The impractical organ

The Carolina Rollergirls took a few weeks off from practices, meetings and games. It was awesome. Breaks are a very important part of training. Tomorrow night we are starting up again and I’ll be glad to get back into the swing of things. I feel I really took advantage of the break. I tried two new exercise classes. I attended a design conference in Chicago. While in Chicago I tried a deep dish pizza, a Chicago style hot dog and had grapefruit sorbetto that was transcendent. I took an architectural boat tour, saw the aftermath of the pride parade, took in the views from the Hancock Signature Lounge and attended many inspiring conference sessions.

While at the conference, I started sketching. Sometimes I really enjoy digging into a somewhat detailed pencil sketch. I challenged myself by using only a cheap mechanical pencil. It was much more feasible to travel with that than a set of wooden pencils that might break or would need to be sharpened.

I like things that are a little bit off. I love learning about strange medical conditions or things like body farms. Visiting the Mütter Museum was something I felt compelled to do once I learned of its existence. With my pseudo-anatomical heart I was trying to go for the grotesque. The heart, as a symbol, is everywhere in our culture. Girls draw it on notebook paper. It’s on playing cards. New Yorkers (and tourists) use it to replace the word love on t-shirts. And in our culture the heart in our chest is also associated with love. I wonder how often we picture that Valentine-shaped object in our ribcages, beating away, instead of the wonderful muscular organ who actually resides there.

After I completed my sketch, I knew I wanted to turn it into an oil painting. I had gotten tired of sighing and admitting to people that it had been years since I’d done a fine art project. I needed to prove to myself that I could. And once I started, it was wonderful.

I took photos of my progress, starting with some basic color blocking, progressing to more and more detail, an experiment with darkening the corners and then undoing that, and finally something I think I am finished with.

Since animated gifs are fun, please enjoy the way this heart wiggles around and changes color. The color changes are mainly from the varying lighting conditions going on while taking the photos.

Using my point-and-shot to take a photo of it on my kitchen table really doesn’t do it justice, but I figured it was better than trying to scan my still-wet painting. That wouldn’t end well on many levels.


I’m pleased with the result, but I think I might try painting this image/concept again. I still have much to learn from this form. Also, it could be grosser.

Wizard of Oz: As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don’t know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.
Tin Woodsman: But I still want one.

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