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The End is Bittersweet

May 3, 2010

Wow.  It’s over.  I’ve known this was coming, but now that it’s finals time and it’s really here, I’m surprised.  Class is over, school is over, and graduation looms upon the horizon.  Four years sure flew by quickly!!

And what an awesome project to end on!Our Results It took a lot of hours, and a lot of patience, but it was worth it!  I’m ultimately very happy with how mine turned out.  In retrospect there are a few things I’d do differently.  I’d work on the shading of my cheeks more, and work to make my bone structure more believable.  The part I liked the best was my eyes!  I thought it was so awesome that one of the girls (whose name I don’t remember) guessed my eye color!  It really made me feel like I represented my eyes well.

Everyone’s portraits are just so impressive.  Each of them has something amazing, and I’d love to comment on every single one, but finals doesn’t allow me that sort of free time.  Instead, I thought I’d talk about the critique we had on Thursday.

Fruits of our LaborIt was so fun to meet the other class too.  The combined group was really fun for the critique.  It was also great to talk about the general habits of people.  Since we’ve been doing this for a while we’ve gotten to know our classmates and their tendencies.  Some people are more realistic, some more impressionistic, some are heavy-handed, and some are incredibly subtle.

One of the things that really stuck with me over these past few days was our discussion of growth over the past semester.  When we started I would never have believed that I could have done this!  And now I can see myself in my portrait.  It’s such a cool feeling.

Being in this class has taught me to take risks.  I’ve learned that perfection is not really in the realm of possibility, because there’s always room to improve.  Once I came to accept that what I did was never going to be perfect, things flowed a lot easier for me.  Overall I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person during our time in the studio, and I think it will serve me well once I’ve left Agnes.

Thanks to my fellow classmates and Nell for joining me on this learning experience.  I’ll miss you all!

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So Close I Can See The End!

April 26, 2010

Almost DoneOkay.  It’s almost done.  I’ve got the basics down.  I even think it might look a little like me.  But I’m having a lot of problems with flat-ness.

I really like the way my main features turned out.   The eyes, nose, and mouth really feel like me.  And I really like the inclusion of my neck.  I feel like it grounds the picture a bit and really makes me seem real as opposed to this ethereal head floating in the cosmos.  I also feel like the shading on my neck went really well.  I liked the feeling of it, and the dimensionality it gave me.  I’m still really frustrated with the rest of it though, in terms of dimensionality.  It’s just not clicking.

Nell and I talked a bit about it, and I think I’ll come back and try and highlight the cheeks a bit more and give it a little more contrast overall.  I think that might help give it a little more “pop”.  Also, I’m going to try and neaten up my marks a bit.  I still feel like it doesn’t have the smooth quality I’d like.

As much as I gripe, I’m really impressed with how it’s developed.  It’s been a lot of hours in the making, but I feel like I’m almost there.  Like an hour or two more and I’ll feel comfortable with it.  When I started off I had basically no confidence, and I’m amazed that the end product is something that I’m really excited about!

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Still Missing Something

April 22, 2010

Alright, the journey continues.outwards and upwards And I’m actually feeling fairly good about it.  This is starting to flow again, like it did at first.  After lots of SLOW work, I was able to work outwards on the left eye.  Once I got that fully formed, I moved up to work on the brow bone area.  I didn’t know where to go really once I did some of the brow bone shading, so I moved down from the eye area.  I found that because of the shading I really needed to move outwards farther on left side because it isn’t in shadow the same way the right side is.

I’m still not thrilled with the left side, because I feel like it’s a lot less three dimensional than the right side.  I think my values around the eye and cheek are especially accurate on the right side.  I’ll have to go back and really figure out how I want to work on that for the left side.

I also have no idea how I’m going to “finish” it.  I think I’ll just BARELY end up going off the page.  And I definitely won’t hit the bottom of the page.  Maybe I’ll be a floating head?  Like a creepy head floating in the darkness.  Well, probably not.  That would just be sort of strange.  And disturbing.  Like something out of a nightmare.  Anyways, maybe I’ll see if my neck would proportion in there well.  Also, I’m totally clueless as to how to handle the hair situation.  I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…

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Making Progress

April 21, 2010

Okay, so I was absolutely right about how I’d feel about my work when I got back into the studio today.  I HATED my left side.  I completely scrapped it and started again.

My new approachActually, that’s not quite true.  I completely covered up my left side of my portrait and then wimped out and moved downwards on my face.  I liked the decision in the long run, though.  I filled out a bit more of my cheek area, and then moved down and created some context for my lips.  Then, I worked on the bit by my dimple, and I really got into the grove.  Working on the dimple really reminded me about how important it is to see things abstractly and to just do them in little parts.

That concept is what inspired me to work upwards instead of down.  I had been concentrating so much on how frustrating my eye was that I was completely losing track of my methods.  So I started at the dimple area and started defining the upper lip area, then I moved to the bottom of my cheek, then I moved to the area around my nose, and then I just naturally came to the area of my eye.  And it worked a lot better that way.  It was really slow, and fairly frustrating at points, but overall it was such a better strategy.

By the time I had defined the corner of my eye I was exhausted.  I felt the stopping point coming and instead of pushing through and possibly ruining the progress I had made, I decided to call it a day.

