Summary of our class

Looking back at our first drawings of the chair  and comparing them to what we have created so far amaze me by demonstrating how every one in our class nurtured their talents and grew their creativity, patience, observance, and visual thinking. This whole transformation happened not without professor’s help, peer reviews, and personal investment in each project. Below, is my summative perspective on the whole course and our beautiful transformation from blind moles into deep visual thinkers. 

1) What helped me to learn and enjoy more

  • absence of strict guidelines: general rules guided me throughout the work, but never stifled my creativity
  • professor’s suggestions and tips on how to achieve technical accuracy, consistency between meanings and aesthetics, and overall unification between various components: for instance, the technique of using a string was great in sustaining proportionality; advices on materials and their representation for the super animals were really useful
  • peer reviews, critiques and in-class works: these all facilitated openness to feedback and tight bonding between the students 

2) Lessons I learnt

  • Proportionality: now I know how to use a string and a pair of straight elbows to maintain things proportional
  • Mounting techniques: I know how to mount using hot glue, cement glue, and the heat presser
  • Symbolism of different animals and their significance to cure various social ills
  • Creating value through contrast between lights and darks (refer to my Self-Portrait Summative Statement)

3) My favorite projects

  • Making Valentine’s: converting conventional and cliched Valentine’s into creative, personal, and meaningful art changed my perspective on the holiday and love overall
  • Building a Super Animal: increased awareness among the students and gave an incentive to fight back the social ills

4) Things to add or to alter

  • Less time to work on chairs: personally, I felt exhausted because of the routine and demand for accuracy that never could be completely achieved
  • Adding one-class sessions, similar to the blind-drawing 

5) Things that I have improved and hopefully never lose:

  • More patience
  • More observance
  • More self-confidence
  • Sharper sense of proportions and boundaries
  • The value of time intervals needed throughout any work processes

Thank you so much, professor, for the very enjoyable and educational class!

I appreciate your time and help you always devoted to each of us!Image

I truly had fun and learnt a lot – you could see it from this whole list above 🙂


Self-Portrait: Summative Statement

This particular project not only blew my mind by its authenticity of the technique and demand for time and accuracy, but also taught me how to recognize value in different shapes through manipulation of shades of light, and how important it is to be observant, patient, and open to feedback. These two and a half weeks of close observation of my own face turned out to be an excellent learning experience and a lot of fun.

As I mentioned earlier, the technique in this specific project is very distinct. When I was telling my friends about blackenning the paper and then erasing the shapes of our faces, they all look puzzled and amazed. So was I in the beginning. The rule of no lines was so hard to carve in my brain. My hands automatically wanted to start erasing even and symmetric lines – rational symbolization of familiarity. The first class was especially hard. I just couldn’t overcome the dull wall of refusal to go outside of my comfort zone filled with lines. Eventually, though, with some more patience and professor’s help I managed to get tuned into the melody of shading. Once I figured the best way to create shapes by using different shades of black and white, I knew where I was going with my self-portrait. As awful as it seems, I felt 100% ready for the project once I was done with it. Therefore, my ears that I finished in the last place are my favorite parts of the portrait. 

Another feature of the project that belongs to the technique is translating the 3-D object onto the flat paper. The manipulation of lights comes in again as an important tool to accomplish the translation, which was especially difficult and demanding since we were responsible for drawing our own faces and there was no room for slack and inaccuracy. Even though in this project there were no particular guidelines to the technique, we were stranded by the reality: we had to draw what we saw. Thus, the level of freedom we used to have for other projects was slightly lower. Although, Hala and Larkin managed to go out of the boundaries and create their own charismatic portraits. 

This whole process of shading enabled me to see differences in shapes through creating value and contrast between lights and darks. When I first put down that lightest light on my nose and then went on drawing my nose and lips, I realized that slightest changes in shapes create less or more value. I wish I had used lighter shade for my skin overall in the beginning as I look at my face now. That way I would be able to emphasize different values more.

