Thursday June 28, 2012

Today was the last day of class and there was major work to be done. I missed work today and came in early to work on my drawing.Even knowing that I really needed to get to eyes and a mouth I had to work on my nose more, I just couldn’t resist.  So I worked more on the area under my nostrils, trying to define them more before I moved on to the area between my nose and mouth. I was moving down because I knew doing my mouth would be easier than trying to do my eyes and I didn’t want to attempt them yet.


So I began working on the area under my nose, my first real venture outside of my nose in all the time we’ve been working on these drawings. I measured the distances and the angles and tried to create the right shapes and get the values right in comparison to each other  but something was just off.


But from farther away that area looked more normal so I tried to figure out why that was. My guess is just perspective and that I sit really close to the drawing, but I also realized the lines don’t look quite as harsh from so far away and that I needed to blend and soften them more. Then finally I got to my lips and I didn’t know how light or dark to make them because they’re red, but I just played around with it and was satisfied. The part I worked on the most on the lips was the left corner where it is darker. That was a hard area to do and I ended up working on the areas around it just to finish that. The other side of the lip is unfinished unfinished because I didn’t get to and I was rushing just to try and get the page white to look sort of like cheeks.

I did work on the tones of the skin in my cheeks and on my nose which is something I haven’t mentioned. Most of it was just trying to erase as much as possible, but I tried to make it look like my skin as well. The right side does not look as nice as the left because I did not have the time to go and even it out like it should be. Overall the right side is much more unfinished than the left. It was hard to do the left because of my position and things just didn’t com out as nicely. My nose and mouth ended up sort of tilted and out alignment, but it’s too late now. I ended up spending roughly 16 hours on this piece all together. Overall I happy with this piece, even in it’s half finished state I’m proud of it.


At the critique we lined up all of the drawings as evenly as possible to have a nice presentation of the pieces. All of them looked really good and it was really nice to see them all next to each other and able to compare how different and beautiful they are. I like them all and out of all of them I think Celeste’s looks most like her.  I love critique when we do it this way. I think the drawings were definitely my favorite assignments in this class because I enjoyed doing them and because I enjoy the discussion that takes place during the critique. I have really enjoyed this class so much and because of it I am seriously considering taking another art class which has never been part of my plan here at Agnes. Thank you so much Nell for the wonderful lessons and a great experience.



Wednesday June 27, 2012

Coming in to class is once again a joyous occasion. I start work on my nose again. For me this work is very slow going. I spend a lot of time on each part before I move on and if you notice I don’t move on that much. I worked hard on getting the dark area just under the left half of my nose right and I’m kind of concerned that the area under the right part of my nose is too undefined. I’ve drawn everything I see in that area which is basically nothing. I guess I’m just worried that it will look like the front of my nose did when I first began because that did not look good at all. Nell says that it will just take form as I draw the things around which is true but it was hard to move on from it because it looks sort of odd.

Now I thought I was doing pretty good on how much I have done, even though it is considerably less than other people, because of the amount of time it took me to get the process. so I say something silly to Nell like, “so it’s okay that I don’t have eyes or a mouth.” She looks at me and says, “you will.” In my head I’m thinking what?! Is she crazy, I’ve barely gotten off my nose. Now the pressure is on to finish it and my mind immediately starts planning when I will work on it. I leave almost as soon as we finish talking because it’s about 4:30 and I want to miss traffic. I consider coming back tonight, but I know that by the time I eat and relax a little it will be late and dark plus the drive makes me tired. I plan to spend all day tomorrow working on it right up until 3 for the critique.

It’s interesting to me how much my mood depends on what happens in class. If I’m excited about a new project or made good progress on my work then I leave happy and chatty. If the work makes me tense or it’s not going, especially this project, I leave as soon as possible and loud music in my car the whole way home. I wasn’t upset when I left to day but there is a very conscious deadline that I am worried about and am running over and over in my head which does make me a little tense. But honestly I as much as I did work on the piece, too many good things had happened to me to really bring me down. Last night I saw Brave with my mom, this morning I had breakfast with my friend Ella who has just returned from a semester of study abroad in Fiji, and I also got notice about rooms that were available to live on campus since I made a last minute switch to boarder earlier in the summer. Basically in addition to my high about finally understanding the work, it was a good day. I think that reflected in my work as well because I was able to work for longer periods of time without getting burned out and needing a break. I guess the work is affected by my mood and my mood id affected by the work.

