The Art of Visual Storytelling!

*A guest post by Lisa L. Cyr (www.cyrstudio.com).
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Mixed Media Painting

23" x 26 3/4" x 1 1/2" Mixed media Masonite with wooden framework

Much of my work has a spiritual, mythological or psychological relevance where metaphors, symbolism and allegory are used to stimulate curiosity, provoke thought and encourage further inspection. Throughout my pictorial idiom, I employ a concept-based, message-driven approach, evoking the imagination and the senses. I want the onlooker to be intellectually engaged with an instinctual desire to look deeper into the work to discover hidden messages that lie within the layers of symbolic meaning.

The mixed-media painting entitled Masquerade of Wits, featured in Incite 3: The Art of Storytelling, is a highly conceptual portrait about the inner struggle to find clarity in a world that is often full of uncertainty, distractions and temptation. In the piece, a contemplative female figure is presented as a symbolic warrior who metaphorically fights against the forces that create despair, anxiety and fear in her life. The meditative subject looks inward through a symbolic mask. A physical manifestation of her internal psyche, the mask dissolves into the flesh to become one with the myriad levels of consciousness present in the mind’s eye. Like a protective shield, the apparitional, mask-like form displays imagery from ancient armor and military attire, reminiscing back to a time when the righteous always triumphed over the malevolent forces of evil. Olive branches, historically emblematic of peace, are introduced in the brass assemblage accent as well as intertwined throughout the war-inspired iconography to create an interesting dichotomy.

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Process Shot

Considered windows to the soul, the eyes project a serene and crystal clear blue expanding from a flaming orange center. The complimentary color scheme alludes to the setting of the sun, when the light fades and darkness takes reign, creating a dynamic interplay between life’s often paradoxical forces. Although the eyes are astute sensory filters, they are not perfect interpreters of reality, as perception can often be misleading. In times of doubt and fear, the malicious Tempter intervenes, presenting a false reality that uses trickery to set one off balance. A masquerade of wits ensues where virtue and truth battle deception and deceit.

The overall design and the jewel-accented assemblage add-on above the eyes are both based upon the sixth chakra. Known spiritually as the third eye, the Anja chakra represents a mystical gateway to the inner realms of higher consciousness. For insight and enlightenment from the heavens above, the figure is presented as gazing, looking inward to evoke the third eye. Through meditation and prayer, teleportation from the limitations and boundaries of the external, earth-bound existence to the all-seeing world of nirvana that exists within is possible. In times of distress, the divine spirit that is forever omnipresent helps to guide the troubled soul on a path of hope and lucidity of mind and purpose. The indigo color, deep violet blue to a dark grayish blue, that is known in the all-seeing sixth chakra symbol is ever-present throughout the perimeters of the mixed media piece. The perfect symmetrical balance of the facial features and mask juxtaposed against the more cacophonic environment is highly significant, as it conveys the importance of maintaining one’s balance amidst the often surmounting chaos of life.

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Inside us all there is a story just waiting to be told. It begins at childhood and develops gradually over time. With every encounter, observation and experience, the tale becomes richer with a more expansive intellect from which to draw. In the heart, an amazing adventure lays dormant, waiting for the right time, when all the pieces are in place, for the dream to come to fruition.

I have recently begun my own visual storytelling quest. I am in the midst of writing, designing and illustrating a fantasy-based visual novel. I have created a blog called FIGURE OF THE IMAGINATION (http://figureoftheimagination.blogspot.com/) to share with others my progress through this journey. In the blog, I write about my content-driven, journal-based approach to fantasy art and visual storytelling. I also reveal details about my process, showing my latest fantasy works and other interesting insights. Be sure to check it out and subscribe to get up-to-date emails on all my new posts!

I also have a workshop coming up in January 2016 that is offered online. It is called EXPERIMENTAL FIGURE PAINTING IN MIXED MEDIA: The Mythical Realm

http://www.cyrstudio.com/expfigurepaint_mythical.html

Start Date: January 4 to February 12, 2016 Course Length: 6 weeks

The mythical figure has inspired artists for centuries. Let it inspire you too! This highly informative online workshop will explore experimental approaches to painting the mythical figure in thematic fantastical settings, using both two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed-media techniques. Topics will include drawing and painting the fantastical figure, altering and restructure facial features and body proportions to create believable characters as well as painting magical landscapes and environments using mixed-media techniques.

