Projects, projects, projects, keeps the insanity away!

Another semester is down and only one left to go! This one was pretty light in the way of work, but the stress was most certainly there. Hit a financial snag right at the start of it, thanks to the actions of a sick individual that I’d LOVE nothing more than to see ripped apart by a pack of starving crazed weasels with rabies. (Karma, come on! I believe its your turn up to bat, buddy!) The ceramics class was fun, frustrating, but cool to play with. I ended up with half a bag of clay left over so I’ll have to figure out what to do with, as well as how to fire it.

Drawing class was extremely frustrating, but I did however get to learn how to use color pencils better and THAT has inspired a massive urge to play with them more. The final assignment was to do a photo copy replica of an image based on other artists who work with color pencils. I picked an image of one of my obsessions, Tori Amos. I discovered her music in 1994, right at a time when I was trying to block out all of things that were tearing me apart. Her music got me through some of my toughest moments; moments when I was so close to not surviving them. Her songs were like the caring hugs that I needed during those times. When I turned 21, I got the piano notes of one of her songs tattooed on my right ankle with her favorite flowers wrapped around the notes. (Side note: Fiona Apple has also become just as important as Tori to me. Her stuff has been the rope I grab onto during dark moments. I plan on getting one of her songs tattooed on the other ankle) So when I needed to do a photo to draw, she was the first thing that came to mind. I chose an older image of Tori from around the time I discovered her to do as I figured it was fitting. It turned out amazing in my opinion. Several people in class mentioned how much they thought it looked good, and because of it I want to do more drawing like it. Here’s the image for all to enjoy. (Or at least those that actually read this blog.)
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I think I did an amazing job, so I don’t care what anyone else says. Its my first time working with color pencils and I got a chance to understand how to color properly. Over the summer break, one of my personal tasks is to do at least three of these so that I can practice.

Speaking of summer plans, the scheduling of projects has begun so that I don’t lose my mind. I think I’m going to actually print up a work schedule so that I can stick to a routine, which always makes for a less crazy Strange Child! I’ve got my parents 50th in July, so I’ve got some crafting decorations to make. The projects I want to work on are as follows:
Finish my four elements paintings
3 Color pencil drawings
Sewing practice
New front door wreath
Eye flower bouquets
art studio organization
Random abstract artworks
clitoris sculpture for cousin

I will have to also schedule in workouts, getting out of the house (maybe even with Daisy), and hopefully some reading. The sewing practice is to help me prepare for the Doctor Who convention that we’ll be going to in February. I need to plan and make my costumes I want to cosplay. So excited for that! Hubby is also going to cosplay! EEEEEEEE! (happy dance) I’m going to have to make a dress form which I’m not looking forward to. (Oh yay, I get to look at a physical sculpture of my fat carcass.) I want to attempt a dress at the very least. I can get through a circle skirt so far, and I’ve got some throw pillows that need to be finished, but if I can manage a dress I’m gold!

So many projects!! Hopefully I will be able to be too busy to let the brain demons attack me. I don’t want to sink, so I’m laying out the ropes before the water gets too high.

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Art outing #3

Have been so distracted by the holidays that I forgot to post this.

I went to this jazz club in Oakland called Cafe Van Kleef to just check out whomever was playing that night and to get some tasty drinks. An artist named Dave Rocha was playing that night. He’s a trumpet player who has been inspired by Mile Davis and John Coltrane. I’m not too much of a jazz music fan but my maternal grandfather was a jazz player. Tenor saxophone was his instrument. I enjoy places like Cafe Van Kleef because it takes me back to my childhood listening to my grandfather play. Rocha was a delight to listen to and thought his performance was superior. I’ll probably go out to Cafe some time soon as my husband enjoys the place immensely. Plus, the bar’s decor is so much fun to look at! It’s done up like New Orleans’ Bourbon street, which taxidermy creatures, beads, and other random weird things. Love it!

