Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#11- Final Choice Project

So for my very last project in Art 4 (so sad!), while everyone else was working on concentration pieces, I decided that I wanted to create something that I thought would best show my growth throughout the semester. The first piece that I completed in Art 4 was a piece to go along with the theme of "Reflection." It was supposed to be a Prismacolor drawing of, of course, a reflection. I had never really worked with Prismacolors
before and the thought of trying to represent a reflection with them was very intimidating. It ended up being a great project because it stretched me and made me more confident in trying things that seem impossible at first. As I was reflecting back on this, I decided that I wanted to try a reflection piece again to not only see how my skills in that area have grown, but my technical skills in other areas as well. 

Sitting on my desk, my jar of paintbrushes has served as an inspiration for me for a long time. It's bright colors to me represent the possibilities the brushes hold. I was also inspired by the reflective qualities they held. I decided to represent them in my drawing. I took lots of pictures from different angles to try to get unique reflections and a good composition. I finally settled on a photo and began drawing. 

The drawing itself posed some challenges, but was actually a really fun process to create. I really enjoyed mixing colors, blending, creating highlights in the metal, and the texture of the bristles. I have only ever really done water reflections, so working with metal was new for me. I fell in love with the process and the drawing really started coming together. 

Looking back at where I started even this semester, I have grown so much as an artist. I have learned so many technical skills seen in this drawing such as working with Prismacolors, how to achieve a good composition, creating texture, and more. In addition to the technical stuff, however, I learned a lot about challenging myself as an artist and where I see myself going in the future. I believe that I have really started coming into my own style and have began putting my own mark on my pieces. 

I am so so so grateful for everything that I learned in Art 4 throughout the semester. I am so thankful for my incredible teacher for pushing me to do my best work and encouraging me in everything. I am also grateful for the wonderful group of artists I was surrounded with every day to provide some fresh perspective and advice. To be in a public school and be able to say that confidently is such a blessing and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. I am SO looking forward to AP Art senior year!!! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

#10- Choice Project

For our final two assignments in Art 4, we were tasked with creating any two choice pieces that we wanted. I decided that I was going to take this opportunity and create two pieces that I felt really represented me as an artist as well as how much I have grown throughout this semester. For my first one, I wanted to do one final, all out mixed media piece. I heard the idea of "Owning Your Future" and was immediately inspired. I didn't have an exact plan in my head but I knew what I wanted to portray so I went for it. 

To me, when I think about the future, I get pretty overwhelmed. There is so much to consider and so many options that will impact the rest of your life at age 16. I thought about what I wanted my future to look like and honestly, I didn't have a picture in my mind. All I saw was trying to be a light in all that I do, no matter what I end up doing, who I end up doing it with, or where I am end up doing it. I want to be a light. I was immediately inspired to create a piece that would represent this idea as to what it means to me personally, as well as inspire others. 

I began by painting a large canvas board in varying shades of red watered down acrylics. I then spent hours layering and layering various interesting papers, ripping them, sorting them, replacing them. You get the picture. I had to be very careful that it did not get too messy or too overwhelming, but that it would remain visually interesting. 

I then began sketching figures of people, two who are vibrant and exuberant, and the rest that look tired and a little worn out. I then watercolors the two vibrant ones in bright colors to emphasize the point of being a light and the others with black and white. The two bold figures appear as if they are leadin the rest of the group and spreading their light wherever they go. It was challenging getting the composition right and again, not making the piece too busy. At one point, I was struggling that I thought the figures did not stand out enough, so I placed extra pieces of paper behind them and I think it made all the difference. 

I learned a lot about mixed media through this piece. I learned most importantly that there is no magic trick to get it right. You just visualize what you want to portray and literally use every medium you own on one piece. Not really. But kind of. I am super excited about how this piece turns out. I believe it showcases a lot of skills that I learned this semester, even skills acquired through all of the paintings I completed. I think this is one of my best mixed media pieces and I look forward to entering it into shows soon. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#9- Pet Portrait

When I was assigned to complete a pet portrait, I was super excited. Pets have so much expression in their faces and just in their being. My dog has a very strong personality and I knew that I wanted to portray that in my painting. I have really enjoyed working with oil paints this semester and thought that I wold try them again. I began by attempting to take a photograph of my dog which was no easy task. He likes to move a lot and he doesn't like looking at the camera. I took hundreds of photos trying to get the perfect photo that I thought captured his personality the best. I finally settled on this one because I thought that the texture and composition was very interesting.

