Saturday, September 18, 2010

saturday evening

So I've realized, in fully articulated realization, that I love painting with an illustrative quality. And, I love illustrations with painterly qualities. I love mixing and matching. Now I'm going to learn how to paint more shapes and fewer (or no) lines, while retaining a sort of illustrative aspect. Here is my latest attempt, of the corner Dari Mart. I'd like to say I'll return to it and add that phone booth (I am fond of phone booths, they are fast becoming obsolete) and a few other finishing acoutrements but I won't hold myself to it. Let me say that the intention is there though!

11 x 14"

I didn't use any mediums in this one. Next up: more experimenting with the one jar of gloss gel I bought for that painting class this summer. Trying to take a decent photo proves difficult - the ambient light bounces off it most unbecomingly. So I adjusted the levels and contrast a bit in iPhoto. But it's pretty true to the original. I'm....mostly pretty happy with the results, considering my patience and skill level :)

I'm all signed up for Fall Term, four meaty classes: Printmaking (relief) and Algebra on m/w and Art History and Figure Drawing (emphasis on aqueous medium, says the course description) on t/th. Classes start at the very sane hour of high noon every day. It'll be great if this continues for Winter term. 

I've decided to NOT ride my bike to campus in the rain; instead I'll take the bus downtown and then back uptown and over the mountain to school (we don't have any cross-town bus routes here). I feel SO much better, having made that decision. During Spring (when it was raining heavily) I would ride cross-town to a bus stop with lockers where I could stow my bike and then hop on the bus to let it do the climbing, and save me from arriving sweaty and wet (yes, wet, even though I have pretty good rain gear). But then I'd ride home from the bus stop in the dark and the rain....I'm sick of it. Thoroughly sick of it. And tired, did I mention tired? Feels like so much energy to gear up and disrobe and pack all of my shit in bags with me. I must be getting old. That and the fact that I've been doing this bicycle thing for a decade (plus) now. Time for a change!

You know what I really want is one of those mini car/van/trucks you see on campus. Like a golf cart. They're so damn cute, and utilitarian, low impact, and quiet. Too bad they're not legal for on-road usage.

Oh but back to school and future trajectories.....I poked around the University website and although they don't have an Illustration section for Art majors, they do have Painting and Printmaking, which I'm very interested in and I think I would excel in. So when I transfer there in the Fall (next year), I'll have all my math done at the community college; in fact, I'll have all my generals done plus a good chunk of classes towards my major. And I'm looking forward to checking out UofO now.....wasn't too moved by the prospect before looking around the website. And admittedly, every time I go into the Arts building I am SO uninspired - every other building and department on campus is funded for restructuring and so on...the Arts building is....dank and lifeless. I also go to the Art building on saturday morning, when classes aren't in session (for the open studio figure/life drawing that's available to students and public alike). So maybe there IS life in there. And maybe I can take some letterpress classes.....oh man that'd be awesome.

So then I decided to poke around some more and came across all the MFA information. Why not apply for a GTF? So maybe I will delay the Master of Library Science and opt for an MFA first, or...who knows. Thing is, I feel re-energized.

Then there is the fact I recently learned that Ann Gale teaches at the University of Washington School of Art..........AND, there you can earn a BA/BFA in Painting/Drawing. Too bad that UofO has axed the drawing curriculum....shame on them. Stupid fucking sports programs shoulder out what's really important. Anyway, Ann Gale? Oh you should check her work out. Here, I found an example:

Ann Gale's

Gary with Light Wall

14 x 11"

oil on panel



Um........amazing, OR WHAT?!

Right. I'm wrapping it up rather early, as I was up raaaaaaaaather late and up so-so early. Bon nuit!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

hardly a dry spell, but.....

I'm a few days into the summer break now (heaven!!), with two more classes at the tail end of Summer Term under my belt. I've talked with other students both near and far and they say that my feelings towards dropping out and wondering just what the hell I'm doing in college are pretty normal. I may as well continue; it's not a completely useless and heinous endeavor. As long as there are loans and grants I suppose I'll keep on with it.

Painting class was a huge disappointment. I read somewhere once that disappointment is a term used for lovers. I am having to adjust my expectations right and left around the majority of art classes I've taken so far (which, granted, aren't so many). I learned more from reading and watching tutorials on the internet than I did from our instructor, a friendly enough fellow but very taciturn (shy? uninterested?). The class amounted to paying for a studio space, with occasional commentary and still-life set-ups. And long bouts of absenteeism (what is with instructors leaving the room for twenty or thirty or forty minutes at a time? Several times per class? Every class period?) When I fired off questions as to technique and expressed interest in looking at painters whose work I find really exciting (so as to gain some knowledge about how they do that!):



"You sure have a lot of questions."

When I probed further to ask if any of those questions were to be addressed, I was answered vaguely, "Sure, we'll go over a bit about gel medium........"

I talked with several other student to take the temperature of their views on the class and basically we are in agreement. About the 'non-teaching' aspect of it.

I understand that there is no substitute for just doing the work, for practicing, and lots of it. Experimenting, exploring, and all the rest. I also better understand why so many artists are self-taught. And, I'm learning to give myself more credit for my own process and progress. What I really want is to be in class with an instructor who is excited about teaching and encourages personal style and pushing those edges. One who is actually present in class and engaged with the students. I don't want someone to hold my hand or yak the entire session......As an artist I spend a fair amount of time alone in the studio (duh). I guess what I'd really like is a mentor and to study under someone whose ego isn't the size of a dirigible. I want a personal connection and for that, I've been looking to my fellow students, which is great - and I still want to be taught by someone like Walt Stanchfield.

Thank god that Tom Madison was our intermediate drawing instructor - that four-week front-end summer course was awesome. Tom is definitely into teaching and into his craft. That classroom experience was closest to what I remember about being in school as a kid, and what I loved so much about being a student. Enthusiasm is contagious, and we all like to be encouraged (and not with empty praise). Tom gave drawing demos if we cared to watch and talked about art in a way that made sense to me. He stayed in class! "Composition trumps skill" was one of his mainstays. And he stated in the syllabus and throughout the class that he wanted us to continue developing our own methods and style. So I know these people do exist, even at the community college. And that what I want from an instructor isn't beyond the pale.

So today I'm going to the library to see if there are any good books on painting. And I'll keep scrubbing around on canvases to see what I come up with. I would really like to buckle down and study one thing for a span of time but the way I operate is like buckshot fired from a rifle: I'm all over the place and I like so many different mediums.

I'm so inspired by the following artists these past few days and weeks!!!

Jason Shawn Alexander

Kent Williams

Shaun Tan (children's book illustrator and painter)

especially his paintings here!

Also I was at the comic shop looking for inspiration, hoping that they still had an Ashley Wood book or two, and they did (check him out....whoah). I came across William Wray's urban landscape paintings while browsing through a compilation book (Swallow, volume...Two?). Instantly inspired. So I wrote to Sir Wray to express how much I enjoy his paintings and he's been so great in writing back and giving me more inspiration from these artists (and more)

William Wray's art can be found here and also here

I'll be back later. I need to go for a walk - it's sunny and this will (purportedly) be the last for awhile, as it's (purportedly) supposed to rain for several days to come.