"Maury" drawing on paper

“Maury” graphite on paper, 40″x26″

Today is the deadline for submissions to the U of M Stamps School of Art Annual Alumni Exhibition. This is the first time that I have submitted a piece. For the past 20 years since graduating (20 YEARS! YIKES!!) I have gotten annual notices about the exhibitions but I have never actually submitted an entry. Last summer, after going to the exhibitions with my oldest son, I made a promise to myself that I would create something for this year’s exhibition and I’m happy to report that I kept my promise.

These annual alumni shows are juried exhibitions so I will not know until the end of the month whether my piece has been selected and will actually be displayed. I would be excited to be chosen to participate but, regardless, I am pleased with what I’ve created so that’s worth something, right? I’ll keep you posted when/if I hear. I’m sharing it today because right now I feel excited and proud of what I’ve created but I have a feeling if I were to wait until I find out whether or not it’s accepted and it’s not I will probably feel deflated and not want to share.

I do have to admit that I wasn’t very excited when I first read this year’s theme: “Riddles, Puzzles and Enigmas,” and wasn’t sure I could get on board with the it. After letting it marinate for a few days, I gained some momentum and came up with an idea. I knew I wanted to do a drawing—a large, get-your-hands-dirty-with-graphite drawing. I have been doing more drawing lately and am glad to be doing it again. It’s another thing that I find therapeutic—I’m beginning to think that all of these creative endeavors are keeping me out of therapy.

As I post more of my drawings in the future you will see that I almost always work photo-realistically. Drawing with such attention to detail is very time consuming and I estimate that I’ve spent over 30 hours on this piece over the last two weeks with the bulk of it happening this week. I was up until 11:30 last night working on it and got right back into it this morning, finishing about 1:30 this afternoon. I think I was working nostalgically—under the wire, just like college.

Funny thing is, in this picture of the drawing here on the blog it looks life-size but the drawing is actually 40″x26″. I titled it “Maury.” This is the artist’s statement that I submitted with my entry, it’ll help you understand why:

The subject of two of the earliest riddles we learn as children is the humble chicken: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and “What came first the chicken or the egg?” Two unanswerable questions that spark much playground debate and hilarity.

I bring into focus the chicken but reduced down to just the beauty of a single chicken feather blown up larger than life. Ordered from an Etsy shop from an ecovillage in Missouri, a collection of about 25 feathers came packaged in a Ziploc bag, arrived via USPS First Class Mail and was simply labeled with a Sharpie: “Maury.”

About the author

Jennifer Stefanek

Hello, I'm Jen. I am a forty-something closeted artist and designer. This blog is a place for me to chronicle creative projects big and small in an effort to re-ignite and rediscover my creative self. I am The Picadilly Project.

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