Why is there so much going on???

So…today has been productive.  Amazing to say that, but yeah.

I did confirm my admission to the Master’s program, today.  I also uploaded a bunch of pictures from my gallery walk with my small group.  This required photo editing (though this was largely cropping and compressing file sizes, to the point that zipping the folder did nothing).  That part…that was just surprise work.  Like, “oh hey, this oral presentation is due in two weeks,” you know?

Next class will be our only chance to prepare in person during class time, and I realized that my classmate who had uploaded things to the cloud and let me know last week, hadn’t seen any of my photos.  It’s up in the air as to whether she or I prepare the visuals for the presentation, though we should both have access, now.  I can’t even remember what we are supposed to talk about…I’ll have to check my handouts.  I just know it’s about 2-3 minutes each, to talk; 7-10 total.

The Museum paper is due the day after tomorrow.  I’ve started doing research on this…there’s a lot more going into what we saw than was apparent at the Museum.  I still haven’t found anything referencing the specific work we looked at, first…and I need to figure out just how much outside information I’ll need for this paper.  A research paper is different than a response paper; and until now, all of them have been response papers.  I’ll see what I can do.

There is a Body and/or Humor project coming up, though I’ll really need to see when it’s due, because I wasn’t paying attention earlier.  I am pretty sure that I know what I’m going to do for that one, though.  I won’t give it away, because then it will have less impact when I actually present it.  😉  It has to do with having a body coveted for its racialization, from a very nonwhite standpoint; I’ll say that.

And, right:  I did upload the last project I’ve been working on, today (you’ve seen a bit of it in this blog, already — the ink drawings that are ready for watercolor).  Already mentioned that bit, though.

I still need to finish that watercolor of the street, and maybe start a new one to replace the one I didn’t do when I was absent last week — or, wait until Thursday and see what my prof wants me to do.

I also still need to photograph, process and print what I’ve been doing in Figure Drawing for my end-of-semester portfolio, due in 4 weeks if not 3 (not to mention Watercolor; I only have hard copies for most of that work), and there are likely some Sketchbook assignments that I need to work on as homework, as well.  (I’m supposed to have 2-3 hours a week of homework, which I’m not used to because I delayed so long on the Sketchbook assignments in the first half of class.)

I should really get working on those Sketchbook assignments.

At this point, there are only five weeks left, max.  There is going to be a flash gallery showing at the end of the semester, and we’ve each been asked to submit a piece.  I already am pretty sure of which piece I will submit, because it’s one I can let go of, and it’s one which looks nice in presentation.  The only problem will be if someone breaks it, intentionally or not — though I can handle it if it gets ruined.

Speaking of letting go of things, I need to get one of my pieces back from last semester…

Brain dump!!! (sorry…)

I think it may be time to reassess what I really want to do with this blog.  Is it a career-search log?  Is it an art showcase?  Is it a personal space to record what happens in my day-to-day life?  Is it an interactive forum?

As I’ve been in my capstone class, which is about creative process, I’ve noticed how much this blog has helped me to keep track of daily fluctuations in creativity; concerns and worries; and, after all that, my creative process.  For me, it’s really given that what I want or need to do with my life is also a creative project.

It’s…just kind of tough to get a meta perspective while I’m down in the trenches, doing the work.

I have recognized, though, that the process of blogging has put me somewhat ahead of the learning curve when it comes to the creative-process course.  The biggest questions for me are, how and why, and how do I keep this blog functional, in that sense?

[Just to let you know, I diverged into talking about current creative process, in the below.]

I’ve been trying not to give away my professors’ lesson plans, which is why I haven’t posted, say, my color mixing charts from Watercolor.  (Well, that, and I’m not sure anyone else would be interested.)

Right now, that class is going fine.  It’s only two units, and the teacher is laid-back and very encouraging.  Most recently, we were drawing and painting boxes; if I have the time, I might work on redoing assignments.  I basically have two completed exercises, but there’s a part of me that wants to engage more fully than I’m required to.

