Visual Rhetoric and Audience Perception

Pardon my dust!

This past year I’ve been flirting with a bit of theory, particularly Visual Rhetoric. Rhetoric in general involves the ability to persuade an audience utilizing the three rhetorical appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos refers to the character and credibility of the author or artist, logos represents the logic that is utilized, and pathos is the emotional content of the argument. So, exactly how does this all apply to art?

Typically we artsy folk either vehemently avoid taking our audience, the viewers who look at our art, as a matter of principle, or we are so wrapped up in our own world that we don’t even bother to take into consideration the perspective of our viewers.

I explored this topic while I was taking a class, and I decided to post a video about it.

Take a look!

So, do you agree with me that artists should take their audience into consideration when creating artwork? Let me know what you think in a comment!


Yeah yeah, I know. I’ve been away for quite a while. I’ve been doing a lot, particularly applying for jobs, coming up for some plans for the future, coping with life, reading, gardening, meditating, writing, and all that good stuff. I would like to go somewhere far off. Rather, I NEED to go someplace far away.

So, I started a pretty large garden this year, and it was going really well until the bean beetles came and attacked my beans. The cowpeas seem to be least affected, but all of my bush beans are practically down for the count. On the bright side, my sunflowers and potatoes seem to be thriving. Actually, I’m most excited about these two crops.


My sunflowers, helianthus annus, have grown huge, the tallest one being about 7 feet. The above picture is about two or three weeks old, but you get the gist. I’m kind of interested in the kind of solar energy that these flowers may have-in a metaphysical sense. I have also been brushing up a little on pranic healing, and one recommendation that is made for energizing is drinking solarized water, so I can’t help but think of the sun as a significant energy source, and I am especially cognizant if something, like sunflowers, have a very strong attraction towards this energy source.  I can’t help but wonder what kind of things can be used with it.

In my readings, I discovered a symbolic meaning of the sunflower, specifically “devotion”. This stems from the Greek story- at least I think it’s Greek. I don’t remember anymore- in which a woman who was in love with the sun god Apollo (or is it Helios?), but he didn’t love her back and actually was hitting on another dude’s daughter. Every time he tried to do something to get close to her, the rejected chick warned the father. Essentially, she kept looking at Apollo in admiration until she died and turned into a sunflower. Now with that being said, where does devotion come into play? I would more so consider the Sunflower, given the context of it’s story, to have the symbolic meaning of a stalker…

To me, I view the sunflower to represent admiration- the kind of admiration given towards the source of creative energy. In this sense I can understand the meaning of “devotion”, but concept and word “devotion” doesn’t suffice. The sun is the source of all energy: from the sun’s rays plants photosynthesize, from the plants humans and animals eat and thrive,  under the sun’s direct light of the day and reflected light on the moon of the night we see clearly, and we are just now steadily starting to use the sun to power electronics. Furthermore, the sunflower can never quite be one with the sun or it will- we all will- surely die, and yet to shield the sunflower from the sun will sentence it to certain death. Thus the true meaning of the sunflower is longing and striving for that which one will never have- the Apollo situation- and the celebration and attention of the creative source.

So yeah, those are my sunflower thoughts. I’ve had a lot of cool ideas for sunflower paintings, but I first need to finish my Durham Lake paintings. Or, I guess I could alternate and do one and then the other. Anyways, I managed to finish one of the Lake paintings.

A painting of Durham Lake Goldsboro, NC
A painting of Durham Lake Goldsboro, NC

As for the potatoes, I’ve also had some ideas for those too, but I didn’t manage to take pictures of the flowers before the rain decimated them. Did you know that potatoes are related to tomatoes in the nightshade family, and that potatoes grow poisonous fruit that look like tomatoes? All of the green parts of the potatoes are poisonous. That is where the concept of a tomato being poisonous probably came from, and further why many people also say that green tomatoes are equally poisonous. And yet, with all that poisonous that the lady gives us on the outside, on the inside she has hidden some pretty scrumptious potatoes just waiting to be picked.

I’m going to do some sketches and post them soon, so keep a look out.


