Thursday, November 21, 2013

Portrait/Foreign Material Project

    In this project, we were required to make a portrait of a person using a medium that is not a typical material used in art. I immediately knew who it was that I wanted to create a portrait of, Elton John. I chose him for a few reasons. Musically, he is a huge inspiration for me. I grew up listening to his songs, and Empty Garden is one of my favorites because of the story it tells (all about John Lennon and such). Physically, I love the fact that even when he wasn't performing, he was famous for having glasses on ALL THE TIME. He had funky glasses, normal glasses, big glasses, small glasses, etc. It was iconic, and I always thought that was really cool.
    Originally, I was going to use crayons and melt them, thus creating "Meltin' John". While I was starting painting the canvas for the project, the idea to use coffee grounds sort of came out of nowhere. The actual method I used to use coffee grounds as a medium was pretty complex. I used construction paper to put it on, and then drew very lightly in pencil a rough sketch of Elton John. I then (oddly) sprinkled coffee grounds onto the paper and dipped an eraser in a cup of water. I used the flat side of the eraser to fill in large, solid areas of space, and used the side of it to draw the thinner lines. I worked on it mostly at home, because my dad drinks coffee and she didn't want me forgetting the coffee grounds at school.
    I definitely think that I took a risk when completing this project due to the fact that I had no idea how the pigment of the coffee-water would turn out in the first place. It could have come out lacking any color at all, yet it also could've been much too pigmented for the portrait itself. I hadn't ever tried to make a piece of art using coffee grounds. I'm more than pleased with how the color actually ended up turning out, I like that it almost resembles watercolor paint in a way.

Also, random fact. Through the completion of this project, I discovered that coffee grounds don't taste all that terrible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sticky Situation/Repetition Project

    For this project, I took the idea of "Sticky Situation" and applied it to Henry Selick's movie "Coraline" (which is my all time favorite movie). In order to make this relevant to the piece that I wanted to do, I had to twist the plot a little to correctly portray the idea of a sticky situation. In the plot of Coraline, this 'other mother' is plotting to sew buttons on Coraline's eyes and eat her, yet Coraline manages to escape this fate. In my piece, the sticky situation is that the 'other mother' actually DID succeed in sewing buttons onto Coraline's eyes. I would say that I was required to think outside the box when creating this piece, due to the fact that I had to alter the plot of a completely different situation in order for it to work with my idea. Repetition was applied through the background, with the repeating deep green and purple stripes (which is actually a background used in the film).
    I used acrylic paint on a canvas in order to achieve my piece, which was good all around for me I'd say. Mostly because I am literally terrible at watercolors, and I have experience with acrylic paints, because I work on acrylic landscape paintings on my own time. One of my favorite things about acrylic paints is that it can be easily reapplied to an area that you painted improperly. You can add layers upon layers of acrylic paint. Acrylic paint was also a successful choice for this piece because in the film "Coraline", the colors are very solid because of its cartoon-like appearance. Acrylic paint provides very pigmented color choices which makes it easier to paint block colors.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Up Close and Personal Project

    This project, Up Close and Personal (with a focus on emphasis), was really cool for me for a few reasons. One of them was that I had some really cool ideas I wanted to try out. Another was that we were incorporating color into the piece, which meant I had a plethora of different mediums to choose from. Ironically, the idea that I decided on was not in color. I took a risk in doing that because it was against the strict laws applied by Lord Sands. I was debating between two ideas. One was an eye with fingers climbing out the bottom of it. It actually looked pretty cool, the emphasis factor focused on the unusual aspect that there were fingers coming out of the eye, but in the end I went for the second idea I had, which was a bit more personal. Not towards just the project, but for me as well.
    The idea that I chose was based off of one of my favorite songs, When The Day Met The Night by Panic! at the Disco. The fact that this is one of my favorite songs makes it personal to me. The interesting thing about me choosing this is that I hadn't thought about the idea until I was listening to the song while working on the eye idea. The premise of the song is that "the moon" (a girl) falls in love with "the sun"(a boy). The song is about them meeting and falling in love. I wanted to find a way to draw this. I thought about the contrast between the two ideas, and I thought the best way to display it was to literally draw a line between the situations. Mr. Sands came up with the idea of drawing the moon in white on a black background, and the opposite for the sun. The contrasting backgrounds looked SO cool (thank you Mr. Sands!) I was super satisfied with this piece.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's The Point?

    During this art project, we were requested to create a piece that represented the phrase "What's The Point?". This could be taken literally or figuratively. It could range anywhere from drawing the point of a knife to creating a piece that contemplates the point of something like religion. When creating this project, I wanted to lean more towards the figurative side, because I like art that gets you thinking. We also had to incorporate contrast into our piece. I narrowed it down to two ideas that I wanted to try out. They were a drawing of a sea urchin, or a drawing that represented the idea 'what's the point of countries'. I decided on the second one because John Lennon is a big inspiration of mine, and in his song Imagine, he talks about what would happen if there were no countries, which gets me thinking about why they exist in the first place.
    When choosing a medium, I decided that the best medium to portray contrast is charcoal. I actually took a risk when choosing this medium because I was used to using charcoal blocks and blending it easily with my finger rather than a charcoal pencil, but the drawing needed fine lines so I went with a 2B (Medium) charcoal pencil. I was actually very happy with the way it turned out, because it could draw fine lines and blend well at the same time. In order to create even more contrast, I put 9 flags of different countries right next to each other to create one big flag. It shows that all countries should be unified and the countries being right next to each other create contrast between the countries.
    The message that I am conveying in this piece is that having separate countries only keep us apart, and that we should eliminate the idea of countries and replace if with one unified Earth. I believe that John Lennon is right when he said that without countries, we would have 'nothing to kill or die for'. If we just were to combine all of the countries we would have less hate.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ceramics Project