I have done a few oil paintings on canvas already and I wanted to try something different. I have had a wood board sitting around for a while now but I didn't know what I wanted to use it for. I thought that it would add to the already texture-filled image. I sketched out my dog on the board and began placing in colors. But soon, I got really bored with all the basic shades of brown and white of the fur. I started putting in a little magenta and a little blue and then just kept going. I have to say, this piece is probably my favorite thing I have ever worked on. The process of creating it was really fun that I didn't even think about what the final piece would look like, I just kept painting.

I have never really done anything like this before so I did run into some roadblocks along the way. I had some issues getting the right colors that coordinated together well. Also, I struggled a little bit with getting the proportions right on the face of the dog. I have spent so much time getting the proportions of the human face correctly, so it took a while to get an animal's features proportionate.

Overall, I am really happy with how this piece turned out. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and is unique from any piece I have ever seen. I am happy that I decided to put my own twist on the photo and not copy it exactly. I think that the piece truly captures his personality and expressions. I enjoyed creating this a lot and am proud of what I was able to accomplish.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

#8- Mixed Media Landscape

If you couldn't tell by now, I kind of like mixed media. And too be honest, I wasn't thrilled about the idea of a landscape painting. The last time I completed a landscape was freshmen year in Art 1 and I was a little intimidated. I knew I wanted to challenge myself and tackle a landscape again and I knew that I wanted to represent a place that was really special to me. I had visited just a couple months before a reservation in the mountains of North Carolina that was absolutely beautiful. However, the landscape around me was not what inspired me, it was who I was there with. I visited with my grandparents who I am really close with. I knew I wanted to display the beauty of the mountains as well as the bond I have with my grandparents with this painting. I began looking through photographs that I had of the day and didn't feel that any of my pictures captured the location well enough. I decided to try something completely out of the box and not what you would expect for a landscape but would capture what I loved about the place.

I gathered a few photographs that I had and had really intriguing colors in them and photo copied them onto paper. I then did an acrylic photo transfer onto the canvas in strategic places. The transfer gave a really cool effect to the photographs that I decided to play to my advantage. I didn't really have a plan for what I was going to do on top of the photographs so, what else do you do? You start painting.

I began placing layers upon layers of paint until I achieved an image I was really excited about. I liked how it looked, however it was missing something important, the meaning behind it. I decided to paint an image of my grandmother and myself on top of the photo transfer collage. Not having a plan was intimidating at first but once I got inspired, I was really happy with the outcome.

It is amazing to me when I look back at the landscape from freshmen year I have and then look at this painting. Freshmen year I distinctly remember wanting my painting to look professional and perfect and getting super frustrated when I didn't get that outcome. While three additional levels of art classes have definitely improved my skills, I think the greatest thing I have learned is how to come into my own style and turn a piece into my own. This piece really showed me that and I am excited with how I can take that new inspiration and confidence into my future projects.

Monday, December 15, 2014

#7- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There is not much I love more than the Christmas season, so to have the opportunity to participate in The Colored Pencil Magazine's competition replicating Christmas bows was very exciting. Each month The Colored Pencil Magazine puts out a reference photograph and calls artists to interpret the photograph using Prismacolors. So many incredible artists across the country enter the competition. I have really only experimented with Prismacolors this semester in art class, so I was excited to have another opportunity to improve my skills, but I was also nervous going up against these artists. Most everyone was just drawing the bows themselves, and while they looked awesome, I wanted to do something unique. I really enjoyed creating a self portrait a few projects ago and decided I also wanted to improve my skills in that area. I have to say that putting down the first marks on a face in un-erasable colored pencils was absolutely terrifying, let alone my own face. I began by simply mapping out the parts of the face and attempting to get the proportions right. When I felt confident in that, I began layering in the lightest skin tones and gradually building up. I also placed darker values around deeper parts of the face like the sides of the nose.

