Color Theory and Design {Spring 2016}

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Color combination studies

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Camouflage studies (that horrid green square!)

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Waiting too long

I sit on this bench,  looking across at my husband. He’s bound to a fluid IV, pumped up with insulin and morphine. He’s moody – delivering a mixture of frustration, panic and self pity in random sequences.

If he sleeps, the monitor beeps; it flashes its red APNEA warning and the oxygen levels countdown to… I don’t know.  I hold my breathe, just as he has done, and wait for the warning to go away.image

It took forever to get a room, and yet we passed a dozen empty ones en route to his assigned quarter. In the cold little space, he lays covered in blankets, staring at the tiny television  and listening to the foreign sounds of hospital workers.

Tests were ordered, but not completed. An ultrasound for kidneys has yet to happen, but could be a determining factor to his going home. Blood pressure and heart monitors tick away the seconds.


They fill him with medication  (the ones he should have been taking, anyway). We wait for answers and release.


Perhaps if he’d heeded the warnings his body gave him – the lethargy, the irritability, the aches – he’d have sought help sooner. But the drop in clinic said “viral infection,” let it run its course. And the medication he was prescribed for his diabetes makes him feel awful before he feels great again (so he won’t take it). Now, it’s too late to prevent illness. We are here in the hospital… waiting.


The spring quarter is in full swing. I thought I’d had a bad enough time enduring the intense scrutiny of winter session… then I   caught the flu in week one of these classes and quickly discovered that there is no rest for the weary and the critiques in the courses for concentration are hard core critical.  I simply cannot catch up, keep up, polish up. I’m rocking less than 60% in week 5 and likely cannot salvage the grade. Give up? It’s the only up that seems plausible right now,  though it sets a poor example for my kids and it doesn’t bode well for my future in this course sequence.  I’m hitting the point of apathetic dispair. 

Four down toward forever

On this occasion of our fourth anniversary

we’ve much to celebrate

despite obstacles and adversity

our calendars share several new, significant dates

each day marked in memories

you can bet our girl’s birth is among the greats

have you counted the times you’ve had to “cheese?”

photos collected of our daily lives

until each child said,  “No more, mom. Please.”

in sickness we’ve dwellt, for health we’ve strived

laughter marks the moments

together, we’ve promised, keeping faith alive

even as we now wade through uncertain currents

our children growing up, and unfortunately, distance

someday they’ll return to appreciate parents

remembering they

re always loved, that’s an insistence

you and I, we’re blessed

soulmates returned, taking forever, we chance.

{written 3/14, as a Terza Rima example}

DRAW 101: Reflections Assignment

Task 1: Reflect on what you have learned in this course (think of your greatest achievements as well as some of the learning challenges you overcame) and set goals for future learning with this fresh course experience in mind (think of what skills related to drawing composition and media you wish to continue to develop in the future and how).

This course was a challenge for me – not because I am not used to drawing, but because I was not prepared to be pushed to better what I believed was my best.

In this course, I discovered the power thumbnails really have to help in the composition process. I knew from DRAW 100 that I don’t enjoy working on compositions without personal meaning; if I cannot assemble still life with objects of some significance or theme, I quickly bore of the project. What I did not realize was how many possibilities I could come up with for the same concept and that each new thumbnail presented opportunity for adjustments in composition that ultimately saved critical time and frustration in the process of completing my work.

I enjoyed working on my mimic piece of the master work. Using the grid method really assisted me in seeing the image in lines (marks) and values, rather than as a whole. It was fairly simple to create duplicate marks – – except where my master haphazardly penned them in quick, random strokes. I did, unfortunately, discover that printing the image resulted in distortion that I was oblivious to until I compared my work to the digital original. By then it was too late to repair the deep set marks I’d charcoaled into my paper.

I struggled greatly with the poster. It continues to be the hardest part of my drawing process. I don’t like dark and fight deepening my tonal values. I also have difficulty identifying the intensity of core shadows in this stage.

I failed at the reductive techniques – partially because I chose a space that lacked a true midground and background, partially because I didn’t use my understanding of atmospheric perspective to push back the structures furthest from my point of view. I definitely need to work at developed environments.

I learned to trust suggestions. Having feedback on work in progress moves the process forward and helps identify potential.

Task 2: Respond to the following statement based on what you learned and experienced in this course so far:

Process is less important than presentation. The final product is all that matters. Product is what sells, and how you arrive at that point is not important. Getting caught up in process only hinders productivity and marketability. Real artists focus on the business and not on the process. The way to create true artists is to simply encourage them to work on how to sell their final product. Clouding their minds with techniques and procedures in the name of “craftsmanship” will only hinder them.

I believe that art is a process. While a profitable artist may not always explain his/her process, there certainly were steps taken to creating the final selling piece. Artists develop techniques through trial and error – working in various mediums to see what they prefer and what produces the best results. An artist has to make critical decisions in selecting paper and mark making tools (medium) even before they begin. Then there are considerations for the size of the piece, the planned composition, and the message to be conveyed.

Presentation is important. A fantastic final piece shown without regard for background, clarity, and lighting will not be shown at its best. To market work as a product, one must be aware of potential clients’ tastes. And there are specific questions to consider: Should it be framed? Is the photograph taken of the work presenting it in accurate light? Is the piece seen in true color and resolution? If shared in a portfolio, the work should be clean and organized cohesively with other work.

I’m not sure art is really “teachable.” I learned in my Master of Education classes that students embed tasks into their process best when they have techniques or steps modeled for them and then they practice mimicking the steps in their own work. Based on this method, I would teach by showing as many techniques as possible to my students and allow them to experiment with each. I would also want to present examples of stellar work in a variety of mediums and styles. Exploring these might inspire them to delve into unfamiliar arts. Presentation techniques, then, would be best reserved for after the art has been created (unless, of course, we are referring to an installation piece where the presentation is the art.).

Week 9, DRAW 101

This class has been humbling. There’s a certain amount of pride involved in working hard on a project and presenting it to the world. There’s a fear in showing work in progress and facing criticisms you’re not yet prepared to have. Invested time and passion makes one’s work something important – – and to receive less than stellar feedback is initially very difficult.

However, as difficult as it is to accept, an outsider’s perspective has an ability to shape work into something greater than it might have been without the extra eyes evaluating.

The SMART goal for the week is centered around that window I stubbornly fought against. The blinding bright empty space is bothering me. While I’ve seen that window on a sunshiny day with rays so intense the outside world disappears, nothing in the image conveys that. I’d seen a window with a billowing sheer curtain like those in my home, and thought it might resolve my issue. I didn’t want to add scenery to the window, as it’s not a focal point of the image I envision – – and I feel like it’ll draw attention. I’ve sketched and erased the area repeatedly, ultimately determining that this week’s sketchbook would be a better place to work out the plan.

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A second use of the sketchbook was for experimenting with style. I’m pretty sure I like the soft look with blended tones far better than deep value variations. I figured I’d play with realism (without a grid – sighting only) and with a more relaxed interpretive style.


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I’d like to continue toying with different looks – – maybe even revisiting the reduction technique I botched so well earlier in the quarter. My sketchbook is nearly full and that feels so good.

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