Similarly, applying charcoal directly on the paper helped achieve maximum contrast making the portrait brighter and livelier. The most contrasted parts on my face are my black nostrils and the white blemish in my nose. To me, they look natural and add up to the whole architecture of the face. Another contrast point of my face is my eyebrows. In the beginning, I simply left my eyebrows very dark above my eyes. Professor’s comment on their artificial attachment to the face was true. Therefore, I tried to dissolve my eyebrows more into my skin. I tried to depict the way the hair grows and lies leaving specific lights and darks. Doing so made my eyebrows blend in with my face and still left the initial contrast. Coming back to the portrait once again, I am happy I fixed my eyebrows, but if I had given my skin a lighter tone, the contrast points would be stronger. This is a definitely good lesson to remember for the future work.

Furthermore, the studio experience taught me to closely observe what I see in the mirror. Professor’s number-one rule of drawing what we see required constant attention to what we were observing. This rule helped me notice more details and pay more attention to what I was about to draw. Likewise, the project taught me to be patient with myself. Coming back to the drawing after some time appeared very helpful in reevaluating the portrait. Everyone in our class would agree with me on that point. The other day, I was skyping with my brother and I looked at myself in the camera. That day I actually saw a little bit more than what I was seeing in class. Therefore, coming back to my work occurred to be an important tip for the successful studio experience. One of the other major components of the excellent studio work was, of course, feedback from my peers. Just walking around and sharing what each of us was missing in our portraits and what needed to be done cleared up a lot of confusion. In-process critiques were very beneficial as well, because everyone could get neutral and valuable comments on their work.

Overall, this project was very enjoyable and educational. It is definitely a signature of the class. I don’t think the project needs more time, because then it would be unfair to our other works and it would become more routinized and boring. I do think it needs some alterations. The main technique of creating values through different lights and darks certainly should stay as the core. However, the project does not have to be about a self-depiction. Drawing still-lives pricked by students would be engaging and fun. I would also like to try drawing our super animals. That way one project would blend into another. But these are just the suggestions that do not need to be strictly followed. In the end, the level of professor’s creativity proved to be amusingly high, so I trust her in coming up with similarly awesome projectsImage

Summative Statement: Super Animalita

I really enjoyed the Super Animalita project not only because it gives so much insight into contemporary social problems, but also demonstrates our ability to communicate the issues by using so-called “daily trash” and by trying to seek solutions. The whole working process enables all of us to dig into the problems and find as much information as possible. During this project I learned that the number one killer in this world is water-born deceases, which can be avoided so easily in most of the times. I learned that sharks and sea turtles confuse plastic bags with jelly fish, eat them up and die. I learned that mother octopus never-ever leaves its eggs and protects and nurtures them more than itself. There are many more interesting facts one could pick up from the project. We could even make a booklet of different current problems and their statistics.

Even more engaging would be creating a booklet about animals that were chosen to fight these problems. Everyone in our group came up with a distinct social ill and a creative solution for it through intensive research and visual thinking. The process of finding the animal itself and trying to match its characteristics and symbols with super powers it might have to use against the ill gave birth to a lot of authentic ideas and their implementations. Particularly for me, it was very easy to come up with a social issue, but then harder to think of an animal. I decided to pick a serpent, because snakes attract me since childhood. I am afraid of them, but at the same time I am very interested in their appearances and behaviors. After I had chosen the animal and started the research about the symbolism of snakes, it was easier to think of its superpowers.

Having an idea of what I was going to make was only the beginning. The hardest part was to figure out what materials to use and how to connect them together. Professor Nell’s advice to use all the trash in front of us was very much helpful. Once I was in front of all those handy materials, my brain started boiling and trying to find ends and means. Surprisingly to me, it worked. I figured how to represent transparency with plastic bottles. My mates advised me on how to tie them together so the snake would be able to move freely. And, of course, professor’s comments about snakes hands were very useful. Another learning potential of the project: always listen to the feedback and trust your eyes.

Comparing the beginning of the working process to its ending is just like comparing a freshman to a senior. A lot of things are improved, developed, and completed. Personally, I wish I made my snake longer if only I just had more time. But here is an art fact: you never have enough time. There is always space for improvement. I also wish I had more solid wire to shape hands and the palms. The ones Anguis has right now remind me of cartoons. I imagined them to have five fingers. However, because of my weak ability to bend the wire the way I want it, the hands appeared to be the way you see them now.

I will repeat myself again: I strongly enjoyed the project, despite some suffering and brain overload at times. I think, creating a super animal to fight something we feel passionate about actually empowers us to take action. That was the super implication of building a super animal.