Tuesday, September 27, 2016

For My Art 3 and Art 4 Students

I need to be honest and forthcoming with all of you, and I am hoping to do this without taking class time and without pointing fingers.

As you know, or should know, there is a lot of skill in this room. You all have strengths and you all have weaknesses (as does everyone). Part of my job is to enhance those strengths you have and to help develop the weaknesses (which might even become strengths in the future). Part of my job is also to show you more possibilities and to push you to go further in certain areas.

This is a difficult task since we all have our own unique abilities and perspectives. Sometimes I succeed more than others. I also know that my vision is different than yours, and the ideas I have around a certain topic are not always "right". However, I do have the benefit of experience, and part of this whole education thing is there being an explicit level of trust that you, as a student, need to have in your instructor. I won't suggest changes to you, or ask of tasks from you, if I didn't think they would be of benefit.

While it is true that you don't always need to follow my advice, many times I am giving the advice because I truly feel it is needed - and will make your image better. Sometimes the advice will be in the form of a "don't forget to do this...", and sometimes a "what about if you did...", or "you need more of...", etc.

From you I need a willingness to not just work hard, but to also try things. Coming up with drawings and paintings is difficult business, this I know. But I know that you have it in you. I have seen it. I just ask that you push yourself and commit to that personal and creative exploration and development.

So I have a few points to speak to. You only need to pay attention to your level of Art below.

Let's start with Art 3:
Really this only goes to those of you that turned in your Chopped project today. In general, you did go far enough. There are some really wonderful colors and textures here, but too many of them don't feel as complex as they should. I think you should go back and add more.
The frustration comes in that I remember telling some of you that you needed to go a little further in class today, and then you didn't. Why?
Are you tired? Do you just dislike this project? Did you not look at the online examples enough? Are you still feeling uncomfortable with pen and ink? Have you practiced, with examples to go on, with your ink enough lately?

Overall, I would like you to add more. I really think many of the images would be better. Look up some p&i images online and see how you can further what you did, and take advantage of the time you have in class on Thurs to make your image stronger if you choose.

Don't turn it in just to have it done when you know you have more time. Don't be "fine" with what you have just because it is the due date. Don't be afraid to push yourself.

And now Art 4:
Thumbnails. Most of you had at least ten. If that was the case I gave you full credit. For some of you I left comments. Please read them.
Too many times you turned in what I specifically asked you not to, which is some image, but not really a composition.
If you go back and you look at the best paintings in history, almost always there is some form of depth/space created because of foreground, middle ground, and background. Or at least two of these three.
Why did so many of you choose to leave this simple concept out of your images? You had almost two full class periods to draw up ten thumbnails, and this included a weekend in between when you could have spent at least a little bit of time looking for inspiration and continuing to brainstorm.

At a minimum I will be holding you to the same standards as an Art 1 student, and never do I willingly let them do one central image and just have a blank background (or just a solid color). There needs to be more.

You need to engage me visually at a minimum.

And in terms of choices, go beyond the surface of an idea. 
A choice between what? If it is a choice between to obvious things, you can go deeper than that. 
Just visually depicting a choice between two things is still kind of surface thinking. Get into it more.
How does that choice affect you?
How can you make the image personal? Or at least personal to a friend or family member?
How does a choice define you?
How does a choice that is made (by you or someone else) have a ripple effect?

I didn't spend a lot of time squinting at your thumbnails, but too often it seems like you are settling on the word "choice", and when you do that - versus diving into the cause and/or effect of the word - it just doesn't have much substance to it. 
Did you go back and look at what the museum wrote in their blurb in the pamphlet or online? 
I would suggest that you do.

I am looking for more complexity from you (composition and idea) than in the past because you have more experience than you have had in the past. Don't be complacent. Don't be afraid to try something new. Don't be afraid to do something different than your friends. 
Don't do something "simple".

I want to see that you can handle shape and value and contrast and color and space and balance and unity and all of those fancy "art" words all wrapped up into one stellar image!
I want to see that you are challenging yourself.

How will you push your idea further than just a beautifully painted image?


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