Today was a great day of communication from everyone in the class. The class started with the students hanging their art work along the blank gallery walls on the 3rd floor of the Fine Arts building. This took a good 30 minutes. The students were excited and meticulous about their placement and display. I found myself to be proud of each and everyone of them. I was astounded by their dedication to the project and creativity.
We did schedule a model for the class period, but we went the entire class exploring and critiquing.
As everyone was hanging their works of art, each student was told to write down their critique of each others work, so we can come back together and discuss each work of art.
We sat as a group on the floor and stairs of the 3rd floor (Fine Arts Building) and critiqued each students work. Everyone had a chance to speak each time. I was impressed with some of their thoughtful responses to the work and level of maturity while speaking. I feel that every student got something good and worthwhile out of this critique. Maryann and I shared our critiques as well.
Our class got to draw from a live model today. It was exciting. The students rearranged the classroom to prepare for their day. They all got out 12 sheets of paper and various tools, like charcoal and pencil and of course erasers.
The model today was new at this. It was her very first time modeling. She did a wonderful job!
Maryann required everyone to draw standing up. She says that you should be drawing from your core, your center and this requires standing up.
Pick your emphasis
What is your special focus?
Horizontal of Vertical?
Use the side of the tool in the beginning of the drawing
Fill the figure with volume
"PAPER IS LIKE OXYGEN"
Map the drawing out in the beginning few seconds
Use your eraser
line variation: Dark/light
Look for the alignment of the hips and torso
Elbows and Knees crisscross in line
"When you see someones work that is better than yours, ask why that is, and try to do that.
The poses where for 2 minutes each.
Music was flowing!!! and the students were very focused. They are very new to this style of drawing and still have a ways to go. I am able to see specific styles in each student. That is a joy, but know it is time to get them to break old habits and try a new way. They need to learn mapping out the figure on the page. Scale and proportion is a bit of an issue at this point, but over time they will get this down.
At the end of class Maryann reinforced the homework assignment: 25 variations of one thing. She explained that this is a materials exercise. Pay attention to craft and presentation. She recommended they look up artist:
Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Vois. Barbara Creiger
Today was so fun for me and the students. It took them about 1.5 hours to loosen up, but They worked very hard and I am proud of each and every one of them.
I walked into class today about 10 minutes before our scheduled class time. The students were putting up their drawings for the assignment " Perfect Man, Perfect Woman", They seemed excited to display their work. The diversity of the work was great.
Once all the work was displayed for critique, Maryann lectured for a while about the assignment, art history and contemporary art today.
She made the discussion about art history like a game and gave away quarters and a dollar if the students could answer the questions about time periods.
POST MODERNISM (after WW11, when the atomic bomb disrupts the culture)
MODERNISM (1850-1950, 100 year span)
Maryann emphasizes the importance of studying art history and history in general. It is fuel for creating.
Important Magazines to read....
Art In America
GO TO THE LIBRARY!!!!! 2nd floor, and look through the banded Volumes of these magazines
Look at all the shows at the Whitney etc....
Stay tuned in to our culture today and the past.
When students take it upon themselves the stay connected to the arts it will show in their work!
The students voted for the best work of art- This was a struggle for some. There were about three students who did not get votes at all. Why did this happen? The answer is in the craftsmanship or also was drawn from a photograph. Delivery is everything.
The student that got the most votes was because there was great volume to where the object came off the page, it told a story and there was uniformity in positive light.
WARNINGS and things to avoid or be careful of:
DO NOT be sooo polite, stretch beyond the boundaries.
Do not be so passive!
GOOD IDEAS: these are things some students are doing but are not yet aware of them....ARCHETYPES: Prima Matter: Carl Jung
A job well done by the students today. Maryann felt she may have been too harsh with the students. But they needed her to be a little harsh...so they can step it up a bit. I do not believe any of the students are looking into art history as a reference at all, at this point in the semester.
After this critique today we went to see the show with the art professors work, The Gallery of Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition. We gathered around Maryann's Large scale work and discussed it. She shared all that went into the piece...and how she wants a BOMBASTIC reaction from the viewer. She shared the multiple mediums used in the creation, also all the historical significance. The piece is like a Iconographic Puzzle.
