Friday, October 12, 2007

Week Six: October 8-12, 2007

Week Six - October 8-12, 2007

A short week due to Thanksgiving on Monday (no printmaking class) and I brought home my lino block but didn't get around to doing more than a few sketches with ideas for what I'll do with the block. I need to get work done on it for sure by next class next week. We have a six-inch square design to make and a small border piece to carve out as well. We'll use these to make 15 prints of various configurations.

Tuesday we had our painting class where we continue to draw. This week, two plaster heads were set on the platform. One was a large female bust that someone had tarted up with lipstick and rouge. The other was a small skull wearing a black fedora. We could choose our subject from these two figures. We were concentrating on shape rather than line and were directed to use a small piece of conte crayon on its side. I spent half of the period on one drawing and the other half on the other drawing. I did the female first, the skull (now minus its hat) second. I wasn't feeling too fine but was able to stay with the drawings until I reached a satisfactory conclusion with each. I got little comment from the teacher so I assume I was doing ok. I put away my easel a few minutes early and one of the students asked me some questions. Not good - I got a mild reprimand from the teacher for disturbing the class while it was still in session. I apologized and limped away to my locker and home.

Wednesdays there's no class but I did do some work on ideas for sculpting class. I also completed my gallery review to hand in for Art History. Sadly the Annie Leibovitz DVD I brought home to review is messed up and wouldn't go past the first 21 minutes. I looked online but this PBS documentary is not available for sale at Amazon or elsewhere.

Thursday we had art history class in the morning and our teacher was very pleased to have put together 100 power point slides on Egyptian art history and 100 on Greek art history. The slides with images were ok but there was still a lot of text on slides and the reading of text from slides is so deadly! Especially if you don't read things correctly which sometimes happens, The teacher is really working very hard to do what he feels needs to be done but it's quite difficult to sit through these things. I'd rather read a book or look it up online to find the answer to a few questions asked. I’d appreciate any instruction that makes learning more experiential. One of the students did ask quite a few questions and got called a "smart ass" (the teacher thought she was not serious?) and this totally put me off. I found that response to be quite disrespectful. I keep reminding myself that I was once a newbie teacher making all sorts of mistakes and I need to be more open-minded. His intentions are very good I'm sure. After the break I talked with him again about my ideas for one of the projects and he gave me some helpful tips.

In sculpting class, the two presentations on aspects of constructivism (the art movement) were quite long and detailed and this took at least an hour. There were more demos regarding our medal casting (to come) so the actual time left to work on my large maquette was limited. I spoke with the instructor about coming in for studio time next week. I know the rule is not to answer questions that we have but to work on our own. However, I'm at a stage where I just need to know if I've accomplished where he wants me to go with the piece. I asked him if he would at least nod or shake his head if I came in to show him my progress. He agreed as long as I didn't ask him how to do anything.

Today (Friday) in figure drawing class we had a wiry, slender female model who clearly is quite expert at posing nude. She quickly took imaginative poses and kept track of the time. We did 10 drawings that were 30 second gesture and 30 second finishing touches. Next we did two 15 minute poses concentrating on line quality. The final pose was for an hour. I was relatively satisfied with what I accomplished especially as I still did not feel all that well. After class I went with one of the students to talk with our teacher to get advice. The student is frustrated because she feels intimidated by several of the teachers who don't seem to want to demonstrate how to do things but expect her to figure it out herself. A number of the students have been complaining about this approach. They want more instruction. As expected, she was advised to speak directly with the teachers with whom she has questions.

My final activity at the Art Centre this week was a meeting for those with access issues. One of the students has self-elected to be the spokesperson on this and she is aiming to be quite the activist. Now that Ontario's Lieutenant Governor is a gentleman with disabilities, there is more of a mandate to resolve access issues in the province. When I walked into the meeting the Toronto District School Board representative there to meet with the students was pontificating on how he had much more serious things to deal with than the measly little adult program. He made it clear that the resources are primarily for the adolescent programs at Central Tech. (implying that we were lucky the adult program even exists. Gee – he must have loved it when Mike Harris threatened to do away with the program.)

I asked if any adolescents had disabilities and he informed me that perhaps a few had learning disabilities and now and then someone broke a leg and needed to bring a note from the doctor to get a key to the elevator temporarily. He allowed that some keys had been ordered and that a checque for $20 would serve as a deposit for a key. (That seemed good – I’d heard it would be $70) So I wrote out a checque and left it with the faculty member at the meeting. I knew that the student spokesperson for access was getting wound up and that this man would probably be resistant to threats. It seemed to me like a potentially nasty tense meeting and I did not want to be drawn into the vortex. I can still manage the stairs (have been for 6 weeks) if I go very very slowly.

So – am I making progress? A little. I am hoping to do much better when some of my health issues have been addressed by surgery and when I am not teaching two courses at the same time as being a student. I’ll have more time and energy to do my homework!

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