I cannot think of a better title for this blog post. Seriously.
The Art of Seeing.
It's funny how things turn out sometimes..coincidence...fate? I don't know, but it is surely is amazing. At least a month or two ago, when I was looking for examples of a good AP Studio Art syllabus (just in case they asked me to teach that for my new job)...I saw a name I recognized on the screen- Fran Gertz.
Did I saw recognize? I meant a name I respect... a name I revere.
See...eighteen years ago, she tutored me for a brief period. I can't remember if she was new to the county, but somehow she was teaching at a local middle school and I ended up with the privilege of working with her. I say privilege because that is exactly what it was. I didn't have many lessons with Mrs. Gertz but she really did make an impact on me. At that time she had already been teaching all over for years, even overseas...and she just had a way of explaining things...of making me see. It was amazing.
I digress...too busy gushing. My bad. So anyway, a little while back- I see her name. She was listed as a facilitator for an AP Institute at Nova Southeastern University, so I contacted her via email, thinking it would be great to see her. I also offered to assist her if she was interested...and it turns out, she was.
What I didn't know is that she had recently been in a horse riding accident so me offering to help came at a great time as she would need help. It's funny how things work.
Monday morning...early...I am up. I drove the hour and change down south and there she was, exactly the same as I last saw her, and probably even more inspiring. The reason I say that is that I know that I am more receptive to the information that she has to give, now, eighteen years later, as an artist and a teacher trying to grow.
So I left feeling good about seeing a former teacher and happy that I could assist her. But I left with questions for myself...about my work. I sat there listening to my former teacher, talking about how to get high school students to produce work that will be worthy of college credit...discussing formal qualities and how to take the work further... and I am realizing that I need look at my work and assess these same questions. I am excited about my commitment to making art, but I want to make sure that I am pushing myself as an artist...asking myself questions, pushing myself and the work further. I take my work from an initial idea at the beginning of each month, but I think that if I work harder I can explore more, come to more solutions, better solution by the final piece in the month. I can do more.
Baby steps, at first.
Last night I tried to break out a little bit...I was thinking about texture as I scribbled faint text on my image...but then I was like, why is the figure still in the middle of the composition?
...and tonight I abandoned my usual point of view, zooming in and using more of the space. I have much to think about...and I don't know what impact this will have on my fashion illustrations...but I do see a change in the last few pieces, and I will consider that progress. When I was uploading today's piece to my June body of work I could see where the images, while I do like some of them, they were becoming stagnant. I feel that the last five images are starting to get somewhere...and after completing my piece today I think I can try to whole heartedly push the work, push myself to take it that one step farther.
Thank you Mrs. Gertz...you truly have the art of seeing, and helping others do the same.
So today I spent about three and a half hours at Barnes and Noble/Starbucks...a little longer than my usual Sunday ritual but I didn't go the beach in the morning so I suppose it all evens out. I started two new fashion illustrations, one is for a Great Gatsby-themed show I am participating in...and I did a little angel bombing just because it has been a while. When I got home I resurrected the ol' teachin' blog and I spent some time writing about some of the projects we completed at art camp last week. And now...before I go into nap mode or otherwise lose motivation to blog...here is a wrap up of the morning's events...I am sure I will draw some more, maybe even make a trip to Michael's later this evening. Gotta get some sleep, I am helping one of my former teachers with an AP workshop tomorrow, which I am really excited about!
...I seriously am having too much fun with art history! So silly! I made this little graphic for the Art Hive Magazine Facebook page this morning...(insert giggle and snort) Happy Father's Day out there!
I posted this pic I made just so I could revisit it and laugh at my nerdiness.
...all done with art camp for this month...a few commitments here and there...going to look at some places to live down south next week...think I have an idea where I want my 'Childhood' series to go...yep, I am verKLIMT. (which is like verklempt x 100!) YAY! Happy Saturday, ya'll!...and...I did get around to posting the final pictures of CEDs 162-165...more crayon art to come!
Creative Everyday pieces 162-165, June 11-14, 2013
I posted these two pics to Instagram today and I just wanted to take a moment to write a little about each one. Circe 2001-2003 (Can't remember exact date)
The top picture was taken around 1998. My best friend's mom, Jennifer, was a nurse at the Moore County Health Department at the time. She noticed that the children's play area wasn't really, well, playful...so she asked if I could paint a mural. So I did. I painted three, one on each wall in the children's play area. One wall was Mickey Mouse themed, another was Ariel (and friends) from the Little Mermaid and the last, my favorite, was a little scene from Pooh Corner.
When I was working on the murals, a little Hispanic boy was hanging over the barrier while I painted, watching my every move. His mom came by to get him and I remember he pointed to me and said, 'artista'. I will always remember that.
Anyways, I painted the murals for community service for my sorority, the Health Department took care of supplies. It was a win-win.
The bottom image was taken between 2001-2003...I can't remember the exact year. Somehow I found out about a contest that the Tulsa Stained Glass Company was running...so I made an entry. This is the entry. I used Prismacolor Markers and colored over them with Prismacolor Colored Pencils, vertical format...the theme was 'monarch butterfly angel/transformation/ascension'.
My piece won, can't remember if it was for a division or for the whole thing...but I remember I received a cash prize, a small etched glass award and...the best part...they turned my piece into stained glass and I got to keep it!
They made it into more of a mosaic, as it was on a back piece so the light didn't really shine through it...I would've loved to have seen that! Anyway, the piece is now hanging up in John and Jennifer's living room in Vass, NC...where much of my artwork calls home!
...another summer at the Armory!
