Saturday, February 9, 2008

Week Twenty: February 4-8, 2008

Art Centre - Week Twenty

The first week of semester two of year one we have four days of classes.

Monday Morning – Printmaking

Printmaking continues on Monday mornings as last semester and I came prepared to complete my silk screening and move on to the etching project.

I now had a total of 19 examples of my printing of cats and stars and I organized and submitted them as my silk screen project. I included examples of cards I am making rather than wait until I’ve made each set of 20 cards. The t-shirt and bandanas, the mini backpacks, the placemats and napkin sets were all done before the break.

I brought the two metal plates I etched over the break and touched them up before placing them in an acid bath for 12 minutes. Wearing goggles I feathered over the plates ever minute during this process. The ground was removed with varsol and the plates can now be rubbed with ink and printed onto damp water colour paper. I’ll begin this printing next week.

I’m delighted with our future project in this class . We''ll be presenting information about a printmaker. My first choice is Erte but there are quite a few I want to investigate before I make a final choice – among them: William Blake, Aubrey Beardsley, and Edward Hopper.

Monday Afternoon – Ceramics

For us this is a new classroom and a new teacher. The studio has tables arranged along two sides of the room. There are cabinets for storing clay pieces in progress. There was a series of small chalk boards where the teacher listed various points he was explaining to us about the work

we will be doing in this course.

We will be learning the fundamental techniques of working with clay: hand building with coil, slab and pinch techniques and wheel work. We will be creating forms developing 3-D design. We were introduced to the different types of clay and the stages the clay goes through in creating ceramics. We were taken on a tour of the firing facility in the main building at CTS. There we were shown the two huge kilns and the glazing area and met the ceramics technician.

Back in the classroom, we were given clay to work with to create three symmetrical forms that related to each other. We were using the pinch method to shape these forms and mine didn’t seem to be doing anything fabulous. I tried stacking them on top of each other one way then turned them upside down. I kept remembering Brownie scouts as a girl and the ashtrays we made for Mommy. (Times have changed, eh?) In any event, I got the impression that I had a long way to go when the teacher barely hesitated when he walked by and saw my pitiful creation. He very rightly moved on to praise the work of others who seemed to have gotten right into what was much closer to the concept.

I was slightly relieved when we got the next assignment and I felt as if I was making progress. We were to create an object that reminded us of solitude and serenity, a peaceful piece. I quite liked the shape that was emerging. We wrapped the pieces in plastic and put them in our cupboard. Cleanup involves sponges and squeegees. Ultimately it is hoped that we will be able to create dynamic designs in clay.

Tuesday – Design

We have the same teacher for Design as for Printmaking. For the first part of the class we went over the outline for the course as well as principles and elements of design. We were shown numerous examples of dance posters with specific references to the ways in which the posters had been designed, what elements and principles were present in each. Several books with designs were offered for perusal including those featuring Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Our first assignment was one that reviewed the four types of line: 1. gesture, 2. construction, 3. contour and 4. Cross-contour

WednesdayDrawing Fundamentals

The studio for this class is nicely arranged. Again, it is a new classroom and teacher for our group. The tables form a giant horseshoe with the teacher’s desk at the open end near the door. We had three handouts which gave us the outline for the course, a week by week list of activities and assignments and the required supplies needed.

Our assignment for the rest of the class was to begin an “organic” drawing with pencil, exploring all the ways with which we could make marks with a pencil to produce non-representational forms. We were shown examples of completed drawings (out in the hallway on display). Back in the classroom, we first drew a 3 cm border around the edges of an 18” X 24” piece of cartridge paper. We could begin our giant doodle anywhere on the paper, eventually developing relationships among the various lines as the feelings and forms emerge for a unified result. The idea is to merge emotional expression with control of the medium to get a specific result. Colour can be added if we so choose.

We were encouraged to start one of these drawings at home, adding to it from week to week to see what develops over time.

Thursday Painting.

My oil painting of the Barbados woman was on an easel as were the last paintings of each of my classmates present. The teacher went from one end of the display to the other, stopping to comment on each of the canvases, pointing out strengths and making suggestions for continued work and improvement I got three ideas for ways in which to go forward with mine. I also spoke to the teacher about giving me an overall direction based on the three canvases from first semester. Again, I was given encouragement and ideas and the impression that I’m doing fairly well for a relative newcomer to oil painting.

We also enjoyed a talk about abstract art - the concepts and some of the historical perspective, a few of the leading lights of modern abstract art. We’ll get to see examples in slides at a future class. For now we are to think big and bring a very large canvas or board, minimum measurement 30” X 30”.

This semester I am able to go to the twice monthly meetings at the university that I missed in the fall due to scheduling at the art centre. I was delighted to see my colleagues and to get caught up with this wonderful group of associates.

Friday is the day away from classes this semester. It’s also the day for PD and Good Friday so we get double dipped on those days. There are two Monday holidays – the new Family Day on February 18 and Easter Monday.

This term, I am not teaching so my art work gets much more of my attention. I had my teacher’s hat firmly in place in the fall, with my classes on campus and online getting the lion’s share of my concentration and creativity. Now I plan to wear the student hat first and foremost.

The new semester seems to be off to a great start in spite of the relentlessly wintry weather. Even the short distance I walk to the school can be a huge challenge with all of the ice and snow and there’s more on the way. Our group does seem to feel very comfortable together by now. One highlight of our last class last semester was a gift to each of us by one of our classmates. She gave each of us a white tulle bag and inside was a heart pendant on a necklace. A message was included that read, “We have a Heart for Art. We are the Central 10 from Central Tech. Congratulations, we made it through the first semester.”

Actually there are more than 10 of us still, we are 13 for now.

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