Icons in Practice


Before I begin today’s post, I would like to comment on my own post from yesterday. The icon pair that I chose for ‘frustration’ elicits the feeling of ‘stop’ instead of that of frustration. I copy yesterday’s final icon picture below, for convenience.

Set of icons representing frustration

Frustration Icon Set
5″x7″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

I believe that the angle of the hand makes all the difference. The palm should be facing upward. This is difficult to achieve in this icon derived from the particular photograph I chose (replicated below) . The reason? Foreshortening.

Frustration with Mike


You can see that the heel of the palm is forward and the fingers extend backwards in the photo. One possible solution is to rotate the entire hand counterclockwise. This is more difficult than it looks, as you can see from the practice icons below.

Practice icons for 'frustration'

Frustration Hand Gesture Practice
5″x7″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

Barrier study using the ‘frustration’ icon

I painted a number of abstract expressionistic watercolors based on the concept that there is an impermeable barrier between my older brother and me (Back to Abstract?VariationMy NicheSketchingBarrier #5 CompletedBarrier Series with Gestures, Narrative or Portrayal of Feelings?). Mike is very low functioning, autistic and nonverbal.

Below is another in this series. I mean for it to portray not only feelings of frustration and sadness, but also anger. These are very real feelings for siblings of brothers or sisters who are severely disabled. Most siblings take the welfare of their less-abled kin very seriously, but even so, feelings of frustration and anger are natural. The able-bodied sibling may not be encouraged to acknowledge these feelings, but they are present on some level.

I am grateful to my mother for giving me permission not to suppress my negative feelings. She said (paraphrasing), “You can think whatever you want, even negative feelings, as long as you don’t act on them.” In other words, actions speak louder than words, or thoughts.  Although this idea clashes with the zen concept of – every thought creates ripples through the entire universe – (paraphrasing again) it is better to acknowledge one’s feelings than not. Positive thinking is a choice, reacting to a traumatic situation isn’t.

Barrier study with frustration:

Abstract Expressionist watercolor study: Barrier and Frustration

Barrier Series – Barrier with Frustration
7″x10″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

I hope that the anger expressed in this study does not upset anyone. My need to crash through the communication barrier between my brother and me used to be very intense, therefore I believe that my use of the intense symbolism is justified.

3 thoughts on “Icons in Practice

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