Daughter of the Universe

This week’s featured piece is one of my favorites…


Title: Daughter of the Universe

Size: 20″ x 30″

Medium: Graphite and acrylic paint on paper

When: Drawing 2 class in college, Fall 2004

Time to complete: A couple weeks

Purpose: Class assignment

Thought Process: This professor liked to get us to think outside of the box. It helped us to think more creatively and stretch ourselves, which for someone like me that prefers realism, is a good thing to do once in awhile.

For this assignment, she gave us a piece of paper with two columns on it. In each column were words or parts of phrases. We had to choose one word/phrase from each column and that would be our title for our piece we were to create. All imagery had to reflect that title in some way. As you can see, I chose “daughter of” and “the universe”

I remember I was really struggling with not being literal in my imagery! I think my first sketch was a girl sitting on a star. I remember my teacher coaching me by telling me to not think of “daughter” and “universe”, but as things that symbolize them. We threw around words and ideas of what a daughter was, what she symbolized, or things that she would use. One of the ideas was a pearl necklace, and using it as a string of stars. I liked that, but my professor wanted me to stretch even farther. 

As I reviewed our meeting notes later that evening, one word stuck out at me that someone had mentioned: innocence. I did some research online, and found a picture of a beautiful white water lily. Lilies are my favorite flower (doesn’t matter what kind!), and it just resonated with me. I did cheat and chose a group of stars for the universe, but as the lily and the stars normally don’t appear this way, it was okay for the project.

Problems I encountered: Getting the graphite to be dark enough without turning shiny was really hard. Getting the graphite even dark was tricky! It took forever and was physically painful at times with the repetitive motion of drawing it in.

Favorite part: I don’t know, but I think this is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve done. There’s just something about it that I love!

Least favorite part: The fact that although I love it, it never feels finished. I take it out of the frame once or twice a year and work on some parts of it, fixing shadows, things like that.

Fun tidbits: I always get so many compliments on this piece! It hangs in our house, and I remember we had some friends over for dinner one night, and my girlfriend was staring at it during dinner. I thought something  was wrong, but she said she just couldn’t stop looking at it, that she loved it. When I thanked her, she asked where I got it and I told her I drew it. She didn’t believe me at first!

This piece moves around our house on a regular basis! It has hung in our bedroom, on a wall in our dining room, on two different walls in the living room, and is now on a different wall in the dining room 🙂

The upper left corner where the stars are? The misty part? That was totally unintentional. It was my arm and hand gave out from all the drawing in the dark graphite, but I couldn’t leave it white! So I smudged graphite around a bit, blending it into the white paper, and it turned into the misty area. Because the graphite was too dark to be erased, I painted stars in with white acrylic paint.

Questions on this piece:

Will this be available as prints?

Eventually! I think it might even end up as a note card as well!


What imagery comes to your mind when you hear “Daughter of the Universe”?

One thought on “Daughter of the Universe

  1. I love that you came up with a creative title for your piece. Too often beautiful works of art are simply entitled what you see. It always makes me feel as if the artist simply ran out of creativity, you know. For example: “Still Life with Apples” by Cezanne or some other such title. Why not entitle it “Mess After Lunch” or “Shopping” or “Tossed Fruit” or even something more creative. My favorite are pieces that have a bit of humor or intrigue to them that enhances the piece – I think that is where your title falls in. I now have to study the piece at a deeper level to see what you are thinking – kind of like poetry and art combined. Another good one is “Ceci n’est une pipe.” I love your title! Great job!

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