Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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21 Days and One Year (of the Pandemic)

How’s everyone holding up? I’m getting antsy to get vaccinated. My region is opening up appointments in five year increments (started at 80+ years), Monday they opened it up to 70+ years. So… based on the timing of the last increment, I hopefully can book by the end of the month! Fingers crossed.

Until I get that first shot I am in limbo mentally. I can’t start making firm arrangements or accept one of my offers for schools abroad, until I am pretty sure I CAN travel in September. I figure once I get that first one I should be good to go, literally.

I took part in an open day for the post-grad program at the Arts University of Bournemouth last week – watched a recorded presentation, then there was a live Q&A. They inferred things will be “hybrid” in the Fall (all going well) – they were talking it up as something they’d been planning pre-pandemic. I’m not completely keen. I know it is a Masters and self-directed, but I like more personal contact and being in a setting with other people. I am so over working in my room alone! The course leader did put me in touch with a student from the US who is there now so I could chat with them about their experience travelling to the UK in February and how the program is going.

I also submitted an application to the Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship last week. IT Sligo sent me the application – I’ve an offer from them for the BA (Hons) Fine Art. This is a very prestigious scheme – they choose 60 international students from countries other than EU/EEA and award:

  • A €10,000 stipend for one year’s study
  • A full fee waiver of all tuition and other registration costs at the higher education institution

Would be amazing to get that – makes it very, very close to a full-ride! They have a very stringent criteria and would be a huge honour to be chosen! Won’t know what happens until after June 1st. So, I will just not think about it and carry on with getting things done!

My last official day of classes here is April 16! I will still be working in the studio after that on my thesis project as the show, according to the latest update, won’t be held until June. So our professor has said we have time to continue work. That is comforting – I would have been able to be ready earlier, but the extra time allows me to complete more individual paintings to include in the installation.

But I do have to make a submission by May 15th for the BMO 1st ART! 2021 art competition -I’ve been nominated for it and it is for my thesis project! So I need to have it ready to photograph the week prior.

The Annual All-Student Juried Show is opening this week – April 1 to April 28. I put three works in: one from last semester (mixed media,) one from Fall 2019 (a diptych acrylic paintings,) and one that was my own project in 2019 (not school.) I am hoping I can get over there to take some photos of my work hung up. They are currently open for limited occupancy. I wouldn’t go until classes are done, so hopefully they’ll still be open to the public then.

Here are some recent paintings I’ve completed for my Thesis project (since my last post) on Threatened Species: West African Slender Snouted Crocodile, Elkhorn/Staghorn/Pillar Corals, Island Oak, Gooty Tarantula, Little Brown Bat, Great Hammerhead Shark, and a Polar Bear.

Hammerhead Sharks are the strangest looking creatures!

These two paintings are still in progress – a Mexican Wolf and a couple of Gilbert’s Potoroos:

And this is a shot of all 34 paintings that are completed or in-progress right now! I’ve an additional 12 small canvases prepped and ready, if I decide I want 52 to be in my final installation. I’ll see how much progress I make over the next four sessions in the studio then decide.

Our weather is settling to the unsettled spring pattern… frost in the morning and t-shirts in the afternoon. But it is so nice to get out for a walk in the sun – which is warm when you are out of the wind but that isn’t very often!


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Day 287 (of the Pandemic)

I’m glad that the vaccines are finally in play, but this is going to get much worse before it gets better. Numbers are soaring here. I’m still staying away from people as much as possible and I have to say I really miss interacting and conversing with people. Not that I was ever a social butterfly but I was busy with volunteering and my make-up/face painting business, school and work and that provided contact with lots of people.

Friday was the last day of the Fall semester and also was timetable selection for the next. There is only one course scheduled for on campus at this point which is our Studio Thesis class. All the rest are now online. If everything here goes back to total lockdown like they did in the Spring, there is a possibility that class too, may end up remote. Which is NOT good. Hard to work on large studio projects when you can’t work in the studio.

Marks are out on Tuesday and I have my applications pretty much ready to send off to degree granting schools as soon as I have the marks. I’m applying to both BFA and MFA programs abroad.

Close to 95% of all the work I did this semester tied into my thesis theme of Threatened and Endangered Species. Here are some of the final works as submitted:

This is a painting Conservation successes (so far) – species that humans managed to save by taking action. The assignment was to produce two images suitable for publication (8.5 x 11″) in an arts magazine, on a social cause or issue. The companion piece is of Extinctions that humans caused.

This is my elephant mixed materials sculpture at the stage he was at for final review and marking. I’ve still a fair amount to tweak! Each stage I spot something that isn’t quite right (to my eyes) and have to do some alterations. As long as we are on campus next semester I will be able to finish him.

This is one work that didn’t fit my overall theme. The assignment was to research an ideology and narrow down a focus. I ended up concentrating on women’s reproductive rights being out of their control. I was horrified to learn about symphysiotomy and pubiotomy – I mean, sick to my stomach horrified. And these were still being performed in Ireland at a catholic hospital up until the 1990s and are still being used in the developing world. I’m not going to get on my soapbox but the fact that women were not informed of the procedures, were not aware of them, gave no consent and went into delivery thinking everything was fine… to only wake up to to find themselves in a hammock with their legs tied together for months because their pelvic cartilage or their entire pelvic bone had been severed to get the baby out easier… and most women NEVER properly healed and were in pain the rest of their lives. I’m getting irate again typing this!

I did this mixed media piece for this project. It is called “The Garden of Men” and is collage on acrylic and stretched canvas. I did a lot of drawings of the female reproductive system, scanned them, replicated many times, printed, coloured, cut them out (got blisters from the scissors) and made this collage garden out of them.

And this is one of the 17 paintings I completed in my main thesis project. This is a Kakapo, a flightless parrot from New Zealand who is critically endangered. They are the only flightless parrot, the heaviest and the longest lived (around 100 years.) Conservation efforts started in the 1890s but weren’t successful until the 1990s when they took drastic measures and cleared two islands of all predators and relocated every specimen they could find to the islands. They only found 49 to relocate so the genetic pool is limited and unfortunately issues are developing.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas (at home please!) and here’s to a healthy and happy New Year for the whole world.