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Maria Brownsell

My community/cultural project is about the idea of how the past becomes transformed into the present while still remaining somewhat the same. The historical town of Tappan, in Rockland County, New York, is the place of my inspiration. I have lived in this town since I was 8 years old and only left it for short spans of a year or two maximum during my adult years. My husband and I have just bought a home in this same town that I grew up in for our children to also grow up in. 

My project consists of life cycle drawings, first of a frog, then of a butterfly in order to show a very visual form of transformation from tadpole to froglet to frog and caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. To add to the interest of my pencil drawings, I included 2 other sets of drawings of the same life cycles, one drawn by my four-year old, and one drawn by my eight-year old. The transforming of drawing skills from toddler to child to adult.

During the past few weeks, as the world becomes more and more isolated, taking walks around the historic town and reading all the different plaques has been a fun and exciting experience I have been sharing with my children. This has inspired me to create a series of transformative drawings not only done by myself but also the two people I have been spending the most time with.

These two series of life cycles, both of which are indigenous to the area I live, grow and change but are in essence the same creatures. When you look at the simplistic drawings of the four year old, the slightly more detailed drawings of the eight year old, and then the my drawings as the adult, you can see specific characteristics that carry over in all of them, but to different extents. Everything is different, yet the same.

After creating these series of drawings with my children, I decided to open up the family drawing to the community. I created the #RocklandArtChallenge where I ask families to choose an animal and each member to draw their own version and share it to the challenge. I look forward to seeing what other families have to share.

Maria Brownsell was born on June 12, 1983 in the State of New York. She is the oldest of 5 siblings and the mother to 2, almost 3, children. She has been creating art as far back as she can remember. She is just about to receive her Master’s Degree in Teaching of the Visual Arts. She is also finishing her first year as a fulltime teacher at Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia, New York. She never anticipated finishing her year through distance learning, both as a teacher and a student. It has all been a big adventure and she is ready to see what positive things are up next.

Frog 2 - Age 4, 2020.

Pencil with photoshop, 6"x6"

Frog 3 - Age 8, 2020.

Pencil with photoshop, 8.5"x11"

Frog 1 - Adult, 2020.

Pencil and digital drawing, 9"x12"

Butterfly 2 - Age 4, 2020.

Pencil and digital drawing, 6"x6"

Butterfly 3 - Age 8, 2020.

Pencil and digital drawing, 8.5"x11"

Butterfly 1 - Adult, 2020.

Pencil and digital drawing, 9"x12"

All images courtesy of the artist.


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