Friday, June 25, 2010

three views

I woke up at 9am to buzzsaws this morning. This was after I removed the earplugs, which I jammed in  halfway through the night, to ensure that I would sleep in. This was after falling asleep at about 3am. This was after drawing for hours, and then watching some of A Scanner Darkly (you must see this movie if you have not already!!!). Was I disgruntled because of the nap instead of the long sleep I anticipated enjoying? Was I irritated by the constant roar of machinery? Hell no! Why? Because it's summer, and it's finally warm, and I feel supercharged!! Even if my gait is uneven and I feel slightly hung over and my vision is a tad bit blurry.


The contrast between drawing instructors for the two classes in this subject I've enrolled in so far is amazing. I like that each instructor has something different to offer, and that there are a few dozen in the art department to choose from; eventually (one hopes) you find one whose teaching methods match your learning style. Well I've found such an instructor for Intermediate Drawing this semester! OH THANK GOD.

Tom brings an enthusiasm and presence to the table and mixes up the drawing sessions in a way that's really engaging. We begin with a slideshow, and/or some theory and practical tips on drawing, which he accompanies with drawing demos......he even uses the chalkboard (gasp!). He goes way beyond giving us a handout and saying, 'okay go to it, see you next week.'

The other day we started out with warm ups - yeah! what a concept! He stood up on the dais and did 15 second poses for us to do gestures. He did really dramatic ones with dialogue, throwing an arm over his eyes and arching back, 'oh! poor me! life is so hard!' to which we chimed in, 'I'm a starving artist!'.

He encourages us to develop our own style. From the syllabus:

"This course will not only help to further your ability to model what you see in a variety of drawing mediums, but moreover will help you to find your own unique aesthetic way of responding on paper to life. More emphasis will be placed on composition and the search for the unity of the formal elements -- line, shape, value, texture and space -- than the draftsmanship.

This class is graded less on your ability to model reality and more on what you do with a drawing medium to achieve an aesthetic end. You will be expected to do exercises that work on your technical skills but ultimately aesthetic considerations will outweigh technical ones in this class."

We drew outside yesterday, after a short recap lesson on perspective (something our previous instructor did not really go into much.....okay well he gave us A Handout). Architecture and organic matter. We'll be doing lots of different exercises, finishing up the course with two full figure drawing sessions with live models.

He stopped by to check in with me while I was sitting and drawing yesterday and happily offered lots of information about drawing, feedback on my work, his own trajectory towards becoming the department head of graphic design, a bit about the business of a freelancer/illustrator, and sincerely extended his time if I wanted to go over anything outside of class.

Don't you want to be in this class? Well hurry up! Registration is still open!!

He even assigns homework :) (something we didn't do in our last drawing class, unless you wanted to)

I'm like a fish to water here. I am loving it. I think I'll talk with a financial aid person to see if it's viable for me to stay on at Lane for a two-year certification in the graphic arts program before transferring to the University to finish my BFA.

Now that I think back on it, I remember some discussion in Basic Design class about Tom. He teaches (or taught) 3D Basic Design also and the student and our instructor referred to him as eccentric and sort of scattered.....kind of an odd fellow. Now that I think about it, I remember writing down his name to make sure and enroll for that class. He doesn't teach it any more, but I'm so stoked that he picked up this summer session for intermediate drawing. Man...I wish he taught figure drawing too.

And now, a view of a room in my two-room abode, before making up the bed into a couch and transforming the sleeping space into a salon.

A view from the art area, looking out the window

And a view of my Spam folder. Hilarious. All those ads? Because of a male name in my email address? ha ha!! Exercise that index finger and click for a big shot.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

some thoughts

I can hear laughter outside tonight. The next door neighbors to the north are having a party: an all-girl party as far as I can tell. The voices and laughter sound ebullient, and somehow pure. Bubbly. Genuinely happy. The laughter to the south from the other next door neighbors is also female and by contrast sounds harpy-ish. I love laughing sounds, but the southern laughter grates on my nerves.

I started thinking more about this and realized that if I didn't know anything about either neighbor, would I still feel the same?

For instance, I know that the southern lady never initiates a hello. She often looks sour, and tired. Her backyard is neglected, full of weeds and old furniture. The dogs bark a lot. By contrast, the northern neighbors like to garden, keep their yard up nicely, and live in a house with a front fence and gate that is handcrafted, like an art installation -  so I infer that they have values and a lifestyle that resemble mine more, and that I prefer.

