indulging in that instead.

This year I'm going to focus on doing more of what I get giddy over and do more of that. For now I'm converting my art studio into another type of studio- an empty room for exercising in.

I get irritated when I'm told that if I stop making art I won't get back to it. I know me better than anyone. I decide if and when I make art. Creating, sharing, learning and improving myself is what fuels me, so I am exploring the various forms that they can take.

I'm not over concerned with starting a new sculpture. I'm not going to plan, but create when I feel like it. With that said, I might be taking a sabbatical from writing The Happenings in the Studio. We'll see how I feel February 1st, 2011. I'll still post periodically on this blog and on my food blog, Surprisingly Thankful.

2011 resolutions:
1. DO LESS!!!
2. Eat weird produce.

HITS table of contents

November 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LED lantern commission

This project came up when my friend, Andrew McAleavey, said he had a hard time waking up in the morning due to the lack of sunlight.

Andrew's original idea was to commission me to make hanging lights set up to a sunrise alarm clock, so it would get gradually brighter helping him to wake up.

After a bunch of prototypes the installation evolved into lanterns made out of ribbon and plastic containers that are lit with LEDs that are hooked up to a dimmer touch pad.

Elizabeth Symington
LED Lanterns, 2010
tallest light is about 1.5 feet
made from plastic containers (duck soap pump, laundry detergent caps...), bouncy balls, stiffened ribbon

Check out for more of my colorful art.

Posts on the steps to creating these lanterns:
Part 1: Inspiration for my Current Commission
Part 2: Inspiration for my Current Commission
Part 3: Inspiration for my Current Commission
Human Slinky
Mandala Mobile - contest (the idea before the lanterns)
Mandala mobile model
testing out various materials- gummy bears?
bouncy ball lantern- prototype
video on the progress of the light commission
Prototypes- slinky lanterns and mini lanterns
LEDS inside of balloons
Switching from paper to ribbon lanterns (video!)
installing the lanterns

Highlights from Art School

1. Fencing on the school team
Practicing 4 nights a week 2-3 hours at a shot, built up a camaraderie and a very buff right side of my body. Just like on past teams I've played on, I felt like I belonged somewhere.

2. Meeting Ian, my college boy friend.
I learned so much about him and from him. Ian taught me to relax, do less, love myself more and to take my health seriously. If it wasn't for his support I wouldn't of finished college. Thank you!

3. Anatomy field trip to draw from cadavers.
I love seeing how the body works, hands-on! I learned so much more sketching from a real person, then from studying skeletons and sketches.

4. Having my food allergies identified
Another blessing from Ian was having his father tell which foods I'm allergic to. I'm thankful to have allergies since having them has brought on a deeper awareness to what I eat and do.

I was raised to say nothing at all if I don't have anything nice things to say, but here I go anyways. I learned a lot from the Academy of Art, but I still don't recommend it. Going there is a good way to start off life in student loan debt. Given the quality of the school, it is way over priced and not worth attending. I'm glad I have a BFA, but I could of gone some place cheaper and received better training.

Latest art creation- LED lanterns

Reflecting on my fondest memories of art school shows that making art wasn't the highlight. I enjoy creating, but I'd much prefer being active. This is the super abbreviated version of my thoughts, but basically my art is evolving into activities I want more of: social interaction, voicing my opinion, feeling free and uninhibited, having less control over the outcome of situations and having a more physically demanding way of creating art. More about that later.

From college I learned that I LOVE learning new skills and building friendships while practicing a sport. I get high on life and things look bright and shiny. All I want to do is stretch, run, kick, punch, and do some shrimp-ups. I so much prefer sculpting me to making all of my past art and learning how my body works, becoming more disciplined and aware of how to better treat myself.

It would be a dream job to be paid to exercise with other people. (I've never had that thought about making my art.) With that said, my art needs to evolve into activities I can't get enough of.

Next art project???

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November 2010 HITS

Welcome to the November HITS (Happenings in the Studio), where I recap my life as a visual artist. This month I continued studying to be a certified picture framers (CPF), finished the LED lantern commission and started decorating my Christmas tree with bouncy balls and crazy straws.

Framing News
Work continues to be a rewarding challenge where I learn new skills daily. I made up a study schedule for taking the Certified Picture Framer's Exam by referencing the PPFA's recommended reading list of 23 books. This link is a list of those books and which libraries in the San Francisco bay area carry them. For the books that are not available at a library, I requested that they consider purchasing a copy.

My Christmas Tree- In Progress

I wanted to skip the boring step of fluffing the tree, but there was no way around it (and no one to do it for me). I'm glad I fluffed it, it made a huge difference.

The initial idea and placement of ornaments. I'm just using materials in the studio, like crazy straws and bouncy balls.

I tested which size would look best on the tree, hence the 2 different sizes in the above photo. I'm going to make more garlands out of tinfoil that are a little bigger then the larger one in the photo. I think they need to be bigger otherwise they will be the same size as the bouncy ball garland and the eye likes variety.

Monkies from barrel of monkies!

More pics to come as I continue to work on the tree.


These lanterns are hanging at a friend's loft. Andrew's original idea was to commission me to make hanging lights set up to a sunrise alarm clock, so it would get gradually brighter helping him to wake up. After a bunch of prototypes the installation evolved into lanterns made out of ribbon and plastic containers that are lit with LEDs.

Thank you for looking at my art. As always it's great to have readers. I'll see you next month for the next issue of the Happenings In The Studio (HITS).

October 2010 HITS (Happenings In The Studio)

HITS Table of Contents