Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Collage: The Practice Run

This is my finished project.

This is the right panel of my collage.

I Take Risks:
If you ask me, this entire thing was a risk.  I actually had a meticulous plan, or, at least, a meticulous idea, and only a little bit of it showed through here.  Originally, I was going to to a picture of a child with their knees bunched up on the left, and then a larger picture of a Juni B.- type child (is that a weird reference?) on the right, walking away, wearing this ridiculously pink, fluffy piece of cloth.  And there was always going to be a nighttime background, with stars and a moon.  And maybe the girl would be connected to the child on the ground by some of that white, webby stuff?  Like, a lace pathway?  And there would be one doily, in the corner, because anything else would be overkill.  And there was going to be a photo transfer somewhere, I just hadn't exactly figured out where.  The middle, maybe?
         Of course, the risk with planning your piece out before you know if you have the materials to collage it or not is that you never have the pieces of you want.  Well, I suppose I could've had the pieces I wanted if I was willing to expend many resources on accumulating them, but as it was, I worked with what was around the room, as well as a picture from the internet.  The entire thing was a risk, because I started without knowing where I was going, and even as I was going, I had no idea how it was going to turn out.

I Reflect:
I reflected on this project every day.  There wasn't enough on it, there was too much on it.  Things were awkwardly place, things were perfectly fine.  I went over board with the prismacolor white, I didn't use enough.  And, of course, I made stupid mistakes that needed immediate reflection and patching.
    As I have previously mentioned, I am the least patient person ever.  Like, ever.  So, I had this picture of a child, but it was facing the wrong way, so I decided to do a photo transfer with gesso.  And then the word was leaked that I'd have to let it dry over night. Or for a few days.  And that was unacceptable.  Absolutely unacceptable.  So, what I did was I cut out the kid, and then I drenched it in water.  And then I pealed the back layer of paper off the same way one would do if they were trying to photo transfer something. It worked perfectly!  At first.  When I picked up the kid, its face ripped, and when the paper dried you couldn't even tell that it was a kid.  So, you know.  I spent a good five minutes reflecting on that before I decided that I better put a lot of shiny paper everywhere so no one would notice.
       But, really, I did reflect. I know I'm being a little silly here, but this project requires a lot more thought than any others I've done, because the nature of collage is that none of the elements are reliable, as they are in other mediums, so you constantly have to consider what you're doing and your next steps.

I Communicate Through My Work:
This collage is actually ridiculously maudlin.  The child sitting on the doily is supposed to be me.  I have no idea why I'm sitting on a doily, it just went together nicely.  The lady walking away from me is supposed to be my cousin, but really, it's the back of a Carly Rae Jepsen ad (merely flipped over because gesso photo transfers evidently take a while), and a piece of pink cloth that's supposed to be a scarf.  See, when I was a kid, I lived an hour and a half away from my cousin, and I had this thing, where I would idolize older girls. Whenever we saw my cousin, I'd let her dress me up and I'd do whatever she said.  As we got older, the fact that I didn't like High School Musical and the Jonas Brothers became painfully obvious--and the fact that she matured differently than I did.  She was girly and stylish and put-together, and everything that I was not.  Am not. So, I feel very left behind whenever I see her. I feel like a little kid, left behind, while she walks away from me, as perfect as she's always been.
    I don't know why it's the night time.  I had the idea about doing it the cosmos, or something, like, I was all alone in the universe?  But, then Aiden was like "use that for clouds," and it was better than any other idea I'd had recently, so it went from there.  I liked the shiny stars mixed with the paper ones, though. I thought that was pretty cool.
    I have no idea what the prismacolors were for, though.  I just found it and started scribbling.

The right side of my collage: the poor,
lonely child who you can't even see because
gesso transfers take so long.  Seriously,
 it wasn't my fault. 
Planning.  Look how meticulously I planned my paper out!  I even
did it in layers!  And look how awfully I gessoed my paper and
at how many colors leaked through!  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Clay Foods

My apple, up close.
My apple from the bottom.

