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.