Last week, I decided to share my process of consolidating my “Curious Atheist” identity with my “real-life” identity, and it felt a bit heavy. On the other hand, beginning next week I have a lot of exciting posts on the way, including a new series on paleoanthropology and creationism! To give my upcoming posts the time they deserve, I thought that today I’d be a little more laid back and share with you some of the artwork that I’ve made over the years. Of course, creating this post took a lot longer than I had planned (what was I thinking?), but regardless, here are photos of—and stories behind—my art pieces!
This was one of the first art pieces that I made. It was for a high school art class when I was a sophomore in 2012. I include this here primarily because it shows some of the things I was (and am) interested in outside of just atheism, blogging, and reading! First on my mind were generally music and video games, but I think it’s interesting that I included the bookmark with the bible verse on it in my painting. It’s telling of how I viewed religion in high school: not playing a big role in who I was, but always present, and I was used to it. I was showing that I liked to read (young adult fiction at the time) and play the violin, but the bible verse was just there, and I didn’t really think twice about it like I would now.
Like I said before, I really liked video games in high school—specifically the Legend of Zelda. This painting is of one of the towns in the series. Since I can’t really paint freehand, it’s actually my version of the painting “Kakariko Village” in the Hyrulean Travel series of paintings by artist Dean Walton. As far as I know, they’re no longer available for sale.
During the five years that elapsed between my last piece and this piece, I started dating my husband, graduated high school, started attending Grove City College, became an atheist, and started this blog. So by 2017, I was both very anxious and, well, angsty. My mom had her bible verses hanging in our house. My roommate had her hand-drawn bible verse calligraphy pieces that she hung in our room. And I wanted to get out my stress from it all and be a little atheist rebel, so I made this with colored pencils. I finally hung it only when I had a dorm room to myself the next fall, and I later had it up above my desk when I moved to my current house in July 2019 until earlier this month—but more on that later.
My wedding, I think more than most, was handmade my me and my husband (but mostly me). I designed my own invitations, and we assembled them by hand. I designed all my decorations and had everything exactly as I wanted it. And whenever I had some extra time and wanted to save money, I would design a decoration and hand-paint it instead of ordering a print; that’s what this is. I spent two days designing, drawing, and painting this piece for the entrance to our wedding, and it has been hanging in our living room since.
By now, I was hooked on lettering projects like this. And since I had just gotten married and moved in with my husband, I really wanted our new apartment to reflect who we were. Thus, I had the idea for this piece! It was super easy due to the (dangerous) fact that Michael’s sells galaxy-print poster boards for $2. All I had to do was arrange painter’s tape, paint it white, let it dry, and peel! (And I liked it so much that I later made a piece of merch with the same design!)
After handmaking my wedding centerpieces, I had lots of plastic flowers left over, so I did what is now my go-to, and turned them into another craft! I used that leftover painter’s tape to mark off where the K (my new last initial) would go, and cut any overflowing petals along the edge.
This art was born from a bit of a tragedy. I had given my husband this framed poster from Etsy as a Valentine’s Day gift in 2018, but when we moved to our new house in summer of 2019, we took a vacation before having a chance to hang all our posters. Well, our cat didn’t like us leaving her alone in a strange place, and she took to destroying our posters the best way she knew how. It was sad, but it gave me the idea to take the design of the original poster and hand-draw it over a background of pages taken from old books.
This poster has the same backstory as the last; I rubber-cemented the pages on the canvases on the same day but took a four-month break when it came to actually drawing on the words. Similarly, this is the reincarnation of another poster I had given to my husband years before, featuring a quote from “our” movie and book, The Great Gatsby.
Back when my blog was called “The Closet Atheist,” I bought some business cards before I ever realized that I might eventually change the name. Once I had a new blog name and a couple hundred new business cards, I needed to put the old ones to use, so I made this piece to commemorate my blog’s old name and logo. I hung it in my room until a few weeks ago when I decided that it stressed me out too much to constantly be reminded of the early days of my blog and what I was going through at the time.
This isn’t really original art, either, but a paint-in-the-lines kit that my husband got me last Christmas! It has all my favorite things on it: a kitty (which I painted—or rather left blank—to look like mine), a book (which I made red to look like The Founding Myth), a cute coffee cup, and a cozy sweater, both of which I made my favorite color. Only after I finished it did I realize that the coffee was too dark, since I like to mask the flavor with lots of hazelnut creamer! This is now hanging where the CA business card piece was previously, and it is much more relaxing to see.
Like with the business card piece, I didn’t want to be reminded of what I was going through when I made the piece that read “As for me and my house, we won’t serve the Lord.” Furthermore, I’m not really that angsty college student surrounded by bible verses anymore, so that piece had finished serving its purpose. This has now replaced that piece on the wall above my desk. I love this one not only because it gave me a reason to get another one of those $2 galaxy poster boards, but because it allows me to dwell on the positive instead of the negative.