It may seem that I haven’t been doing much because I haven’t posted much. On the contrary, I’ve been doing quite a bit. In attempt to get my work some publicity (attempt anyways), I submitted my work to an exhibition; however, it was not accepted. So, let me tell you how I felt when making the painting, before, after, and during.

So, before the deadline, I found myself in a rut. Seeing as how the work had to be related to popular culture, I chose to focus on music in particular. I was listening to Alicia Key’s “Girl on fire”, and I must say that I came up with at least three different variations within a span of month or so. One day, I was reading her lyrics and I guess I saw a nice little daydream from which I drew inspiration from.

So, on the day on which I submitted my painting I was excited, and afraid at the same time. But, I thought, so long as someone- anyone- saw my painting, then it wouldn’t matter if I won or not; but alas, when I lost, I kind of felt discouraged. I felt that way for about a week after the submission deadline, and after talking with my friends and supporters, I feel a little better, and I’m kind of excited to start on my next piece.

I discovered a technique that I really enjoy, and the painting is a bit different from what I normally make. THANK GOD. I felt like for a while I was stuck in an academic rut with all of the still lifes I was painting and drawing. Yes, they work if I am aiming on being commercial, but it’s really liberating to make something from my imagination for once.

Anyways, here is the painting: Girl on Fire, acrylic on panel 30 in x 40 in

Girl on Fire

I have a couple of other ideas too. Lately, I have been meeting a lot of analytical-like people and they make me think of how humanity has strayed (it would seem) from understanding how things are connected; they are also straying from, I feel, the original concept of immortality, and while many think-even myself to an extent-forever is a very long time that no one would want to experience, looking for “forever” is the key to understanding the fundamental spiritual essence of everyone. And no, I’m not talking about an atom. That’s matter.

I mentioned about a few months ago that I wanted to make some works that protest or depict the extent to which my community has deteriorated, but, right now, I’m still kind of trying to gather the courage to express my feelings about these matters.

Anywho! I’m going to take a break and recover from this cold or allergies or whatever. I look forward to tomorrow when I can pick up my painting and later play “Long Way From Home”.

Still life and concept sketch

Here is the still life I am working on currently:

Wine Still life

Right now, I am trying to tackle the back ground to ensure that I have a sense of depth. I think I may need to, at this stage, start working just a hair on the jar so that It doesn’t end up looking underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of the painting. Also, this time around I am using Acrylic paint on watercolor paper. You would think that the plastic feel of acrylic wouldn’t be very compatible with watercolor, but it seems to work pretty well, just like regular watercolor. I will still save my heavier layers for the end of the painting, just in case, though. Hopefully, I can finish this painting in about a week or so.

I also made a sketch that pertains to one of many ideas that I have about justice:


It most certainly isn’t finished, and honestly, I need some source photos. I want to add more, to eliminate any hope of white space and to create a sense of chaos….


A few fashion ideas

Lately I have been having a bit of inspiration from Korean traditional clothing called Hanbok. I don’t exactly know how I became inspired by Korean attire while watching a Taiwanese drama about an originally Japanese manga; maybe there was an advertisement for the Korean drama “Goong” or “Princess Hours” somewhere. In any case, I was inspired. At first I was put off by the billowy “dresses” worn, but now I have a few ideas as to how I would modify this for every day wear.

The Hanbok for women consists of a Jeogori, a long sleeved shirt or jacket that reminds me of an ornate bolero, and a Chima, a really large skirt. You can find more information on the Hanbok on this website: Life in Korea: Traditional Korean Clothing. You can also find some pretty darned awesome traditional Hanbok fashion on Facebook: Korea Hanbok.

I only managed to create two this week, I may think of more later on.

Original Design and Art by Brianka Morgan
Original Design and Art by Brianka Morgan

Meanwhile, another one of my goals as I was drawing was to have a bit of fun in using pen and ink, specifically I used Staedtler Pigment liner. This first design look a little rough in comparison o the second one. Some of the lines weights don’t look naturally done, and it is evident that I had to go back in and add weight where needed. However, I still enjoyed the process of creating the pencil sketch and then refining it with ink.  Another goal was to at least KIND OF pay attention of proportions and anatomy while also creating interesting poses instead of pretty Barbie Doll drawings. I think this is most evident in this first design, though.

