Early to Rise

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of mornings. Now as we prepare for school to start (tomorrow!) we are going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. The only benefit, slight though it may be, of getting up at the crack of dawn is the dawn itself.

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So, you know….it’s not all bad.

How To Be An Artist*

My friend is an elementary school teacher. She invited me in to her 1st grade class to give a lesson about art. The entire school (except 4th grade.grr)  is doing a study block on Great Masters of Art.  I had nearly free reign (no nudity or gore, these people are 6).

It was pretty hard to decide what to do, but I settled on an activity where I gave directions and they followed the steps and we’d see how alike or different they turned out.

After that I gave a short talk about some important things you can do to be an artist. I drew up some pictures to go along with it.

Here they are:

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Ask questions.

Look at stuff. Figure things out.

Take things apart. Put things together.

Don’t forget the other side, the back, the top, underneath.

Wonder.

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Be brave.

You don’t have to be superhero brave, just regular brave.

Someone might tell you that they don’t like your artwork because “you did it wrong.” DSCN4619

Maybe they think that the sun in your drawing shouldn’t be red.

But, art is mostly about your ideas and your imagination,

so you get to make up your own rules about what you put in it.

So be a little brave and tell them,

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“I appreciate your opinion, but I like my sun red and I’m going to keep it that way.”

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Be passionate.

Play. Dance. Sing.

Practice

(So you can improve at doing the things you love doing.)

Try new things.

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Fill up your toolbox.

Take lessons.

Go to school.

Play.

Try to fill up your brain’s toolbox

so that you have lots of things in your imagination

to use in your art

and in your life.

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The most important thing you can do to be an artist is to be you.

Robots don’t make very good artists,

because they can’t make decisions

and show their feelings in new and exciting ways.

As one of my favorite artists, Dr. Seuss, says:

“Today you are you,

that is truer than true.

There is no one alive

who is youer than you”.

~*~

.

*These are also good tips on how to be a human.

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The child had to do a project for school on some aspect of Lewis and Clark. He chose the bighorn sheep. One of the requirements was a “visual component” completely open to interpretation. He decided that we should do a sculpture of a ram. Out of clay. Life sized.

After I vetoed the extremely heavy and ridiculously expensive clay option, we put out heads together and came up with paper mache.

This is what we made:
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Six Word Friday: First

Post first thing in the morning?

Not this time. Not usually, honestly.

The first week back to school.

Adjusting to the schedule fairly well.

First week of new exercise plan.

lots of firsts are going around.

Can I be first for a nap?

Mixed media

 

This piece is made up of a lot of glue and styrofoam packing peanuts.

Then I covered it with tissue paper.

Then I started painting it.

I ended up adding a lot more tissue paper to decrease the contrast between the smooth canvas areas and the lumpy styrofoamed areas.

This is the photo that the photographer who came to the school to shoot our senior theses.

It’s difficult to take a picture of it that really captures it well.

Hanging in the gallery for our show was a little better lighting and view for the photo.

This piece is 36 x 48 x 7

The gallery is in the library at our school. When my instructor introduced me to the Director of the Library she said,

“She’s the one responsible for the face up there.”

He responded with, “It’s certainly distinctive.”

Six Word Friday: Final August Fun

school

supplies

and

shiny

new

shoes

~*~

“once

in

a

blue

moon”

tonight

~*~

school

begins

and

summer

fun

ends

~*~

well,

maybe

for

kids

it

does.

😀

melissa’s last six word friday hosting

Exit Essay For Graduation

When I was getting ready to graduate, one of the requirements was to write an exit essay. This goes in your file for whoever (potential schools, employers?) looks at your school records. It was supposed to show something of what you’d learned, where you were headed. As I was being scrutinized as to whether or not I was going to be signed off on by my committee and what, if anything, I was going to be contributing to society as an artist going forward should they let me, this was also written to answer (hopefully) that question, at least somewhat.

Here it is:

Over the course of pursuing my Art Degree, I’ve found myself inspired and reinspired with each successive art history and studio art class that I have taken.

As early man discovered new techniques and technologies, he broadened the definition of art from a minimal and conceptual idea implied on a cave wall to the full-bodied technical skill of the great masters. Since my childhood I have enjoyed a close relationship with the quintessential Renaissance Man: Leonardo Da Vinci. His inventions and interest in many areas of creative innovation have always resonated with me.

The width and breadth of technical mastery of representation was well and truly explored and eventually gave way to new ways of making art. From the Impressionists onward, the artists of the day have slowly and steadily pared the fruit of what constitutes art down until we came once again to the minimal and conceptual core of artmaking. As we have learned from Marcel Duchamp and his brethren, the idea, the concept, the decision of the artist is what makes art art.

When art is stripped down to nothing, surely it must wither and die. We found ourselves at the end of art. Or so it seemed. As Ad Reinhardt said, “Art about Art is Art. The End of Art is not the End.” It may have been the end of an era, but that only left room for the beginning of a new era.

As we add new techniques and technologies to the concepts of art and our knowledge of art history, once again art has opened wide to new horizons. It is in this open field of options that I find myself traversing this art degree and art life.

I take great inspiration from the broadening of the definition of what art is, and can be, from the revolutionary works of Robert Rauschenberg, especially his combines. For me, this expansion of painting off of the two-dimensional plane out into the third dimension is where I want to take my art. Another artist I take inspiration from is Jackson Pollack. Action painting is, for me, a way to allow the paint freedom and to loose my firm control over it.

More recently I’ve had the privilege to study the works of Lyrical Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler. I am enthralled by her delicate treatment of the paint and I definitely am planning to explore and incorporate her pouring, staining, and soft color and shapes into my work moving forward. Another artist whose work I’ve learned of recently who I admire is Eva Hesse. What I appreciate most about her work is how she blurs the line between art and craft. This blurring of the lines of categorizing is the cornerstone of my artistic sensibility. I intend to explore this avenue in my future works as much as possible.

Looking ahead to after graduation, I hope to be able to act as a conduit for creativity. I believe that creativity is a muscle that becomes stronger with use and training. I plan to pursue certification in Creativity Coaching, a new career which helps empower creative people with the tools to move through blocks, such as the infamous writer’s block.

Moving from art school out into society it is my goal to spread creativity and to help increase awareness of the benefits of, and need for, art and art education. Our society is in desperate need of creative problem solvers. This is the very definition of an artist. We need new and innovative solutions to the problems that we’ve built for ourselves. This is one of the functions of the artist in society’s arsenal.

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