I was commissioned by my first cousin once removed to draw a Madonna and child with the symbols of the Catholic deaconate. This was a fun commission due to my training as an art historian. I wanted to make sure that all of the symbols in the image were appropriate to Mary. I imagined a sort of modern hortus enclusus, or enclosed garden, which was a symbol of Mary's perpetual virginity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. For that reason, there is no sky, just garden. I added various flowers that were symbols of Mary: rose, lily, columbine, and periwinkle, seen in the garden and on her veil. The gospel and chalice are symbols of the deaconate, and I added an image of Jesus' passion: the Crucifixion and Lamentation, on the pages. The chalice and Eucharistic host was decorated with silver, as was her habit and flowers of the garden, while I gilded the haloes to catch the light. I will show it to you before and after gilding (the gilded images are photos as it's hard to scan).
A quick digital collage of a new sketch and an old drawing of the forest. "The Bear King" colored pencil, watercolor, pencil, and digital collage.
Eryngium Thistle, watercolor.
Male hatchling house sparrow, watercolor and gouache. Seen in Rego Park, NY
Eastern Cicada Killer, watercolor. Seen in Rego Park, NY
American Woodcock, watercolor. Seen in Long Island City, NY
Cicada Shell, watercolor. Found in Maryland.
Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. Seen in the Great Smokies, TN.
Eastern Comma Butterfly, watercolor. Seen in the Great Smokies, TN.
This summer, I've been practicing watercolor by doing nature studies of dead creatures I've encountered. After all, the Italian term for "still life" is natura morta: dead nature.
Yellowjacket. Watercolor and pencil.
Cicada shell, lateral view. Watercolor and pencil.
Green June bug, watercolor and colored pencil.
Female eastern carpenter bee, anterior, watercolor.
Female eastern carpenter bee, posterior, watercolor.
Female yellow breasted chat, watercolor and gouache.
Female northern flicker? Watercolor.
My Dancing Bear was used with permission by the Academy for Teachers' "Show Teachers the Love" 2018 gala. How cool!
Finally, I am able to reveal the cover of my first illustrated book, The Lions at Night, coming this winter from The Roadrunner Press!
From the release: "We're so excited to reveal the cover of Jessica M. Boehman's wordless picture book THE LIONS AT NIGHT, which follows the beloved Literary Lions of the New York Public Library — Patience and Fortitude — on the kind of late-night excursion to Coney Island that children dream about. Coming September 2018."
Above photos courtesy of McDaniel College.
I was invited this past winter to be a part of an exhibit that was very dear to my heart: "Legacy: Celebrating 150 Years of the Fine Arts at McDaniel College." McDaniel, then Western Maryland College, was my alma mater, and it was there that I double-majored in Studio Art and Art History, having fallen in love with the theory and the practice of art. I had started as a Graphic Design major, and realized that it wasn't quite what I wanted, and was simultaneously seduced by Art History. For those of you who know me, you know that I got my B.A. in Studio Art and Art History but my M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History. I now teach both disciplines at LaGuardia Community College in New York City, where I am Associate Professor.
The concept of Legacy was to pair professors--both current and emeritus--with students who were shaped by their tutelage. The show focused only on the Fine Arts. Two of my three art history professors have since passed away, but the third now works at the Carroll County Arts Council, where this show was held.
Prof. Emerita Susan Ruddick Bloom (top photo, far left, and below) chose me as her student pair. Prof. Bloom was my professor throughout college, and I had her for my graphic design and commercial art classes, and for my first computer art class, back when the medium was young. It was actually in her class that I made my first little illustrated book, which illustrated a Native American tale on the Creation of Man (see below):
Eventually, and as a result of that assignment, I ended up with an illustrated book for my senior capstone year-long project: an Arthurian legend from the point of view of Lancelot, written by my classmate Joy K. Hoffman, a beautiful writer and a like-minded soul. I had a lot to learn about illustration, but that was my start.
So it seems only appropriate that I am now working on my first illustrated book--also in colored pencil--that mixes digital technology.
Prof. Emeritus Wasyl Palijczuk (above) was my painting, drawing, and printmaking professor. Both he and Sue Bloom had taught my brother Jonathan first, so I had big shoes to fill. Wasyl, a native of the Ukraine, was a lively presence in the classroom and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was so touching to see him again after many years. Here he is with my and my mom.
It was pretty exciting to exhibit alongside my old classmate, Aaron Heisler ('99) (below), who is now an Industrial Design professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Aaron and I slogged through many classes together. It's so interesting to me that we both started exactly the same, and both ended up as professors with very different specializations. We both marveled that of all the students from the years of history of the college, two of us from the same class were picked. How wonderful--and a good reunion, too.
I can finally announce a project that's been in the works for the better part of a year...my first picture book, a wordless story about Patience and Fortitude of the NYPL. It's called The Lions at Night and it will come out this year from The Roadrunner Press. It was inspired by a short comic I made in the winter of 2016. Stay tuned! In the meantime, it's back to the drawing board for me.