The piece is a meeting of the western world and Europe.
I believe every student gained great knowledge from class today. They have another assignment due next Tuesday, Titlted :"25 variations of one thing".
Again, this can be made out of anything. Get creative with this!!!
USE OF TOOLS/MATERIALS
FOREGROUND, MIDDLE GROUND, BACKGROUND
PLACEMENT OF THE OBJECT
"MAKE AS MUCH VARIATION AS POSSIBLE AND STILL HAVE THE IMAGE UNIFIED"
"DRAW WHAT YOU KNOW IF WHAT YOU SEE DOES NOT WORK"
Today the class got to start on figurative drawing. The skeletal form was the subject. A skeleton was placed in the center of the room. The students prepared their workspace with an easel and drawing board. Charcoal or graphite could be used for the drawing session.
Maryann reiterated concepts like, be mindful of the center of focus and overall placement of the object. The first 15 seconds should be used for orienting the object onto the page.
Idea/category...... ANXIETY/ FLOW/ BOREDOM....where does one need to be to create......that is "FLOW'.
Maryann spoke of history today. She recommended that the students should look up 15th, 16th and 17th century drawings. Look up the Dutch, French and German artist of those centuries. Rembrandt was a huge influence for Maryann in her learning process for drawing the human figure.
She said that "Art at this time in history is more about the event than it is than object oriented."
The class went smooth. I feel the students where ready to begin the figure. There was an atmosphere in the room, with direct spot lights on the skeleton, the rest of the lights where dim and music was flowing. Most all the students were looser than they ever have been. I was impressed with there placement of the object and atmospheric perspective, shading and scale. They need to be reminded of cross hatching and following the curved horizontal lines of the bones. Vertical lines seem to be drawn more than any other direction.
The students need to look at the syllabus for assignments in regard to body parts and segments of the body. They are to pick and chose from that list in any order, but they all must get completed throughout the course of this semester.
I was able to assist today with technique, and of course I enjoyed that immensely.
I learned to discuss most all the reminders and suggestions in the very beginning of class. This allows for more focus from the students and it helps to not break their flow.
The start of this class began with giving the next homework assignment. The assignment is titled " PERFECT MAN. PERFECT WOMAN". The students can use any medium. They can take the assignments' title as a lead into something or not us it at all. There is no limit on the time they can use to create. The STRATEGY.... You must know where your interest and time management lie. If you only have 30 minutes then you work that 30 minutes fully to accomplish something in that time frame.
Today's lesson involves working to create atmospheric perspective.
3Pictures are to be produced, drawing the same scene three times, changing up the atmospheric perspective, from Foreground, Middle ground, Background, to Middle ground, Background, Foreground, lastly, Background, Middle-ground, Foreground. There was 20 minutes per drawing for this exercise. The students can use graphite or charcoal to draw with.
CLASS TIME WAS OUTSIDE!!!!! Students were thrilled!
At about 3:30 we came in and the students posted their drawing up on the board and we went through them one by one. Most every student did pretty well. There is a great range of drawing styles and a few still need to loosen up when they draw. The middle-ground, background foreground seemed to be the most difficult for the students.
The students were told to do this assignment again at home before the next class. Practice, practice practice!!!!
I learned today that the students needed help. I was able to sit with most of them and discuss the drawings as they were working. I think this helped them with skill and trust with me and Maryann. It was a fun and beautiful day.
Today is the classes first assignment critique. "ON STAGE" is the title for this assignment. This assignment was open ended, meaning they could use any medium and any spin they so chose to develop an art piece called "ON STAGE".
There was an excitement with in the classroom today. The students were eager to hang their works for art on the display wall before the class began.
The professor arrived at 2:10 on the dot and spent 30 minutes discussing a few things with the students, before the critique began. She brought up a very important topic, That she has not been seeing students utilize the studio space to work outside of class. She stressed the importance of being in the drawing studio often. Make the studio work for them. It allows time for open dialogue between fellow colleagues and there are drawing materials for use in the studio. There is ample space to work.
