Thursday, June 17, 2010


The Scarlet Letters
12" X 12"
Kelli Money Huff
Drum roll.........TA-DAAAAh!! Project number one is finished. And I am still alive. The above piece is a multi-media collage portrait of my creative partner and fellow blogger Carlynne Hershberger. If you read my previous post, I have taken on the challenge of creating every project that the artists on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist are doing and following pretty much the same parameters as the TV artists with the exception of the time limits. (Refer to previous post for particulars.)

Technique on this one is pretty straight-forward, photos of Carlynne, printed in black and white and then glued to a studio wrapped canvas. I have also added printed words, an envelope and stamp and acrylic paint. This portrait depicts my impression of her as she was about to give birth and surrender her child for adoption in 1980. (For more info on this, refer to Carlynne's previous posts.) No, I was not there and did not know her at that time, but have been a spectator as she has become an activist for change in adoption laws.

The photo is black and white instead of color because I wanted to present her as a ghost of herself as she was moving through the months of pregnancy knowing that she would have to give up this child, suppressing her real feelings in order to cope with the impending loss. The color blue represents her sadness. The envelope illustrates the letters she wrote home to her family and is pink because her baby was a girl, and the stamp shows the Madonna and child. The letters BFA stand for Baby For Adoption, the letters posted over her bed in the maternity ward and are the most important part of the piece, thus, the title, The Scarlet Letters.

I am relatively happy with the way this piece turned out, but there were many times during the process that I had serious doubts about the final results as well as my sanity. To give you an idea of how it went:

When the idea gelled: Oh, yeah, this is a great idea and I have lots of symbols to put in it. It will be fabulous. I am so excited I can't sleep! ( I really didn't sleep for 2 days.)

After I took photos and looked at them: These aren't what I thought I was getting. I'll have to take some more. Crap!

After working with the photos for awhile, enlarging and cutting and going from color to B & W: These will work just fine.

After laying them out: These aren't going to work. I'll have to start over. Man, do I have to do this?
Then: These will work better than I originally thought. Maybe it'll even be fun.

After gluing some down: This paper is crap, I'll have to do the whole thing again. I'll never be able to show this to Lynne, much less EVERYONE who reads the blog.

After arranging the smaller elements: Well, maybe I kind of like what the crappy paper is doing.
After adding some paint: This looks so amateurish. What was I thinking, this is going to be awful! What did I get myself into, now I have 9 more projects to do, or ruin!!

After adding more paint and blending it: This is better, well, maybe it's not so bad.

All I have to say is, this is going to be the longest 10 weeks of my life.
Peace and love to all,


Nancy said...

Kelli - I think this is wonderful! You have captured the essence of Lynne, and told an important story. IF I was a judge, I'd certainly pass you on for the next challenge! I'm anxious to see what you come up with for the next challenge - it's totally off the wall!

Kelli said...

Thanks for you comments Nancy. It is a very emotional piece. And thanks for passing me on to the next challenge!

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

Kelli, OMG I adore this piece! It is phenomenal!