As for my Creative Process class…I have something that I will be able to finish by tomorrow evening.  I just had to think outside of the box to be able to do something that wouldn’t take a lot of time and would be some kind of a statement on my topic.  But I’m really not used to having an idea in advance and then working at something to fit the concept.  I generally work more organically and decide what it means, after I’m done.  🙂

What I’m doing for that class is basically a macramé net.  I felt the need to go outside of doing what a book would tell me to do, so I made it circular, and added beads (large-hole potato pearls {unintentionally ugly} and size 6/0 seed beads).  I need to attach another round of cords, though, and finish off the outer edges, plus figure out the background.

I also might want to glue the pearls in place, paint or use markers on the hemp, darken that navy-blue background with a black marker toward the bottom [thank you, brain] and possibly white marker for light filtering down, embellish what I’ve got with embroidery thread and more pearls, and possibly find a 12″x12″ display case, tomorrow.

I really wish I’d thought out the design more fully before I attempted the final assignment — this would have looked great with more seed beads toward the center of the net, but I was still working hard just keeping the cords even!

Conceptually…I still have to figure out what I’m going to say in class, on Tuesday.  It would have helped if I’d taken more notes at the initial stages of considering this.  Macramé is one of those crafts which, like other forms of knotting, and knitting, was associated with mariners in old days.  The pearls are a link to the story that I’ve been wanting to write around this concept of water.  The piece itself looks like it could be the start of a fishnet.  It should be contrasted against a navy-blue background, which I’m not sure I should embellish with paper-cuts, or not.  The piece is linked to deriving something from the oceans, or a giving from the oceans (as water gives life on land) but I haven’t worked out the implications of that fully, yet.

But yes.  Tomorrow (late) I can go to the craft store, look for a 12″x12″ case, and see if there are any papers which would help me.  I should have colored card stock here, as well.

For Figure Drawing, I have found a book on self-portraits which should very much help with my first assignment.  The only reason I found it was luck, though — our library catalog pretty much isn’t easily searchable, and I’m not sure how it’s meant to be used.  I’d say it was arcane, but that implies that it’s old.  Really, I just think it isn’t designed in a user-friendly manner.  It’s trying to be user-friendly, and that’s the point that makes it hard for me to find what I’m looking for.

Tomorrow, I’ll try finishing my macramé piece, and do some looking through that self-portrait book.  I’ve finished my required reading for the quiz, tomorrow.  I will probably, if I have time, want to get started on the self-portrait assignment as well.

On Wednesday, I’ll really have to get down to start working on my Sketchbook assignments, including but perhaps beyond the self-portrait.  Ah — and, I’ll need to work on my second experimental piece for my Creative Process class.

The thing I haven’t done as much as I should have is work in my art journal.  I think we’re supposed to go and work in it every day, but I’ve been lagging on that.  It could just be my process (as this blog supplements my art journal), or it could be that I’m not taking this seriously enough.  I’m not sure.

Figure Drawing strategy

Just one note for now:

I’ve been reading over my backposts and found a place where I was talking about strategies for Figure Drawing.  What I need to note down now, lest I forget it again, is that it’s OK to start out illustrating the main gesture of the pose and work outward from there.  This approach made all my subsequent attempts easier.

Looking back at the writing tangent…

I’m writing now because I haven’t written in a week (I just checked), and it’s getting to me.  The first two finals are out of the way and relatively well-done.  The third is coming up on Tuesday…this is the Figure Drawing final, which I haven’t started on yet because I was working on the prior two finals.  We have to draw a figure in perspective and in an environment.

Actually, my teacher wants us to turn in four separate things on Tuesday, but I’m cutting some @*#% out.  I’m really considering not bringing anything for either of the two potlucks that day, unless I’m not the one cooking them.  I’m also considering not turning in the copied drawings from our textbook.  Because — because why, you say?  Why Haru, why are you so frustrated?

Because this last assignment is worth 22.5% of my grade, while potluck *#@% is not worth anything.  The drawings from the textbook are not worth 22.5% of my grade either.  The final Powerpoint presentation comes second, after the frigging last assignment, and I’m not even sure that’s graded.  I need to pass this class to get my Foundation for Animation certificate, although at this point I don’t think I want to be an animator.  It’s just that I’ve applied, and all, and I try not to fail at anything.  Even community college classes.