Tuesday June 26, 2012

Today is a holy day because today is the day I finally get it. Nell came around to my drawing and I just looked at her and said, “I’m really struggling with this.” I think I must have looked really desperate because she took the eraser from me actually marked on my page. First she asked if she could mark on my page and in my head I practically begging her to. She started mark highlights around my nostrils that I had not seen before. When I looked at the front part of my nose around my nostrils, all I saw was a lighter shade of black than my nostrils and that was it. Now she was drawing in these little tiny bits of light that I hadn’t even seen. I guess I had no attention for detail. I was instructed to draw every little thing I saw and now I was noticing all of these things I hadn’t before. Eventually I had a much more realistic nose.

By: Christine Baker

Now that’s not to say that now that I understood the process that it wasn’t frustrating because it was. Working backwards as you sort of do here is still confusing as all get out. I’ll look at things and swear they look one way and once I draw and compare it to myself it doesn’t look like I thought. We’ve talked about having symbolized shapes and images in your head and that making it hard to draw what is actually there and not what you think it should look like. That is more of what I was doing yesterday. Now I was looking at these tiny little shapes and not seeing them as my nose but just shapes. the problem was my mind still wants to make the tiny shapes into recognizable forms. I think it’s like when a word is spelled wrong but when you look at it you don’t necessarily notice because your mind just corrects it for you. It’s hard to really look at what you’re seeing. It is really hard to decide what I am seeing. I kept wanting to lean forward into my mirror and get a closer look, but that of course distort what you’re looking at and makes it useless.

I have to say again that i feel such joy in understanding the work. It is actually rewarding working on the piece now and I’m not desperate to leave as soon as possible. There is a stark contrast between how I felt yesterday and today and it just makes me recognize more how horrible it is to feel like that. I think the only other time I’ve similar to that is learning math, but I’m sure it wasn’t as bad because I didn’t care as much about math as I do about this work. Now math is not very exciting but I think that my want to understand and do well on this work says a lot about this class because I felt more than just a need to pass the class. Thanks so much Nell for just starting me out because I don’t think I would have gotten it otherwise.

Monday June 25, 2012

Today is the second day of actually drawing on our erasure drawings. I have just come back from a mini vacation where my mind was mostly taken off of the project as I wanted. I’ve come an hour early today to try and get the method. Nell wants us to understand working with the medium before class so we’re making progress today. Coming in today I have hope for better understanding and better work. Alas I don’t reach that. Everyone else seems to get the idea and they are drawing away in all varying shades of black and grey. I feel as if I am drawing what I see but I am obviously seeing differently than other people. My nose looks very much like a pig snout. Nell tells me to focus on the left side of my nose and draw that. I try to do that but I also heard her say my proportions were off so I tried to fix that as well. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of what I was doing. I just couldn’t figure out what I was drawing anymore. I sat there and looked at it and there was such a disconnect from my own work. Again I left very frustrated, apparently I should have taken that first day of frustration over just covering the paper as a sign. I’m beginning to worry, especially since this is our final project and there isn’t much time left to work on it. Right now having a rough draft is not comforting because I have no idea where I’m going. All I can really express at this point is the feeling of being lost.

By: Christine Baker

Thursday June 21, 2012

Today I came into class an hour early to finish adding the charcoal to my page. It took me the entire hour and I still wasn’t satisfied, but it was what I had. We started our erasure drawings with the nose. We start with our nose because it contains the lightest and darkest values of our face. I should add that we sit with a lamp shining down partially on our face to cast a shadow and some extra depth, We also are not allowed to draw outlines of anything, everything must be a shape and whatever we move onto next in our drawing must be connected to what we were just working on. I start my erasing with a lot of trepidation. I have seen the portraits hanging on the wall done with the same method and I have heard the instructions but I can not seem to grasp what we are supposed to be doing. I start to erase and see what it looks like, but mostly I am intrigued by the eraser and find myself simply playing with it and looking at my paper. I end up leaving as soon as I can in frustration again because I feel like I am not getting anywhere.

By: Christine Baker

This feeling of complete lack of understanding and confusion is horrible and sort foreign to me with this class. The other pieces we have done have all caused stress or frustration, but I have at least understood what I am supposed to be doing. I am not sure how this is going to go and it leaves me very apprehensive for the next class and the level of progress I make. Thankfully I am going out of town this weekend and I think I will be able to distance myself from the project and let go of some of the worry.