She also shared that the students can earn extra credit for going to art openings, lectures and museums. She stressed the importance of attending these types of events.
She shared that scholarships applications and writings are due Jan and Feb. She stressed that all students should be applying for them. It is foolish not too.
The professor discussed the types of assignments given at the 100 level. The assignments are there to help lead you along and for the students to develop"Self-study". The students should make the assignments work for them.
It is now 2;45 and we are starting the class critique................
"Fine Artist ask and create the question and then they answer that question"!!!!!
The purpose of critique: To find out what the impact is to a larger audience.
The students first have to take a moment and write down what their strength is in their work and what the weakness is in their work of art.
Each student has to stand up in front of the class and discuss the weakness and strength of their art work titled "ON STAGE". As a group we will also discuss formal qualities: Value structure, tone, shape, scale, perspective and anything having to do with form. Also Content: symbolism, the idea.
Does the content and form match up?
Levi: (in his words) Strength: He is drawn to faces. Weakness: Needs help to draw because these drawing materials are new. Class comments: His paper is like "Oxygen", the images come out of the page. Professors comment: As the maker...be medigating or mediating in your artwork. Look up depression artist...the "WPA".
My initial observation at the very start of the class today, was that the students seemed more relaxed waiting to hear instruction.
The class started by getting instruction to move the classroom around the create two separate work stations. Each station, so to speak, has a table in the center of the room and then students circle the center table, with there easel or chosen work surface.
The Professor instructs the students to get paper and charcoal, pencils and erasers, out and ready for use. It is important that they have soft materials and different types and shapes of charcoal and pencil. The students need to be able to use the side of their chosen drawing tool, as well as a pointed tool.
Once the students are set up, which was about 15 minutes, WARM UP begins. The professors, re-briefs the students on techniques used in the first class. She instructs them to make marks from darkest dark to the lightest light in one single motion. To do this it is all about pressure. It is utilizing the brain and optics.
This exercise involved the switching of charcoal to pencil, right hand to left hand.
At this point in the class, most students WILL NOT, use the whole page for mark-making.
"BE THE DUCK THAT LANDS ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER"......this is to help them VISUALIZE making a continuous line that transitions to dark to light.
The professor wants to work on confusing the muscle memory that we have, by switching hands, moving from dark to light, light to dark and moving your hand in all directions. Make curvilinear marks, with an organic tempo.
Once the students warmed-up, a discussion on ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE , and PICTORIAL DEPTH was initiated. Words such as SALIENT (what come forward) and RECESSIVE (what move backwards) are discussed in depth. These are the important aspects of drawing techniques that will be used and practiced to achieve to create good drawings.
Music is flowing at this point during the class. There is an aliveness that is happening with in the students. They are discussing their knowledge, laughing and some struggling...
Now the class moves into 4 short drawing sessions that last about 4 minutes each. One object is placed in the center of each work station table. The students have 4 minutes to use the techniques discussed to create a drawing with atmospheric perspective.
Most students in the beginning of this exercise do not ground the object, because they are focused on trying to draw the object only. But I would say that over half the class got the grounding part down.
"ALLOW THE PAPER TO SINK INTO THE FIGURE"....."THE PAGE IS LIKE OXYGEN"
The class was ended with the students displaying their favorite drawing from the day. There was discussion on how an edge is where 2 values meet and pointed out drawings that had this quality, also most all the drawings had characteristics of the object. The students are quite good drawers at this point.
The professor took a few minutes to ask each student to tell everyone to share something that they are good at other that art. A lot of cooks are in the class....which makes me think we will have a potluck possibly at the end of the semester! :-)
Today, the class was so fun. I found myself interacting and participating with the professor and the students. I was smiling ear to ear when the students were creating drawings with FREEDOM and a looseness. Their whole arms were moving! The professor and I drew for one session too. We all had a great time today!
A final reminder of the assignment "ON STAGE" is due on Thursday. Anything goes with material and subject matter. I am looking forward to seeing the students projects!
I have just begun my journey in the Masters of Fine Art Program at The University of Montana. I am currently "Shadowing" an art professor in her class to observe and learn what being a professor all about. As part of this process I have created this blog to document what I am learning.