My apple from the top (sans stem),

My apple, far away.

I Create Original Art:
     There is nothing more original than foods people have been eating for thousands of years, let me tell you.  But, no, I think what I've come up with is pretty creative.  They're supposed to be parts of a salad, so someone is theoretically in the process of chopping them up, or generally making them into smaller, more edible parts.  I was going to make a small bowl of almonds, or something, as well as a knife and a cutting board, to make that idea more viable, but I didn't really have time.  Things that are supposed to be so simple take me forever.
      Again, my tablemates helped me out with logistics.  What would I do without them?  But, they're probably sick of me holding things up and being like 'Is this good?'  Their input really helped me out, though.  They made suggestions on things like the shape of the vegetables themselves, and the color I should paint them.  And they didn't even mind when I took up half the table with all of my stuff.
      But, I didn't see anyone else making ingredients of foods, just the finished project.  So, I'm pretty proud of my ingenuity. Or, maybe someone said something like it, and I've just forgotten.  I didn't steal the idea from anyone else, though, and if I did, it was unintentional.

The gnarly side of my carrot.

The shaved side of my carrot.

The top of my carrot (notice hole, so it doesn't explode)
and Aiden.

Carrot.  And, apple.

I Developed My Art Making Skills:
    Yes, yes I did.  I had never intensively worked with clay before, so this was all pretty new to me.  The last clay project I did was a 'sea globe' which was a ball into which I'd carved waves and stuff.  My mother still has it out on display, which isn't really a good idea in her eyes. It doesn't paint my fifth-grade art career in a good light (haha).  Anyhow, all I'm saying is that I walked into this project seriously deluded. I was like--how hard can it be?  After all, you can make the clay do whatever you want.  You just mold it and stuff, and sometimes put water on it, and then it turns out all pretty and such.
      Me of last month was so na├»ve.
     No, but, really.  I was aware of the exploding-in-kiln factor, so I decided to start off my apple by making two skinny bowls and them slip-scoring them together, because of course things like that work in real life.  It was horrific.  It was then suggested that I just make a clay orb, give it the details of an apple, and then hollow it out.  I was beyond impressed.  I didn't think I could make something like that.  And I knew the stem was going to break off. I shouldn't even have but one on there, but it was so cute, and it looked so nice . . . but I knew that it wasn't going to be permanent.
      The carrot wasn't so bad. I knew what I was in for.  It took me a while to conceptualize the correct length and thickness, but after bugging everyone within a three-foot radius, I think I got it right.  And, of course, I had to add the nicks onto it, and then I hated the nicks and had to do it over three times.
      The piece of lettuce, though.  Ohmygod.  Half of it broke off in the kiln, just if you stumble across a small pile of vaporized clay in there.  I had to make it so skinny and so big, and I was trying to make the center piece thicker--and that worked out, but I was also trying to make it bend--  It just wasn't working.  It just flopped however it wanted to.  It didn't rip as badly as I was expecting, but that was just about the only means of cooperation it provided. But, yeah. The actual leaf was really big and really skinny.  I didn't really think that that would make it out alive either.  I kept breaking pieces of my own thing off while painting, though, and that annoyed me.  Next time, I'll keep things a bit thicker, even if they are prone to blowing up when placed under the necessary large amounts of heat.

The back of the lettuce is actually perfectly flat.
Fun fact.

The back of the lettuce is actually a different color than
the front.  Fun fact.

The front side is very green.  Also, very yellow.

I Solve Problems:
   You have no idea how many problems I solved.  The brown wash was showing through on the lettuce, so I had to white wash it, too, but then it still showed through, so I had to put on, like, three different coats of green (and that's why the sides are two different colors--I couldn't pick it up and turn it around to compare the layers I was putting on).  The apple was horrific to begin with, and the carrot went from being a cob of corn to the world's longest string bean, to being a cob of corn again. It is amazing how little this 'food' actually looked like food for the first two weeks of its creation.    
    But, with a lot of water and the force application of a lot of patience, they came out alright.  Also, sponges were a life saver.  No one appreciates sponges enough.  They saved this project.  And all the other things in the clay box. They were so fun to play with, and should really have utilized them more, especially for the lettuce . . . I should have done the veins in clay instead of just painting them on.  Dang it!  Why didn't I think of that in in the first place?
      The final problem that I face is the cleaning of clothes worn while doing this project.  Also, washing my hair.  I still find bits of green paint in there, sometimes . . .