All assignments will encourage in-depth research and exploration into a multitude of mythological, cultural and historical sources. Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Celtic, Norse, East Asian, African and Native American mythology, legends, fairytales and folklore are just some of the areas of prospective interest. Artists are also encouraged to develop their own mythological stories to illustrate. We will focus on the creation of message-driven art through the use of symbolism, metaphor and allegory as well as anagrams, visual puzzles and hidden messages. The use of storyboarding for narrative works in series whether for a gallery wall, book layout, video presentation or online experience will also be discussed. Other topics will include the use of costuming, decorative motifs and ornamentation, cultural iconography and architectural detail in works of the mythical realm.

With visually inspiring imagery, insightful readings, thought-provoking videos, creative exercises and step-by-step demonstrations, artists will discover a plethora of exciting two-dimensional and three-dimensional techniques to employ in their own fantastical works. This online workshop is for intermediate and advanced figurative artists who are interested in using mixed-media techniques to add that magical, transforming element to their work!

NEW DEMO: ACRYLIC ARTIST MAGAZINE!

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mixed media painting

The Fall 2015 issue of Acrylic Artist Magazine

http://www.northlightshop.com/acrylic-artist-fall-2015-issue features an in-depth, step-by-step demonstration of my acrylic and mixed-media fantasy painting Mademoiselle du Carnaval! An article about my work and process entitled Artful Arabesque: The Dance of the Drawn, Dripped and Painted Line shares some of my sources of inspiration as well as my unique approach to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed media techniques!

VIDEO: PAINTING THE MYTHICAL FIGURE IN MIXED MEDIA

Download my latest video PAINTING THE MYTHICAL FIGURE IN MIXED MEDIA

http://www.northlightshop.com/painting-the-mythical-figure-in-mixed-media at NorthLightShop.com! This highly visual presentation takes the viewer on a fantastical artistic adventure! Utilizing innovative two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed-media techniques, the recorded webinar covers how to paint the fantastical figure in an imaginative environment. Topics include character development using props, costumes and models, employing theatrical color schemes, painting skin tones of fantastical beings in dramatic settings, drawing techniques, rendering patterned cloth, using hair to create form and movement and adding bas-relief details and assemblage embellishments. In addition, conceptual development strategies are discussed, including working in journals and sketchbooks, research techniques and reference gathering to create compelling figurative works that tell imaginative stories. With visually inspiring imagery, insightful tips and innovative approaches, artists will discover a plethora of image making strategies as well as exciting two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed-media techniques to employ in their own fantastical figurative works. For artists who are looking to push their work to a new level, this webinar will be a valuable resource and an ongoing source for creative inspiration!

Bonus videos and other downloadable materials are included! Exciting in-depth demonstrations are shown in live action by the artist. Techniques such as building a signature surface with collage, texturing the painting ground in imaginative ways and working in bas-relief to create multidimensional accents provide an extensive array of visually-stimulating possibilities for artists to explore. Other bonus materials include downloadable articles, interviews, step-by-step demonstrations and more!

storytelling storytelling More Artist Network Videos by Lisa L. Cyr:

Creative Explorations in Mixed-Media: Collage Techniques for the Mixed-Media Artist

Transforming the Surface with Mixed-Media Painting Techniques

Assemblage Accents: Employing Faux Finishes and Patinas!

storytelling About the Artist: The visually-compelling, fantasy-inspired works of multidisciplinary artist and author Lisa L. Cyr (www.cyrstudio.com) use symbolism, metaphor and allegory to create a new reality with a more expressive, symbolic arrangement, transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary. A poetic synthesis of drawing, painting, collage and assemblage, Cyr's visually tactile, mixed-media compositions employ historical, cultural and mythological references that are taken out of their ordinary context and reorganized, overlapped and juxtaposed to illuminate an underlying message-driven concept.

Cyr's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, universities and at industry organizations, including traveling shows with the Society of Illustrators of New York and Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, books, videos and online, including features in Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. Cyr writes for many of the creative industry's leading art publications and has authored seven books and three videos on art and design. In addition, Cyr's work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of American Illustration as well as in private collections.

 
Copyright 2015 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC

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