March 28, 2012

The Evolution of a Drawing

I signed up for a Drawing class at the Springfield Art Museum. I received my Bachelors in Fine Arts at Alfred University and learned a lot about drawing and painting. I am not really attending this course to learn how to draw, but am using it more as a form of therapy. Because I am in graduate school, I  do not often make time to draw. As an art teacher and especially as an artist, this time is very important and I knew I needed to make more of it. 

 First, I chose a sculpture with an interesting shape. I don't like the rigid, straight-standing sculptures because I find them extremely boring to draw.

After marking out the basic proportions and angles, I started to loosely sketch the figure. After I was sure my proportions and features were right, I started to add shadows to define the shapes.

Here is the figure with all the initial shadows laid in:

This next step, is something I never learned at Alfred University and wish I had:
When all my shadows were there, I took a paper towel and smugged the whole drawing. It seems counter-productive, right? But, this gives the whole drawing a midtone. I can now give the drawing a whole new range of values (shades). By pulling the whites out with an eraser and adding darker darks with my pencil, I can give the figure everything from the "darkest darks", to the "whitest whites". 

And here I have, the finished drawing:

I am pretty happy with the final product, but the bent leg is a bit off and I should have given it more attention. (Just like all artists, I am my worst critic.) I did not angle the leg properly; rather than giving the appearance of foreshortening, the thigh looks deformed. I know for next week, I need to take more time in my initial sketching to make sure this doesn't happen again.

March 27, 2012

Intro to Oil Painting

The Advanced Painting students experimented with opacity, transparency, matte and glossy paints. Through experimenting with the ratios of solvent and medium to paint, the students found out how to create the desired effects. Currently, they are starting a brown underpainting for a glaze painting.

March 22, 2012

Dorm Decorations

 I recently found these photos on my computer; sorry for not posting them earlier. A couple of students and I made this painting series for our dorm lobby. We have blue curtains, a tiled blue table and black furniture. The photos don't do these paintings justice. Each one is 1ft x 3ft and has watered down, metallic silver or blue paint. We had fun doing them and were glad to share them with the girls of the dorm!

March 07, 2012

Another Artist in the Family

 My little cousin Natalie is turning out to be quite the artist. Her mother used to paint landscapes and gives Natalie many opportunities to be creative at home! Good work!

March 06, 2012

Drawing Prompts

This project was inspired by a 6 hour drawing marathon I participated in at Alfred University.  Each of us had a large piece of arches paper. Every hour, a different art professor would come in and give us a prompt or an assignment to complete on the piece of paper. Over the six hours, we slowly developed our artwork.  Even though it was not pretty, it was a way for us to explore, experiment and find different ways to approach a visual problem.

For the last two weeks of this trimester, I did the same sort of activity with my drawing students. Everyday, they would choose a prompt out of a bucket and follow the directions.  The end products were vastly different and I think it was a successful project.  At the end, the students critiqued one another's artwork and also gave me ideas for more prompts.  Next trimester, I will make prompt sheets to hand out to each student; that way they can pick and choose the prompts that will fit their project the best. They seemed to love the freedom of this assignment; there were very little "rules".

The prompts were as follows:
- Draw the skeleton, or a part of the skeleton
- Draw you favorite memory 
- Add metallic paint to selective areas
- Look out the window and draw a tree
- Draw circles, leave them open or fill them with color
- Draw a portrait (self or from an image)
- Without telling them, draw one of your classmates as they move. (Gesture Drawing)
- Create an imaginary monster
- Fill an area with pattern
- Add a word(s) somewhere
- Create your own mandala, add color
- With a ruler, draw geometric lines and/or shapes. Add color
- Splatter paint or ink
- Add watercolor to an area of your artwork
- Gesso an area. Use it as a whiteout for your artwork

Picasso Prints

This printmaking project came after a lesson on drawing portraits. The students sketched out the proportions of the face and then added details and shadows to complete the face. 
After this, we switched gears and looked at the cubist artwork of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). 

His painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) shows his direct influence from African masks. 

 The broken, skewed, geometric features can be seen throughout his work from this point forward and became the inspiration for the Studio Art sutdents' prints.

For their design, students were charged with creating a geometric, abstract face.  They were encouraged to skew proportions and features, as well as think about characteristics of masks from different cultures.
For the printing process, students used the reduction print process: before they would print a new layer, they would cut more from the linoleum block and pick a new ink color. We reviewed color theory and color families such as warm colors, cool colors, analogous colors and complimentary colors.