Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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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.


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Day 107…

Today is the 107th official day of the Pandemic. Well over three months and still going strong.Ā I am staying in isolation as much as possible and wear a mask every time I leave the house even if it is just to take the garbage out. Time is actually going by surprisingly fast, which I didn’t expect. Not sure if that is good or bad, though.

I’ve been puttering with art projects, particularly the series of 35 paintings I started a couple months back. I’ve decided that all species will be threatened or endangered in the wild.

The base coats are acrylic paint, brush blended. Then I do the white outline in acrylic, then alcohol inks for the actual creatures. Once I get to larger surfaces I will probably start using acrylics for the creatures’ base colours.

 

This set of six 2×3″ is complete. These are, from left to right, top to bottom: Acadian Redfish (endangered), Chevroned Butterfly Fish (decreasing), Mountain Inago Pygmy Chameleon (critically endangered, possibly extinct), Golden Mantella Frog (critically endangered), American Burying Beetle (critically endangered), and Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (endangered.)

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I started the next set of four, which will be plant species. These are on 2 3/4 x 4 1/4″ wooden ovals.

This is the Stenogyne Kanehoana which is native to Hawaii and known only on Oahu – it is a flowering climbing vine that is a member of the mint family. It is thought to possibly now be extinct in the wild – the last time one was seen was in 2004, when cuttings were taken.

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I took a break from that project, with 10 of 35 paintings done, and did some other work.

I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself about systemic racism over the past several weeks. And it is sickening. As a Canadian there is nothing that makes our society any different than any other Eurocentric/White dominated culture. I am continuing to research and read everything I can. After I got into all of that I had to do something to work out my emotions and process the information, so I created this drawing. I’ve actually been continuing to add more items as I learn about them since I took this photo of it. #BlackLivesMatter

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This next one was an exercise in learning about my Derwent Procolour pencil crayons, and how to use the Blender pencil. It turned out well, I think, and I like how they blend so smoothly. I will be doing a lot more with them.

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And this one is one of my regular “doodle art” relaxers. Drawn in Micron pen and coloured with watercolours, gel pens and felt pens. I just grab the pen and start making shapes. There is never a plan, that’s why they are doodle art.

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We’ve heard from the college and Fall semester is going to mostly be remote, but for those of us in Fine Art it will be a combination of both remote courses and in class. We have to have our studio classes – Painting, Drawing and Fabrication – in person as we have to use the equipment, materials and need the space. We won’t know details until we get there I guess.

I’m not a fan of online courses. When choosing my electives I never took online only courses – even if the subject was one I really wanted to take. I just don’t see the point of a class without live interaction. And I am not really comfortable with the live online group thing, not in the least. If I need to do a course online, just put all the information and assignments there and I’ll work my way through on my own. I can deal with the hybrid classes where you attend class, but your work is all online – I think they call this a “flipped classroom model.”

This is my final year for the Advanced Diploma program. Then I will be going to another institution to finish a Bachelor’s in Fine Art.