Friday, January 29, 2016

Most memorable experiences

My most memorable experience was the homework assignment we had to recreate the "Upside Down Drawing". The assignment's purpose was to force me to focus on using the left side of my brain to "draw what I saw" not what I "thought that I was seeing". The upside down man that we were re-drawing was slightly disproportional, so I couldn't just draw what a man sitting in a chair would usually appear as. I had to pay close attention to the details in his outfit and the relationship between the lines. This exercise was especially impactful for me because I am very quick to assume that things are there if that is what is "normal". I need to learn how to not be so quick to assume that things are there even when they may not be.

The second experience that was memorable and impactful for me did not take place at one individual time, but was something that we did throughout the semester. I learned how to study a painting and try to pull information out of it. I expanded my ability to locate the mood and tone of a painting and how to assess how the different elements and objects contribute to the message of the painting. This is a huge skill that takes a lifetime to master. This class has been extremely impactful in beginning the skill of processing and analyzing paintings and artwork in general.

Project that I am most proud of

I am most proud of my "Final Still-Life Drawing". My reasoning for feeling proud about this piece is not entirely about the final outcome, but rather about the process of getting to this point. We spent a long time studying the ways to create boxes and ellipses so that they look realistic. I struggles, at first, with this! But, by the end, I was able to create semi-realistic looking 3D objects. Also, we spent a long time experimenting with different styles of sketching and mark-making. We began by studying many different artists and their line styles. This was one of the most impactful parts of the project for me. By studying all of these artists, I not only learned lots of new terminology about different techniques, but I learned how to mimic them. I also learned lots in the classes that we spent with all of the different mediums. I was able to target some of my strengths and weaknesses, and it gave me lots of chances to learn from my mistakes and improve. Overall, I was most proud because I was able to finish off the Still-Life unit by incorporating all of the skills that I learned into the final project. I was able to show my improvement of realistic shading techniques, realistic 3D shapes, proportional sizes of objects, and my overall use of black and white charcoal.

Winslow Homer Comparison: Sense of Place

Young Ducks
Winslow Homer 1897

In Winslow Homer's painting "Young Ducks", he uses realistic hues and depth to capture the sense of place. The relaxing, calm feeling from the landscape is achieved by using mellow, low intensity colors. Also, in the foreground, the men in the canoe seem relaxed and at peace, gazing off into the distance. The serene mood of the landscape adds to the sense of place. . In "Young Ducks", I get a sense that the glassy lake is a rural place to escape to. The blurred mountains and the bleak sky add a sense of imperfection. Also, the elements in the middle ground and background are important. As I mentioned previously, the sky and mountains and brightly defined or clear which leads me to a feeling of muffled, solemn feeling. The men are gazing off into the distance at a line of ducks in the middle ground. This subtle action makes me wonder about the stories of these men. I get a sense that they are yearning for something that it is out of reach.  From Winslow Homer, I learned that the mood of the painting adds to the sense of place. A painting of the same place at different times of day, different weather, or different objects in the foreground could have a completely different sense of place. In this specific painting of the landscape, the sense I get is that the two men are isolating themselves from the chaos of life by relaxing where it is peaceful.

I tried to use a few similar ideas to capture the sense of place in my painting. As I noted before, I realized that the mood of the landscape can have a large impact on the specific sense of the place. The mood I tried to capture was the sense of light-spirited liveliness that I experience in the summer in Burlington. The specific place that my pictures were taken was at a causeway at the end of a bike trip my gamily and I went on one afternoon when we were in Burlington. I tried to use similar strategies that I examined in Homer's work. I think that the elements of the foreground, middle ground, and background all add to the overall sense of place. In the background, the sky is clear and bright. This shows the clarity that we experience when we take trips to Burlington. In the middle ground, the water isn't crashing angrily, but it isn't serene and placid either. The quick rippling of the water shows the energy and excitement. The sailboat shows how we are feeling content and free. In the foreground, you can see the wind tussling our hair which also gives a sense of movement. Overall, all of the elements nature and the objects in the landscape contribute to the tone of the painting which helps show how we feel when we are in Burlington.

To get an even better sense of place, I could have tried to incorporate a more personal aspect to the landscape. I think that the sense of place will be different for every person at a particular place. The way to make the sense more powerful is to bring out a personal emotion or story. In Homer's paintings, there are always small details or actions that hint at a deeper meaning. For example, in "Young Ducks", I sense a feeling of yearning from the men. The landscape reflects this feeling with calm, glassy aspects, but it also is blurry and indecisive which strikes a sense of uncertainty. My sense of place could have been more powerful if I had made it more personal. One idea of how I could have portrayed my personal feelings could have been by choosing a different picture for the foreground. If the picture had, for example, shown my family members and me laughing with each other, it would have been more clear to show the pure joy that we feel in this particular place at that particular time. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Personal Space Box

Purpose:The purpose of this project was to look closely at the work of Winslow Homer so that I could better understand who he is as an artist as well as learn how to describe, interpret, and evaluate works of art. In response to looking at Homer’s work, I created a relief sculpture that is inspired by his work and concepts.