Once the face was finished, I moved onto the bow. I used an actual Christmas bow as a reference to get the correct highlights and pattern of the bow. Getting the metallic look of the bow was a challenge but I achieved it by mapping out lights and darks and adding in rods of light. I completed the piece with the hair by layering and layering multiple colors to get the value that I wanted in the direction that I wanted. It was a definite challenge and I had never really done anything like this before, but I learned a lot from the process.

The final product is not exactly what I had in mind, but I am really happy with it. I think it really paid off to take the risk and venture into something that I was really uncomfortable with. This piece has given me new confidence to take on things that others say sound crazy and has also given me a new respect for Prismacolor artists!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nature turns Mechanical

For this project, we were asked to choose an aspect of nature and turn it into something mechanical. To be completely honest, when introduced to this project, I was really uninspired and unenthusiastic. I knew I had to do it, however, so I began brainstorming ideas and remained uninspired. I came upon an image of a chameleon and began to think about how the creature changes based off of its environment. I thought that it could be a really interesting concept to portray the chameleon in figurine form in a workshop type environment changing to be mechanical.

I was finally starting to get inspired so I did a bunch of sketches. It was challenging to come up with all of the different mechanical pieces to incorporate into the figures because I am definitely not familiar with those materials! I did some research and came up with an idea that I was really excited about executing.

I decided to draw three of the figures placed strategically across a long paper. I began by mapping out the areas that the chameleons would be and then started drawing in the details. This was definitely a challenge for me because most of my artwork and therefore what I am most comfortable with is more impressionistic and not so realistic. I do not typically focus on small details, rather on shapes and colors. To think about all of the small details that I would have to include as well as all of the value that I would have to include to make the figures look realistic was really intimidating. I decided that this project, however, would be a great chance for me to put my aesthetic into another project. I practiced a lot and started to get the hang of it! It was a big challenge to get all of the right value in the right places and the correct perspective. I crossed a lot of bridges with this project!

I haven't completely finished yet, however I am really liking how it is turning out. There is room for improvement but that just shows me how much I am improving as an artist. Looking back at my drawings from even last year at this time I can see how much I have perfected my skills and grown into my own style. I am excited to finish this project and see how I overcame an assignment that intimidated me!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed Media Self Portrait

Our assignment for this project was a self portrait, pretty much the most intimidating thing for any art student to hear. I have to admit that I was pretty scared at first. Drawing self portraits has never really been my thing. We could choose any medium that we wanted to use and I decided to do something that I haven't done in a while- mixed media. I love working with different mediums and figuring out how to piece them together and make them work differently than the expected use. I thought that because I was tackling a tough project, I would try it in a medium that I was comfortable with. It sounded simple and I entered the project feeling confident despite my fear of drawing myself. That did not prove to be the case however...

I faced many challenges throughout working on this piece. One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was my dislike of planning. I figured that if I had all of the materials that I wanted to use, it would all work out in the end. I started out the background by placing random pieces of newspaper and scrapbooking paper down. I didn't really know if I was going to make the face out of the paper or if I was going to draw it on top of the background. Because of that, I ended up putting things on and taking things off like ten times. I finally blended watercolors on top of all of junk I had added on originally. I actually really like the effect that it created and fell in love all over again. I had a hard time deciding what medium to draw myself in.

 I contemplated using India Ink, however I have never really used it before and I decided to work with it on a smaller scale before I used it on this piece. I ended up using charcoal and learned a lot about it through this project. The quality of the charcoal gives my piece a really unique look and I am really happy with how it turned out!

My inspiration for this project was the bible passage of Proverbs 31. Within the chapter is listed many qualities of a Christian woman. As a Christian, this is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. It has taught me how to admirable in the eyes of God as well as faithful here on earth. I decided to replicate a Proverbs 31 woman this piece. There are many ways that this piece represents this woman hidden in this piece. First, I used calming colors because a Proverbs 31 woman is peaceful and does not react with anger. Secondly, the majestic looking stamps show how woman are supposed to be respectable, however, I purposely made them messy with some paint splatters to show how we are not designed to be perfect. I also showed the figure laughing to show joy. The final thing is the hidden 31 in the bottom left.

This has to be one of my favorite things that I have ever created because it has so much personal meaning to me. I am happy that I tackled the self portrait and I actually kind of want to do another one in a more risky medium for me!