Up Close Drawing

I Create Original Art:
      I took my own pictures of a dream catcher I got in Arizona hanging off my lamp--that's what the white bubble is in the background.  Usually, the outside of things are illuminated, because the light source comes from the outside, and that was present a little bit in my picture as well.  I decided to dramatize it, though, and removed most of the outside lighting. The inside ring of my dream catcher is much lighter than the inside, and I am very pleased with the results.  I also like the beads on the bottom of the dream catcher.  There are feathers coming off of them in real life, but you couldn't see them in the picture, so I decided not to put them in.
      My room was dark when I took the picture, and the only source of light was the light behind the dream catcher, and that's why I chose black paper.  I also decided to remove the top of the picture, because I thought it really accentuated the part of the picture one was supposed to focus on.  And, I thought it also made more sense when presented that way.

Part of my planning

My final sketch.

I Communicate Through My Work:
    Until about third grade (and even sometimes today), I was very afraid of the dark, and I would also have horrible nightmares.  My mother got me a dream catcher, when I was young, to help me with my fears.  I lost it in the shuffle of moving and I replaced it a few years ago.  The original dream catcher has been found since I began the drawing, but I like that I used the new dream catcher as well.  
     I tried to use light and dark in my piece, because the dream catcher, to me, represents the dark and what scared me, while the light represents why I don't need to be scared. I tried to create a sharp contrast between the two opposites, and I don't know if I exactly succeed.  That what it means to me, though, even if the message is not imparted upon the observer.

The final product.

I Take Risks:
     I tried to manipulate the lamp so that you could see that there was glass around the light source, but the glass itself was not glowing. Originally, I was just going to color the lamp white (prisma color) with darkness where the light wasn't so concentrated on the glass, and have that and the suggestion of lighting on the dream catcher be the representation of light.  My table mates, though, suggested that I use yellow as well as white, and I think I used their advice better in some place than the other. Also, I don't know if I concentrated the white as much as I should have--it's hard to decide if one's white is dark enough.  And I don't know if the shape of the lamp conveys as much light as it should . . . I don't really know if my risk worked out, but I can tell what the lamp is supposed to be. (I don't really know if that's the best way to measure this sort of thing, though.)

The original picture.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Candy Land

I enjoyed working with the oil pastels.  I've never worked with them before without smudging them with my finger, and I think the effect I received this time around was fantastic.  My only problem with this was that it was very annoying when you were trying to layer colors (especially lighter colors over darker colors, because I'm me like that).  I think I did the shadows on the wrapper well enough, though I did the red of the 'Jolly Dancer' before I layered the shadows and highlights, which really wasn't a good idea. I should have started with the highlights first, then the shadows, and worked my way through there.
      I'm not too happy with the way the ends of the wrapper came out.  To get the particular color, I had to layer yellow first, than orange, than yellow, and I forgot to put yellow down first on the left side. Also, I don't think I conveyed the stiffness of the wrapper well enough.  Also, I don't think the shadows were pristine, but I had layered so many colors over each other that it was hard to put another one on top--it wasn't sticking anymore.
I was actually absurdly proud of how this one turned out.  I didn't think that I would be able to do the peppermint, let alone the rapper, but it all came together really well.  I also usually smudge chalk pastels with my fingers, just for the practical application that that keeps dust from getting everywhere (I would just like to mention that both pastel drawings have  my fingerprints all over them because I am horrendously messy in this regard), and I was really impressed that I was able to create this picture without doing that.  I wish I had pushed my values a bit more on the bottom, but personally, I think the wrapper is awesome.
      I colored in the red first, and my tablemates suggested that I should just leave the parts that were supposed to be white blank, for dramatic affect, and I am indebted to them for their input.  I really think that if I had added some blue or green to the red on the bottom of the peppermint, at the part where it turns away from the viewer, it really would have looked that much better, 
      I actually did use my finger a little bit on the wrapper--I forgot this, but I got some white dust from the lines and pushed it around the paper with a finger to create hopefully a short of transparent sort of shading?  And then I went over the lines with white again,  I wasn't too happy with that in some places, but overall, I think the affect was fantastic.

