Doesn't feel like the most productive week so far...but I have accomplished a few things...well, for starters, I guess I could back up to last week. Last week I received an email from a writer with the City Link section of the Sun Sentinel. It was regarding my piece in the Bear and Bird show...seems the writer came across my Firestarter piece for the Creep Cinema show and my blog…not sure what came first…but anyway, the gist of the email was that I could possibly be featured in a write up about the show. Totally made my day, happy dance, etc., etc…but trying not to get too excited. And then today I got the email…with this link….http://www.sun-sentinel.com/citylink/sfl-the-art-list-the-art-of-brew-humoratorium-creep-cinema-and-stitch-rock-20110928,0,2185144.story…which brought me to this page….
And when I scrolled down, this is what I saw…
Awesome. I keep checking the link to make sure it’s there, not some cruel art joke…and every time I check…it is still there. So, I guess that can count for getting something done this week. I haven’t painted since the weekend…I did make some cute cheerleading bows for my girls and burned two fingers …which is not awesome…and I have been working on a art-related business with some friends that will be made public later in October…so I will count that as being creative so far this week. But I do still have two days, one of which is a day off from school…and the weekend looms ahead like a wide open field…so I would say there is still time. Time to make art.
Meanwhile, gotta check that link… make sure it is still real!
So…our AC is out. Boo. The repairman is coming on Monday…until then…just trying to stay as still as possible and as close to the fan as possible. Painting seems to work, not a ton of movement. I even got a table easel so I could sit and work vertically and be more comfortable. As for the fan…staying close…only problem is it is drying my paint faster so …got..to..speed…up. I took a few pictures as I worked, I like seeing the lighting change…makes me feel all disciplined and stuff.
Still working on the ‘word fixation’ pieces. I had worked on these a bit last weekend during a blur of creativity known as the infamous ‘girls art weekend’. Wow, I really got some work done. Didn’t have time to work on these during the week, but I feel like I got a good start…just waiting to see where it goes.
...so this is what will be waiting on me when I get back to school on next week...slowly but surely, brushstroke by brushstroke I am working on these three pieces. I love when the kids notice that there are words in 'em...and the ones that are just now figuring it out? The kids that already know are like art critics...explaining the work to their peers.
I love it. Love. It.
…still a ways to go but getting a little closer to finishing these up. Hopefully I can finish the faces tomorrow and then next week go back in with some highlights and shadows in the hair/words...
PRODUCTIVE. Yep, me. Productive...producing...making...creating...could not SLEEP because I was feeling so inspired...going to sleep at 3:00am only to wake up at 7:45am to paint some more...That was my weekend. I made some art, looked at art, talked about art, and figured at a new business related to art...more to come on that one. For now...here are the pics from a great weekend...
A productive week...the 'classroom studio' model is still working. I progressed through my three canvasses, slowly, bit by bit. The students are still responsive to the idea of my rounds and working independently.
One thing that I started adding on Friday was some black outlines, borrowed from my Zora series that I finished up last Spring. (right)
Side note....I love black outline. Makes me think of when I was a little kid, carrying around my coloring books and a Sheds Spread tub of crayons. I would color the pages, sequentially, page by page. I liked to leave the pages in the book so that when I was finished I had a book of color that I created. When I speak with other artists I am usually in the minority, sitting by listening to stories of rebellious coloring outside the lines and preferring white paper...I just sit by quietly and remember how much I love the black lines...
So, the black outline has arrived to my classroom studio. It is slowly creeping over my largest canvas from the left and I really like the way it makes the colors 'pop'. (shown below) We will see where this goes...
It has been a busy week so far...teaching my 8th graders how to stipple, making a contour line drawing of a shoe into an imaginative piece of art with 7th grade, learning about line with 6th grade, teaching how to create values with tempera paint with 5th...and my JV cheerleaders have their first game tomorrow...yep, that has kept me busy. But wait, this is an art blog. Why, yes it is, but it is also a 'hey, this is what my week is like and this is how I am trying to find time to paint despite it all because if I don't make art I will burst' blog...so, a minute to paint here...a minute to paint there...and little by little, progress, at least in my classroom studio...
I feel like I had a productive week with my ‘classroom studio’ experiment. Friday before I left I placed my in-progress paintings on the storage shelf in the back of my classroom and was pleased to see that I was leaving three canvases, and knowing that those paintings will be waiting on my when I get back on Monday is exciting. I am hoping to finish these next week and start some new work, maybe even a detailed drawing since my seventh and eighth graders are working on their drawing skills.
For these three paintings I am still working with the idea of the text creating the hair/headdress…this time focusing on the words ‘believe, sing, and light.’ I was brainstorming words/concepts that might mentally ‘weigh’ someone down, or that people might directly or indirectly fixate on….for the word ‘believe’ I was thinking about how sometimes it is hard to believe in yourself, or others, or to believe in something, to have faith…for ‘sing’ I was thinking about how people may be hesitant to share their gift with the world, specifically singing, or even someone like me that can’t necessarily sing but I do enjoy it, but when I think someone else will hear me I shut myself off….random…and the word ‘light’…my friend had shared a quote with me a while back that really stuck with me...I found the full version of the quote on-line, apparently repeated by many;
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? ....And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3).