Artists Studied: Winslow Homer

The picture taken was on a long causeway that we reached at the end of the Burlington Bike Path.

The first time I ever went on a trip to Burlington, VT was several years ago for one of my brother’s hockey tournaments. Even from that first trip, Burlington was more than just another town with a hockey rink that we were spending a weekend in. The first time we went, we drove all around the campus of the University of Vermont and discovered a few delicious restaurants. The next few times we visited we had many family adventures. A few included getting lost while searching for cliffs to jump off of into the water, socializing with street performers and fishermen, and of course, the 26 mile bike ride where the picture in my “personal space box” was taken. Our trips to Burlington have always been filled with a unique form of family bonding that doesn’t come from just hanging out at the pool in the hotel or going to the Ben & Jerry’s, but when we figure out our own (sometimes slightly dysfunctional) adventures.
The picture I chose was of my brother, sister, mom, and me posing at the end of the causeway with my dad at the camera. All of the picture perfect “New England scenes” you could imagine can be seen in the beautiful city of Burlington. I tried to capture the bright and energetic summer spirit with the tussling water and the clear sky that I experience there in the summer.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Value Self Portrait


  • To determine where values change when light moves over an uneven surface by using a range of values to paint the different values in a realistic, monochromatic self-portrait;

  • To use your knowledge of color to choose a color that matches the mood of your pose.
  • To effectively communicate an image that looks like you through careful examination of the values and structure of your face.
Artists Studied: Neil Shigley, Eric Hougen, Anne Harris, Bly Pope, and Sean Cheetham
I am proud of the overall appearance of how all of the aspects of my face fit together. At first, I was concerned that I the shapes I made to show the shadows wouldn’t appear to look like shadows, but in the end it turned out to resemble a face! I also liked that I was able to incorporate details into the hair. I didn’t want my hair to turn out blocky, and I think that I succeeded in making it more streaky and realistic. Also, I tried to make a large contrast between the color of my hair and the color of my face and shirt so that it could show that my hair is blonde.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Winslow Homer, Young Ducks 1897

To become familiar with Winslow Homer, a Maine artist;

To look at Homer’s work as a way to inform and inspire my own work;
Title: Young Ducks
Medium: Water color
Year of creation:1897
Describe as much as you can about the artwork.  What is happening?  How many people and/or animals are in it and what are they doing?  Describe any buildings that you see.  What time of day is it?  What colors are used?

There are two men rowing a small canoe gazing off into the distance at a row of baby ducks being lead by a mother duck. They are on a glassy lake with a little bit of a beach on the right side and forested mountains in the background. It looks like the scene takes place in mid morning. The water is made of very light, low intensity colors. The boat and people are made with slightly higher intensity colors. The boat is made of an orangey brown. The land in the background is made of darker colors. The sky looks slightly over cast with a few clouds - not very cloudy but not very sunny, kind of bleak.

Point of interest/CompositionWhat attracts your eye first?  Where is it located? How does Homer draw your attention to this area?  (color contrasts, lines, location, changes in pattern, etc.)
The people and the boat are what our attention was drawn to first because it is made of higher intensity, brighter colors and it is located in the middle. Homer attracts our eyes here by the color contrast between the low intensity white of the water and the high intensity of the boat and the people.

Balance - Is there symmetrical or asymmetrical balance? Explain...
The background is asymmetrical because the forest on the right side is closer to the people and appears darker which makes it imbalanced. In the foreground, the boat, lake, and ducks are balanced and symmetrical.

Depth/Perspective- Is there a horizon line?  What is in the foreground, middle ground, and background?  Is the background very deep and far away or is this painting shallow and close up? How do you know; describe it.
There are two horizon lines, one in the middle where the mountains meet the water and one slightly above where the sky meets the mountains. The boat with the people in the front of the lake are in the foreground. The middle ground is composed of the back of the lake with the ducks in the distance and the mountains. The background is the sky.

Mood – What are the feelings, emotions and/or mood you get when you look at this painting?  How do the colors, lines, brushstrokes, composition, subject matter contribute to the mood?
We get a feeling of peaceful calmness and serenity. The subtle colors make it calm. The lake is flat; it doesn’t have any waves. The sky doesn’t portray any ominous feelings or excitement; it is just overcast and relaxing.

Interpret - Now that you have looked closely at the artwork and have read the title, describe the story of the painting. What do you think Homer was trying to communicate?
The men in the boat are gazing into the distance looking at a row of ducklings. It shows a relaxing day at the lake where the men are taking in the beauty of nature. In this case, the men are enjoying the same relaxing feeling that the ducks are.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fabulous Faces


  • To look a bit deeper at a variety of portrait artists who use a variety of media
  • Develop understanding of different artists’ work through inquiry, research, and synthesis