After I finished shading this, Anam told me that if I rotated this drawing 90 degrees to the right, it would look like the helmet of a knight in shining armor.  And now, that is all I can see when I look at this picture.  That's why I had to turn it the other way.  
         I have never enjoyed working with colored pencils this much.  I was so happy with how the prismacolors blended--I never had to fight them for anything. I wish I had pushed my values a bit more, and incorporated more contrasting colors into my piece, but it was better than anything I was expecting to create with colored pencils.  The smaller words got a bit smudged, because I wrote the darker words on first, and then started shading with white and stuff, which wasn't really a good idea, so some of the words have been obscured. I think I did a pretty good job of representing the creases of a wrapper, though.
      Originally, I had just two different shades of brown and white on this wrapper, but someone left an orange at my place one day, so I decided to start playing with it, and I think it improved the shading quite a bit.  There are some places, like the crease that looks a little bit like a tent that, from this prospective, is the furthest south, that I wish I had done better with, but I didn't want to erase it and risk messing up the colored paper, or another part of the lollipop, or just smear the colored pencil across the paper . . . I am proud of it, though, and I think it looks pretty neat.   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Artist Equivalent

I Create Original Work:
Though I replicated a family photograph, I manipulate the photograph a little bit.  In the photo, someone's finger obscures the top right corner.  I knew the room that the picture was taken in, so I was able to take that out.  Details of the painting were also modified to fit my skill level, because I haven't painted anything of this intensity ever.  So, this wasn't entirely someone else's image, even though it is in essence.
       The goal of this project was to paint in the style of a chosen artist, and mine was Mary Cassat. I am not very happy with how I painted in that respect--Mary Cassat was an impressionist for the most notable part of her career, and she used brighter colors, mixing the colors on the canvas, scorning the colors black and using concrete lines.  I didn't feel that I was skilled enough to mix my paints on the canvas--though I did experiment with that on the wall on the background and the cabinet--and I used black because black was used in the photograph.  And I absolutely felt that I could not paint a coherent picture without lines to guide me.  That I couldn't do this was disappointing, because I admire her style of art, but it gives me a greater appreciation of what impressionists did.

I Communicate Through My Art:
I wanted to create a piece of art like Mary Cassat's, and she was most notable for her portraits of mothers and children.  "The private, inner lives of women," one website phrased it  (  When I started, I had the idea of doing children, or, my younger brother.  I was looking through boxes of pictures when I spotted the one of him sitting on my cousin's lap.  It is strongly reminiscent of Mary Cassat's paintings, because it's a younger figure relying on an older one (in the photograph, and I don't know if you can tell this in the painting, but my cousin's hands are cradling my brother's feet, making sure he doesn't fall), but it has modern elements.   I think that I was trying to communicate was the fact that no matter what the time period, or the gender of the people involved, there can still be a connection between them.

I Developed My Art Making Skills:
Yes, yes I did.  I haven't painted anything but color wheels in so long, so it was so difficult to get all the different values, and make sure I didn't splatter paint in the wrong place (that happened so many times), or to match values to what I had the previous day . . . I also learned about the application of paint.  I wasn't good enough to create the illusion of actual fabric, but I think I made the walls textured enough, and maybe the skin. I also think I accomplished the cabinets in the back very well.  I created value between the shelves by mixing a darker gray and then putting a bit of water into it, so it went on thinner.
       I think the background was the most 'impressionist,' because there I was the most fearless.  I knew that if I made a mistake on the walls, I could easily fix it.  If I painted more, I would defiantly be better at it, and hopefully I would be able to mimic, at least partially, the style of Mary Cassat.

