Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Final Work Exhibition and Discussion

Great critique time ~ it was good talking on how you want to show your work--get it out in the halls if you can, in the ways we discussed, or even just the idea of display. Great ideas and conversation about eachother's work - thinking about each of our different ways of working with materials, and ideas about our our own 'style' or preferred techniques.  I'm hoping each of you will continue to develop your own interests, voice and style in expressing yourself through art making - and in all your making - continue to make your ideas matter!

And especially thank you all for sharing an exciting process of working as a group, and for allowing me into your class to explore this process with you. Notice that I have included "show" pictures and some "cropped" images of your work.  Both ways of taking a picture give us info about the meaning of the work - create/suggest context to both 'frame' and help us frame it's meaning. I think cropped images predetermine our way of looking at artworks as more formal compositions and we become more interested in describing things like balance and line, shape and colour, and even 'meaning'.  These kinds of shots ask the work to speak without the room it's in or the place it came from and asks us to forget the rich activities of the process, and of the conditions in which we are actively creating our work..having exhibition shots helps me to understand the social context for your work - and that adds to the meaning of your work and to how it can be understood and valued...especially when you are in a school setting... which is really a place where we learn to learn.... You claimed your classroom space, and your work is awesome!! 
  Your installation with all your clay characters was extra artful.and a fun and exciting surprise. 


You have all been such a great inspiration - your efforts, personalities and the work you each made has given me so many ideas for building more projects and art challenges for people your age, and has inspired my own working too... I am very grateful for, and really appreciate, your participation ~ Thank you.

I forgot my glitter banner in your classroom so will have to print a photo for my studio... everyone should get to have their name made in glitter sometime! I wish a glitter banners for each of you!

Our Final Project




Friday, May 17, 2013



Working it out...

I feel inspired by the Secondary Art Show this week at the Centre, and Kat's 'painted black' work, and your very diverse strengths and insights:

want to ask you to each imagine yourself either jumping, rolling, falling, flying or trying to get up...

Sketchbooks: Please each take another random poetry moment to come up with some(10?) random words while thinking about  yourself in an action above  - then use some of these words to lead you into creating imagery and visual ideas in your sketchbooks.

Scale, proportion and even symmetry are at our discretion...big mouths and tiny eye(s)...a giant nostril....a beak(?)...all allowed for a portrait fyi. Our imagery relates to movement...things really don't look 'normal' when they're moving...

We will do large paper partial  tracings to get ourselves started on our paper...then complete our compositions through our own ideas over the next 2-3 needed to finish. 

My Prompts inspired by your previous work:
  • A person's name, or all their thoughts as a giant graffiti tag where their body is the
    thought bubble or even the body trace is the actual thought jumping out of the tag.
  • Different colours blocked out to form giant or misplaced features or features created as silhouettes of favourite objects or people (like Kyles big face painting)...perhaps a kind of falling into place?
  • A sculpted(bandage or paper tape) arm and hand trying to push out from the paper/board or canvas, trying to get up.
  • A GIANT close up face falling towards you(out of) your canvas/paper... 
We want to be able to look at our finished work and see that the artist has communicated that this is a body in motion....and we want to discuss how each work is in some way a self-portrait. As artists we stand up(and fall down) by what we try to do and what we succeed in creating. Our portrait does not have to be truthful or accurate, profound, literal, or even singular in it's presentation... but it does need to be an honest attempt at communicating our idea's of 'ourself' in the above context of action*** using at least 2 artistic techniques and materials!

I will link out to a few artists that this work brings to mind to give you permission artistically - not to impersonate:)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Sketch of Very Creative People

I am looking at and thinking about our last few weeks of working together. There have been a lot of hands and shoes, amazing patterns, working out of 'eyes', personal symbols reapperaing, and really awesome and unique approaches to creating your work. We've worked well with collage, splatter, acrylic paint and charcoal, and you all seem more comfortable in representational and abstract drawing, as well as laying things out on a page with purpose. Think about using your recent drawings of faces, some ideas about colour blocking(laying out areas of colour to give value), and incorporating your own inventive patterns, your own previous work, just images of parts of you, and/or tracings, into a self-portrait. If you start with these as a base - literally and tehcnically - it can help you start to visualize(give you a way into) working out how you want to do your portrait. Use your sketchbook as a tool to help you explore ideas for a mixed media(draw/paint collage) portrait on canvas. Start playing with what the different bases might look like, combining them, and trying to imagine how you would like to see things - by sketching them out in your books.  I think each of you have interesting and exciting ideas, and unique creative approaches to working out a self portrait project. We can work some of this out on Wednesday.