The positive thing — well, there are two of them.

First, M found an art book which I thought had been sold, which shows images of poses I might be able to riff off of (while letting the teacher know I’m doing this, of course).

Second, after next Tuesday I have virtually nothing else to turn in besides, perhaps, photos of my work and my critiques.  One of those is almost ready to go — I have the raw materials for it.  The photos just need to be prepped and the work typed up.  The second won’t be possible to be done until after class on Tuesday, so there’s no use stressing about it, now.

I think that the wall I’d been coming up against as regards this final project has been that I’ve been thinking in terms of realism, not in broader terms of art.  So if I make the situation dreamlike or abstract, then yes I can do a figure in an environment, relatively easily (or at least two figures, is the actual assignment).  Will I do a figure in an environment in 4-point perspective like my teacher wants us to do?  Probably not.  But even getting a D is still a whole lot better than getting a 0.  And I probably shouldn’t worry about nailing 4-point perspective, as we’ve only been introduced to it within the last two weeks, and she didn’t really teach us much about how to do it; she only provided readings (the main one of which is dense in the sense of being idiosyncratic/cryptic and overly brief) and told us to copy images (same source).  And she gave us some web links.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is this writing thing.  I’ve decided to pick up a book on writing careers, as when I was pushed to craft an Artist Statement for my Painting class, I realized that mine was likely by far the best statement.  (This is even though I read it poorly because I was kind of ashamed of being deep, and because I read things quickly when I already know what they say.)  I attribute this to my Writing degree and practice.  In turn it is apparent that I do have other skills, and do not have to depend wholly on my art skills in order to make a living.

The major thing about this is that, well, I will need to read a lot more if I want to be a writer, but that is not hard.  It can be extremely frustrating, but it isn’t hard.  I spoke with my supervisor at my second job site about this today; she was saying that when one reads a lot of different authors, one gets insight into the minds of different people.  (This contrasts with my desire for realism in writing, which is something I need to get beyond, both in writing and art.)  I’m thinking that maybe, at this point, my avoidance of reading fiction stems from a screwed-up English education from English teachers who were noticeably conservative.  Hence, I got exposed to a lot of twisted minds (I don’t know how else to put it) in my readings, which were the stories that the conservative English teachers thought were worth our time.

The Creative Writing department was much more broad and less restrictive, but the English department…was Eurocentric and Christian in its focus.  If one wanted to read writing by authors who were not of European descent or Russian (I think there were two or so authors of African descent in there — probably Chinua Achebe and Ralph Ellison, both of whose required texts, I’d read before), one had to look in the Ethnic Studies department, and the literature classes there focused more on identity politics, history, and social phenomena than literary analysis.

So, maybe in the same way as the Creative Writing department discouraged me from writing creatively, the English department discouraged me from reading (by feeding me too much of the same kind of twisted propaganda that caused me to think that all writing — including my own — was twisted propaganda).

And it’s commonly accepted that we’re better off with a University education…only so if the professors are worth listening to (which depends on who’s hiring them), and you know which of their opinions to edit out of your brain.  Because of the location of my school, I’d been hoping that the English department would be a bit more metropolitan, but I guess not.

The flash did just come to me that if I’m into Art History enough, I can write books on Art History, and thus combine my artistic and verbal abilities…

Or I could write graphic novels instead of illustrating them.  I checked out a kid’s book today because I ran across it and it looked like the type of thing I’d want to do — it’s kind of a mashup of graphic novel and literary novel.  But do I really want to illustrate 150 pages of story?  Really?  I mean, the book is beautiful and everything, and I do like to have that kind of glowing visual component to my work.  This book is illustrated so well that I think even adults would buy it, just because it’s really pleasant to look at (and the story is a bit compelling).  But I don’t have to do everything — I could be paired with an artist who would do the illustration, leaving me to write the 400+ pages of script which would be condensed down into the 150 pages of illustrated story, you know?