A rough color draft.
A portrait I did as a draft, to help myself understand painting.
The original photograph.
It looks better in real life, I wear. Only a little, but, still.
A secondary planning sketch.

Sunday, September 21, 2014



Composition Sketch 1
Composition Sketch 2

 I Create Original Art:
I used pictures I found on Pinterest and pictures I took myself, but I blended them all together until they created something different.  I also used sort of a secene from my imagination:  Originally, I wanted to create a city made of light, using shading with colored pencil, but that proved too difficult to conceptualize in three days, so I decided to create a city where anything was possible. Where fantasy and realism collided.  This was the city I tried to create, with human-sized doors on the same house as a mouse-sized door, and a grand marble building perched atop a crude stone one.  Anam said that my shading made it look like the light was coming from a streetlight, and it was midnight, so that's why I decided to title it "Cities At Midnight."
Composition Sketch 3


I Developed My Art-Making Skills:
I worked on my shading skills, which I always enjoy.  Especially around circular objects, like pillars. I usually don't work with pillars, preferring sharp corners.  I also worked on my two-point perspective, which I don't really know if it was two-point perspective or not, because every time I drew something, it seemed it went off somewhere else, but it was in perspective.  I could tell it was.  So, I think I pushed my understanding of perspective and what it means to draw relevant to other structures.

Pre-Composition Sketch 2
Final Composition Sketch
Pre-Composition Sketch 1

I Communicate Through My Work:
I am very interested in fantasy.  I think that this piece was, in part, inspired by something I'm writing right now.  It's an environment for my characters to exist in. Also, I hope this piece shows my love for cities.  If I could, I would draw a Times Square in its full glory, with people and taxis and lights, and then add my own mythical element to it, but I don't think I'm talented enough to accomplish that. This is my imaginary city for now, then, with just enough things wrong to make you think that maybe this isn't the right place after all.  

The final thing.  But, I rolled it up, so  a ruler was needed as a paperweight.

The final product, albeit a little . . . sideways.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Art Journaling

So, for my Art Journaling project, I was assigned 'anger.'  I was also assigned, 'tell a funny joke,' but I'm very bad at telling those.  Anyhow, I must confess that while I can get very angry very quickly (like, say, when I'm drawing a pair of lips or possibly carving out the innards of a book about the birds of North America), the anger always dissipates, and I am left with a very small recollection of the emotion. Also, modge-podging makes me happy because the gel medium smells like chocolate chip cookies (is it healthy to think like that?) and it is generally just a very happy thing because it's slimy.  So, this thing is more of a fan-fiction-French-newspaper-yey-let's-play-with-orange-tissue-paper-because-it's-orange-and-awesome! than an actual project on anger.  Excuse me for forgetting my primary objective.

Artist Create Original Art:
Because I can.  Um, I guess this art is relatively original.  I took comic book pieces from a Marvel adaption of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" (Lizzy Bennett is the one features on both covers), a copy of an illustration from the inside jacket of Cassandra Clare's newest book, and a picture of Drogon, one of the dragons from Game of Thrones, that I printed off from the internet.  It would probably be good to mention here that this was done on the back of a notebook.  That might be prudent.  Anyhow, yeah.
I pasted a page of a newspaper titled 'Les Mondes' or something similar onto the notebook first.  And then I pasted on black tissue paper, and it was really annoying because I couldn't see the newspaper through the black tissue paper, so I had to go wet the tissue paper and bring it back to where I was sitting, consequently getting black tissue paper dye all over my hands and all over the floor.  I looked like I had zombie hands for a week.  When that was all dry, I pasted orange over the spots that were coming up.  One phrase that I had accidentally pasted onto the front was "les revolution," which I highlighted by not covering it with black tissue paper and covering it with orange instead.  I did the same with the word 'femmes' in the back, but that sort of got covered up by Jace's head.
For everything else, I just sort of wung it.  I really like modge-podging stuff, and so basically I just put stuff anywhere and hoped it came out well. I sort of messed up the face of the left-Lizzy Bennett by putting red tissue paper over her face, so I had to doodle on her with charcoal, and then paste Jace over the part of her that was actually ripped paper and not her. And, I wish I'd done Drogon's flames better, but I don't really know how, and I think it looks fine as it was.  I was going to just give him a yellow halo, but that was more angelic than mad, and I'd forgotten to cut it out before I'd put Drogon onto the paper, and I wasn't about to exacto my carefully wetted tissue paper.
The horror of it.