Graffiti Break and Spring Flowers!

Tanya will send me some links, info(names and organization) and pictures of your Graffiti Sessions in the courtyard.  That was fun, thanks for including me on Wednesday - there was definitely some good technique to learn, and some very stylish work to see!
I noticed how the colours happened in blocks (per spray can I guess), starting with base colours, then outlines to build letter shapes and 3-d, then more fill-in colour, then outline again, then there was still room for detail, and  "corrections".  There was also a good conversation about  conventions ie: knowing that adding an  'Arrow" to letters can relate to offense or defense meaning in a tag. I am wondering how much not knowing the conventions of Graffiti work actually gives the work it's power to intrigue us - and how much not knowing also lets us enjoy it more easily because it just looks so cool. Like anything created by a culture, it requires respect through it's own conventions, some of which are 'illegal' and I'm just wondering how these conventions relate to the ways we can celebrate it. Very interesting morning.

So, a huge Thank - You to everyone who made giant, gorgeous tissue paper flowers for the TT Dance-a-thon - the entire gym looked great! Thank you Tanya and Erika for thinking to do it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Self-Portraits Intro, Words, Images and the haunted.

Here's a quote:
"I never took quite the same kind of photograph again. From that moment on I regarded the taking of a photograph as a personal act, as personal as the writing of a poem — deep and perilous, intellectual and beautiful. A photograph, or a grouping of them, would be as mysterious as this woman and as complicated as my own mind. I would never document anything. I would hope for luck, but I wouldn’t rely on it. I would hope not to diminish things." John Rosenthal

Reflecting on our discussion today and in conversation with Tanya and Erika.

We want to get closer to some straightforward skill and technique so we can ALL feel connected and confident in starting our final self-portraits - and even feel comfortable enough to break the rules of our own ideas of representation. We have decided to use canvas for our final work- Thanks K!

Next week we can just go over a few fun drawing tricks used to create the features of a face. We'll work on larger sheets of paper and let things get a bit cartooney (remember contour drawing is really just drawing the outline/shape of something). I will bring mirrors to look at different shapes on a face, and my cameras in case you want to use them as 'mirrors' for reference.

Please give the idea of 'reference material' some more thought.  You can equally well use books and images of other people for reference - here is a link to Gray's Anatomy Online that I do use often. Or try something from this link to images of facial expresisons, or Franz Xaver M.'s character heads.  I personally like to work from my own photos, even when I incorporate or appropriate the images of others.  I think it is important to be my own reference for representation because it empowers and somehow grounds my own vision and voice in my work-- this was what I wanted to challenge each of you to try in asking you to take your own photos -- You absolutely do not have to.   While a tree image from google, a drawing of a skull from the 1800's, or details from other peoples faces can help us learn about what things look like...using these in our work has a different meaning that partly belongs to it's origins as another's image, and doesn't teach us as much about our own skills and abilities to 're-present' versus something that is originally and uniquely ours to work out.  

Remember we have already decided that a self-portrait does not have to be your face. But drawing faces is still a good exercise and something to learn about in art.
Thank you to Tanya for keeping things real (and proximal)!   I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to work with the SCORE crew and learn so much from working with all of you.

And thinking about our reluctance to be photographed:
and there are often spiritual-ceremonial reasons where an object or event is sacred so it is considered profane(morally wrong) to take a picture.

I think maybe photo's do steal something of our soul or spirit by what they aren't - they are like the opposite of ghosts--the empty image without the animation.* Maybe that's why they make such good references to use as a short cut for observational drawing. Like still life or specimen jars, they help us objectify what we want to see - much less complicated than trying to look at a person in all their "livingness" and trying to get that down as if it were true or even as if I could ever capture You just by looking.  

We do talk about  "capturing a likeness' or "catching the essence" of a person in a portrait...suggesting there was something authentic - something of that person - in what was caught through representation. So for me making artwork,with photography, can be like a re-presentation or even a kind of re-animation of what might have been taken away in that process. It's about the possibilities of things that I want to claim. With that kind of thinking, what we choose to represent, and how we represent are really personal things, so looking at ourselves probably really needs the distancing filter of a concept, an idea, our charm, style or artifice. I think I find that a comfort, the challenge and the reward in making my own way in art. A camera can be a good filter. And without distancing ourselves by being artful about it, the meaning of a work is very immediate, intimate and even a little raw, and as such, can sometimes forget complexity and seem abrupt and too private to share. A splatter painting for example, is a distancing act: it's 'art' is the pretence to unconsidered actions of the painter that result in abstract expression.   