And then on to a pretty eventful weekend…I love having folks in my life that share my love for art. I was fortunate enough to have a mini ‘paint party’ with my friend Jessica on Friday night (see pic on right). A few hours of sitting around and painting while eating some snacks and watching ‘B’ movies? Sign me up. I worked on a few different projects, and much like my ‘skype painting session’ last weekend, it was nice to work with someone else instead of by myself. Can't wait for the next one!
Below: three little canvases that I finished up on Friday night...destined to be baby shower gifts for my cousin Jen on Saturday. I used her baby shower invitation and nursery theme as the basis for the design. The triptych can be hung with space in between, lined up so that they are touching or even just stand since the little 4-inch canvases have some depth to them. Can’t wait to see them displayed in the baby’s nursery!
One thing that is on my mind today is maintaining my role as a teacher while still being an artist, and vice versa. I want to exceed in both. It seems like I am constantly feeling a push and pull between my desire to excel at teaching yet also express myself as an artist. Truthfully, for a long time I feel like I have put more into my teacher, leaving my artistic self neglected. I think it was easier for me to nourish my inner artist when I was working with high school students, when came back to teaching and went into the elementary classroom I really started to part with the artist, on some level. Sure, I was in graduate school and immersed in my projects, but on a day in, day out basis my focus was on teaching these little folks art.
Thankfully, I am working with middle school students now. They are able to work independently- they need to work independently. Last year I set up a little corner of the classroom to serve as my in class ‘studio’. Towards the end of the year I would paint some while the students were working on their projects, and I didn’t think much about it. I knew that it made me happy, and my students seemed supportive and interested in what I was doing. That was it, that was all.
Then fast forward to now. Coming out of my summer filled with an awakening of sorts, of late night painting, of drawing trees, of reading about artists that I like, of meeting like-minded folks also interested in creating art…that is where I am now, as I do my daily drive to school. Excited about teaching my students…but wishing I had just a few more hours in the day to dedicate to drawing. Add in coaching…something else I am passionate about…and the truth is the art just gets put to the side. I think that is why I work in large quantities when I do sit down to create.
So this is what I have been struggling without really throughout college and my teaching career…how to teach…and how to keep making art…the whole reason I wanted to be an art teacher in the first place. Today I really did make an effort to do both. I set up my classroom ‘studio’ again, this time moving it to a more central location so that I can easily reach any of my students and monitor student behavior. I did the introduction of the lesson/focus at the beginning of each class, made a round to each student….then I left the kids alone for a bit to paint. Stopped, made another round…back to painting. I think that is good to just let them work sometimes, to encourage them to be independent thinkers. I do not want them to be dependent on me; rather I want them to apply what they are learning to their own art experience. We were all creating together, and it was a very powerful energy. I also noticed that, well, I noticed some things when I stepped back and painted. For instance, I became more in tune with the sound of the students working, the sound of the materials, the students talking…it was like losing a sense and finding other senses hypersensitive.
What I am trying to say is, I am going to keep working at being a successful teacher and artist. I know that sometimes the art gets put in the background, but I feel more fulfilled when I do both. And I think that will make me a better teacher, and vice versa.
It ended up being a pretty productive day. I used my rotating schedule to try and touch on a variety of things that needed to be done, and early on I was able to stick to my allotted time periods. My trip to PBSC wasn’t as fruitful; I wasn’t able to pick up my artwork. ..maybe later this week. I spent the majority of my ‘art time’ working on the round canvas, although I did manage to complete sketching in the hair/text elements on all of the paintings. I wasn’t sure what color to use to fill in the hair/text on the round canvas; I finally decided on white with just a hint of turquoise. The piece is still in progress…and I started painting more on the oval painting towards the end of the evening.
(Right; 'Love', in progress... around 4:30, I had just started to fill in the text on the left side)
One thing that was a big inspiration to me today was the opportunity to participate in a painting session with a former student via Skype. He had posted a piece on Facebook, I mentioned that we had both been painting at the same time and he had the idea to set up a Skype session. What a great idea. I haven’t used Skype since I went to Japan in 2009, so I had to install it again, find the camera…I never resolved the microphone so we had to use cell phones to actually talk. We ended up painting for about an hour and a half, what a great experience. One thing that is unique about making art now is that I am usually creating my work alone. My husband may be in the other room, but I am in essence working by myself, maybe with my Ipod or Pandora playing on the computer. There is a lot to be said about having access to other artists as you work, made me think of my time in the weaving studio, or working in my drawing and painting classes. Yeah, I focus when I work by myself, but it also gives you certain energy to work around other artists. What a unique experience to be able to work alongside a student that I taught almost ten years ago. It was awesome to catch up, to talk technique, to talk aesthetic, to talk about just feeling like you have to create. Amazing.
(Check out his work; https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.schwager)
So all in all, good day. The oval and round canvases are in progress, with the latter being close to completion. The other four rectangular canvases have at least been sketched out, so those will be waiting for me when I am ready to start adding color. (Below; I moved the set up back to the kitchen 'studio corner'...the rectangular canvases are sketched and ready...the other two, well underway after a great painting session via Skype)