Monday, February 1, 2016

Final Thoughts

        One memorable experience I have is looking at the before at afters of my realistic self-portrait. I wasn't feeling good about the end product of my self-portrait until I saw what it looked like without any instruction. It made me realize that improvement is very possible, and it doesn't have to take years to improve. Another memorable thing is watching the documentary for the unsung hero project. It was interesting to see how we can use our own interpretations of something to create wildly different pieces of art. I thought about the importance of symbolism in art, and I'll keep in mind the thought process and reasoning behind aspects of a painting the next time I see one.

Work of Art that I am the most proud of


        I'm the most proud of my imaginative portrait. I had the most fun doing this portrait, and I learned a lot about value. I saw how striking contrast looked, and I've learned to emphasize my darks and lights. I think that learning is going to transfer to my art pieces in the future. I've also learned more about how to fill up space. I had to get creative with it, since it's difficult for me to draw big. I think drawing on things that are important to me will help me when I need to think of something to draw, or when I need to improve my artwork.

Watercolor Techniques

To experiment with a variety of watercolor techniques;
To make connections between experimenting with watercolor techniques learned to creating your own landscape watercolor.

        One of the most important concepts I learned was to leave white space. This is the complete opposite of what we learned in acrylic painting, so it was difficult at first. With watercolor, every stroke is permanent, so I had to stop myself from covering the whole space in color. Another important concept I learned was the concept of layering. I had to use a small concentration of the color when I worked, and I would go back over it in a more saturated wash if I needed to. I also learned more about using the brush to create different looks. The exercise where we practiced different brush strokes was very helpful for me to get different looks. For example, I needed a different brush stroke for the rough water in comparison to the smooth sky. Loaded brush worked for the sky, and using just the tip worked for the water.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Perspective Drawing Strategies

To understand what perspective means in Art;
To learn and apply various perspective strategies through the creation of drawings.

One Point Perspective
Two Point Perspective
Perspective Landscape Drawing

        One of the most challenging parts was figuring out which line was supposed to go where. While this wasn’t too much of a problem in the one-point perspective drawing, it got more complicated with two point perspective when the placement of objects in the picture changed the point the lines lined up with. My final perspective drawing had two point perspective, but the vanishing points were far off the page. This made it difficult to find out the exact angles of lines and where they should be placed. I also struggled a little bit with using colored pencils. I wanted to get rid of the visible paper texture. This ended up working out, because I needed to blend different colors together to end up with a color that best matched the picture. 

One thing I learned was how objects seem farther away. Things such as overlapping, the placement of the object in the space, clarity versus blurriness, and the size of the object in proportion to others in the picture all affect how the eye perceives the distance of an object. Another thing I learned about different types of perspective. I hadn’t realized that there was more than just one and two point perspective- there’s also atmospheric perspective, vertical placement, and more. The third thing that I learned, although not directly related to perspective, was how colors blended together. Since I wanted to make the final drawing as close to the original picture as possible, I experimented with different color combinations to get what I wanted. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Watercolor History

To become familiar with the history of watercolor;
To become familiar with various watercolor artists throughout time;
To make connections between watercolor purposes and techniques from long ago to its uses today.

        Watercolor came to western artists during the late 1400's, but the first paint manufacturers set up in the 18th century, which made pigments and resins more readily available, in addition to ready-made products. The paint manufacturers were set sup in Europe. Because of this, watercolor paints became more popular during the 18th century. Starting in the UK, watercolors evolved from hard slabs that had to be broken up to more moist ones that were decorated and put in pans. As time went on in the 19th century, the design of watercolor paints were improved upon. They became more accessible to the public, especially those who were not experienced artists.

        Albrecht Durer is considered the father of modern watercolor painting. He had a mastery of the wash technique, where transparent washes are layered on top of each other to create forms. He painted from nature, and often exhibited intense detail. Durer used the actual colors in his paintings instead of making up color schemes. Anthony Van Dyck was also skillful in watercolor. He painted several landscapes in watercolor during his stay in England. He viewed watercolor painting as an "interaction between color and paper."