We are all so different, that's why we celebrate eachother's differences in our approaches and ideas to, in this case, making things, even while it is also very helpful to look at how others found answers before us.

Having said all that, and all our feelings aside, I feel artmaking is a celebration of trying and claiming the sound of our own voices. And while it can be a constructive way to reveal, surprisingly, what you're feeling and thinking, it is in the opportunities artmaking provides for capturing complexity and an essence of sharing something beyond words or images - resisting the clear explanation and yet still presenting itself, that gives us value in making representations - however they haunt us with their possibilities.

More on our final project next class then.
Thanks for today's learning.

*Sketchbooks: Maybe photos create their own ghosts, and if so, I wonder where and how they show themselves? Did photography invent ghosts?  A random portrait image from a magazine and a drawing of the ghost it caused would be a neat sketchbook exercise... or even drawings of some objects this ghost may haunt, and think about reasons why.
Also: Try to find examples of humourous, unusual or artful portraits on google images and then try to imagine what the person looks like in real-life. If you want to, you can try to describe this real-life in words.

Friday, April 12, 2013

For next week: April 17

You need to take a minimum of 3 photos of your face for next studio.  Include your whole head in each shot because we can always crop(zoom in) later. Each shot should be from a different and interesting(to you!) angle.  Think exaggeration, challenging angles, and think about unique points of view for these photo portraits as they are your reference and inspiration for a final portrait. We can do these on paper but I'll bring in some ideas for other options and we can talk about these next week.

Added some links to artists - please have a look. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Splatter Action

We'll have to take a picture of the Splatter looks amazing. Thank you for taking up the project with such enthusiasm and calm restraint - due to the weather we worked inside. Did you notice that you each approached even something so straightforward as splatter painting in your own unique ways.  I see interesting and unique processes in artmaking emerge from each of you each time we create work.

Thank you for a fun morning.

** I mentioned to Tanya that each of you need to take a minimum of 3 photos of your face. I suggest you try to include your whole head in each shot because we can always crop(zoom in) later. Each shot should be from a different and interesting(to you!) angle.  We will use these to create our portraits.  Think exaggeration, challenging angles, and think about unique points of view for your final portraits and these photo portraits.


Sketchbooks-Critique: We started the class talking about our work from last week. I think we can do that again next week with those of you who were missing yesterday, and for any of you who may have more to share about your sculpture or from your sketch books.  To share, think of something you like about,or feel you accomplished in your work, and also something interesting you find in someone else's.

Was thinking we should probably do one more big collaboration before we're done. Let me know if you have any ideas or interest in that, and what you think would work well as a group project. If you would like to try another "action painting", with more physical techniques(and splatter too), let me know and we can try again on a clearer day. This doesn't have to be the collaboration work. Please look up the term "action painting".

I also have a sense from last class that we could really combine our action painting experience with our portraits in meaningful ways...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Plaster Bodies and the immediacy of expression

Our 'character heads' went well last week. Some cracked, and we need to put some glue in those cracks to keep them together. But really excited seeing how you painted them and went with the 'happy accidents' of it.
 We decided to make bodies for them this past week using simple armatures and plaster bandage.  Some of you created bases (you can still do that, or add appendages, if you need or want to, as I have left extra bandage for you). Bases can be integral(part of ) or discrete(meaning sort of separate) parts of your sculpture - but they always tell part of the story of a work.  Look at eachother's work and think about the different ways you each decided to give a ground to your characters.
We have two new friends in our group, and it was great to meet the two E's. You have created a kind atmosphere in your class that is welcoming and open. It's fun when others drop by and join in the making as well.
Looking forward to seeing how these turn out. I like the contrast of the white plaster with the painted heads, and really enjoy how very differently, and characteristically, your bodies each connect to the features - the personalities - of your character heads.

**We are entering into our "proper" self-portrait exercises and final 'project'...but I feel like we should try to understand what that means a little more laterally. I mentioned to Tanya last week that we might try to do something in your sad and lonely courtyard at GA. I know you have a graffiti artist coming in later in the year - and I wish much inspirational graffiti for that little space!! - but I thought we could try to do a big action painting together out there.

Jackson Pollock is a very famous(does that mean rich?) American artist known for this way of painting. I'll post a link to a movie clip and some examples.  If we really stretch some of our thinking and keep in mind the role art can play in self-expression, and the role of self-portrait as self-representation - some really interesting things might happen using big and small brushes and our whole bodies actions out in the courtyard to paint together.

Sketchbooks:  Draw your characters, draw where they might live or come from or hang out or do. Do they levitate, run, surf, stand at the ready, find themselves in unusual, disturbing or awestruck situations?