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Slow going…

April 19, 2010

When I first sat down to start this project, I was sort of scared.  I felt like if I erased something I wouldn’t be able to “un-erase” it.    The beginningI quickly learned, however, that I didn’t need to worry.  I could quickly move back to square one by just adding some more charcoal (which I did a couple times!).  Once I got going, however, it just flowed.  I moved so quickly once I got my nose done!  However, when I stopped to think, I realized that I was only “flowing” on the right side.  I’ve always known that I am decidedly left-brained, but this was a bit of a wake up call about the extent of it.  I just couldn’t make myself start the left side.  I decided to move downwards, and that really seemed to go well.  I also was really intrigued with the space above my lips, because it had so much more shape than I had anticipated.  I also really liked how my eye turned out, and the way I was able to show shape of my face through shadow and light.

The eyebrow was extremely frustrating for me.  More than any part of my face, it was the most difficult to make exist by erasing around it.  I also think it gave me a lot of trouble left side attemptbecause it’s such a prominent feature of my face, and the shape of it has to be very true to real life or else the 3-D-ness of the face won’t work at all.  When I finally was happy with my eye I called it a day.

That all took place Wednesday and Thursday.  Fast forward to my next session in the studio, today…

I decided it was about time to move over to the left side of my face.  The image on the left was the result.  I’m not at all happy with it.  I just couldn’t seem to get into the same mindset as I was when I did my right side.  Plus, yes, I know, my left brain is dominant.  But it’s frustrating!  I got so annoyed that I left it to sit there and I moved down to my lips.  That part actually went pretty well I think.  I had never noticed the differences in value on my lips.  The upper one is so much darker than the lower one.  And the way they jut out a bit from the rest of my face created a really interesting highlight around the top lip.  That part was really fun to work on.

I have a feeling I’m going to be starting over a bit on the left side next time I go in though.  Even looking at this image here, I’m really annoyed with it.

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Animals Galore

March 29, 2010

This was a really fun process for me!  It took me back to elementary school a bit, because we did a wire project then.  It was different though.  That project was dedicated to motion.  However, the wire did bring back some great memories, and the fact that I had worked with wire before really helped me gravitate towards it.

In Process

In the beginning

When I was thinking about what animal I wanted to portray, I wanted to do something horse-like.  I always loved  horses when I was little, and since I used to ride I’m very familiar with their anatomy.  I figured a horse would be too boring though, and I wanted something more whimsical.  I was feeling fancy free that day, as a result of the warm weather we’ve been having.  So I started on my frame for the horse, and then it hit me.

A unicorn.  I figured that unicorns are fun, magical, and something we associate with childhood.  What I focused on a lot when planning my unicorn was the magical aspect.  I felt that I didn’t want to make my unicorn too solid, because that might take away from the whimsical feeling I wanted to evoke.  I made sure that I used as little wire as possible, leaving lots of negative space in the frame.

Then I just sat and looked at it for a while.  The empty frame seemed odd to me, so I wanted to give my unicorn a little more presence.  There is where the filling came from.  I had already known I wanted my unicorn to be walking on the clouds, so I figured what better than clouds to fill it?  That way the connection between the unicorn and the clouds would be more upfront, emphasizing the magical nature of the unicorn.  I mean, how could it not be magical if it’s made up of the same thing clouds are made of?

Then came the details.  I wanted a bit of color, and glitter was a must.  Ever since I decided on a unicorn I knew I wanted a bit of flash- something to set it apart.  Glitter would do that perfectly.  I also liked the fact that glitter disappears and reappears depending on how the light hits it.  It would be another way of highlighting the mysterious nature of unicorns. 

Unicorn-Finished

Chaaaaarlie

And then the color.  I decided on cooler colors because unicorns always seem untouchable to me.  The cooler colors seemed to give off a more majestic and aloof vibe than warm colors.  I didn’t want to overwhelm Chaaaarlie (as I had decided to call him), so I kept the colors to just the tail, mane, and horn.  I felt that highlighting him would be more than enough to make him pop- unicorns need a bit of ability to blend in or else they wouldn’t be mysterious, now would they?

The last step was the glitter- that little bit of “wow factor”.  In the end I decided to tone it down a bit from my original idea.  I wanted the glitter to be subtle- that way it gave just that hint of magic.

I was really happy with how Chaaaarlie worked out.  He really did give out that whimsical, magical vibe I was searching for.

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Marta Review

March 16, 2010

I was particularly interested by Suzy’s project.  I liked the way her photos were put together in a haphazard manner, yet I still felt like there was a cohesive element to it.  The different types of artwork really melded together well.  I also liked that most of her photos were dark, though I’m not sure if that was accidental or not.  The fact that most photos were the same shade allowed my eye to wander from photo to photo, perusing them at my leisure.

I also enjoyed the blue tape- it felt purposeful.  The fact that blue painter’s tape is what is necessary to hang things in public places felt like a great connection.  Here she is, talking about MARTA, one of the more public things in Atlanta.  The blue tape seemed to go very well.  What I didn’t enjoy, however, was the white posterboard.  I think that she didn’t need it.  The darkness of her photos, highlighted as they were by the blue tape, needed no framing, in my opinion.  All in all, I felt that it was a very effective use of materials and it really was a pleasurable viewing experience for me.