As I mentioned earlier, the Hanbok consists of a Jeogori and a Shima. In this design, merged both into one “body” so to speak and cut off the sleeves. One of the things about the Hanbok that is both beautiful and, sometimes, irritating to me is how the woman’s- actually, the man’s too – physique is totally hidden. I wanted something that both allowed for a conservative appearance while also letting the body show. And so, the result is a knee-length sheer jacket or overthrow thing over a simple dress. I chose not to color it, because I REALLY love line art.  In my mind, I had the idea of making the design look like a sun dress, hence the hat in the image.

The second one actually went through a number of transformations, which is why a “back” version wasn’t made.

Original Design and Art by Brianka Morgan
Original Design and Art by Brianka Morgan

I think the line art here looks a lot more “natural”. I literally went through three different designs on the same sheet of paper for this. I may go abck and give those ideas the needed individual attention, but I didn’t like how they would have made things on the body look bigger than they should. I also wasn’t to crazy with the similar billowy effect of some of the designs that I mentioned before.

One thing that bothers me about this is the types of fabric, in my imagination, that would be involved in making this. The sleeves on the Jeogori are sheer, and the bottom of it is flat or straight hemmed in comparison to the ends of  the sleeves and the dress. While on one hand this could help to let the eye “rest” from all of the frills, the inconsistency concerns me just a little. Next, the transparency isn’t really present anywhere else on the dress, which is also a bit annoying to me. I may go back and redesign this in the future.

I also went to Walmart with the intention of finding fabric for a spring design. I managed to get 3 yards of fabric for just 3 dollars.


After my Hanbok obsession, I will go and look into de-whorifying belly dance costumes to be casually wearable. I know, I know. “Whorish” is a bit harsh of a word, but if you were to wear a belly dance costume out of context, say, routinely whenever you go to buy groceries, I would consider it “whorish”- just flat out inappropriate. Wearing it in its proper context for a dance performance, for artistic sake, I think, is appropriate.

Boots and Coffee Still life

So, I finally finished my still life! I have a favorite pair of leather boots that I like to wear, and I decided to make it into a still life. I have been feeling that I need to actually do some weirder things so I switched up on the media a little and used watercolor, gouache and coffee as my media of choice. I’m sure I will loosen up a bit more soon! I look forward to creating more imaginative things like I used to back in the day. But first, let’s shake off the realist stuff. You can purchase this still life at my Etsy shoppe: ArtGlare.


Tonight I plan on setting up another still life, and sometime this week I will also post some of my fashion designs. I found this nice printed fabric at a bargain price at Walmart that I’ll use to make one of my designs with. I was aiming for fabric that was light and spring or summer friendly. Finally, I plan on making a couple of preliminary sketches for my self portrait series. I will share the sketches sometime next week, probably on Wednesday. I will aim to post weekly.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a great New Year!


So, it is official, I am finally out of college! It feels nice, but the adrenaline has yet to normalize; I still feel a sense of urgency to do things. Actually, this may not be such a bad thing.

I am slowly returning to a sense of normalcy. I’m meditating again, and I am aiming to get back to that light-hearted state that I was in back in August. Right now, I feel like I am running on fumes even as I try to do some of the important things I felt needed to be done about a month or so ago. I’ve started, finally, on the experiment that I had planned on doing, but I haven’t really written as much as I should have. I’m not a list person, but maybe making a list will help me to keep focused.

Have you ever had that moment when you want to make something but you can’t quite figure out what? I’ve been in that limbo for a bit of time, and then I finally decided to stop asking what and just randomly and haphazardly make something. For instance, I’ve been wanted a compass because I have been curious as to where north is at our home- especially after having read Star Signs by Linda Goodman- so I went online and finally figured out how to make one. It’s crude, but it gets the job done and satisfies my curiosity. Honestly, I was really inspired by this old timey “pocket watch” that I saw on some pawn show not too long ago that had a compass, a weather vane, a moon clock thing-a-ma-jig, and a sun dial, and I have been wanting to make something like that for the longest!

