Monday, March 14, 2011

Art and Soul

According to my Mom I've been drawn to art ever since I was a child.  In fact if you look in my school records and read the "What I want to be when I grow up" section several years I listed I wanted to be an Artist.  I always knew I was good at art and I have always enjoyed being creative.  I took just about every art class available to me in high school (pottery was the exception...not my forte!) and even took a community ed watercolor class outside of school where I was the only person under 18 let alone under 40.  I have enjoyed batik, lino block carving/printing, watercolors, drafting, drawing, making paper, calligraphy and more.  I even handmade all of my own cards and wrapping paper. Yes, I was that girl.

However when I got to college I learned that talent only gets you so far.  If I wanted to succeed I was going to have to actually put the effort into it.  If you've ever taken a college level art class you'll know what I mean.  At the University of Idaho at the time every BFA major had essentially the same exact schedule the first year as it was mostly a foundation in design principles and was meant to allow students to freely switch art majors without much consequence.  I started off as an Architecture major and switched to Interior Design fairly quickly.  You can't tell me that Building with Steel sounds more interesting then Color Theory. 

My very first semester at school I had two art studio classes, Visual Communication and the Design Process (VCDP) and Drawing.  Both of those classes kicked my booty six ways to Sunday.  In fact I had an easier time learning HVAC systems and super complex 3-D rendering programs than I did with those two 100 level art classes.

I remember my very first Drawing assignment well.  It seemed so simple, just draw a door.  Any door.  I even asked the MFA student who was my section TA how much time I should expect to put into the drawing.  I think I put about 45 minute into the drawing, if that.  It looked perfectly acceptable to me, I mean how much time did he really expect me to draw a door?

Here's the grade I got:

That's right, a D.  I was in shock.  How could I, someone who had always been good at art, get a D on a drawing?  Notice the comment.  Needs LOTS more effort.  Potential is THERE.  So for the next drawing I doubled my efforts and spent almost two hours on it and got a C.  The next one I doubled again and spent 4 hours and got a B.  It wasn't until the very last drawing that I spent 20 hours on that I finally received that coveted A.  I was thrilled to get a B in the class at the end of the semester, I spent the first half just hoping I could pass it at all!

What did I learn from that class?  A lot.  That I can't just skate by with the attitude that "I've always been good at that" because I can always be better.  I learned that I actually enjoyed keeping a sketchbook.  After a year of enforced sketchbook use (i.e. I was graded on doing one for multiple classes that year) I kept the habit up until I graduated.  I'm thinking about taking it back up again. 

VCDP was the other booty kicking class.  I swear the MFA student TA I had was from Mars, the dude was cracked.  But despite his Rastafarian hat loving/doesn't believe in showers attitude he made me grow as an artist and drilled the principles of design into me.  We didn't receive grades on our projects for VCDP, you kept doing an assignment until it was satisfactory and you were given the opportunity to go on to the next one.  Our final grade was determined by how many projects we were able to complete to a satisfactory level.  I can't even count how many times I had to redo some projects.  At the time the projects seemed ridiculous and pointless.  Now that I know better, I can look back and see what the projects were teaching me.  I'm actually really grateful for VCDP because it has been an incredible resource as a photographer.  Having the rules of composition drilled into me and knowing how an eye looks at an image and why the eye moves the way it does across said image is pretty fantastic stuff.

Perhaps you're wondering what prompted this trip down memory lane?  I was cleaning out the office closet and decided to move my portfolio out of the closet to make more space.  While I was at it I consolidated with my other portfolio outside.  Grace really enjoyed looking at all my artwork I had saved.  I had stuff from high school through college, and quite a smorgasbord of art mediums.  We were flipping through my Drawing newsprint pad when we came across some nudes...good thing it was the female first so I could quickly close it and move on!
One of my VCDP projects from my second semester.  First semester was only done in black and white.
From a 200 level Architectural Drawing Class.  Makes me want to pull out some trace sheets!
The lighthouse is pen on mylar and done in pointellism (zillions of little dots).  The pear was done during an Independent Study Watercolor class I took in college.  Not sure what I was thinking adding yet another studio class to my schedule!

I ♥ Faces: Sunflare Challenge

This week's I Heart Faces Challenge is Sunflare which is something I have a bit of a love affair with.  Too bad I live in the Pacific Northwest where pretty sunflare is less available during the rainy season (9 months out of the year)!  I triumphed over mother nature last month and snuck some photos of my kids at sunset (i.e. 4:30pm) in the empty field behind our house.  Take THAT rainy season!

For more pretty sunflare photos check out the link below:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I ♥ Faces: Anything But a Face Challenge

I'm sharing a recent photo of the week from my Project 52 blog for this week's Anything But a Face Challenge because I still really LOVE it!
For more Anything But a Face photos check out the button below: