Portraits by Emily Hernandez

image (17)Emily Hernandez (in the middle of the picture on the right; helping students to make a self-portrait) was the artist of this weeks gallery that I attended. She is a 22-year-old fifth year student who studies art eduction for high school and junior high. She first expereinced her joy and talent for art when she took her first art class in her senior year of high school. She liked it so much that she wanted to get a career out of it. Her gallery Dear Ones which was presented in the Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery was a good step in the right direction. It showed mainly portraits, which are her favorite to do, but she also gathered experience in working with ceramics.

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My favorite piece was called The Bend which she created through oil on panel. It is a self-portrait which is mainly based on the colors red and blue. Since it has been painted with oil the texture is not really smooth. If you stand close enough to the picture you can see where she used different amounts of color which gives the work some kind of 3D-look and more depth.

Emily’s inspiration in doing such paintings lays in her joy for humans and color; she especially likes how light falls differently on particular objects. For her art is about problem solving; it is a way to reexamine things every single day. Her paintings have a special meaning to her since she mainly paints people that she cares about. When she is doing a self-portrait it’s more about the challenge for her because the oil layers build up which is a tricky medium. Also, the oil only dries very slowly, so that you can work with it in more ways such as carving it or shaping off some layers. Because it takes so much time to dry it takes a long time to finish a painting. Emily told me that the bigger paintings took her about ten hours.

Before starting one of her works  she has a plan about what colors to use and what objects to paint, but during her process she decides what looks good where. Emily tries to paint at least once a week. In her opinion it is really important for teachers that they also participate in painting and that they not only let their students paint. It goes so far that she turned her sister’s room into her own studio where she creates lots of her work. Because this room is full of mirrors she uses it mainly for making self-portraits. When doing those, Emily always looks into a mirror while painting instead of copying a simple picture. She told me that she enjoy painting more than being a model for a portrait because as model you are not allowed to move which can get really exhausting if it takes ten hours to finish a painting.

In my opinion, The Bend is a greta piece of art. Especially the colors fit together very well. For me it looks like she is being cold, which is pointed out through the blue color she used for face. The red part of the painting is a blanket that’s supposed to keep her warm. Emily told me thatshe put a blanket around her body while painting the picture. The title The Bend could have something to do with the texture of the painting. Since the color needs a long time to dry it looks like it blurred in the process of drying. This blur gives the painting a special tone. I don’t exactly know why but it symbolizes loneliness in my opinion. All in all, I absolutely love this art piece.

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