Process, media, and technique
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An insight is a restructuring of information–it's seeing the same old thing in a completely new way...Once that restructuring occurs, you never go back. Excerpt from "The Eureka Hunt", by Jonah Lehrer, in The New Yorker, July 28, 2008, quote by Earl Miller, a neuroscientist from MIT.
The following projects provide students the opportunity to start a critical foundation step to creating art. Students will use a sketchbook as a tool to collect and develop ideas, experiment with media and techniques, and to start a library of life-art memories.
Create a sketchbook using your choice of projects from the lists below. You are strongly encouraged to push these beyond simply doing the first thing that comes to mind. These projects are intended to expose you to different media, techniques, and ideas for the purpose of exploration and possibly new projects. Please have, where appropriate, a specific concept or statement in mind. The concept may be technical or personal.
- Sketchbook - You may buy or make your own sketchbook, minimum 5”x8-1/4”. I would recommend buying, but some of you may discover book-making opens a whole realm of possibilities.
- Personalize - Identify your book with your name and date and, if inspired, cover art. You may or may not want to put contact information in your book.
- Page marker - Create a page marker or connected book mark. You may use ribbon, fabric, paper, or any other material appropriate for the task.
- Composition - Where appropriate compose the “image” within a frame on the page or within the full page itself. Fill the frame. Crop images or even having them go outside the frame. Try fitting the random media experiments within a frame. Using a frame provides you with a strong foundation for creating art.
- In some cases you may need to insert pages that were created outside of your sketchbook.
- Principles of Art and Design - Think about and use the Principles of Art and Design.
Suggested projects - Explore.
- Shading – Photograph a white or light neutral colored sphere, cube, cone, and pyramid using bright light and then and soft light from one source. Avoid objects with text or graphics. You can cover found objects with white paper for better results. Change the position of the light source, e.g., at a 45° angle, a 60° angle, etc. You may shoot the objects in any arrangement, but each object placement should create at least one shadow on another object. The more variations and arrangements, the better you will start to grasp shading. For further exploration, shoot different shaped objects out of different materials.
- Color study – Make at least five different color scheme studies on any surface. Compose each study to fill the frame. In the first, use your favorite color. In the second, use your least favorite color. In both, make sure the favorite or least favorite serves as the dominant color. Use colors of your choice for the other three. You may create an abstract, representational, or realistic piece in any medium for either or both. Use http://www.writedesignonline.com/resources/design/rules/color.html as a guide.
- Texture – Create at least five different textures on five pages. Cut; fold; gesso; apply Elmer’s glue; tear; burn; attach via glue, SpraMent, rubber cement, staples, tape, or hot glue sand, sand paper, wire screen, dirt or other material. Be creative, experiment, have fun. You are looking for techniques to expand your ability to express yourself.
- Media-surface exploration - Create at least five abstract, representational, or realistic “paintings.” This assignment focuses on exploration rather than a single, finished painting. Explore at least five different media on at least five different surface materials. You may use any of the media or surfaces listed below or find your own:
Ink and wash
Pastels – oil and dry
Cardboard – peel some of or all of the paper away from the corrugated material
Matte board – play with texture and color
Rice or specialty paper
Canson paper – it comes in lots of colors
Tracing paper, vellum
Fabric – natural, dyed, plain or printed
- Observational drawing - Create a least five pencil or pen sketches from observation, two of which must be of people. Go someplace, sit, and draw what you see. These should be recognizable-representational sketches that capture the line and proportions of the subject(s). The sketches should be at least minimally composed within a frame. I like to draw a box and put the images inside. Often times I will put objects or subjects from different views or settings into one composite image. Have fun, take your time, be creative, but capture what you see.
Additional projects - Have fun!
- Process documentation – Use any art project you would like. Document how you work by photographing each step: Step One - Identify the problem and/or goal; Step Two - Concept development; Step Three - Rough drafts, layouts, and/or drawings; Step Four - Revise, refine, and edit until you get it right; and Step Five – Finalize. Set up your work as you go through the process and take a picture that shows your progress. Take as many photographs as you think necessary to illustrate your process. Label the steps and write a brief description for each. See http://www.writedesignonline.com/creativeprocess.htm as a guide.
- Museum chronicle - Visiting a museum opens windows and doors into the lives of artists. Museums serve as reflective images of culture and times. We encourage you to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste all aspects of art whenever possible. To this end, your museum visit chronicle entails recording the following information and creating a thoughtful synopsis of at least one museum visit. Present this chronicle with all of the following elements:
Museum and exhibit information:
- Name of museum
- Location of museum
- Admission information: hours, days open, cost, etc.
- Exhibit title
- Exhibit brochure
- Time period covered by exhibit
Reflection on a particular piece in the exhibit:
- Artist(s) name(s), years of birth and death as appropriate, countr(ies) of birth
- Medium(ia) and genre of piece or pieces
- Tone of piece or pieces
- Strengths and weaknesses of the piece or pieces using artistic perception vocabulary including elements of composition
Sketch(es) of the piece or pieces addressed above. Feel free to sketch more than the pieces above, but make sure to include the artist(s) name(s), years of birth and death as appropriate, countr(ies) of birth; medium(ia) and genre of piece or pieces
Conclude your reflection with at least one quote from the exhibit which shows insight into the exhibit. You may take words, phrases, and quotes from the show and create a found poem/quote of your own.