Albrecht Durer, 'View of Kalchreuth' circa 1503
Albrecht Durer, "View of Kalchreuth" circa 1503

Anthony Van Dyck, 'Landscape'  1632
Anthony Van Dyck, "Landscape" 1632

        Claude Lorraine was a French artist commissioned by kings and clergy to paint landscapes in Rome. His oil paintings needed many wash drawings before they could be completed. He was held in great esteem by John Constable, a British landscape artist. Nicholas Poussin, also French, did wash studies that were done from nature. His range of dark and light tones make it seem as if he had been working from a fuller palette than just two colors. He is credited with creating French Classicism.
Claude Lorraine 'Landscape with River, View of the Tiber from Monte Mario, Rome' British Museum, London
Claude Lorraine "Landscape with River, View of the Tiber from Monte Mario, Rome"
 Date Unknown

Nicolas Poussin  'Landscape with Trees and Tower'
Nicolas Poussin "Landscape with Trees and Tower" Date Unknown

        At first, artists used their own watercolors from natural pigments, or they bought it in liquid form. Then, people could buy water soluble cakes that could be rubbed against something to produce the color. Pan watercolors came after that, and then watercolors in tubes of liquid followed. The British found that watercolor was well suited for painting the landscape. They developed boxes for the watercolors, so they could carry around many different colors. People used the hair of a Russian sable to create the paint brushes. A popular technique was to take away wet or dry color using tools like scrapers, sandpaper, penknives, and more. Better paper stopped the paint from pooling. There were several different types of paper surfaces that fitted different painting needs, but thick, tough paper was very popular because of the popularity of working reductively. Thinner papers tended to crinkle when they got wet, so people used a stretching board to prevent this. 

Barker, Elizabeth E. "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Watercolor Painting in Britain, 1750–1850. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

"History-Overview." Watercolor Watercolor Painting Watermedia History Contemporary Exhibitions. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

"History of Watercolor: Whereforth It Came -" WatercolorPaintingcom. N.p., 14 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Unsung Hero, Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen

I chose to portray Colonel Halvorsen and the work he did for others. I think what he did brings attention to the little things that matter. Something as small as giving someone a stick of gum can be powerful when no one else thinks to do the same. As an American in the military shortly after World War II, the Colonel wasn’t sure about helping the children of Berlin at first. However, after giving a crowd of children a couple of sticks of gum to split up among themselves, he saw how their faces lit up. When he saw this, he knew this was the right thing to do. For years, he continued to give the children of West Berlin candy by dropping “candy bombs” above them, and came to be known as "Captain Wiggly Wings" for the way his plane wings wiggled to tell the children about the imminent candy. They would gather in crowds for what they knew was coming, and over the course of his lifetime, Colonel Halvorsen dropped 20 tons of candy in West Berlin.

I really wanted to paint the scene where he gives out his first stick of gum. I wanted to show the hope that he gave children, simply by showing he cared. I wanted to emphasize how the candy he gave them was really a symbol of hope, and I did this by the transfer of colors between the hands. It’s bright and different from the rest of the painting, and spreads to the rest of their silhouettes. “Hope” is spelled out in the child’s head. Although the background is bright as well, because the scene is happy, the colors are what the eye is drawn to because it’s such an important thing to consider- the hope that one person can give to another. The sky and clouds have a bit of a yellow tinge to it, because I associate the beginning of sunset with serenity. I picture the moment frozen in time, silent and peaceful. The field on the side of the child is slightly darker, because it is Halvorsen that brings light to the painting. The way he’s positioned is also intentional. Placed, in the upper right hand corner, it gives off the impression of being a sort of caring figure that watches over people.

Telling the story of Colonel Halvorsen gave me a deeper understanding of what it means to be a hero. You don’t need a tragic, dramatic, sensational event to become a hero. People in our everyday lives can be heroes- such as our teachers, parents, or friends. Some heroes help us with extremely important things, but their efforts go unsung. Keeping people’s spirits up in difficult circumstances is a task in itself. I’m grateful that I got to learn Halvorsen’s story, and it inspires me to see what I can do to make people feel happy. The moment Halvorsen got the idea to share what he took for granted with some anxious kids lined up against a fence, he changed their lives for the better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Perspective Strategies

       In art, perspective is representing a three-dimensional object on a two dimensional surface. Instead of simply drawing a cube, one would pay attention to the horizon line and vanishing point to figure out where to draw the lines that give the cube volume. However, this is not the only use for perspective in art. People can also use perspective to draw the viewer into the piece of art. Artists are aware of perspective when they do things such as drawing or painting. A scene that creates the sense that the viewer is actually there in the painting is more effecting in creating an emotional reaction than one that puts distance between the viewer and the scene. In that case, the scene is simply a painting being looked at.

Horizon line: The eye level line.
Vanishing point: The point where objects disappear because of distance.
Orthogonal lines: Receding lines drawn from the vanishing points.
Transversal lines: Parallel to the horizon line and perpendicular to the orthogonal lines.