Saturday, January 19, 2008

Week Eighteen: January 14-18, 2007

Art Centre - Week Eighteen - January 14-18, 2008

We are nearing the end of the first semester and those who got behind are in panic mode to complete enough work to get a (decent?) mark. Not sure why that always seems to work that way. I used to warn my students about “red eye” projects where they suddenly flew into the assignment on the night before it was due leaving no time for technical difficulties, copy reading, revising, etc. Thus I went into high gear much earlier on for which I am quite grateful.

During this week I was composing those forty-two feedback messages to my own students to let them know their cumulative and final mark in one of the the two graduate courses. By midnight on Friday, all twenty-seven of the Holistic Curriculum class had been sent a personal message regarding their work in the course. By 4:00 am on Saturday morning, January 19, the fifteen in Foundations of Curriculum received messages in their email inboxes. Early afternoon I was at the post office mailing those papers that had been provided with stamped envelopes. And with that, the great mantle of the role of teacher fell from my shoulders and I was liberated from all teaching-related excuses by which to delay art projects.

During the conducting of the Holistic Educator Workshop on this same Saturday morning (10-12 noon) I was part participant and part monitor. In every gathering these days, be it classes at the art centre or other meetings, the nasty virus that has been plaguing so many of us continues to take new victims. I carry and use hand cleaner for contacts that may re-infect.

On a brighter note, it is very cold outside and said to be going colder and this also brings the welcome rays of the sun to brighten the day. I’ve moved inside however to update this blog while the week is still fresh in my memory.

Monday – Printmaking

Having made a raid on Dollarama, I came to printmaking class with a variety of items for my screen prints. Envision this – I have two small screens ready for printing. One is of two stars, the design for my sculpting medal “Seastar”. I printed them in white on a black t-shirt. (And I wore the t-shirt to school on Tuesday, showing it off to the sculpting teacher in particular). I’ve printed two rainbow-hued cotton bandanas with the stars (One of each on each of two). I’ll also use the stars on other items, the place mats and napkin sets perhaps.

The second screen has two similar poses of my dear cat PeepEye on a cushion. One is a drawing from real life while the other is an enhanced photo I took. I have printed the former one on a mini-backpack so far. I also have scarves and coloured paper to use as I work with my screens. They are tricky being small screens, I’ve not much room to maneuver with the ink and squeegee, and if I want to do one of the images at a time, I have to cover and tape the other.

This kept me busy throughout class so no progress on the etching so far. And I have more screen printing to do – the good news is that there has not been a deadline set as we continue on with this course next semester. The Final Exam in the course is not until June.

Tuesday - Painting. I was back with my wonderful photo of the woman counting out lychees on a sunny day in Bridgetown, Barbados. I spent the morning blocking in the bright colours of blue and red (predominantly) with sienna, rose and gold accents. At one point during the class the instructor complimented me on the way I had handled a section of the painting and I remarked as to how wonderful it was to be told I had done something well! The class could all relate to that response – especially in this class and I could hear them chuckling in appreciation.

Later, when I was working on another section I called the teacher over to ask for feedback and he at first thought ok but then grabbed my brush and began to demonstrate a way to make a pattern on the woman’s dress in a more “painterly” fashion. Both methods work for me – praise for things done well and demonstrations of how to do things. I’m encouraged to carry on.

Tuesday - Sculpting and Printmaking Studios. I have been working on the medal, using a wire brush and emery paper could finish off after filing the edges smooth. I also put three coats of Future wax on my carving, having sanded it smooth to the extent of my intentions. When it is dry, I will declare this project completed.

Wednesday - This is my day off: got the car back from the mechanic with a new battery installed, had a shiatsu massage and did my laundry.

Thursday - Art History. Tralalalala – no more class – I spent the morning working on the display board for my medal project. I’m pleased with how it turned out – it was revised from notes given by the teacher last week. Here is a rough draft of it, close to the final version except for the font for the text which became the same font as the side title.

Thursday – Sculpting.

Today we had the final presentation of an “ism”. It was minimalism and I’d had a sneak peek as I was asked for feedback on it by M. Way back in the first class when we drew numbers to see which ism we’d present, I got a number that was 6 in one direction, 9 in the other. I chose the six for primitivism and was the first to present – minimalism was the other way the number could have been read as number nine and it turned out to be the last one. I’ve quite liked these presentations and feel as if I’ve gotten a decent overview of 20th century scuptors.

I handed in both my display board for the medal and my carving today. The teacher showed us the last steps for the medal. Using a blow torch, we heated the medal then brushed both sides liberally (several coats) with a liquid patina. The medal was cooled in water and blown dry by the torch then put in a window to cool. From here it takes as much elbow grease wielding steel wool and emery paper to bring out the shine. I’m still working on mine to hand in next week.

Friday - Figure Drawing. This was a late start day (10:00 am) due to a staff meeting. We did have our male model ready for action and we started with ten 2- minute gesture drawings. We had a longer pose – twenty minutes then a break. After the break, we selected a few drawings from our latest portfolio submission to critique among ourselves and the teacher. I chose two that were cropped and one other, all three were shorter poses. I seem to be much better if I do these drawings in less time – with an hour pose, I tend to overwork things. The teacher reminded us that we don’t have to be drawing all the time in the longer poses that we can spend more time observing. After the review of the drawings we went back to the easels for one last drawing for ten minutes. I used ink and a Chinese style brush as well as a pen-brush. I’ll miss this class and I will really miss the teacher. I got a very high mark in the class and some very nice comments – as I wrote earlier in this week's blog; it really helps to get positive feedback.

NEXT WEEK: Only two days of class are left in this semester. Tune in early next week.

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