- Die cut - Create five pages, each with an image that incorporates a die cut, a shape cut away from the material that opens on to another page with an image that shows through the die cut. You can make a simple rectangular shape or a complex design. Remember to think about what will show through.
- Photographic manipulation – manual – Draw or paint on at least five photographs, ones that you have taken. Alter the photograph by adding or subtracting color, texture, or images. You may cover part or all of the photographs with other materials. You may cut away sections of the photographs to eliminate or create “windows” onto other images or surfaces behind the photographs.
- Photographic manipulation – computer – Use PhotoShop or equivalent software to draw or paint on at least five photographs, ones that you have taken. Alter it by adding or subtracting color, texture, or images. You may cover part or all of the photographs with other layers. You may “cut” away sections of the photographs to eliminate or create “windows” onto other images or surfaces behind the photograph. Use any tool you feel appropriate such as masks, filters, color balance, and effects.
- Mask, resist, relief - Create at least five different applications of a mask, resist, or relief. Use a stencil, a cutout, rubber cement, Elmer’s glue, crayon, wax, bleach, tape, gesso, or any other technique to create you exploration. Be creative, experiment, have fun. You are looking for techniques to expand your ability to express yourself.
- Multiple layers – Create at least five compositions using at least five different layers on a surface material. You may use dry materials such as papers of varying opacity and texture, fabrics, appliqués, photographs, found objects, and or printed materials such as images from newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, calendars, etc. You may create a pattern that repeats, an abstract image, or make a pointed statement about a topic that you feel passionately about. In order to create a composition with integrity, you are also expected to explore how different materials interact and how color, size, texture, shape, space, value, and line affect the composition.
- Text – Create at least five compositions using text as the main image. The text may work in the abstract, the use of text as images, or the text may make a statement. You may use other images and techniques to support the text, but the text must be the dominant image. Please don’t settle on a trite statement and remember that if you choose to make a statement all of the text must relate. Use text that when read makes contextual sense. You do not have to have all of the text visible or readable. You may use text on vellum, stamped on, or applied any way you would like. Explore. Use text from different languages. In the abstract go for the shape and color of the text. In the statement piece, make sure the text, regardless of language, relates.
- Painting shades – Create at least five still-life compositions in any medium using shaded objects. You may use the objects in any arrangement, but each object placement should create at least one shadow on another object. The more variations and arrangements, the better you will start to grasp shading.
- Photograph and draw – Create at least two compositions using a photograph and an abstract, representational, or realistic “drawing” of the same photograph. You may draw with any media you chose. You do not have to use all of either image, but both must be present in the image. Although you may not feel comfortable drawing, push yourself to do an accurate drawing. You may duplicate and resize either the drawing or the photograph.
- Sewing - Sew fabric, lace, cords, ribbons, appliqués, buttons, pins, etc. onto at least five pages. Experiment with stitching using a variety of threads and yarns as a technique to add texture, color, line, and imagery.
- Block print – Create three block prints. Cut a design or shape into or out of a material of your choice, such as an eraser, potato, rubber block, wood, foam, what ever. You may create a single piece where you compose an image such as a scene, still life, portrait, etc. or you make create a pattern using different shapes, lines, colors, etc.
- Deconstruction – Create "paintings" using the media of your choice - pencil, black or colored; crayons; pastels; markers; paint; computer software; photograph; collage; etc. You may mix media as well. The “painting” will start with an image you created. You may create an abstract, representational, or realistic image. Scan or copy the image in black and white, gray scale, or color at three different sizes, 64% or less, 100%, and 125% or greater. Use the copies and the original. Cut up, rearrange, superimpose, reverse [mirror], or colorize the images. If you use a copy machine, the image degenerates at least 5% to 10% each time you make a copy of a copy, which means you can get very interesting imagery the more times you copy the copies. You get a different, but similar degeneration each time you enlarge a pixilated image.
- Rubbing – Create five compositions that use rubbings and other imagery if appropriate. Find a surface with a texture that interests you. Make a rubbing or multiple rubbings using any medium. Graphite or pastels may work best, but experiment.
- 3-D concept drawing – Create at least three concept drawings, including notes on materials, dimensions, color, etc. for a three-dimensional piece you would like to create. Your sketches or drawings should show shading and color as appropriate.
- Mark making – Create at least five separate pages showing expression through lines, shapes, textures, spaces, color, values, and or form. You may create abstract, representational, or realistic images. Use a pencil, brush, marker, stencil, potato, what ever, experiment making marks. Mark-making is the term we use to describe the process of applying media to surfaces.
As basic rules of a language must be practiced continually, and therefore are never fixed, so exercises toward distinct color effects never are done or over. New and different cases will be discovered time and again.
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