Balancing Art homework and self-care.

(Hint:  Writing this is self-care.)

sigh…I’m all right.  There’s just a lot to do and I have to figure out how and when to do it.

Watercolor today was interesting, though in the process I got what I think was Aureolin + Cobalt Blue on my thumb, and it dried there.  Then it itched, after I’d washed it off.  I don’t think it was anything too bad; the MSDS says it causes skin irritation and possibly allergic responses, which I think was what I got.  This color also has a CL designation…but there isn’t too much I can do about it, now.

I did try and use a glove for painting, but found out quickly that it’s a lot cleaner without one (unscrewing my Aureolin tube with a nitrile glove on = Aureolin all over the glove, Aureolin all over the tube).  As for how that green paint got on my left thumb (I was painting with my right hand), I’m not sure.  I narrowly escaped laying my sleeve into a wet palette and getting paint on the backs of my papers, two or three times, today.  As it was, the worst I got of it was my mixing chart sticking to the cover of my watercolor block (I didn’t know how long it would take to dry, so I just carried it wet.  The paint dried and adhered the two pages together).

I have three more pages of watercolor to go.  Two are involved with mixing colors; the third is two nine-step value scales.  The latter, I’ve done before; though I’ll need to be sure and mix up a large enough quantity of black so that I won’t have to deal with trying to re-mix it.  I’m also thinking that it would be good to put a Micron into my watercolor kit, as right now all my lines are in pencil.  (Microns are pretty good at not bleeding, after they’re dry.)

It might be good to start the value scale at the same time as I’m working on my mixing charts — the paint has to have enough time to dry so that subsequent layers can be added without paint flowing from one area to another.

I’ve…grown not to like graphite pencil, too much — at least, 2B.  I’m tending more toward wanting to use ink and paint, these days.  My 6B-9B graphite sticks are still nice, but the harder grades I really find…best for underdrawing. (My Watercolor prof has us using 2B pencils in class…it’s kind of irritating to me.  Not him, but the pencil, even though I’m using a Faber-Castell, which is generally my favorite brand of traditional drawing pencil.)

2B is good for something that gives a light, non-indenting guideline that you don’t want to see, at the end…but I find myself often wanting to use a solid stick and a deeper gray; not a fine or light point.  For one thing, a narrow, light pencil line won’t be picked up by my camera.  For another, I just like the feel and expression possible with a softer and bolder stick.

The major problem with soft graphite is that it smudges extremely easily, so it’s best to put a clean paper beneath one’s hand if one is resting one’s hand on the image while drawing (it interrupts the sweat+grease+graphite+pressure+warmth response that can eventually give one unerasable, ground-in, greasy smudges).  Probably a better way to work at this, though, would be to use a drawing board and draw on a close-to-vertical surface, which eliminates the problem.  (Of course, though, that’s only easy to say if you have furniture that can accommodate this.)

My Figure Drawing prof says that in 8B and after, the graphite is darkened by adding a more charcoal-like carbon.  I can’t confirm or deny that, but the deeper, softer tones are much better for an expressive touch and line variability.  They are just nearly impossible to get rid of completely, after they’ve been marked down.

The critique earlier this week was fine, though I needed to contextualize my work so that people knew what it was about.  The central theme was gender, and if people went into it with preconceptions about my gender and the place I was coming from, they totally wouldn’t understand it.  It was probably one of the more obscure compositions of the night (though it made a relatively clear narrative once I explained it).  Maybe I should call myself Cipher or something, and give people a hint.  😉

Ah…and see, now that bleeds into other phenomena I’ve experienced, though it’s probably too deep to get into, here and now.

I also have to critique two students’ work over the next two weeks.  Kind of nice that I don’t have to do it immediately — I’ve still got to go to the art festival (same class).  I’m not really looking forward to either of those things.  Tomorrow I’ve got to go to work so I can do my field trip on the weekend.  Happiness.  Right.

(Not to mention that I lost most of yesterday afternoon through a surprise six-hour nap after my doctor’s appointment.  Thankfully, though, I think that was the last effing physical doctor’s appointment I’ll have to deal with for a while.)

I’m thinking that this class is going to be the one which takes up most of my energy over the next few months; it’s basically University-level (which I can sense, at this point in my life), not a general lower-division class.

We have a set of assignments coming up in Creative Process which work off of symbols.  My top two are water and keys — rather apparent from what you can see of my work here.  It’s actually got me wondering whether I really need this class.  😛  In practicality, though — water can be difficult to get at in drawing (refraction, distortion)…

Keys themselves…are rather uninspiring things to draw or paint.  It’s what they grant access to that are the treasures.  It’s like treasuring the English language apart from what that language can convey.  The language itself is just a set of conventions.  It’s the ideas that it can communicate, which are important (the finger pointing at the moon is not to be celebrated in lieu of the moon itself).

Water, on the other hand…while a universal symbol (though not at all with universal meanings), can be much harder to express.  However, I’ve thought of working at it through clouds, snow, rain, in addition to fluid water and bodies of water.  I could also probably work at this by looking at what water represents across some differing cultures.

Haaaa…I think I’ll go back and work on my Watercolor homework.  I still haven’t touched the homework assignments for Figure Drawing, though I don’t think anyone else has, either.  I don’t feel like working on critiques, right now.


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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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