Wednesday June 20, 2012

Today was a relief in a way because I was so ready to start something new. Our next project is a self portrait done by erasure drawing. We learned how put charcoal on the on these really nice pieces of paper and then we learned how to set up our stations to work in which included a mirror in front of our face. There was a lot of adjusting going on in everyone’s station, but mine seemed to come together quickly so I was the first one to start covering paper in charcoal. The process of putting the charcoal on the paper is pretty tedious. First you grind the charcoal into your palette, which is really just a scratch sheet of the paper, and then you take tissue as your applicator and dab it over your paper a bizillion times in hope that your paper will look darker. Despite the fact that I was the first person to start this, other people seemed to grasp the concept of how to get their papers dark better than I did. In fact I felt such frustration with the process that I left before I even finished. It was interesting though as I got up to leave and looked around at other people’s progress, their papers were as dark as they looked from the angle I originally saw them from. There was something distorting about the perspective I had of them which fueled my frustration.

I find perspective to be such an interesting thing in the physical way of looking at something and also the way you think or view things. Like I said in yesterday’s post, I could not see a lot of the good parts in my summer valentine because all I could see were the things I did not do or did not go my way. With a fresh perspective other people were able to look at it and find things that they did like or found interesting. People use perspective a lot when communicating with each other. So often I find myself discussing ideas with people just to hear what they have to say because I know they see in a different way than I do. One of my friends always asks me about what belts to wear with her outfit because she says I have such different ideas about wearing belts than she does. That is such a simple example of perspective, but we really do have such different perspectives on how belts look.

Tuesday June 19, 2012

After I decided on my subject I heard a song by Ingrid Michaelson and the lyrics were, “Open me up and you will see, I’m a gallery of broken hearts.” I thought not only was it fitting but that it had beautiful imagery. I tossed around lots of ideas but what I wanted to do was have lots of broken hearts inside of the bigger heart and have all of the broken hearts have a different design or look to go along with the “gallery” from the song. All or some of the hearts would open and include some of the sad or angry lyrics/quotes that I had come across. There were variations on that as well, but that is the basic idea. After I pasted the quotes on the heart, I managed to cut out a bunch of hearts from magazines that I had before I went to bed. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to execute my broken heart plan the way I really wanted to (I have work everyday before class) so I cut jagged lines down the middle of all of them before I pasted them onto the inside of the heart.

In class we saw everyone’s valentines and I was really impressed with what everyone had done. Julia’s project was so different in concept from mine because it strayed so far from the traditional card form. Rae’s card was beautifully done and well crafted, especially in how she wanted to portray her message. Celeste’s idea was also very unique in the use of her materials, paper and metal, and was wonderfully thought out. Basically everyone did a fabulous job with their concept and execution. I was surprised that people seemed to like the way I put the words on the front because I disliked they way they looked simply because it was not what I had planned. I think the comment was something like that for a modern idea about love the placement of the quotes had a modern feel to them. Nell said she wished the hearts on the inside weren’t so symbolized and that maybe they opened and revealed something which I clearly agree with.

I think a lot of times we can be our own harshest critic and so I was trying to give myself some slack. It was not that I hadn’t put thought and time into the project, in fact I had given a lot, it was that I didn’t pace myself properly. As far as thought goes, I had quite a hard time picking the direction I actually wanted to go in for this project and that was something I was unprepared for in such a short time. I realize now that I should have just picked what I wanted to do and worked out the kinks along the way. Nell said these pieces were rough drafts and while I think other people’s looked great the way they were, it was comforting for me to know that it was okay to have a rough draft. I kept trying to settle on a plan that looked super awesome and was also plausible to execute in the amount of time I had but by the time I settled on anything it was so late that I had to compromise even more. Another thought, because of the style and comfort of the class, is that I should have picked the one I really wanted to and if it was unfinished that would have been okay because at least I would have shown enough of what I wanted to. Nothing can change what I had ready for class today, but I think it’s a good thing to have rough drafts in your life. How often do you get things right in your life from essays, which very literally have rough drafts, to relationships of all kinds. I mean relationships in that you actually think about what you do and say and what that means. I could also use a rough draft, or maybe more aptly called an outline, in the scheduling of my time.

