I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. I think having such a great group of creative spirits really helped me find my confidence and voice in the studio. Looking back on the cumulated work for the semester I was shocked that we had done so much. Even the first sketches I did in my book contrast greatly from my final sketch o canvas. I think my problems at the start of the semester came from a lack of self confidence. I’d painted before, but not in an actual art class. Last semester I took v=the Visual Thinking course and ran into similar issues, mostly dealing with my fear to put pencil to paper and allow myself to just draw. I over analyze a lot and constantly think what I’m doing isn’t at the level it should be and so I hesitate to be creative at times. I do enjoy art and plan to incorporate that into a major or minor but I don’t believe I’ve found my creative niche, even after taking these courses at Agnes. I plan to try different courses and build on my confidence with each one.
I was caught off guard initially because in my head an intro to painting class was full of studying still life and being exact. I didn’t expect to have to freedom sketch and experiment with colors and textures from the first class. I appreciated the freedom but at the same time I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone. Being a musician, my conductors give me a new piece of music and tell me how the composer intended it to sound and how I should play it. I think that’s where I limit myself artistically because I’m used to being given instruction and being expected to follow accordingly. On later assignments for example the abstract to real life I had more fun because we were given more direction but freedom as well to interpret our original pieces.
I noticed a lot of growth personally from our first sketches to my final piece. The whole semester I’ve sort of been trying to paint without really “painting”. I think I was intimidated because I had no experience working with acrylic. I leaned towards watercolor and ink because they resembled the flow of an ink pen, which is what I normally doodle with. I favored black ink for this same reason. I wasn’t so much intimidated doing the realistic to abstract because we were working with a smaller surface and I was able to experiment with my own choice of materials on the second panel. The final piece was the greatest challenge for me because it incorporated three challenging elements: realistic color, intricate detail and being 100% acrylic. Mixing colors became easier for me as I went along. Rather than dumping random colors out in large amounts (like I did for the realistic to abstract) I remembered that a little acrylic and medium goes a long way. I noticed that my eye for color had become sharper since the start of the semester although it’s not quite there yet. I’m beginning to notice that certain shades of yellow come from a “place of green” rather than starting with yellow. or some shades of pink “come from a place of orange” first and are achieved by adding small amounts of red. I enjoyed working on the elephant portions of my canvas because they were my comfort zone, although I did meet challenges working with acrylic in small detail. Layering was tough initially because I would obsess over staying in the perimeters of that certain color without leaving the lines. I accepted that I would have to go back over edges and white spaces ultimately so I allowed myself to not obsess so much over small details.
I really did appreciate this course. Although I’m not a strong painter and may never take another painting course, things I learned went beyond painting. I learned skills involving patience, work ethic and perseverance.I plan on continuing to work towards my studio art major or minor with painting 241 under my belt!
To complete the background for my painting I took a class period and some extra time outside of class. I also painted a really thin layer of white acrylic mixed with medium on all the objects to ensure I get good coverage when I return to them. I added an extra white layer to the two parts of my elephant to ensure that the black detail showed up well. My details on the elephant are fun but very time consuming. The original elephant drawing I included on my physical collage was a design I did by hand with sharpie. It’s hard for me not to use ink or pen as I normally do with designs so I’m trying to pick my battles with the acrylic. I know it’s not going to be perfect so I’m adjusting some things in the details so it doesn’t turn into a bunch of smudges. Next I think I’m going to go into the kiwi and grapefruit pieces because they’ll pose a challenge with their fleshy texture. I’m trying to get the time consuming pieces out of the way first so that I don’t run out of time. I think the most difficult part of y painting will either be matching the skin tones on the bodies or the granola details in the bowl.
For my collage I chose to focus on healthy / sustainable living. I wanted to choose a subject that was a bit more personal, however I decided this would be fitting and fun for my not only because it incorporated a lot of colors and textures but the idea behind it is very relevant to me. My mother has always been obsessed with healthy living, my grandmother too. I’ve always been a somewhat healthy eater but I’m beginning a new journey to become a vegetarian, then I plan to move on to becoming vegan. Even making this collage inspired me to become a more active “clean eater”. I’m excited to see how this final project goes!
For my off campus art event I went to the High museum April 17th. We travelled as a small group, a majority business/accounting students and a few art students like me. Once we arrived at the High we sat down with a man named Marzell who is in charge of accounting for the museum. He explained to us about his personal history before going into greater detail about his work at the High. This trip was very informative as we were given a lot of insight into how one manages a career in art and/or business. The main goal of our trip was to see that a marriage between the two was possible.
After speaking with Marzell for a good half hour we were able to wander freely through each building of the museum. My favorite exhibits were the Gordon Parks exhibit “A Segregation Story”, “Imagining New Worlds” by Jose Parla and Fahamu Pecou and a select few pieces that were just visually striking such as the piece on display by Gerhard Richter or the piece by Vik Muniz. I got really excited when I saw Vik Muniz’s piece on display because in my Art 160 course with professor Ruby we watched a documentary on his work and I thought he was really talented. He had visited the High a couple days before for a question and answer session but unfortunately I missed him. We didn’t spend as much time as I’d hoped in the museum but I definitely plan on returning soon.
