Online journal chronicling development of Southeast's River Campus mural
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Gary Lucy, an award winning artist and graduate of Southeast Missouri State University who has been selected to design and create a mural for the University's River Campus, is using an online journal to educate the public about his progress with the project.
The journal began on Dec. 7, 2004, and will continue throughout the next two years while Lucy is working on the mural. Early journal entries display photographs and detailed information about the research and creativity process he conducted before beginning construction on the frame and canvas for the mural.
"The purpose of this online journal is to interpret the thought process involved in the research, development, and production of a work on this scale," Lucy said. "It also offers a way for students to visit the studio of a professional artist and observe the day to day development of a very detailed and intricate piece of artwork."
To create the journal, Lucy takes photographs taken in his studio while he is working on the mural. He then goes over each photograph and decides which best tell the story about his work, he said. Once the photographs are chosen, Lucy writes his personal thoughts about each stage of development displayed in the photographs.
The journal is updated once a month. He says he does not have a set format or direction when he creates an entry.
"Like anything else in the art world, this journal does not go by a specific set of rules or direction because it is a creative process," Lucy said. "My narrative is a reaction to the activity being developed at that moment in the studio."
Lucy says he has completed other journals while researching his paintings. For previous works of art about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Louisiana Purchase, he has traveled more than 800 miles on the Missouri River from Yankton, S.D., to St. Charles, Mo., and 350 miles on the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky., to Fort Massac State Park, Ill., in efforts to research a particular landscape before painting it on canvas.
The journals, he says, are a way of teaching history while showing exactly what artists must do when deciding to create a piece of art. Lucy says he spends as much time researching as he does painting. He said he hopes the journals are as educational as they are informative, especially for aspiring art students.
"The journals are meant to teach techniques and processes not usually taught in the classroom," Lucy said. "My hope is that students and those interested in learning more about painting and art as a profession can learn from the challenges I face when creating my own works of art."
Lucy ultimately plans to publish his journal after he completes his work on the mural.