Friday, November 2, 2007

Week Nine - November 2, 2007

Week Nine at the Art Centre.

Monday and I’m closer to printing from my lino block – at least some test runs to see what else needs to be done to the block in order to start printing for submission to the teacher. My silk screens from last year’s printmaking class were located and they look to be appropriate for card-making for the Christmas craft sale near the end of November. Four of us (at least) are going in together on a $10 table. I attended the sale last year and bought a few student prints, a set of the teacher’s lovely cat cards and a cuddly mock leopard skin cat pillow also made by her. She donates her craft sale income to a cat rescue society.

Monday afternoon was spent doing the figure drawing assignment due tomorrow and working on the metal models so they are ready to take to class. I decided not to labour too long on the drawing – just an hour or so. The models took quite a while to get into the shape I wanted them to be in before I show the teacher.

Tuesday we all arrived with our choice of paints – a few of us chose oils – I believe the majority may have gone with acrylics though I didn’t conduct an actual count. We set to drawing thumbnails. While the teacher didn’t like it much he had to agree with me that my one super sized thumbnail (he keeps telling me to draw larger) was good to go and he actually marked my canvas with top and bottom of the lead bottle. I chose two bottles for my masterpiece. The way they float in infinite ground is like the shells and ancient urns that Teresa Cullen paints. However, my teacher insists that I draw in the ground cloth under the bottles to define the arrangement. So much for the idea of suspension. At least for now in painting class.

By the time we saw the teacher do an oil painting of the arrangement on someone’s canvas it was a little late to break out the paints. Just as well as I mistakenly used turpentine substitute in my medium mixture, following the recipe of ¾ linseed oil to ¼ turpentine to a few drops of stand oil. I’m now told I’ll need citrus thinner. Off I went to Midoco Art Supplies for another purchase. I’m keeping receipts to see how much I spend on art supplies this term.

And surprise – I finally surrendered and rearranged my schedule so I could return to school to attend sculpting studio – the only place we seem to get any work done it seems. And happily E. and I were at the same stage – his first studio attendance as well. Happily the students are helpful and that is much needed. By the time most of us get to the next stage, we’ve forgotten what happened at the demo for that stage and need tips and reminders to get through it.

I got approval on my two sides of the medal and went to the next stage of pouring a plaster substance onto the plasticene models that have been encircled with a protective barrier wall of clay. When I began pouring, the teacher’s assistant rushed over and coached me on the proper way to do it. While the plaster was hardening, I went to retrieve my maquette for the carving.

The studio was packed with second year students working on heads but I managed to find a place to work and set to detailing. I got quite thrilled when faces suddenly emerged from the clay – I had a sensation of pleasure and a feeling that it more reflected my old sculpting style with the heads whirling around like a hand holding a hydra – cut off one and more sprout. As I went to remove the models from the molds, I asked the teacher if I could go ahead and carve and because I’m behind schedule, he glanced at it and said yes, to get started.

M. warned me that he won’t like it because the faces are only suggested on the surface and sure enough – but I’m getting ahead of myself – it’s only Tuesday and I locate my block to be ready to carve and go to liberate my molds. Joy continues as my molds clean out beautifully – no picking out bits of plasticene for hours. I have to check them for undercuts and I’ll be ready to pour in the wax on Thursday. I go home feeling quite satisfied that I’m now at least in the middle of the pack and not the last one doing things.

Wednesday lots of laundry to do and house work galore. I got a lot of the rearranging of stuff for winter now that the air conditioner is out of the front window and stored. I also took all of my art supplies out of the salon (room next to the kitchen) and stuffed them into my spare room until after the pot luck lunch on Friday. The upcoming party is also postponing my indoor gardening. All of the geraniums from the front balcony come in with the temperatures starting to drop at night. Last year they went directly onto the window seat in the salon. Instead, they are on the back porch until the salon gathering is over and they can be placed on the window seat. The hanging plants will come in then too. I also worked ahead on prep for my online course to have it ready by Friday.

Thursday we were prepared for a field trip – those of us who attend the class these days. We were told to be sure to dress for out of doors and to BE ON TIME! And so we were, standing in the hall outside the classroom when the national anthem was played and my dream came true – everybody chimed in to belt it out – a sense of fun and solidarity which continued as we began taking pictures of each other as proof that we were there (on time!) – we were let in by another teacher and eventually our teacher rushes in (no apology noted).

