Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Polyphony Bruna's "Eastern Screech Owl"

"For December’s Eastern Screech Owl, I chose to start off with an ink wash base after sketching my design. This is a process using white watercolor and black india ink that results in the distorted background. I used this technique because it would mimic tree bark and give the piece a woodsy tone. Another reason for choosing an ink wash is because the important part of this process, the distortion, occurs outside of the influence of the artist—the reaction between the watercolor and the india ink is impossible to predict and its results differ each time. By having this texture be created outside of my own influence, the result would not be artificially created and therefore more accurately reflect the nature tone. On top of this layer, I used watercolor to lay down the initial coloring. By adding the color with watercolor first, I was able to focus on creating the texture of the owl’s plumage when I went in with colored pencil later. Colored pencil was good for this purpose of adding texture because it has sharper and thinner strokes that would stand out against the softer watercolor. These techniques combine to produce a contrast between the bareness of the background and the richness of the owl that creates intrigue for the viewer. In this way, the Eastern Screech Owl embodies the warm richness of life against the cold bareness of December."

—Polyphony Bruna

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Polyphony Bruna: IBOM's New Young Artist

Polyphony, a wonderfully talented artist and Ames High School student, will be creatively rendering our spotlight birds, starting with the crow. Welcome to the flock, Polyphony! We look forward to seeing uyour work throughout the IBOM project.

"Hello! My name is Polyphony Bruna; I am 16 years old and a junior at Ames High School. I have been interested in and exposed to art all my life, but it was not until just over five years ago that I began properly studying art. It was also around that time that I began entering my work in various regional and national competitions as well as having my work featured in exhibits. I am proud to have won prestigious awards such as Best in Show in 2014's Iowa Youth Art Month (Sargent Art Award) and, in 2016, a Grant Wood Legacy Prize. It was through these competitions, as well as the various summer art courses I have taken, that I got to meet a supportive community of fellow artists and art educators while sharing my work and improving my skills. As a high schooler, I enjoy taking full advantage of being able to take art electives and am very involved in my school's art department. In fact, during my freshman year, I co-founded my high school’s first Art Club, which I currently lead. Then, during my sophomore year, I worked to establish National Art Honors Society at my school as a branch of the Art Club. I feel that it is very important for art programs to be offered and supported in schools, and I am honored to have played such a crucial role in expanding the reach of art at my school. It makes me so happy when I hear one of my peers say that although they are not able to take any art classes, they can still keep art in their life because of our Art Club. My ability to support the arts at our school stems from the support I have always received growing up, both from the art community and family/friends. This environment secured, from a young age, my belief in the value of art both as a hobby and, more importantly, a legitimate career option. The community I have become a part of through pursuing art is indispensable, and it has shaped who I am today."
"When given the American Crow for November’s featured bird, I knew that I wanted to use black india ink as my primary medium. This is because india ink is very pigmented and would provide a rich, deep black color that would provide the power that the crow, a stylistic and well-recognized symbol in our culture, demands. It was also for this reason that I chose to remain monochromatic. The tendrils extending from the bottom and the bird’s wings were created by blowing drops of diluted ink using a straw. The placement of the tendrils was chosen to contrast the sky and the ground. This contrast positions the crow within the piece. Appearing as an ominous figure, this crow acts as a harbinger of the darkness that marks the time change in November."