If I'd never seen the southern lady or her yard, would I feel the same aversion to her laughter? How about if her sons didn't shoot their b-b guns all summer long? Or if they weren't generally noisy and, well, slovenly (at least on the outside)?

There's no doubt that the laughter sounds different. I do like hearing the girls laughing on the south side. I like the way it sounds, from the belly, genuinely mirthful. What would the northern lady's laughter sound like to me, if I knew nothing about her and was not informed visually by her surroundings and the way she chooses to keep it (express herself though it?) ??

Also interesting that there is 'warmth' from the north side neighbors, and a very distinct coolness from the south....


Monday, June 21, 2010

June, the twenty-first, on a monday

Heh heh....heh....yeah that's me, all last week. E-e-everything's cool, even though my face is sliding off and about to puddle around my feet. Gawd what a week I was having! Maybe two weeks? Did I keep the faith? DID I? You bet I did! For the most part. My moods are always swinging. I knew I'd eventually come back around....and sure enough last night I started feeling MUCH better after a really great drawing session in my sketchbook (and thanks once again to my good overseas buddy Jay for providing some inspiration, have I mentioned how many times he's pulled me out of a funk??). I was finally able to just sit the hell down and relax and concentrate. And also, to let go of the outcome and have fun with the -here it comes- Process. Man I love that.

And awesome ride UP THE BIG HILL to campus (yessssss, I made it without bursting a lung or any major blood vessels! It's been a couple weeks since I rode up that heart-pumper). Followed by a very heartening algebra class, where we are actually reviewing a few chapters from last term before plunging headlong into quadratic equations (sounds like I know what I'm talking about, doesn't it?) -- and the instructor seems pretty damn cool OH THANK GOD.

Hey did I report my grades from last term? Three A+ and an A (in algebra..okay, elementary algebra..or is it pre-elementary algebra?)! woo! I'm savoring the math grade. I anticipate upper levels to be more rigorous (natch) and I will need to work harder. Aim high but be okay with a lower grade.

Anyway, emerging from math class I stepped into


suunshiiiiiiiiiiiine!!!! yes! yes! oh baby! yes! It's been so long. So so long. I was withering.

I grabbed an empty locker in the art building, stowed my bags, and went for a walk (hour and a half 'til next class). Campus is situated up in the south hills with woods all around; I knew if I prowled the perimeter I would eventually find a trail, and I did. Was really great to stretch my legs between classes. Came upon one of those cellphone towers, eyesore that they are, but perched jauntily atop was a huge bird's nest. Nice. Also crossed paths with a couple of boys crouched down by some big puddles (did I mention we've had buckets of rain this spring, even more than our usual buckets) - collecting pollywogs. Nice!

So drawing class is very very promising. Our instructor actually used the chalkboard and talked about stuff! It's different than any of the other art classes I've attended so far -- it's what I've been wanting. And, he's enthusiastic in a way I haven't encountered yet either. Maybe because he's been teaching only part-time and isn't burnt out. The course outline is chock-full of goodness; we'll be exploring different mediums and composition trumps skill. Did you hear that?! He wants for us to develop our own style, doesn't really believe in talent - only varying degrees of hand-eye-brain coordination and skill. NICE. This is what I signed up for.

Then Tom starts talking about how we'll be drawing architecture using perspective alongside organic forms (buildings and trees, for example), that there is something very beautiful about this juxtaposition, and how linear and comforting it is to draw perspective. Like math. Very safe, known quantities. Follow a formula, and be gratified with a predictable answer. And it's what I've been thinking about all last term - how math is turning out to be the perfect foil for art. A real nice balance.

I trotted off to the bookstore and bought the requisite supplies, and then I revisited the classroom to stock up on sketchbooks. Oh yeah. Anything left by students from last term, anything that hasn't been picked up by now (it's been almost two weeks) is fair game. It's all going in the recycling bins - so I helped myself to sketchbooks and big pads of drawing paper that were still half-or-more-blank. LOVE IT.

I'm going to sleep so good tonight. Oh, I'm still worrying about the state of the world and how fucked up it all is.......but now I am also feeling mighty fortunate, and resurrected in a way.


