Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Work of Art that I am the most proud of

I am most proud of my Realistic Self-Portrait, shown above. I am most proud of this particular piece of art because it was by far the most challenging project for me this year, and I believe the end result exhibits my best work. Along with being challenging, this work was a time-consuming project that required the combined use of many skills to create accurate composition and a range of value in order to create a life-like drawing. This particular project impacted my learning in this class by showing me how important it is to work in a well-thought and planned-out way.

Revisiting my Goals for the Semester

My first goal for this semester was to enhance my skills in adding value and utilizing composition in my pieces of art in order to make them appear more realistic. I believe I have definitely achieved this goal, as works such as my Realistic Self-Portrait and Still-Life Drawing use balances of black and white to create a range of values while also heavily relying on composition to provide a realistic appearance. Other goals include using new media and learning new skills with them, which has been achieved with the use of watercolor and white and black charcoal. I have also become more skilled in the use of acrylic paint, which achieves my goal of becoming better with values I have previously used.

Watercolor Techniques

  • Purpose:
    • To experiment, explore, and learn a variety of ways to paint with watercolor.
I learned a few important concepts during my experience with painting with watercolor. Firstly, I learned the importance of using plenty of water in order to get the desired consistency and pigment of my paint before applying it to my work. Secondly, I learned the importance of accurately working from the background to foreground, given that watercolor cannot be layered like acrylic paint. I also learned the importance of paying close attention to small details such as the angle and shape of my brush and the amount of pigment and water I had on it as I was working, as these factors directly relate to the variability in marks that can be created with watercolor. Such marks can be used to add variations of texture and value to paintings, such as the small landscape painting shown above.

Sketchbook Assignments

1. Imitation Drawing: Still Life
  • Purpose:
    • To gain a basic understanding about the Realism Art Movement and to identify artists who work(ed) in this style;
    • To practice drawing in the realist style by "imitating" a professional, realistic work of art.

2. Still Life Drawing
  • Purpose:
    • To practice creating a still-life drawing that demonstrates understanding of drawing in perspective, along with using a variety of mark-making techniques to describe form;
    • To understand value by creating a good range between black and white;
    • To demonstrate quality craftsmanship and good composition skills in a drawing.

3. Imitation Drawing: Portrait
  • Purpose:
    • To become familiar with past and contemporary portrait artists;
    • To use critical thinking skills to analyze artwork;
    • To understand how and why artists create portraits
    • To practice drawing in a portrait way by "imitating" a professional work of art.

4. Half Portrait Drawing
  • Purpose:
    • To look closely at half of a portrait and complete the portrait by drawing similar features;
    • To practice drawing facial features: eyes, nose, and mouth.

5. Autobiographical Collage
  • Purpose
    • To create an autobiographical collage that tells the story of an experience(s) that took place in the artist's life. It lets the artist express his or her thoughts and feelings about any respect of his or her life.

6. Mandala Design
  • Purpose:
    • To become familiar with Mandala designs and it's meanings;
    • To create your own, original Mandala.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Unsung Hero Artist Statement

Personally, what motivated me immediately about my unsung hero’s story was her incredible devotion to an oppressed and less-fortunate group of individuals in desperate need of help. Emma Darling Cushman was an American nurse that helped operate a hospital in Konya, Turkey during the early 1900’s. When WWI broke out in 1914, she defied the orders of the Turkish Ottoman forces, who mandated that all foreigners leave the country. Soon in 1915, the Ottoman government began what is now called the Armenian Genocide. This little-known historical event involved the extermination of around 1.5 million Armenian, mainly in areas of central and eastern Turkey. This resulted in many orphaned Armenian children that were left on the streets by the Ottoman government to starve and die. Cushman started by secretly rescuing orphans and keeping them in safe homes in the community. Eventually, she had saved so many that she turned her hospital into an orphanage. Throughout the remaining years of the war, her orphanage consistently held as many as over 1000 individual orphans. By the end of the war, Emma’s efforts resulted in as many as 60,000 individual Armenian orphans rescued from almost certain death. Her efforts were only recently discovered, and she fits the description for a genuine unsung hero. Even though her efforts would put her own life in jeopardy if they were discovered by the Ottoman government, she continued to follow through with her heroic actions because it was the right thing to do and it preserved the blissful ignorance of the children involved throughout a chilling national ordeal.
My painting uses many forms of symbolism to express my hero’s story, character, and actions. Firstly, there is a representation of Emma Darling Cushman and a group of orphaned children in the foreground. This image shows the relationship the children had with Cushman, specifically that she was a kind of mother figure that provided overarching protection and nurturing for these individuals. The Armenian flag behind the group of orphans represents the nationality of these orphans. The Turkish tank and artillery guns on the right side of the street represent the constant threat of the presence of the Ottoman government. On the left side of the painting, there are many crosses extending into the background that represent the multitude of crucified Armenian christians that fell victim to Ottoman forces during the Armenian genocide. Along the left side of the street there are multiple buildings, including one that represents Cushman’s hospital-turned-orphanage.
In response to the “process” aspect of the assignment, I used skills learned in our recent landscaping unit in order to provide my work an appearance of depth. Such skills include use of diagonal lines and reducing the size of objects as they get further away from the viewer, such as the diagonal road and the receding sizes of the buildings as well as the crosses, respectively.

The process of creating a work of art has changed my outlook on life in that I have learned the value of observing stories or events in different ways through being able to present their key ideas in a visual way, as I did in this project. This has provided me with the skills of using more “right-brained” thinking to creatively analyze things in real life.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Landscape Perspective Painting

I used multiple perspective strategies in my painting. For instance, I used an atmospheric perspective to show the depth and distance of the hills in the background of the painting. In this painting, I learned many things. Firstly, I learned the importance of the use of an underpainting, which provides a primary layer that ensures none of the canvas is exposed in the final painting. Secondly, I learned the importance of working from background to foreground because it layers the objects in a way that makes objects appear closer and further away due to closer items overlapping further ones. Thirdly, I learned the usefulness of mixing paints on the canvas instead of mixing them off the painting. This helped the colors blend together and create more of a realistic and textured appearance for the grass. Lastly, I learned the value of allowing paint enough time to dry before applying another layer. This is essential to avoid lower layers of paint from being taken off.

I faced multiple challenges during this assignment. Firstly, the sky was particularly challenging to create because it was hard to mix paint colors that resembled the gray colors present in the picture. To deal with this challenge, I decided to use a light blue color that somewhat resembled the real color. Even though it was not completely identical to the sky in the photograph, it worked well with the atmospheric perspective I was trying to create. Another part of this painting that was difficult was accurately depicting the grass in a way that added a feeling of depth to the overall painting. In order to attempt this, I tried to use brush strokes that varied in thickness and size while approaching a single horizon line.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LMC Unsung Hero Planning

I am motivated by the story of Emma Darling Cushman. Her story inspires me because she worked to help save children from persecution under the Turkish Ottoman forces during the little-known Armenian Genocide. She did so because it was the right thing to do, and she exhibited heroic selflessness in her actions.

The location of the story is Konya, Turkey, and I can visualize this by using the map of the city or showing the landscape. To represent Emma Darling Cushman herself, I can include elements of iconic images such as Cushman standing in front of her hospital with a group of the kids she saved.