Monday, February 14, 2011

Creating Worlds, Week 4: Motif

Hi there, and Happy Valentine's Day!

I didn't do anything creatively cute in honor of today, but I've got last week's Creating Worlds homework assignment to share with you. The only requirement was to create a world using a specific motif, or theme. As in "nature" or "technology" or "fill-in-the-blank."

Now a good way to understand what motif means, is to picture a fence. Based on its appearance, we can tell these things: What kind of fence is it? Where is this fence sitting? What is the fence used for? What time period or location is this fence from? Is there a decoration or embellishment on this fence that gives more meaning to it?

Depending on the kind of fence you pictured, you may have thought of a lot of other imagery that goes along with said fence. A chainlink could mean a prison or an animal shelter; a picket could mean a country lane; a rustic, splintery one could have come straight from an old Western movie. And there you have it, motif. Motifs are loaded with meaning and connections. And artists use them to further illustrate and convey what we want to our audience. We use these little clues to help us!

We were allowed to combine motifs to make our own, which is what I chose to do with my drawing. I originally wanted to do this super techy Steampunk motif mixed with an Asian motif- but that's not me. I couldn't even invent such a thing in my mind! Instead I went with my usual subject: a tree. But I mixed in Japanese and Chinese motifs with it, and came up with this sketch:

Image Copyright Melanie Linden Chan, 2011
And because it was so pretty, I wished it to be a painting, so I transferred it to cold-press watercolor paper and started washing in some color.

Image Copyright Melanie Linden Chan, 2011
And that is it so far! I'd like to finish the piece, but it's tough keeping up with two classes worth of homework, and trying to get them all to look like finished pieces, while working full-time (and doing an occasional load of laundry). I'm not making excuses; actually I've learned a lot from this particular instructor that "it is what it is. The art doesn't tell us you had a sick day. It's just itself."

So for now, I will leave it at that. :)


  1. :D great work. it was nice to see your stuff every week.

  2. Thanks Lauren!

    And Rain, your stuff is awesome! Don't stop creating because you'll go far with it!!