...a little sleepy, but I made it through my first day of art camp and it was a good one! The theme is Ancient Greece and Rome and so far my two groups are off to a great start. Today each student helped to make a hieroglyph (that they each made up) for the letter(s) of the alphabet that I gave them. I posted those up on the wall and then each student wrote a TOP SECRET message in our 'class hieroglyphs'...to be deciphered tomorrow! We used a crayon resist method, the students went over their pencil lines in crayon and then we did a light yellow wash over the paper to make it look more like an ancient papyrus. We even crinkled them up and some of the students tore the edges.
In the afternoon classes we talked about the scarab beetle and the students made an oil pastel drawing and then a second scarab beetle out of collaged wall paper scraps.
I also took pictures of each student...we will use these to 'travel back in time' in some fun paintings later this week...stay tuned!
...some art from our travels to Ancient Egypt!
And just a few notes about today's piece...it's getting a little late but I did want to address...I guess it is frustration (?)
So...I see a face I like on the back of my Cosmopolitan, a gal winking. I sit down to draw my version of the face while catching up on the season finale of Game of Thrones (that was also frustrating...I hate cliff hangers! Give me closure!) I digress...
I draw the face with my crayons...and it seems like I have seen it before. Looks very similiar to a picture I made last June when I was drawing Bettie Page all month...which THAT piece resembled Caravaggio's, Head of Medusa.
Yikes. I didn't mean for that to happen.
And now..I sleep. I will figure out how to draw the 'winking face' at some point! (shaking fist in the air)
CED13- 161...(Left)...inspiration (Middle) Finished piece (Right- Top) Caravaggio, Head of Medusa (Right- Bottom) CED 175 from June 23, 2012
When I woke up this morning...in the weird, climber-like position I usually wake up in (sometimes there is a cat on my back and/or pillow...just sayin')...the first thing that I saw was my new tattoo. It made me happy. And it made me want to draw. So I got up, tip-toed to into Jessie's studio/Art Hive office (I forgot to mention that is where I was)...and I started to draw. I finished up my piece from yesterday and then drew my daily piece. Sometimes, when I finish my daily piece early I don't know what to do with myself for the rest of the day. Today was kind of like that. I cleaned, I napped, I tried to organize my art table...then I organized my beads and jewelry findings while watching a few documentarties...'Unzipped' (1995) a documentary about Isaac Mizrahi and 'Bloomberg Game Changers: Anna Wintour' (2011)...kind of on a fashion kick this weekend. John was in Michigan so I watched every fashion-related documentary I could find. Both of these were really good, 'Unzipped' went over the behind the scenes of Mizrahi preparing for a runway show after one that received less than stellar reviews. His passion for clothing and for style really struck me, no matter how crazy the industry life was for him, ,regardless of the reviews. As for the documentary on Wintour, also really interesting, seeing her rise in the industry. Now I want to watch it again, then watch the 'September Issue' and then watch Devil Wears Prada. And I want to create a bunch of fashion illustrations while I watch it all. But not tonight...gotta get some sleep so I can teach art camp in the morning.And now...I am rambling...blah, blah, blah...I added my daily pieces to the 'Recent Works' page and also to my FB page, and I also added four new fashion illustrations, shoes from the Prada F/W '13...and I made a few jewelry pieces...pretty productive day...some of it, admittedly, was me trying to pass the time til John comes back home.
So...ummmm....that's it. Goodnight! -JLG
She would have been 35 today. Amy, she would have been 35.
And you know, it's sad. It is a sad thing...a sad day, for John and Jennifer, for her family...for all that knew her. But I am more sad for anyone that never got to meet Amy. She was amazing. She was fierce, she was kind. She was talented, beautiful, funny...she was so many things to so many people. She was my best friend.
So on this day, while I am sad, I am celebrating the birth of such an amazing person, and the fact that she was in my life at all, however briefly. I feel lucky to have known her, to hear her laugh, to see her smile.
I decided to celebrate Amy's 35th birthday in kind of an unconventional way, I guess- I got a tattoo. Now, I have been thinking about getting a tattoo on my wrist for a while, and I was just waiting for the right time...turns out, that was today. I decided to get a tattoo on my wrist today, in honor of my free-spirited, creative friend...who loved life and I have no doubt accompanied on this venture today. But first...some background on the actual tattoo...
I have a few reasons for wanting the word, 'Artist', on my left hand.
I am left-handed, so every time I look at my hand- when I wake up and my hand is on my pillow (I sleep a little crazy)...when I am drawing..I want that constant reminder of who I choose to be- an artist. That is the quickest explanation.
But there is more to it than that.
When I think of Amy, and of my mother in law, Lucy who passed in 2005...the beauty of these two individuals reminds me to enjoy life, to live it to the fullest...and to make your mark on the world and to make an impact. What do the kids say now, YOLO? Yeh, that. My way to make a mark on the world is my art, even if it is a small impact. The tattoo on my wrist is a visual reminder to be who I was meant to be and to CREATE. If you do only live once...and you don't know how long you will be on this world...then by all means...LIVE.
I truly feel that art is what I am meant to do in this life, to be an artist, to make my art...and I don't ever want to forget that. My grandmother has Alzheimer's now, but back in the day she was also an artist of sorts- she crocheted, quilted, did all kinds of what I now recognize as fibers. Granny- well, she doesn't remember that she has this in her...and her fine motor skills are there anymore..but in any case, when I am older I want to see that word, 'Artist' and hope that it will remind me of what I have inside of me, the desire to make art. I don't ever want to forget that.
And there is some thing special about the writing on my tattoo- it's Amy's handwriting, traced from old letters and cards...so that makes it even more meaningful to me.
Happy Birthday to Amy Elizabeth German!
I love you friend and I will never forget you, or me or us.