400?  Psh.  I’ve done that before.  Not well (because my project management skills are awesome and MS Word is perfect for novel writing…not), but I’ve done it before…

Got some research done at work, today.

I did get some research done on Manet, though I still have to break into the book on Titian.  I am not sure how many sources we’re meant to have for this final presentation.  Right now I think I have five so far, though two of those are nearly worthless because of their superficiality.  What good they do accomplish is their assistance in filling in the background of what happened, from multiple viewpoints.

I did break into one source which did go into depth on the public reception of Olympia.  What I’m still a bit unclear about is what made Venus of Urbino lauded and Olympia despised, at least if it were not Olympia’s contemporaneity and lack of fantasy background that caused its rejection.

Then there is also the fact that Olympia’s reception seemed to have been by a lot of people whose vitriol should not have been accepted, at least speaking from around 150 years in the future.  I’m really wondering about Manet’s parallels to other artists who birthed Modern Art…like Egon Schiele, whom I’ve mentioned before.  He would draw and paint prostitutes (along with destitute and poor/homeless people) as well; both Venus of Urbino and Olympia’s models were courtesans or prostitutes, though there were class issues brought up as regards the latter.

It’s possible that “why were these people so mean” is not the most meaningful topic I could visit in comparing these two pieces, however, especially as Manet is today considered a forerunner of Modern Art and who the hey are these other people trying to tear him down, right?  Though it is really clear that they did have an impact on him; he didn’t paint another nude for 11 years, I think?  I should refresh my memory of the actual assignment prompt.

I am going to try and find some better sources, but I thought it was worth mentioning this.  I didn’t take notes this time — I was too involved in the reading.  But it was really only about half an hour I had to devote fully to reading; it’s a small enough span to be able to re-read.  Maybe, for my benefit, I should summarize it, as well.  Don’t know.  It’s been so long since I went through college the first time that I think my study process has been somewhat forgotten.  I just…really hate to read everything twice, when I’m under a deadline.

So now I’ve got two complete days to work on this stencil project, and the presentation.  The Mother’s Day observance falls tomorrow, so I know I’ll be busy, at least for a time.  Probably not all day, though.

Gearing up to power through the rest of the semester

Well,

I now have my final two Studio projects in-progress.  I think that it will be…really nice.  One project in particular is based on stenciling, kind of a Graphic Art-type project.  I’ve begun blocking out my areas of color already — in the final presentation I should have black + white + two intermediate greys.  I get to work on this tomorrow!  I’m kind of psyched.  (I almost worked on it instead of posting here, but felt the need to write.)

The process of blocking out differing areas of color really…causes me to make decisions on-the-fly as to what to include and what to leave blank.  I’m thinking that I’ll use a light grey background with two different darker tones, plus areas of white.  I was just introduced to the joy of white Sharpies yesterday.  Pretty cool.

I realized some time after we began working on these yesterday that we were supposed to divide our photos into different tones on our huge prints of these.  That was supposed to be what the Sharpies (black) and white chalk were supposed to be used for.  Imagine my confusion when I tried to mark on my acetate with white pastel and found it didn’t work.  I mean, absolutely didn’t work.  No grip, no mark.  Then what were we supposed to do with these?  I didn’t know until I looked at what some of the less-prepped students were doing (that is, the people without all their materials) — they were using the white chalk on the printouts.  Something to be said for taking it slower, eh?

I will also have to work on a composition for the reverse side — the theme is “shoes.”  I’m planning on using the shoes that look like combat boots but have a wide stacked heel.  I do like them, even though they’re hard to get my foot into and don’t have enough padding in them to take my standing in them for nine hours.

Then there is ink drawing for my Figure Drawing class.  I wasn’t doing really great at it until my prof suggested blocking in the entire figure with water or a very light wash, and then adding details.  Once I started working like that, it was much easier and I was much more successful.  I need to work on using a full range of tones from lightest gray to black, though.  I was hesitant on using the deeper tones, even though I did realize — today — that the pieces with the deeper shades were more…gravitational, I guess.  This is even though I thought I was screwing them up in the process.

