Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Series Spectacular!

The series projects were unveiled over the past two days during two critiques. Even though we've had glimpses of each one in-progress, the finished groups are pretty amazing for the most part. Unlike the past times when I posted examples from each series, I am posting each entire group of images. I do apologize for some minor cropping and color changes, but for the most part it's a pretty good representation of the works. If you want to see a closer view of the work, just click on the drawing.

Veronica Greenwell's series explored the connections and relationships between art and science. Using the brain as motif, Veronica utilized string, wire, encyclopedia and thesaurus pages to create intimate and complex representations of left brain/right brain influences on our needs for linear reasoning and creative expression.

Todd Brewer's group explored the landscape from his back porch. He originally planned to create drawings of different times of day or seasons of the same place, but later changed to the same time of day but interpreted through a variety of media. Each drawing is roughly 18"x24", and utilizes oil pastel, Prisma Color Art Stiks, soft pastel, and graphite.

Stephanie Smith's three drawings are created on layered vellum with imagery drawn on all sides. She wanted to bring to her images the effects of being deaf in her right ear, hence the more faded part of the image represented on her right side. She was attracted to a run down, dilapidated building that served as the space for both the calmness and the chaos of hearing from only one side.

Shawn McPheron's 4' x 12' panoramic view of the Ohio River is a very ambitious set of panels executed with oil pastels. This site is one of his favorite places to draw and he would often haul one panel at a time there to catch a detail that slipped by his on previous trips. It is a remarkable piece in that the space is so vast and so well observed.

Phil Lawrence's three drawings in charcoal and graphite examined the juxtaposition of environment and emotion and the idea that we are, or are not, products of our environments. The influence of place and how we acquiesce or contest its impact on the individual. Each panel is roughly 22" x 30".

Philip Carlton's four graphite drawings, each 23" x30", are deftly drawn episodes of the mundane experiences that can often be defining experiences in our lives. He used a teddy bear as the star of each episode, adjusting its scale to fit the space and activity. The sense of humanity in each image is very compelling, as they are rife with the wit, compassion, melancholy, and introspection.

Miri Phelps created this three-panel installation as a sequential examination of time, moments in and a continuum of, by utilizing photographic sources of water being poured over the heads of her friends. Executed with charcoal and acrylic paint, each panel measures 26" x 20".

Lori Richie, often attracted to creating images of nature, instead explored nature's effect on her physically as manifested in her severe allergies. Each image is drawn on paper with soft pastels, then framed, and then the drawing is continued on the plexiglass glazing with markers, setting up an interesting contrast in color and line quality. The top image has light reflecting off the plexi (sorry about that). Each panel is 24" x 36"

Joy Wilson utilized graphite in these three panels that explored gender issues and perceptions. Using the same female model for each image, she morphed from the more "girly" to the androgynous, finally to the masculine.

Dani Maudlin's five panels used the skeleton and its posings as a metaphor for the various physical and emotional pains she has endured over the past few months. Each panel is 29" x 41", and started with a black and white monotype on which she pulled the skeleton out of the visually textured surface using oil pastels.

Alex Strach began this series by asking "old" people on the street if she could take their pictures, and then she asked them about their aging process. Some of those responses are included in the negative areas of the images. She combined charcoal and graphite in each 22" x 30" panel.

Aberlyn Sweetland May created these four compelling images by drawing, painting, tearing, collaging, sanding, scoring, and screaming at these 21" x 30" photographs that originally served her as sources for her paintings. The process that unfolded over the past six weeks is an exciting one to see in her work, and once she let go of the photo-reality to create one less pretty, the new reality became very beautiful.

It has been a very fast and compressed six weeks summer session, and one unlike any session I've ever experienced. We had four very engaging visiting artists in who discussed their work and taught us something new about the drawing process. One of those visiting artists, Emily Sheehan, will be joining the faculty starting the fall semester. She will be bringing new ideas and approaches to our drawing curriculum, and we're very excited to have her.

Also unlike any previous summer session, we didn't have even one day of landscape drawing and only one week of the figure. Changes happened almost daily with our schedule. However, everyone endured and made the best of the situation, for which I'm both thankful and grateful.

Our critiques and discussions about the work that was developing during the session took many different directions, especially toward the end as the intent and purpose of the series projects were more fully embraced. The discussions that last few days were often enlightening, entertaining, challenging, and rewarding. Nicely done, all.