    During this project, our teacher asked us to create ceramic bowls. This was done using clay, which was out medium. A medium is the substance an artist uses to create their artwork. My bowl is about 8 inches long and 2 inches deep. We had the option of using two "hump" or "slump" methods to create the shape of our bowl. I used hump, which is where you lay the clay on top of a bowl to create the dented shape of a bowl. The other method was laying the clay inside the bowl so that it is slumped inside. We used radial designs to incorporate decoration and design into our bowls. A radial design is a type of design where everything is extending from the center. One we finished our design and our form, we put a glaze on it and then put it into a kiln at a very hot temperature, so that the clay will be completely dry and the glaze will shine. We used a food-safe glaze, so the bowls are non-toxic and safe to eat out of.
    Once we took our bowls home, I had to come up with a use for it. I chose to use it as a bowl to hold my earrings, because I didn't have a place to hold them. Because of this project, I learned how to create useful bowls and ceramic items. I learned to create a radial design, and I learned how clay can be used to make objects. If I was to repeat this project, I would have put more red on the bowl. I thought it would look cleaner and prettier with it being all white, but I think if I had added some red into it that it would have looked better.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

M. C. Escher Inspired Drawing

This project was inspired by an artist named M. C. Escher. Escher created very abstract pieces, and they normally leave the reader thinking. We were asked to come up with a drawing that resembled the works of Escher, and included a two or three point perspective building. I'll admit, this one took me a while to come up with a composition for. I wanted it to make the viewer think about the layout and what was going on within the drawing. I finally came up with an idea. My perspective building was in three point perspective, and it was a small house held up by four stilts and rope. The mountains, ocean, and fish make the viewer think that it is placed on Earth. But, when the viewer looks into the sky, you can see Earth in the distance and Earth's moon behind it. This portrays that it is on a completely different planet.
   When I was constructing the mountains, I really wanted them to stand out, because most of the focus was going to be on the house. I decided to incorporate value into the mountains by shading and blending out parts of the mountains that I wanted to represent ledges, cliffs, etc., so that it looked more three-dimensional. I used this same method on Earth and the moon. This was my favorite project because out of all of them, it allowed the artist to really put in a good creative effort.


    During this project, our class was asked to go outside of class and take an expressive photograph. This was one of my favorite projects we did during this class. It was very different than what we do in class normally, and was a really cool experience. Me and my partner Hannah went outside to take this picture. You can see how the background vanishes to one point behind where I am standing. This is called the vanishing point. The railroad tracks seem to go on forever, which I thought made the photo very interesting. 
    Once I decided that this was the composition that I wanted to use, we took the picture and added it to our dropbox accounts online. We then added the photo to a computer program called photoshop so that we could change it to monochromatic format (black and white). Photoshop is used to edit and alter pictures and photographs.While in photoshop, we used effects like burn and dodge to alter the lightness and darkness of our photos. I was able to use the burn effect to brighten my face so that it didn't appear so dark.

Pastel Still Life Project

    The pastel still life project was where art one students in my class were told to draw an arrangement of items using oil pastels. We had our own freedom to choose what items we used for the arrangement. I chose to use 5 Twix bars for several reasons. Their rectangular shape made them easily arrangable, the reflective wrapper would make it easy for me to pinpoint where to put highlights and value in the pastel drawing, and I could eat them after I completed the assignment (Just kidding!). 
   My class was asked to draw thumbnail sketches as guidelines for how we wanted to arrange our items. A thumbnail sketch is a small drawing that portrays (in less detail) how an artist is going to arrange the final product. An artist sometimes composes more than one thumbnail sketch to see which setup is ideal for the final project. A useful tool when making a thumbnail sketch is a viewfinder. It gives you a perspective on how much room an artist will have available for the final result. 
   When attempting to compose a 3-dimensional drawing, an artist has to keep the idea of value in mind. Value is the portrayal of the lights and darks of an object in a painting or drawing. In order to portray value, I used different amounts of pressure when working with pastels. This can help create rounded edges, cast shadows, etc. Creating a light source is important because it shows you where highlighting and shadows need to be placed. I created my light source in the corner of the pastel drawing because it was similar to the lighting I had in real life.

Acrylic Landscape Painting

   I particularly enjoyed this project because I knew from the start exactly what the composition of the project was going to be. A few weeks before the project, I took a trip to the mountains. While I was there I took a photograph of the mountains from our deck. The layout of the mountains in the photo was perfect to incorporate into the painting, and I added an ocean in front of the mountains to add something special to the painting. The view is seen from a grassy area looking out at the mountains. When picking a color scheme, I used an analogous color scheme to portray the original colors as best as I could. 
   You can see in the picture below that the farther objects are viewed from a distance, the more the color changes. This is an example of atmospheric perspective, which is the effect the atmosphere has on an object as it is seen from a distance. When I was painting objects that were at a greater distance, I added more white to the original color. This adds a hazy effect to the atmosphere. When I was painting the sky, I had to decide where to place the sun. You can see in the displayed picture that there is an area in the sky that is lighter than the rest. This area is where I placed the sun behind the clouds. 
   In class we learned how to paint using brush strokes that displayed different textures. For the grass I used small, upward brush strokes. When painting the sky I used long, horizontal strokes. In order to add value to this, I used the same stoking method but adding different amounts of blue and white to the sky. The same method of adding value was used in painting the ocean.