Art Outing 2: Writing assignment

Back in October, I took a visit out to the Legion of Honor art museum. Normally, I’m not all that fond of the museum. It tends to not have interesting works or exhibitions that involve works that I enjoy. My husband however loves to go there, so we decided to take in the exhibition of the Le Nain brothers before it closed. I am not normally attracted to artworks that are considered Classical. This is mostly due to my unfamiliarity with subject manners that involve religious themes. However I do appreciate the painting techniques of the artists while the images themselves do not usually evoke any kind of emotional reaction within me. The special exhibition was not that particularly interesting to me for this reason, however the one painting that did intrigue me was the final image in the exhibit titled Allegory of Victory. This painting stands out starkly against the rest of the images on display mainly because of how its composition is strangely laid out. What is most strikingly peculiar about the painting for me is that of the second female figure in which the angel is standing on. First, I noticed was how her back is arched awkwardly; if someone was standing on one’s torso, they wouldn’t be arching their back upwards quite like that. Secondly, the bottom figure is oddly placed underneath the angel, with no indications of weight being distributed on the torso. It is as if she was added into the painting as an after-thought by the artist. The feet of the bottom figure also appear to be turning into a serpent’s tail, which is a bit visually jarring when trying to understand the story the image is telling. An intriguing aspect about the bottom figure is how her legs almost appear to be slowly vanishing. The landscape in the background is seeping through her legs, which adds to my theory that this figure was added on after the victorious angel was completed. An alternative to this thought is that the paint used is slowly fading away due to degradation. The background landscape also is visually odd in that towards the bottom there are very small figures meant to indicate a perception of depth, but instead creates an unusual visual contradiction in comparison to the two female figures in front. All of the paintings peculiarities is what draws me into it further. I became fascinated with the curvature of the angel’s form and the way the wings spread across the top of the painting so beautifully. I was disappointed I couldn’t purchase a copy of the image to hang in my home, as this is one of the few classical artworks that I could make a connection with.  Overall, this was the one painting that struck an emotional response, which is why I love art so very much. There was an exhibition on art books next door that was really cool to see. On the wall was a series of Pablo Picasso images where he took the same image and did it twenty distinctly different ways. The last image ended up resembling random abstract shapes and figures. Yet another reason Picasso was a great! Still, the Legion remains otherwise dull to me.

Art outing: Writing assignment

First one: A Trip to SFMOMA!

I enjoy this museum immensely because each time I visit I find new works to fall in love with. The one artist whose work intrigued me the most on this trip was Mark Grotjahn. His works features abstract geometric shapes that resemble optical illusions. The paintings I was drawn the most towards were from his Butterfly series. These are works that are based upon Renaissance perceptive principles involving the horizon line and a vanishing point. One large image is of a rainbow spectrum of colors forming parallel horizontal lines that slant inward towards the center of the painting, resulting in an abstracted butterfly wings illusion. If one stares at for a few minutes the lines pulsate, as if the wings are fluttering. The lines appear to stretch and shrink at the same time. Another smaller image on the other side of the colorful one has a similar horizontal line layout, but the colors are only black and creamy white and the two distinct vanishing points in the center are placed on different spots. One point is above the other vanishing point. I found that staring at it sideways made the image sort of swirl, like one of those old three dimensional images with a hidden picture in it. The hidden swirl I noticed was probably the result of the small dashes that are placed not quite in a circular fashion towards the center of the painting. I found myself just sitting in front of these two images with my head tilted, simply enjoying the feelings of staring into a colorful geometric abyss. This was why Grotjahn’s work is so fascinating to sit and stare at; the visual version of mental static white noise that is as soothing as waves crashing. Each of his images in the Campaign for Art exhibition were fun to just sit and stare at and watch the lines sway or swirl, defying their stationary positions on the canvas. I walked up to the exhibition that had mostly abstract paintings, which I believe were on the 5th floor. Huge, to almost ridiculous levels of height some of these were. I couldn’t even image what it was like to complete those. Overall it was another delightful visit to MOMA, and I fully expect to do it again soon.

Mapping project: GPS tracking

Damn I hate dealing with these things!