We formed small groups and M. E. and I chose to be together – me who got the closest location to counter my mobility issues. Markham Village! (or Mirvish Village – depending on who you talk to). One block long, this street packed with houses from the late 1800’s has artsy little craft shops, cafes and one can find quaint or exotic merchandise for sale. We first went to nearby Second Cup where we were joined by F. and we planned our project over beverages.

A chilly wind rattled the leaves and there still are quite a few on the trees even now. We went along Bloor traveling west until we reached Markham Street and turned south down the eastern side of the block – the shadier side with light blocked by the tall houses. F. and I both had digital cameras and snapped merrily away while M. went into shops to ask questions and E. noted the names of each business along the way. At the end of the block, we turned and came up the west and sunny side of the street. Now we decided which parts each of us would make a sketch of and we each took up a position and began to draw. Pictures were taken to record the part we sketched to use for finishing details in out of the cold. We called it a wrap and went for lunch.

Sculpting class in the afternoon started with a presentation as usual but after taking a survey of who was where in the project, the teacher decided to postpone his intended demonstration. Yahoo! Time to work in class. I completed work on undercuts on my models and poured the wax into them. A. helped me get the reluctant one to finally come out and I started putting the two sides together, back to back of course. I finally got them all sealed when I was reminded to show them to the teacher. And, back I went to the wax area. I had to break them apart and melt off part of their thickness – this is a very tricky procedure. You place your wax model in a hot electric skillet and fish it out without burning yourself or mangling the model. Back together again and this time the thickness at least passed inspection. I just need to refine the edges a little before the next stage.

On the down side, the teacher let me know that my maquette was now unacceptable. That’s right, the one I completed on Tuesday that I had finally begun to like was all wrong. The heads all got pared back so they are now shapes that are part of one abstract shape. I’ll give it a rest (I soaked my block for a while but didn’t get around to carving of course because I had to revise the maquette.) Happily the clay had not dried out completely so it was relatively easy to make the modification with out chunks cracking off.

I went back to Markham Village and took more pictures. The light was now from the west though it was overcast much of the time. It takes me a few times with some settings as I am still getting used to the camera. I want to go back with my old Nikon and take some shots with the telephoto lens. I can get them developed and scanned in time for class – or if I don’t - never mind – I think it will make a great webpage photo essay. I will also look for those pictures of the stained glass windows in Victory Café. Years ago when it was a Greek Restaurant I took those shots to make a web page for the place but it didn’t make it. Victory seems to be making a success of that odd location just as Southern Accent and Butler’s Pantry and even Rocco’s Plum Tomato do. The old Villa Lucia has yet another name these days – Central is the latest moniker. Eclectic menu, bar and music. I ended up working quite late (nearly 1am) on my Appropriation assignment for Art History.

Friday: the first PD day we’ve had. I started off the day working on my legal issues activity for Art History – finding information and images to use. I invited my art class to come to my place for a Pot Luck lunch. It felt like a good time was had by all. Of the 6 men in the class, 5 came. Of the 12 women (I’m counting myself) 8 of us were there. 4 were otherwise engaged. A cool sunny day and I had slippers waiting by the door and food and wine at the ready. Each person brought plenty with them; some had had time to cook – very tasty and lots of variety. There was ample room for us all in the salon though we were often in the next room – the most popular room at a party – the kitchen. The back porch was a third option. I did conduct a few tours of the rest of the apartment but for most of the time we were in the back. A couple ducked out for a cigarette on the front balcony.

After all was said and done – we seem to get along quite well overall, folks gathered up what was left over and hit the road. M, E and F remained behind and we went to the computer to look at the 120 or so images I had from the photo shoot in Markham Village yesterday. F had her camera and some wonderful shots – it was about even between the two of us as we selected about 30 photographs we might use in our Art History presentation. I took us quite a while and I agreed to continue resizing the images and placing them on slides between now and Monday when we will meet after class to finish up the material (we have sketches and video/audio to put in as well – then we need to practice our presentation.

I’m winding up the evening with work on the Appropriation Poster. The End.

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