I have also been wanting to make some really good self portraits, and I finally figured out how to work my camera, a Canon EOS Rebel XS, so that I can take pictures- good pictures- of myself for reference. So, soon I shall be making portraits!

In the meantime, before figuring out how to work my camera to take some self portraits, I started setting up a still life and just started painting and experimenting.

A few months ago I made a piece that utilized this “drizzling” technique that I wasn’t too fond of, and I liked how it created the feeling that there is another aspect to the space that is withing the painting. It is kind of like adding the illusion of depth through the contrast of the surface…I think I am better of showing a picture later on.

In any case, here is where I am with my still life. I am thinking about adding some India ink and maybe another color or two to give it a sense of attitude, dirt, and grime. You can also tell where I tarted adding the drizzling aspect in the background.

Still life I


Apart from fine artsy stuff, I have decided to take on another graphic design like project in my mother’s business. I will be taking some pictures and creating a catalog for those who want to purchase some of her fashions. It would be nice if she would make simplified pieces as I had recommended. For the most part, that is all that is going on at the moment. I am going to work really hard, and hopefully something awesome comes from it.

Ha ha, I said that last month, too…though some awesome things did come from it.

Whats Going On?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, and lord knows there has been many times that I have tried to start and publish but never quite managed complete. I have two drafts that have never been published, and they would have been interesting too! Maybe I’ll finish them sometime. Right now, though, I am managing a 22 credit hour load so that I can graduate this December.

I am currently working on a still life series in which I create a still life to represent some things about myself that I don’t share with other people,  in addition to a butterfly symbolism series that is developing rather oddly. I am working on designing a literary journal on the side. So much stuff… I wish I had savored this past summer and rested.

There have been some reoccurring problems among some of my elder “peers” that have been aggravating me. I truly want to address this in this entry, but I feel like this is something that the entire world, art world, needs to know about. A lot of the problem has to do with people simply not recognizing their own flaws and human nature, and every word spoken by these people is but only a destructive carnal and primitive reflex. In hindsight, I kind of understand how I felt whenever I created a piece featuring an old woman and a young baby: Ever so often the older generation, and crazy people in general who probably should act their age, try to trap the current generation into a box which can result in stalling progress. I think I am speaking cryptically now. What I mean is that I wish that they would get a grip and lighten up.

To other news, there was a terrible crime, a murder, committed in my neighborhood right down the street from where I live. At first I was shocked, but slowly I have come to terms about what happened. I still feel sad that these kinds of things happen, I especially feel upset that such negative events have to happen within my proximity of existance. Frankly, it shocked me out of my usually quest for understanding human mortality and pieces I am working on that relate to it. Fortunately, I don’t have many pieces that are about death or mortality, except for maybe one; but even then, I can still just pretend that it is only a piece about the subject matter (the butterfly) and not about death. I am grateful that I chose to do works with a more positive tone this semester.

Speaking of positivity, my family got their paws on the movie “The Secret” a few months ago, and now they are on a “positive” kick. It’s that same kind of kick that fervent religious folk get into that makes me, and maybe even Jesus, Muhammad, and even Buddha, facepalm themselves in frustration. I also have a ton of online associates and peers that are on their spritual (New Age) better than thou high horse. Listen to me well. I am not singling out anyone in particular, but this is something that I also need to write a book about at some point in time.

There exists no individual(s) outside yourself (or myself) that can affect your quest or attempt (or my quest or attempt) to be emotionally stable and exist on a higher vibrational existance. Similarly, positivity starts from the inside out, not the outside in. So stop blaming others for the crap that annoys you (I can’t blame others for the crap that annoys me). The problem begins where you (I) allow yourself (myself) to be annoyed.

Now, I’m not talking about blatant confrontation in which someone tries to verbally tear you down, to your face. That is a horse of a different color (kind of…a split complimentary color). I am talking about those times in which a person JUST BREATHES, tells you unfortunate news, or heavens forbid, the truth, and you want to consider them negative. Focus on your own actions, feelings, and reactions, and make them positive so your environment will become positive.