One of my brushes — my Mao Little Ying — is also on its last legs.  I found when I tried to use it that the bamboo handle is split nearly the entire length of the brush on two sides.  I’m not sure if I left it resting in a puddle of water, or what — though I do know now that I probably really should hang them to dry, if not just taking most of the water out of them before putting them away.

The only things holding that brush together are the end cap on one side and a piece of string, on the other.  I really did like that brush.  I suppose I can go tomorrow and see if there are any comparable brushes at the one smaller store I do visit.  Or…I suppose I could try Japantown.  Not that I really want to take a trip over there at this point in the semester…bridge tolls plus parking and all that, though I suppose it is also actually almost the beginning of next month.

I also realized yesterday that I actually needed far less ink for my sumi drawings than I thought I did.  This means I can conserve some, I guess?  I’m not sure if I should get a glass eyedropper from Whole Foods or something, or keep using the disposable ones.  (The water cups at school smell like mold, I’ve found — now that I know that the smell of the clay in my high school Ceramics class was probably mold…)

Today was supposed to be my next-to-final presentation in Art History, but it was put off until next week.  I’m a little torn as to whether to continue to work on it.  At the least, I can find a better source than Wikipedia for my opening comments, and I should have the time to do it, now.

So, there is that Art History presentation to give, and then it’s just our Final assignments and that Final presentation!  I have three more weeks to go.  I can do this.

Figure Drawing Critique #3 down! One more to go.

mandala 001
This is a photo of the image I turned in, today.

This is the drawing I had critiqued, earlier today.  The model for this image is the same one who was holding the little sparkly ball in a previous entry.  Unfortunately, I don’t know his name, but …well, I don’t know a lot of the model’s names!  A lot of them go by pseudonyms anyway, understandably.

I really think my original image of this was stronger than the way that this image turned out.  For reference (yours and mine), that’s here:

This was the original drawing (of course cropped and all that for the Web).
This was the original drawing (of course cropped and all that for the Web).

I think the original was much more full of life (the model’s, and my own), and the sense of the model’s weight and heft was there.  He’s visibly leaning to the left, whereas in my final image, the sense of heaviness at rest is not really as apparent.  The mandala-looking thing is there because I wanted a center of attention at the upper left and wanted flow throughout the composition, and realism didn’t really matter to me.

To me, it looks like the model is contemplating an alien on some other planet, or that he’s hallucinating.  I did get into the latter interpretation in class, today…and spoke a little about my experiences in regard to telling brain-fry apart from reality (though I have few experiences with visual or auditory hallucinations, and probably none that are significant, other than seeing stars and other symptoms of migraines; and sometimes moving dots, like gnats, at the corners of my vision, which aren’t there when I check with my central vision).

I was basically working on the first image for most of the day, yesterday.  Unfortunately, my resolve to get it (and my Expressive Portrait) done by the end of the week failed somewhat, and so right now I’ve got a portrait which is coming together, but not finished.  I’ve also got to go to class tomorrow because I need to make arrangements for the field trip and sign up for a section for our next-to-final presentations…and reserve a spot for the Final papers/ presentations.  Thankfully, though, I probably only have two hours of work left on that portrait — and I have what I need, largely; unless I go for a gloss gel to emphasize texture in the hair.  I might be able to wing it with the ultra matte gel and glazing medium, though…

I only have four weeks left in these classes…I’m going to try and do well, regardless of whether I do all the reading or not (and I know that, at least as of two weeks ago, not everyone even has the textbook at this point).  I’m two chapters behind because I’m prioritizing my Studio classes over my Art History class.  I think I can see why we started out with Contemporary Art History and moved backwards…because the contemporary stuff is a lot more relevant, even though it is nice to have some context around Rococo, and match up World History (at least where it comes to Europe and the Americas) with Art History (in Europe and the Americas).

I do wish that there was an Art History class that would be like an Ethnic Studies Art History class, but that…actually may be in the works, unless it’s already around and I’ve forgotten about it.

I should get some rest, now.  I’ve got to get up early, tomorrow…