I think this project was my favorite that we’ve done so far. Having little to no experience working with paint, our canvas paintings were more difficult for me. The most difficult part at first was making a sketch of my portrait that equally fit into twelve squares. It took me a while to correct proportions and fix measurements.
I tend to lean towards collage type projects/ three dimensional projects so it was fun for me to get to choose materials that allowed me to do so. My favorite two dimensional panels were the square where I painted with black ink and the black ink panel where I used dots of an eraser. I’m not very comfortable yet with using acrylic colors. I doodle a lot with black pen so I’m more comfortable with black ink. Three dimensionally my favorite panels were those where I used magazine clippings and the very top panel where I used abstract black and white representation on cork board.
Once I began working on my squares I did run into a couple challenges, both involving sizing. My first two squares were pretty exact, however once I began using the paper cutter the edges of some papers began to jam and rip, causing what began as 12″ x 12″ to go to 12″ by 11.5″ which messed up my proportions. I also made the mistake of cutting sketchbook paper along the 1″ mark of the table measurement instead of at the start of the line which made all my squares 11″ x 11″. I tried to fix that by adding the shorter squares to cardboard to create frames to make up the lost inches.
Overall I was pleased with my results although somethings definitely could have been made better, such as the lining up of squares, more attention to detail using acrylic, etc. I feel like this was a great exercise allowing us to push boundaries materially.
I just completed the first half to our two part project, one panel a realistic observation of our selected objects and the second an abstract interpretation. This painting was difficult for me, even in its early stages because a big part did rely on the sketches we produced. Once again I found myself stuck in the sketching period because I didn’t believe my observations resembled the objects in front of me. I was able to ease into the project more once I had my final sketch planned out on the canvas. Another struggle for me was mixing my acrylics to produce these unique colors within my objects like the purples in the M and on the book or finding the right shade of brown for my sock monkey. This was my first time mixing acrylics to create various colors so it took a bit getting used to. The last real challenge I’d say would be the texture I needed to create for my sock monkey. The texture would be a large part of my painting because the monkey took up a large part of my arrangement. I attempted multiple techniques to try and visually match the texture. I attempted to take a dry brush and use strokes of white over brown, I tried to use my thinnest brush and carefully paint small stitches over the brown and I tried streaking white over brown with a balled up paper towel. None of these methods worked for me so I settled on using a dry sponge with a thin layer of white dabbed over the brown. I think the abstract interpretation of our realistic still life paintings will be easier now that I’ve had more experience painting.
Reserved, Subtle, Growing
For the arrangement of objects I didn’t really have a clear direction at any point in terms of how I wanted to arrange things. I knew I wanted to have objects at an angle, some leaning on one another. At first it was really difficult for me sketching my items because I’ve never been strong drawing 2 dimensionally. I spent a lot of time obsessing over having the phone book look like a phone book or the camera look like a camera. I realized with this project we were given the liberty to place things how we pleased and repeat these images wherever we wanted on the page. As soon as I allowed myself not to focus on proportion and one objects relation to the other, I just played with the repetition of some objects, the flowers especially.
This final self portrait project was one of the most if not the most challenging projects for me that we’ve done this semester. I’d never done a rendering with charcoal using eraser before. I think the hardest part of this process for me was making my first mark on the page. I’m a perfectionist so I obsessed over making the first mark in the exact right spot. I made one mark in the center and then smudged it out and made it a little to the left, to the right and settled on the center again. Not being able to use lines to lot, I couldn’t see where my marks were going and that drove me crazy for the first session. I started to think of the eraser as chalk against black paper. That helped me mentally grasp the concept of rendering. At first I thought “I’m drawing a nose” or “I’m drawing my mouth” and obsessed over getting those features to look like everyone’s understanding of a nose or mouth. It took me a while looking in the mirror to realize that my nose is a little wide, my top lip is thinner than the bottom, my left eye is a little smaller etc. To get my features dead on was challenging, I still didn’t get every detail, however those small things unique to my face made it easier to draw shapes and shade according to what I saw, not what I thought a nose or mouth should look like.
I really loved this course. Like I mentioned in my mid-semester post, I’ve never been in an art class like this before. I struggled to get into art in high school because I was too involved musically and pre-reqs weren’t very accommodating. Coming to Art 160 twice a week was a really nice mental break from my week, not because I didn’t have to use my head but because I had to use my head in a different way then I do in my other classes. The drawings we did of the chair, the boxes and finally our self portraits were difficult for me because I almost never draw but I really appreciated the projects once we were finished because they taught me the importance of value, proportion and honesty drawing with the eye. Aside from the projects themselves, I really enjoyed getting to see everyone’s individual approach to the projects and the finished product. I feel each one of us brought a piece of ourselves to each project and gave it our own personal touch. I remember during our value box critique someone said the boxes turned out so well because each one was unique to the artist and how they hope to see aesthetics develop over our time in the course. I feel that each one of us has found a skill or technique of our own just in these past few months and I think that’s really cool. This course has been so valuable because it has taken all of us, those with experience and those without, and has taught each one of us something new not necessarily about the art we make but ourselves in our process of making it.