If anyone has any suggestions as to why my formspring thing isn't displaying as a box, or why my flickr badge isn't displaying as usual, please help me out. I changed layouts for the blog (FINALLY), and it looked great in Preview mode, but now it's all messed up. Gah.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

31 Flavors

Hey I just learned something: 31 people are following this blog! Well hello there! How about that.....I'm in a social network and I didn't even know it. I don't even know most of The Followers. But, welcome (belatedly). Are you people being paid? Well then kick somethin' down! Financial aid hasn't disbursed yet!

I saw this ad earlier and I am sorely tempted.....

.......but what if your hand looks like

I'm just sayin' there anyone out there who will love me? Is there anyone out there with a similarly shaped hand?! Show me your hands!!!!

Here's a shot of the neighbor's junkyard through the knothole. 

Short fluffy post. The term break has been fun, I mean that sincerely; apple cider and comics, what more could a student want on vacation? Starting up again on monday with algebra and drawing, and our drawing instructor headed up a band in the 90s: Miles Exeter. They played at Bumbershoot alongside AIC, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. I know cuz I Googled him. And I hope he's as cool as all that! Expect a full report next week. For the second half of summer I'll be in painting and psychology. Yessirree it's the student's life for me!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Soooooo this is what I've been up to. Met up with Alex in Brazil and we kicked it for awhile.....oh 'scuse me, I guess it's not 'soccer', major faux pas! It's 'futbol'!!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, June 07, 2010


Now that the term is over (for all intents and purposes, as I took my final final, in math, tonight -- and I don't think I did half-bad!).........I hardly know what to do with myself.


Yeah that will last about two seconds, right?

So tonight I rode home in the gorgeous sunshine absolutely reveling at the no-rain and warm-air situation (and let me tell you that waking to sunshine was an unexpected hail-Mary event). Upon arrival at my domicile with final art projects in tow, I re-arranged the wall furniture to accommodate them. In the last few months I've worked on bigger canvases than any other time and it's been fun. Now that I live in a very small studio apartment, it's a challenge to figure out space to put everything. I have a revolving gallery.

I can, however, successfully calculate the square footage and perimeter of my little two-room cozy with my rediscovered math skillz.

Think I'll drop a couple classes from Summer term aid offers and awards are based on a three term year (fall, winter, spring). Why kill myself over summer with an 8am psychology class, going until 8pm with math? Drop the psych already, and pick it up in winter (fall term is already chock-full). The painting class would be a fun four-week summer term ending, but again......I'll be at the community college for another year so what's the rush. I'll stick with eight weeks of algebra and drawing, thank you.

Here is an ink painting I did for part of my Visual Arts final project. A big hearty shout out to my good friend Alex in Leeds for being an unwitting inspiration to me (once again). He's pulled me out of so many artistic funks. Thanks Alex!!

30 x 22"

I'm thinking I have enough larger pieces now that I'll submit them for a show at Shawn Mediaclast's Museum of Unfine Art. I could title it simply 'first term spring' and include all the in-and-out-of-class works I've done. I'm building a strong portfolio for any eventuality, like.....going to art school, maybe?! Even the U of O art department will require one of those suckers for admittance into the program.

I haven't ever seriously considered teaching, but in speaking with one of the women who work at Lane Community College in the scholarship foundation office today, I am......considering it. She was awarded a fellowship to attend her school of choice for her MFA by teaching one class per term; in exchange she received a stipend to cover school and living costs. That's the usual deal for graduate school (if you receive the deal, that is). Hmmm.....thinking, thinking....

In the meantime I will pick some brains and do some art.

Friday, June 04, 2010

pure morning

As I wrote to Graham Roumieu just now, I was in a very foul mood this morning. While at the library browsing through the YA section I rediscovered some of his Bigfoot graphic novels.

He's brilliant.

Now me back to want draw and sing again. I downloaded Butthole Surfers and Placebo, and I am on my game.

Here we see our dear Mr. G from drawing class drilling us mercilessly.

I just saw a tiny caterpillar swinging back and forth in the wind from an invisible anus-thread* . Like one of those carnival rides. I would be totally sick if I was that caterpillar. Maybe caterpillars don't have inner ear canals.