Monday June 18, 2012

Today we came in to discuss and finalize our ideas for our summer valentine. I was surprised that we didn’t discuss them as a group as we previously had, but that’s okay because now everyone’s will be more of a surprise. I left with even more ideas whizzing around in my head and a need to discuss them. I went straight home and discussed them with my mom. I guess I talked for a while because she eventually made me stop and actually go do start my project. In my discussion with Nell she suggested that I not limit myself to songs since they were so hard to find, so I looked to books by an author named Sarah Dessen that I read when I was younger. I wanted the things that I was pulling from to be personal, not only because they were what I had at my fingers, but also because that’s how I would personalize it for a friend. I found a lot of good quotes from the Sarah Dessen books and I also happened upon a compilation of quotes from one of my new favorite people, Lena Dunham. Lena Dunham is the creator, director, producer, star, etc. of an awesome show on HBO called Girls and she’s only 25, so basically I’m in love with her. But that’s beside the point.

I spent a lot of time finding the quotes I wanted to use and picking the lines from the songs I had already chosen. What I did not realize was that I probably spent to much time on it. Somehow after arriving home at 3:30 and discussing my project for an hour, looking up quotes, eating dinner and looking up more quotes, it was 9:30. At this point I realized I really needed to get started on the physical creation of my project and at that same moment I realized our printer was extremely low on ink and would probably run out in the printing process. I knew I had too many quotes to write without it looking crazy so I went to Target to get ink. I came back with it and chose the right color and put them in all different fonts and sizes. Then the printer was just did not work at all. I had to go to my uncle’s house and print them off there. There were six pages worth and they were much bigger than I was expecting. Using poster board I had cut out a big heart so that the heart had flaps that opened up. What I hoped to do was cover the front of my heart completely in the quotes but I needed different sizes and it was too late to print out any more, so I used what I had and covered the front of the heart in the quotes/lyrics. Enough of my sob story now.

I think what this really comes down to for me is time management. I had great ideas on how to use the words in a meaningful and illustrative way, but because of limited time and improper use of that time, I ended up rushed and unable to execute my project properly. It’s something I talked about early in my blog, my inability to calculate how long something will actually take. I guess we’ll see the results of my time management skills.

Weekend June 16-17, 2012

My research started this weekend for the summer valentine project. I looked at the video we watched in class and I researched the history of Valentines Day and valentines. I watched an interesting video from the History Channel on a woman who owns 10,000 valentines from different years. She had one that was for soldiers during the civil wear to purchase and send to their girlfriends and wives. It had a tent that opened up and revealed a soldier writing at his desk, as if to say that he was thinking of her. There was another that if you pulled the middle of, it would spiral up and reveal a hidden image below it. I really like the idea of using pop ups or flaps of some sort in my valentine.

The video:Valentine Cards

For my subject or receiver, I thought of a song that I like that says, “It’s only love and I can give you up, yes I can.” It made me think of my friend who I’m sure would never believe that or put that into practice. She jumps from boyfriend to boy friend and is never content to be by herself. It’s a very strange concept to me because I love having time to myself. I have been listening to songs in hopes of finding lyrics that support the idea of happiness with yourself or of renouncing love in a non angry break up way. This is incredibly hard and nearly impossible, but now I know my subject, people who define themselves through a relationship.

Thursday June 14, 2012

I came to class today excited to start something new  and different and I was certainly met with that. We went to the Mac lab and watched a Ted Talk on Marian Bantjes. She was very interesting. I was amazed by the range of her work and also by her attitude towards her. I love that she has taken her work, made it her own, and been successful with it. That’s definitely something I aspire to have future whatever that may be. I love that she uses common objects in an uncommon way, a refernce to the project we just finished working on. What most excites me is the project that we create from our viewing experience. The idea to make valentines in the middle of the summer is absurd but I suppose that makes it even better. Ideas started whirring around my head the moment we started talking about it. I love to collage to already so I’m interested to see if that works into my project and I am also the thinking about music lyrics because music speaks to so many things, especially love.

Google: Piaa on deviantART

What I’m having more trouble with at the moment is a subject or a reciever for my valentine. I’m not quite sure who or what it should go to considering that what is even an option. This class seems to stretch my in all different directions and surprise, surprise here’s a new one. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to choose, but a lot of what my project is, will be about or relating to the subject. So here’s to buckling down with some music and slipping into deep contemplation.