A CREATIVE EXERCISE TO TRY

I teach drawing and design and one of the first sketchbook assignments I give to the students is to pick a shape and draw it 50 times 50 different ways. This gets their imagination flowing and allows them to address different design concepts we’ve discussed; line,value,variety , etc.

I myself engage in this exercise often, making a several variations of a shape . I have posted the many variations on a shape….. there are definitely more I could come up with.. color being an additional aspect I have even touched yet. try it yourself with a shape of your own choosing.

Do you see the basic shape I started with and it’s variations throughout all the sketches?

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Ward Schumaker

Ward Schumaker.

 

I found this artist’s work on Pinterest a few months ago . I loved his style.

In searching through my  morning media, blogs, artist’s websites , etc. I came across a blog by this same artist and  thought I would post it . If you are interested in seeing more work by him you can go to  “follow me on Pinterest” , ( scroll down the right side of my blog) and find his “page”  Enjoy!

Structure and Imagery: In Process with Valerie Brennan

Structure and Imagery: In Process with Valerie Brennan.

I have posted this article today that I got through a blog that I follow…. I always enjoy seeing other artist’s studios and their work in progress.

I am struggling these days with what I want the purpose of this blog to be. Last year whenI started it I had a different intention in mind. I went through wanting it to be a self promotion type of site, then an educational site, an inspirational site, and now, lately , I’ve been finding articles and writings that I like so much I want to pass them on. Maybe they’re all one in the same and I just have to be more – uh – regular with posting.

Enjoy the article.

Art Quote for the Day

Just a little bit more about my Mom now that I’ve started.  Her name was Ellen. She was a musician, playing the piano,violin, the celeste and  the organ at our church,( she learned to play the organ from a nun named Sister Carola. Sister Carola , before she became a nun was best college friends with my grandma, Mom’s mom and they were “mischief makers” , or so I was told by my grandma !). At Christmas time I remember going to midnight service at our Methodist church and my mom would  play the organ , while people sang the Christmas carols, then the gentle bells of the celeste during more meditative moments, the warm candlelight glowing , the mystery of the late night. I always felt so proud that it was my mom playing all the beautiful music. I grew up listening to classical music playing either on the radio or the phonograph and I had my own little classical 45 rpms that I would play and dance to in my bedroom. I would set the needle on the record, go into my closet and come out with a flourish when the strains of Beethoven would start, then dance as if I was the star ballerina.  I was probably 5 at the time. Ellen loved reading and had lots of books that I got to read …. Grapes of Wrath, Jane Eyre, and lots of other “grown-up”  stuff…. at a pretty early age. Ellen got to skip a grade in grade school because she was so smart. She went to college to become a teacher but went quit after a couple years and went into the army , hoping to make money and go back to school after she served.( She met my Dad instead and got married.) She was one of just a few women in the Springfield MO, army corps symphony. She worked as a secretary for many years so that she could put my sister and me through college. I never really thanked her for that appropriately and I will always regret that. She was a kind, thoughtful person and never spoke a bad word about anybody . I sometimes wondered , growing up , if she would have been happier had she not gotten married and had her two kids and could have played her music all the time. She was an artist and it could be where I got my love for art from .  I have become an artist. I have become the teacher she wanted to be…..

So, these are just a few of the memories that have surfaced again, after having this big painting hung at my place of work. I feel like I’ve come full circle some how,  having the painting about her “with” me everyday at work has given me  even more of a reason to love what I do –  TEACH!….. I’m still thinking about it.

Art Quote for the Day

My mother died in the mid 1980’s. Artwork that I was doing at the time was figurative; abstracting the human form to address social issues of the day . My favorite artists at that time were Susan Rothenberg, Mimmo Paladino, Rufino Tamayo.

A few weeks after my mother’s funeral I started thinking about angels, thinking that maybe my Mom was now a guardian angle watching over me, and I started drawing and painting little wings on my otherwise earth-ridden people. I did several acrylic paintings with that same theme; one being a large piece,  6’x8′ , framed with a triangular pediment top . I wanted it to look like an altar piece.

That painting moved from one apartment to another, one storage unit to another for several years and then I got my job at Edgewood College. After teaching at Edgewood , a small , private Catholic college, and not wanting to see this huge painting done in honor of my Mom get damaged I got the great idea of donating the piece to the college. They accepted it and , it went in storage AGAIN !  A few more years went by and our new gallery director at the time, Paul, found it, took it out of storage and hung it in a small intimate space with a big empty wall in our new art building. It looked beautiful! Natural light from skylights let the “glow” show as it was intended. That gallery director left and we got a new one, David. He came to me one day and said the painting had to be moved again because the little room that it had been hanging in was being used for too many things and there wasn’t enough space. The painting might get damaged.  A couple weeks later he told me it had been hung in the main entrance of the main building of the entire college!  Well , there you go ! The painting finally has a permanent home…. a spiritual painting welcoming people into the college. In honor of my Mom…. my memories of her are in that painting. I can hear her voice and her laugh, hear her playing her violin and the church organ, remember how she used to wake me up for school and then crawl into bed with me for a little while , making me feel safe and secure before getting up and getting ready for school.

So , 25 years later , or more even , my Mom truly is my guardian angel….. there hanging on that wall , welcoming me every day.I know I can go visit her. She is there. IMG_5143 IMG_5145 IMG_5146

Art Quote for the Day

WHEW!!!!!!!

