ID: FP: Part 7: Began actually working on stuff today

Apologies for the acronyms, but the prior heading “Intermediate Drawing:  Final Project” was so long that I couldn’t tell which post was which on my Dashboard, and I’d started to move away from the naming convention because of it.

I went to school today and it was good.  🙂  For some reason, I seem to have lost my “Karma” sheet, but I was able to sort out what was missing and reprint it.  I can still remember the image, as well.  Maybe it will jar someone into thought when they randomly find it?  ^_^;;  Or, not.

I won’t be able to stay long tonight as it’s already late, but I wanted to mention what was given to me in my Drawing class today.  I explained that I was having a difficult time getting started because of all the possibilities available to me as regards the final project.  My teacher gave me the advice to stop thinking about what I’ll do so much, and just start to work, as working is its own mode of thought.  If I don’t like what turns out, I can throw it away.  🙂  Very helpful!

I’ve started work on the Indra’s Net piece (which is taking some artistic liberties — namely, the Tower is more of a palace tower, still the tallest thing, but not a tower-to-the-heavens a la DragonBall [apologies for the reference]), and continued on the rajas/tamas piece, which now has some watercolor on it!  It is looking pretty good.  I’m glad I’ve realized how much I hate the shed in the background.  The shed is leaving.  I’m not Bob Ross.  I don’t care if I get eraser ghosting.  I hate that shed.

I’ll probably put a pine sapling there, or something, for balance.

Also:  I need to do something about the clover patch in the foreground.  Too much detail, too heavy lines, never captured “clover.”  It should be possible to populate the foreground with little plants, without too much strain, if I use watercolor.  I also wanted to note that I am painting over what I believe is HB graphite pencil (Derwent), with the Cotmans, and it is not bleeding.  One less thing to worry about!  But — I need to be sure to work the Cotmans with my brush on the palette until they are smooth, to avoid chunks of the pan watercolors fragmenting off into my work.  (I’m not sure if the same thing happens with the Winsor & Newton Professional half-pans, but I wouldn’t expect it.)

Anyhow, one more (or same?) piece of advice — clearer this time:  for someone like myself, it’s best to jump right into the work, because it’s too easy for me to overthink things and avoid starting.  So today, I started.

We were also advised to warm up somehow before our main work, so I have a tiny new painting of wisteria, which I believe incorporates all 5 elements (water, wood, fire, earth, metal/air).  The luminosity of the watercolors is just amazing.  I’m not sure how it’s working, but it’s working.

The only setback I’m seeing from working with the watercolors is the possibility of overworking them (to be purposely vague in order to avoid scaring myself too much).  There’s this, and the fact that a wash gives a relatively flat tone if done all in one hue/intensity/dilution level.  However, that’s not the only way to use them.  Adding a different color in while the first color is still wet produces a beautiful blending tone; glazing one color over another dried one adds dimension; coloring the same object in different tones (say, a Fall leaf) is just fun.

I’ve noticed that I need to watch for the direction of the light on everything, though — another one of those 3-D visualization things.  That, and when I was doing the rock garden for the wisteria piece — the little rocks circled the image of the big rock, not the rock in 3-D.  Again.  And, on the Indra’s Net piece, I didn’t realize that the net spiraled around the center spire and that the jewels would, as well, spiral around the net.  I could visualize the near bits, but the ones in the background were more difficult because of the way the net overlapped itself.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the Art+Fear readings, it’s that working is a learning process, and not to fear making mistakes, because it’s all part of learning.  The point of making art isn’t — at least in my case — to perfectly mimic reality (if I want photorealism, I can take a photo; if I want perfect math, I can use a computer program), though I’ve also had my struggles with trying to make things “perfect.”  The latter push is why I haven’t really begun to work on my images very much so far — because I felt the pressure to make things “perfect” and exactly like my vision, and they never really are.  But making things perfect isn’t the point, is it?

In the days before color photography and Photoshop, that would probably have been a desired skill, but I’m thinking that what will set me apart from purely-computer artists is the human touch — errors and all.  That’s not to downgrade computer art, but to say that there’s no way I can compete on the level of photorealism against Photoshop (real-world hues and pigments/dyes, plus the crispness of a non-raster image, notwithstanding).  I’ve got to find something else to do, and to do well, so that the value is not stripped out of what I do by technology.

I’ve encountered this before within Jewelry (CAD/CAM as versus silversmithing, which — from what I am thinking, would drastically reduce production time and cost via higher initial capital and training expenditures), which is the major reason I’m not planning to go into handwrought metalwork.  It’s just not economically efficient, if I can make a ring by myself that took me 8 hours to make (not including design) by hand, and someone else can cast, set and finish 20 in that time (not including design) using multiple workers who are not as highly trained, and thus who might demand less compensation — “demand” in a micro-economic sense.  (This is not to say that things are necessarily on the scale of 1:20 [it’s a hypothetical situation], but I’m hoping my point is visible.)

Cheaper, faster, probably more efficient, definitely more economical.  The other side of that is the question of if one wants a piece of jewelry which is made to be identical to a bunch of other pieces.  Stones are individual, though it is much more visible in something like green onyx or mookaite.  The mass-production of cut stones is something I’m ambivalent about; sure, there is the provision there of something that can be swapped out for something else which looks identical.  But they aren’t identical, so why are we pretending they are?  For that matter, what happens to all the other stones cast aside as waste while we’re hunting out the best candidates for mass-production?

There are many beautiful stones which might only be known to me because I’ve been in the field as a beader and in smith training, which let me meet some rockhounds and lapidaries.  (Most people probably don’t know what the word “lapidary” means — it means someone who cuts stones; I’ve seen the term used mostly for those who carve and cut lesser-valued stones, like members of the quartz family, and labradorite, into cabochons [domed stones] and the like.)

Anyhow, now I’m getting off on another train of thought, and I need to get up in the morning!  So I will leave this here.  But yes, I can’t compete with Photoshop, so I need to find something else to do.  🙂  And those other things to do aren’t half bad.


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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