As for the movie itself, I’m not entirely crazy about “The Secret”. I feel as though it is extremely vague; but then, to have all of the information necessary that one needs to use it correctly, like how positivity starts on the inside of the individual, would make the movie insanely long.

I will not write a review about that movie…or documentary…or something. I REFUSE!

I have only a few more weeks left and I am free. I will be able to start a new chapter and let school end for a while. I must say, college is tiring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome journey; but, no matter how beautiful the mountains and the lakes are, it is still tiring to have to hike those miles.

Speaking of which, I could go for a trip in the mountains to quiet place where I can finish all of the entries I wanted to write.


In just a few short months I will no longer be a student but, technically, a professional artist. It has been a bumpy 4 years here at my college. People have come, people have left, and some people simply shouldn’t even be around anymore. I have made a few achievements, but there are things that I wish I had done better. I think everyone who is at that last semester of college has a couple of regrets that they have when they look back on their college year. I have one primary one that eats at me.

Artist students everywhere, I want you to understand something. You see, college is supposed to help bridge the gap between you and potential employers. This especially applies to whatever art school you choose to go to. Whenever you are looking for a school, interview your prospective art school and know more about their history. Find out what kinds of connections the instructors and college may potentially have when you graduate. There is no sense in going to a school that is so introspective and turned inward towards itself that it doesn’t reach out to the community and have developed connections.

I also regret being subdued in my subject matter as I have been. I should have went all out with not regard to the intended demographics of the college I am going to.

I regret friendship number 3, and boyfriend number 2.

I probably should have talked to more people as well.

The Switch

You simply cannot get blood out of a turnip, no matter how long you wait.

I was planning on doing the mother earth series this semester for class, but instead I decided to abandon it because I couldn’t quite come up with the proper analogies. There was simply nothing coming to me.

Instead I went with something that did come to me: a dream at 2:00 am in the morning of butterflies fluttering on someone’s clothing. And so I instead decided to do a series based upon some of the more common symbolism and meanings of butterflies. How this was received by others in my class and by my professors is actually worthy of a different post entirely…

I wish I had noticed it earlier. I found it quite strange that every morning it would seem that the same butterflies were in my garden just fluttering about. Sometimes there were two or three. It was also strange because of the time of the year in which I saw them; I am used to seeing them in early spring, not in late summer.

I had to retype up my proposal many times, so I am going to just briefly state what each piece in the series is about:

1. Butterflies represent and are related to dreams. According to a dream interpretation book that I don’t quite know the name of and that I lent out, the Chinese believed that when one was a sleep, the soul in the form of a butterfly went about the places that you were when you slept. The first image will be titled “Dreams”. I’m not entirely sure on if I want to use a figure or not, but we will see.

2. Butterflies represent transformation, and to me, transformation is a common new age term for death as well as other things. So, I want to show in this piece that I worry, think about and ponder my mortality often, even to the point of investigation of spiritual principles and other things of a more occult nature. This one will be called “Fascination with Mortality”. I am thinking about making this an image of a butterfly being pinned.

3. Butterflies represent change as well as time. The focus on this is more so the passage of time. I am thinking of putting organic material on the picture plane, allowing it to decay, to illustrate this point. I am also thinking about making a piece that is an identical duplicate of this piece in the beginning before it starts drying out, but I am not entirely sure. The idea here is to mimic memory and the desire to capture memories. I may just use a photograph of a butterfly to similarly emphasize the second point. The titles will be “Passing of time” and “Memories” or something like that.

4. Butterflies represent joy and savoring the moment. There are Native American Tribes that have dances mimicking the movements of the butterfly, so I am thinking about maybe painting a picture of my dancing with flashes of butterfly wings in it. The title will be “Celebration”.

In any case, this is what I will actually do, and I won’t budge from it now that I have my ideas settled. The only thing left to do is to sketch out the ideas and work on the composition. I keep saying that I will post some sketches, but I am particular as to what I show, lol. Keep a look out!