I just finished another Winterim session at my place of employment, Edgewood College in Madison WI. This is a 2 week long period of time that students can take classes and get a full semester’s worth of credit. We meet EVERYDAY  for 3 hours and I had one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  Six hours of classtime,  2 hours of prep-time, I was out of the house everyday at 7 am and home by 4:30 pm……. with maybe 30 minutes to gulp down some kind of lunch.

I’M EXHAUSTED!

4 days off , and then, the real semester starts and back at it!

I LOVE IT !!!

The Winterim is proof of  how much can actually get done in a very short time if that time is concentrated and focused. It is proof of what students are capable of learning and doing in that same amount of quality time.

The morning class I taught was in Figure Drawing. Drawing the nude…. everyday a live model, everyday a new set of skills to be learned: proportion, measuring ,bone structure, musculature,modelling 3-dimensional form, gesture/motion, media,patience, focus, imagination. We ended today with a 2 hour long pencil drawing of 2 poses in one drawing that related to each other in some way. Students had to draw a sitting pose and a standing pose that would relate to each other , switching back and forth about every 5 minutes….. After only 9 days of intense instruction and LOTS of practice they all managed to complete a pretty accomplished drawing! Some of the students had never had a drawing course before so I’m pretty proud of them!

The afternoon class was called Art Structure and it is specifically for NON-ART majors. Again, everyday , a new set of skills and information: drawing, color theory, design, painting, abstraction, printmaking, sculpture….. total chaos everyday…. CREATIVE CHAOS! And , once again, the work completed was fantastic.

Some of the work is posted here Enjoy!….

Art Quote of the Day

Does anyone else have this “issue” ?  I have the most beautiful studio…… we built an addition onto our house a few years ago.  Tall windows – 8 ft. with small panes that look out on my beautiful garden. Lots of room…. of course with great light. BUT…… with this EXTREMELY COLD WEATHER we’re having it’s VERY,VERY,VERY cold in there. The room is off the kitchen, heated only from the heat that fills the rest of our little house but the room has no heat source of its own. Needless to say , I’m not very motivated to go into that room and paint. It’s not that I’m not feeling creative ….. I’m restless with ideas and desire to get to work but , really, THE COLD!!!!  I have been able to work for a couple hours before getting sooooooooooo chilled that I had to stop but that was when the temperature was at least above freezing. With this EXTREME cold, -50 degrees wind chill  factor , well, I’m discouraged.

I will dress as if I were going outside …. a few layers , boots, maybe even a hat…. see how long I can stand it. I can bring some acrylics into my living room and work at the coffee table I suppose but I have big oil paintings in progress in the studio that I really want to work on.

I should have begun teaching classes today but cancelled because of the horrible cold…. so I have one extra day  of “vacation” to ‘enjoy’. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. what shall I do ? what shall I do?  Chant and meditate on the fact that

I HATE WINTER…… OHMMMMMMM……..

Thanks by the way  for everyone’s well – wishes about my lost sketchbook. UPDATE! It  hasn’t been found or turned in …. it’s just gone….. in the wind…. in someone else’s possession (, ENJOY! ),  in a landfill somewhere ( that’s what hurts the most) , and I’ve pretty much just resigned myself to it’s loss. Que sera – sera !

STAY WARM EVERYBODY !

Art Quote for the Day

And once again, the time has gone by SUPERFAST and I find myself at the end of another semester. Projects DONE, grading DONE,cleaning up the art room messes, almost done! A few weeks of a much welcome break where I can really focus on my own painting , and then back at it again!
I was thinking the other night,( while attending a senior seminar where students I had as Freshman and are now about to graduate, had to present their work to an audience and talk about it), that it’s a great thrill to watch these individuals come into our school as these young Freshmen, watch them make it through all their trials and tribulations and then  see and hear them be so articulate about their work at the  end of it all. Somewhere deep down inside I’m always hoping that maybe, in their talks, they’ll mention me…. that I made a difference and when they don’t I have always felt a little sad. BUT, after seeing this presentation the other night I realized there are no thanks needed. My job is to instruct them in the basic foundations courses that are required . In return they inspire me in so many ways , I ‘m never bored. My own personal mission is to create for them an atmosphere of creativity and fearlessness so that they can INDEED go on to create a fantastic portfolio of work . I’m a small part of a bigger picture that includes all of my fellow faculty members, all doing the hard work that it takes to get these young people ready for the real world. And I’m so very happy to be a part of it.

Now, with the holiday break starting, I will take off a few days to do stuff other than school stuff but I’m already sort of thinking about new assignments, projects, and visual examples. I’m looking forward to the first day of classes when I get to meet new students and re-connect with old….

I just Love this Life of Mine!!!!

Art Quote for the Day

I bought a new sketchbook a few months ago. It’s a larger format than I usually use so I decided I would divide each page into small squares. It’s been an interesting process…. depending on the size of the small squares, depending on how many I put on one page, I find myself exploring themes and variations of a single theme. sometimes I’ll start a page by filling all the squares with a similar shape and then start doing different things to each one. sometimes it’ll be certain set of colors I want to work with or a different media. Every single little square is a future painting I think. There are more small squares than I have time left in my life to paint but it’s going to be fun trying.