The cover, detail.

The back cover, detail.

Lizzy Bennett's messed up eye, detail.  I actually don't think it came out to bad.
I would have done the charcoal elsewhere, but you can't charcoal over gel medium.
The only way I was able to do it here was that I ripped up a ton of paper trying to get rid of all the red and brown tissue paper.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Land Art

So, Olivia and Hannah graced my house with their presence, and then they immediately began to eat all of my food and complain about the weather.  Only after a quarter of an hour was I able to make them come outside so I could stick thorns into the side of their head.
    Okay, so, that's not really what happened.
     We only stuck Olivia with thorns.

Artists Create Original Art:
I seem to really like this question.  Okay, so, I guess I got my inspiration from Faerie Queens and such.  I don't know.  In YA lit, the queens are always portrayed wearing wreaths of flowers.  As are May Queens from the Middle Ages.  So, it's strongly symbolic of magic and spring and such.    Also, and I don't mean to be sacrilegious, but even though I'm not Christian, I've always been sort of interested with Christian symbolism.  So, instead of a crown of thorns, we made a crown of roses, which took the Christian symbolism and mashed it with the more pagan one.  I don't know. I didn't let anyone else in the group in on my personal reasoning because I'm selfish like that. Personally, I thought it was really interesting, though.

Olivia, with the original grass circlet in her hair.

Olivia, as we try to get the roses to actually stay wrapped around the grass circlet in her hair.

Olivia, looking like a monster from the gardens deep, with flowers in her hair.

Hannah, trying over again, because obviously I hadn't done it right.


Okay, so, technically I'm not done this project.  The theme of sculpture was 'tell a story,' and the story I was attempting to tell was a boy, riding his horse, while holding a lantern aloft, running away from a monster.  And, of course, it would be doubly cool if a book told this story . . . So, obviously, there was only one possible recourse.
     Which, of course, I had neither the patience nor the time for.
     So, half the story remains untold.  I would hopefully rectify that problem over the summer, but for now, the boy stands alone and unpursued.

Artists Create Original Art:
I think that this piece is fairly original.  I mean, I know a lot of people carved books, but I really enjoyed coming up with my own story.  (I consider myself more of a storyteller than an artist, no matter how pompous this sentence sounds.)  I don't know where I got the idea from--maybe I was more-than-slightly influence by Game of Thrones, of which I have been reading almost exclusively for the past month.  This scene is nothing from the Game of Thrones, though.  I picture the boy riding the horse to be about nine or ten, and maybe it's more of a Little-Red-Riding Hood scenario, where is mother sent him into the woods to fetch something, and he stayed after dark.  Or maybe he's a courier who stumbled through the wrong copse of trees.  I don't know.  I find these things interesting to think about.

Artists Develop Art Making Skills:
Ha.  Okay, so, this was my first period of extended usage with an exacto knife.  And yes, I learned out to cut stuff!  Um, I used the fancy exacto knives, so they were really sharp, and I figured out the quickest way to cut the most amount of paper in one class period (cut two pages at a time, so you cut on and score the other), so that was greatly beneficial.  Though, I do not think I will be let near sharp objects for a very long time.  It will save all involved a lot of frustration and pain.

This is the main piece of the sculpture.

This is how it looks when you open it completely up.

A view of the different layers.

A squirrel.  He's in the upper right corner of the book.  He's just adorable.