the woman's hour

February 2020 Personal Creative Challenge, Day 4: The Woman’s Hour Graphic

the woman's hour

For signage and website.

Yes, I did jump backward a day; “Greenhouse Gerberas” was my art for Day 5. I designed this set of graphics on that day but waited until my customer, my local public library, was ready to distribute them to share them here.

These images are part of my commercial art. For me, all creative efforts come from the same place. I consider some of my graphic designs through the years, be it a logo, advertisement or print layout, or website, graphic or other social media vehicle, to be just as important a creative effort as my artwork.

2020 is the centennial of the vote for Women’s Suffrage in the United States, when women won the right to vote. In celebration my local public library is hosting a series of programs through the year about women’s suffrage and about women in all fields and professions.

It still stuns me that just a century ago, all women were legally considered to be intellectually and emotionally incapable of making “important decisions” like casting a vote for a political candidate, along with missing out on a long list of other rights automatically granted to men, and given another long list of social and legal impediments, like the right for husbands to could legally beat their wives, and the prohibition of owning property and engaging in commerce.

And the right to vote wasn’t given to them, they had to fight for it. The fight for women’s suffrage began in Britain and moved to the US in the 1840s. Women and their supporters organized and used legal and political means to secure their right, but for 74 years were dismissed, insulted, beaten and jailed. Nevertheless, because of their persistence, women won the right to vote in state after state. The original federal amendment was long sought but not proposed until 1914, revived in 1917, and in 1920 the final state needed voted to ratify the amendment. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.

A poster in the Hoover Collection at Stanford University.

The poster incorporated into my design was suggested to me by the executive director of the library. It’s in the public domain, but the graphic provided was tiny and low-resolution so I searched for the best one for us to use and found the image above in Stanford University’s Hoover Collection. It was designed in 1917. It’s also part of an exhibition in the Library of Congress with this caption:

Five thousand artists entered a poster contest held by NAWSA to launch their 1917 campaign. New York illustrator Edward A. Poucher won the $250 first prize, drawing inspiration from Carrie Chapman Catt’s rousing 1916 convention speech challenging suffragists to abandon their complacency. In an obvious reference to women yielding to “The Negro’s Hour” after the Civil War, Catt declared that “The Woman’s Hour has struck.” In 1917, women won full voting rights in New York and partial rights in other states.

I love the idea of a poster contest for this, and look back at my predecessors in illustration and design for inspiration all the time, both for creative ideas and social change. Part of what I love about what I do is this sort of research for design, photography, illustration and writing assignments, and I learn the coolest things this way.

I cleaned up the image above and designed my graphics to be used for signage and website, letterhead for correspondence about the events the library is planning, and for social media, below.

the woman's hour

For signage and website.

the woman's hour

For letterhead.

the woman's hour

For social media.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to artwork, but I’ve no doubt I’ll have one or two more commercial assignments to share this month.

I began this year with a pledge to myself and my art: To be certain I won’t let ideas pass me by I’m setting myself up for a personal painting challenge in February, similar to the painting challenges I’ve participated in in past years. I aspire (but don’t expect) to create a painting or sketch every day in the month, to be posted on my blog each day.

I took the reference photo for this painting at a local greenhouse in 2013. I’ve always liked colorful gerbera daisies and their bold smiling faces. I’ve used it for a few graphic designs and decided someday I’d paint it too. So that time was now. I chose oil pastel because I’ve come to enjoy working out the flowers with layering and impasto on a rough-textured paper.

I didn’t finish it today, but I will work on it tomorrow. I’ll put it up for sale when it’s done!

This is my painting from Day 3. See other paintings in this and other painting challenges on the page Creative Challenges.

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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

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