First Things First I’m Surrealist 🎨

If there is one lesson that I’ve learned in life, it would be that we all benefit from our experiences.

Snail Boy, Watercolor/Ink Pen, (One of my pieces in my exhibit.)

Whether our experiences are positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all gain new knowledge and perspectives through our encounters. I can definitely say that this capstone project was an interesting experience. I would say that this project encompassed a lot of bad luck mixed a successful ending result. You know the feeling when everything that could go wrong in your perfect plan actually becomes true? Yeah, unfortunately that’s how the bulk of my project played out. Do not be fooled though, I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. So here is the whole story of my Interdisciplinary Studies applied project.


The Original Plan

During my time at Plymouth State University, I had never gotten the opportunity to showcase my artwork. Even when I declared a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2015, I never was presented the chance. Last year when I changed my major and declared my Interdisciplinary Studies major I was able to create an exhibition of my artwork for my senior capstone project. This project is immensely important to me because it gives me the opportunity to finally showcase my artwork that I’ve put so much passion and imagination into.

The original plan seemed a lot more simple than it planned out to be. At the beginning of the semester I began to plan out my art work schedule. My goal was to add pieces on to a watercolor piece that I began last semester in Advanced Drawing class. To accomplish this goal I managed to stay fairly on track and complete one to two paintings per week. My thought was that I would put this multiple piece painting in my exhibition along with a large oil painting that I completed last semester in Advanced Painting class. I also happen to sketch quite often in my notebook, I was hoping to develop some of those sketches.

Kayleigh’s Poster

The original location of my exhibit was going to be in Lamson Library along the “felt” wall and my exhibit was supposed to be on view December 1st through December 10th. Because of the various setbacks, I decided at the last minute to change the location of my exhibition to the kiosk in front of Center Lodge. I was also supposed to have a reception but sadly, because of the various setbacks, I did not have enough time to plan one.

During this project, my fellow IDS classmate, Kayleigh Bennett has been creative marketing my exhibition. To the right is a poster that Kayleigh created for my exhibition. In the middle of the semester, Kayleigh and I applied for the SRAC grant and we thought that we would receive the grant money in the beginning of November. Well this proved to be wrong, yet another setback, we received the grant money towards the middle-end of November. With this grant money I was planning on purchasing professional frames and framing supplies for my pieces. Kayleigh was planning on purchasing posters and other necessary items to market my exhibition.


The Setbacks

I would say that one of the biggest setbacks was receiving the SRAC grant mid-late November. We thought that we would receive the grant money sooner and we would be able to plan accordingly up until the installation date. Since we got the money later than expected Kayleigh and I felt very rushed and stressed trying to order supplies at the last minute. We were worried that we had such a time crunch that we wouldn’t be able to install in time. This proved to be true when yet another setback occurred.

Elaborate Sketches
(Some of my pieces in my exhibition.)

Before we left for Thanksgiving Break, I had ordered 24 frames and 1 cork board online from Michaels. I was planning on receiving the materials after I got back from break and I would then frame my pieces and install later that week. Well, when I returned to PSU only three of the frames arrived, along with the cork board. I decided to wait it out and see if the rest of the frames came later in the week. That Friday when the frames still hadn’t arrived, Janina and I decided to go online and track the package. Much to our surprise, the package was damaged during shipping and they never sent an email to let us know that they sent it back. I ended up having the frames reimbursed, since the new ones wouldn’t arrive in time for my installation date. On that same Friday, I drove down to Michaels in Concord and ended up purchasing the same frames.

In result of the damaged frames and having to buy more frames, I pushed the installation date back and I decided to move my exhibition to the kiosk in front of Center Lodge. In this location, my exhibit will be able to stay up until I decide to take it down. Luckily two of my friends, one being the assistant exhibit designer at the Museum of the White Mountains, helped me install my completed and framed exhibit the following Monday of December 4th.


Successful Endings & Lessons Learned

Multi-Piece Watercolor (One of the pieces in my exhibition.)

So in the end, the project turned out to be a success! Kayleigh was able to get the posters printed and sent out to the art department. I successfully installed by exhibition and I feel like my pieces that I’ve created for my show express my imagination and creativity. Since the installation date, many of my friends and loved ones have seen my exhibit and I honestly haven’t heard any negative feedback. I have heard that my exhibit looks professional and that it’s interesting to look at. I am glad that I changed the location because the kiosk is well lit and people can look at my exhibit at any time of the day or night. On another positive note, since Kayleigh and I have received the SRAC grant, we will be presenting this project at the Student Showcase of Excellence in the Spring semester.

Throughout this whole process I have learned many valuable lessons, some of which include, time management skills and self-motivation. Because this project involved a lot of planning and artwork to be done by a deadline towards the end of the semester, it was easy to procrastinate. However, through this project I was able to improve my time management skills and I was able to complete all my paintings within the allotted time limit. Even though, I was crunched in time towards the end of the semester, I didn’t abandon the project and I found other ways to accommodate the setbacks. I believe the challenges of this project was self-motivation because when things don’t go as planned it’s easy to get discouraged. Believe me, there were times where I was so done with the project and planning that I wanted to drop everything and just be done. But I’d always think to myself, this opportunity is amazing and I love to inspire people through my artwork. Basically the”good” things outweighed the “bad” things in this project.

Oil Painting (One of my pieces in my exhibition.)

One of the more interesting/fun lessons I’ve learned during this project is definitely learning how toΒ frameΒ a canvas painting. It’s funny because I’ve never framed my artwork, I’ve always just either bought ready-made frames or used mat board. I thought the framing process would be easier but it actually requires a good amount of math and wood shop skills. I built the frame with my boyfriend’s help, we went to Lowe’s and picked out different cuts of wood. We ended up using oak and we quickly discovered that we should have used a “softer” wood. I would say it took about three hours to make the frame and I’m glad that I decided to build it because the framing skills that I learned will benefit me in future experiences.

My goal as an Interdisciplinary Studies, Expressive Arts major is to influence others through creating artwork. I love when individuals come up with new ideas through looking at my artwork and reading my statements about my pieces. I feel like art is a great way to express your emotions, ideas, how you feel about certain issues, relieve stress and unleash your imagination.

One thought on “First Things First I’m Surrealist 🎨

  1. You definitely had your share of challenges mounting this one, but the end result is excellent, and beyond that, your work! YOUR WORK! I loved seeing it hung together, and I am just consistently blown away by the creative energy in your pieces and how distinct they all are from each other despite the fact that they are all recognizably Cawley.

    What a pleasure to see this work as a collection!

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