* don't quote me on that; maybe the threads emit from their mouth-ends

How many art students feel that their instructors just don't understand the works issued forth from brilliant and well-meaning artist minds? I think I totally nailed this assignment. Our final project: design an exquisite corpse representing three aspects of your personality, keeping in mind all the design elements we learned (from handouts) and emphasize a flow from one panel to the next.

Okay: the Surrealists invented this game to challenge the order and flow, to exploit the subconscious, anarchy, and illogic. But whatever. I created a pretty strong piece, after doing two others that I'm okay with. This one represents on many levels, yo.

Yes, feel free to click on it for a big picture.

I learned more about design from Molly Bang's book How Pictures Work than I did in class this term. Thank you, Miss Molly. She illustrates with simple construction paper cutouts how to build an image that really works. Before I read the book, I was really getting into cutting out and arranging elements on the page. It is pretty fantastic how we are affected by visuals and placement, size shape color form relationship. It's a fun game to engage with.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

and on another note

Well, it's been awhile hasn't it? What's going on my people? Hope you are all very very contrary and cool, dig.

Me, I'm plugging away at it; this is the last week of classes, with next week being finals. Already?!

The big bummer news: I didn't land that all-expenses paid scholarship trip. The good news is, I qualified for a $1200 scholarship through the community college. I might even be offered an Oregon Opportunity Grant; I'll know more about that in about a week or so. Meanwhile, I am girding my loins to redouble my efforts on the employment front, should I not be offered work study (very limited space, standing room

I celebrated the bad news by drinking a very tall bottle of Summer Blonde Ale last weekend....and a very tall can of Pabst (since the terrifically priced .99 big bottles of blonde were sold out when I went back for more). For me, that is a lot of beer. But my, it tasted good.

And, you know, doing some art. Last night I
hit a stride I haven't felt for awhile. Sketching in pen with no preliminary pencil was......actually a lot of fun:
Thanks to Jay, my Leeds buddy, for the inspiration. He's working on some sort of top-secret art project of his own.

And, you know, monkeying around in class (Mr. G is not very appreciative of the comic form......but he writes a damn good letter of recommendation so maybe I'll land that few hundred dollar scholarship from Krylon):

And, you want to love this!!

this was a fun collage, I'm collage-a-thon-ing lately

Tonight I'm hauling some works on paper in my handy courier tube up to campus to flesh out my finals portfolio as well as fulfill the Pollock assignment that's due for Intro to Visuals. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with.

How did Pollock allow his (later) paintings to dry, especially when he painted outdoors? did he paint several simultaneously? did he move them when they were wet? and if so, how did he manage to prevent the paint from running into a muddy mess?

Adieu, and anon, fellow freaks.

for news about Kids Read Comics!

Art and Story


This morning, as other mornings, I brewed a strong cup of coffee that I strained through my teeth* and fired up the weekly podcast from the guys over at Art and Story. In an act of enthusiastic, shameless other-promotion I'd like to redirect you, dear readers, to not only their website which is chock-full of pithy goodness but also towards the Kids Read Comics! event hosted somewhere really cool** in Michigan.

* the coffee sock isn't working so great

** Dearborn, that would be

Ohmigod even Roger Langridge will be there.

Kids Read Comics! fulfills a moral imperative and valuable social niche: assertion that comics (and by extension, graphic novels) are a legitimate (and savory) artistic and literary art form......that is hella fun. Emphasizing comics and the love of the art form instead of including all the usual fare of other ComiCons (costumes, pictures with Eric Estrada, with an emphasis on commerce) allows kids to learn about this art form, meet artists and writers, and have a great time. And actually it's an all-ages event geared towards inclusion of kids (awesome!!). All of these people putting on the show are volunteering their time, efforts and energy for the greater good, folks (a bit hyperbolic? still it's true). Workshops galore!

Believe me if I could be there I would; I shall accompany them in spirit.

But really....I would love to go, and I think Jerzy, Kevin and Mark (the helmsmen of Art and Story) do a bang-up job of community involvement, outreach and much-needed mayhem (not to mention lots of invaluable insight and information about illustration, art, life, and the biz).

Hats off, gents!

Maybe next year, Faith Erin Hicks and Carla Speed McNeil will join the fracas. Sara Turner will be there though so yahoo!

Man.....I wish I could go. We need something like this in Eugene. Or Portland. Hell, anywhere in Oregon!