Saturday, December 8, 2007

Week Fourteen December 7, 2007

Week Fourteen at the Art Centre.

Monday – A reality check in print-making class.  My folder was on the table with the prints left over after the craft sale last week. I got very excited when I opened it and found only three large prints – Wow – I thought there had been a run on my small prints and I made a lot of money for Cat Rescue. I thought prints of my tin angel might be popular for Christmas but felt $5 for a small one and $10 for a large one was a lot to ask for a novice printmaker’s work. Imagine my disappointment when I saw that there was second folder beneath this one and in it were a lot of my small prints – I didn’t even count them. I do know that the prints and other items from my class (including the teacher’s very polished work) earned over $700 for the charity. That’s a few cans of cat food for sure.

Today in class we put together our wooden frames and stretched the sheer screening fabric over them fastening it with lots of staples. Then the screens were “degreased” with a household cleanser and water and left to dry. The next step was coating them with a blue emulsion on which we will put our designs. This involves taking a black and white design and having it copied onto a transparency at Kinko’s. We’ll then put the plastic sheet with the design under a lamp on top of the screen for a certain number of minutes. This transfers the design to the screen and we wash the screen of emulsion and work with the design to print onto paper or fabric.

We also decided what size metal plate we wanted to use for our etching. The plates will be coated with a solution. We will then scratch the design onto the coated plate. Once we’ve done that, the plate will go into a chemical bath that will eat through the metal where we have scratched. The image will be reversed so any writing has to be done backwards.  

Tuesday – The same two still life arrangements were ready for us when we arrived in painting class. I continued to work on the still life I started last week – from left to right on a blue and white tablecloth, a brown bottle, a yellow pear, a bunch of reddish grapes, a viridian green crock pot with a yellow-green apple and some pale green grapes. There in the background, the brown wooden chair, the dark grey heater and the blackboard. I am working now to capture all of the colours so that they reflect the other colours in the arrangement.                       

Studio Tuesday – I spent the first hour of studio time working on my carving. It is now dry enough to sand and there are many parts of it to polish – it’s going to take a lot of work to get it ready for a coating to seal and protect it. Finally the teacher arrived and I was able to get at my medal. The first task was to use a hacksaw to cut away the brass vents and cup that were used to conduct the pouring. I did a pretty rough job of it so I will need to do a lot of chiseling and chasing to ever get the edges looking finished.  

Wednesday – my midweek break for laundry and a massage.

Thursday and Art History class – Our regular teacher was away and we knew our supply teacher from when she substituted in printmaking class earlier in the semester.  We were a small group – only seven – and our first activity was watching a DVD made by the Smithsonian Museum of Nigerian artists.  It was quite a good documentary with Nigerian artists talking about their work and the processes used in some of the pieces they created. There was batik showing the various stages with the fabric and there were a number of very talented sculptors. We saw printmaking and were able to recognize various stages we are now familiar with from our own projects.

In the second part of the class we were given a list of exhibits that would be quite controversial if placed in a public gallery.  We discussed each exhibit with much enthusiasm – it’s the first time we’ve had a chance to have a real rousing class discussion with everyone talking together with the teacher. We all enjoyed deciding which exhibits should be shown and under what circumstances though we did not all agree on which exhibit we would NOT display.

In Sculpting class we had a presentation on Vitalism by L. She did a good job of researching the work and had quite a few pictures of examples to pass around.  The teacher gave a demonstration of how to cut the vents and cup from the medal then showed us all of the various sizes and types of hammers and chisels with which to work on the medal. There was a lot of noisy pounding, metal on metal as this work began. Several of us were at the cleaning stage using vinegar and a wire brush to remove the blackened coating on the brass. Lots of work!

I divided my time and also did some sanding on my carving. This is another quite time-consuming project.  Next week five of my classmates will be away on the trip to New York City to see the galleries and museums. While I don’t envy them the 12 hour bus ride down and sharing accommodations, I do envy them the sights and the bonding that comes from traveling together. Both the printmaking teacher and the sculpting teacher are going along with two of the sculpting assistants so I asked a few questions today to be sure I had the information needed to proceed without those experts around.

After class, M. and I went to the Canadian Sculpture Centre (the only one in Canada) where our sculpting teacher had some pieces in the “Joy” holiday show. There were pieces by past graduates of the Art Centre in other parts of the gallery. The Centre is closing tomorrow, having to find a new space in the days ahead. I’m very glad I had a chance to see it before it closes. There were quite a few pieces that I liked – mostly mixed media and those with a sense of humour I found the most enjoyable. A few memorable pieces:  a foot with a soldier’s head on top – titled “Foot Soldier” and a foot with a face emerging from the heel called “Achilles’ Heel”.  Another sculptor had a series which grouped pear-shaped brass figures with breasts – quite startling. I hope I can find my medium to have such fun!

Friday we had figure drawing – the same man with scruffy beard, pug face and long pony tail who likes to do his two minute poses in quite distorted configurations. Today we were still doing shapes rather than line drawings – the modification being that we could crop the figure and concentrate on only a portion for our composition.  I chose to do his face in one and torso in another.

The students who are going to New York were all excited about the upcoming adventure and were in a flurry of making last-minute plans about rides to the bus early Monday morning, what clothes to take, what extra activities they would try to experience while there.

As for me, I packed my medal to do more cleaning with vinegar at home. I made plans to do my four manikin drawings due next week for our end of term portfolio submissions in figure drawing class. There’s still the little matter of 42 term papers by my graduate students that awaits my attention.

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