Have a great summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Critique Time

We're going to spend the next two days critiquing the series projects, 200 level today and 300/400 levels tomorrow. I've already seen three of the upper level projects-in-progress and feel very confident that the individual explorations and expressions from those groups will inspire some very engaging discussions. The 200 level group has been more candid about their projects and only during the progress critiques have we seen glimpses of their directions in-progress. Today's critique with them will be exciting, not only to see the entire groups of finished drawings, but to also participate in those discussions. Check back in a few days to see the results of their labors.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Last Drawing Session

This summer session seems to have flown by amazingly fast. Today will be our last actual drawing session, the end of our figure studies. In spite of only having three sessions with the model, there have been some nice improvements getting at the gesture and the dynamic of the figure in the space. I strolled through the studio to get some shots and most of the long poses from Tuesday had already been removed, but I did catch Aberlyn's and Philip's still resting on their drawing boards. I shot a few more but the amount of coffee this morning resulted in blurry shots, and only the two below were passable.

Philip had a side view that allowed him to really take advantage of the space and the reclined pose. The figure almost appears to have been sculpted by the way he used his charcoal and the continuous tones between the light and the darks.

Aberlyn's point of view was a pretty extreme foreshortening which starts to describe the figure in more abstract terms, stacking and abbreviating form on top of form, which affects the figure's normal symmetry and proportions.

Today, we'll get a bit more involved in composition and breaking up the pictorial space, maintaining our objectivity in analyzing the figure and focusing on physically observable things, such as the play of light, the structural relationships of form, and the model's spatial position and relationship to its environment. See you soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One more time!

With the current heat and humidity, it looks as though we'll not have an outdoor outing this session, and there aren't enough windows for everyone to find a good 'window-scape' to draw, so we're going to spend one more day with light and dark values, color, gravity, shape, texture, line, and composition. Although as a prelude to our work next week with the figure, this might be a good place to start putting a little more emphasis on gesture. I can see this subject developing quickly with both line and mass gesture. We'll experiment and see what happens.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Figure

We'll be spending our final week of the summer session with the figure, so next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday make sure you have plenty of newsprint. Given the short amount of time we have with the figure, our time will be spent exploring some of the basic vocabulary and concepts necessary to begin drawing the human form and then progress to more analytical study of proportions. Line and mass gesture will get us started.

Life drawing provides an essential foundation for all other forms of creative expression, and has been a part of our art program for a really long time. However, a course devoted to Life drawing would be the ideal, but for now we'll at least have some experience drawing the figure as a discipline and for further honing our visual skills.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Series Thread

Connie has asked several times for a series arena in which to discuss what's happening with everyone's work, so here it is, start discussing. Remember that our next series crit/discussion is now on June 6, when we will get to see actual work from everyone. Aberlyn and Dani were the only two that had images to sink our teeth into last time, so this next go-around will be a much more chewy discussion with works-in-progress from everyone. Also, don't forget how the series will be assessed: the average of the two highest progress reports. I'm, of course, assuming those will be the last two. OK, Connie, you're on....

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Drawings Feast

Here are the rainy day drawings in lieu of the landscapes we had hope to get started on last week. Theses are pretty sweet though. It would have been good to see some get a bit more focused time, but it wasn't in the cards for us this week. And it probably won't next week either with the visiting artists coming into the studio.

Veronica's juxtaposition of the broken pot and the deep and dark red drapery is pretty dramatic. Including that cooler space creates an almost surreal quality to the image.

Todd only had about a day to work on this due to the weather standing him at home for the first day, but the start is a good one, and we're going to work on those ellipses, make them go all the way around.

Stephanie's drawing has a stage presence, and her mark-making seems to be getting stronger with the oil pastels. That might be worth more exploration.

Shawn explored one the the hidden worlds of the still life and the mysteriousness of the space starts to suggest an interesting narrative.

Philip's intuitive use of color is very strong in this image, and the layering of space and light pulls into the image nicely.

Phil moved with more confidence in this image, perhaps due to the faster sketching medium. The transparency of the large vessel works very well.

Miri's painterly approach to drawing is pretty remarkable and she maintains a sense of energy throughout the entire process and resulting image.

Lori made a positive step with this drawing. She may start getting into activating her surface with marks instead of pushing her pastels into the paper. The drapery has a good sense of volume to it.

Joy took this drawing on an interesting journey with oil pastels, mineral spirits, and then finishing with soft pastels. It also feels very painterly.

Dani also captured the mystery of two hidden spaces, the broken vase and the cool recesses of the underneath. She did this with colored pencil, so the surface markings are very much involved with cross contours and subtle textures.

Connie also had a shorted drawing session on this and started to get the forms positioned the way she wanted them. A little more time defining details would have worked well

Alex did some pretty interesting things with the grapes and the light on the small vessel. However, the vessel itself could use a bit more focus on proportion. The light on that corner almost pushes it out of the picture plane.