I did a walk on Friday but for some reason I couldn’t get a proper map of the path I took to import properly the actual map. So I found a site I could draw the route I took called Plot A Route.com where I was able to get what I needed. I sort of want to punch Google people because, seriously jackholes, you NEED to put yourselves in the user’s seat to see if your shit works easily. Dammit, I hate engineers that don’t factor in the user’s experience EVER in their work! Anyway, here’s the map and the information from it:
walking_route
The path was 2.385 miles, took me a little over an hour to complete, and the GPS coordinates of my starting point was Latitude of 37 degrees N 54′ 10.468″ and Longitude of 122 degrees W 18′ 34.419″

The “Chance” Project

For my first art project in my Conceptual Strategies class, it involves working with the concept of “chance”. The instructor asked for 3 ideas for what we could do for this project.

Doing an abstract painting involving creating a simple pendulum that can create some amazing Spirograph images was one thought I considered. All I need is two chairs, some string, paint, a cup, and some sort of canvas. I’d have no control on the outcome of the design as the kinetic energy would be controlling how the paint moved about the canvas. But I wasn’t sure if this was enough.

A second idea was to fill up some water balloons with paint, pinning them to a canvas, and popping them to create a Jackson Pollock like image. In regards to choosing colors to use, I’d assign a number to six different colors on a throwing die, roll three times, and whichever three numbers comes up is the color I will use. The chance would be found in the color options and the way the paint lands on the canvas when the balloon is popped. Again, this sounded like fun, but it wasn’t quite outside of my artistic box.

For my third option, and being that I’m a lover of the Dada movement, I was leaning more towards doing a collage piece similar to artists such as Hannah Hoch, one of the most prominent female artists in the movement (though her male counterparts, ironically, maintained the misogyny of the time towards her). Regarded as one of the first artists to work with photomontage, many of her works involving political themes in which she critiques the Weir German government. Her works would inspire Picasso and fellow Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, who’s own work with collage would be part of what inspired me for this project as well. I figured since I’ve always wanted to play with doing some Dada inspired collages that this could be a good way to give it a try.

Its very simple in how it works: simply grab a bunch of magazines, images, pieces of paper, etc., cut out images, texts, sentences, body parts, objects, etc., and put it all in a box or a paper bag. Dump the contents onto the canvas and glue each piece wherever it lies creating a unique composition. Another option is to instead of dumping the contents, pull out random pieces and, like a jigsaw puzzle, put them together to form some sort of image. This should create some incredibly twisted and odd shaped compositions depending upon the images. Any text that was pulled can be arranged together or at random throughout the collage.  Essentially, the image can end up much like Hoch’s The Beautiful Girl (1920) image seen here:
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To create one of these collages, I begin with getting the materials to work with. I tend to lean towards magazines and images from the 1950’s to the 1970’s as the imagery tends to be outlandish and comical in their appearance, and the advertisements would feature more poignant language. Also, I searched around for just random kinds of paper materials, including coloring books, photographs, or books of paper dolls. I found much of what I needed at the Alameda Flea market, as well as some current women’s magazines and a National Geographic. I’ll go over them, cut out a bunch of different things, throw the images into a box or bag and the text in another. I’ll roll a twenty sided die to determine the amount of images to pull out and arrange them on a canvas. For the text, I’ll roll the die one more time for how many pieces I’ll pull and arrange them on the canvas as a poem, which is something that Dada artists did.

Hopefully this should be fun!

I’m about to be edumacated!!

I start SFSU in a week or so. I’m still waiting for FA to help pay for those courses and my books because frankly, I’m too po to afford any of it right now. *glares at bank account* I’m nervous as hell because I’ve ALREADY had to change a course because the teacher yanked me out due to my lack of having taken any other Women’s Gender Studies courses. The class is set up as a GE course, that covers one of the Upper Division course requirements as well as satisfies THREE of the overlay requirements so completing that one class clears up at least one extra semester for me to take! I’d be done with my degree much faster, but because the course isn’t set up in the system to prevent one from taking a class that they don’t meet the requirements for, it wastes everyone’s time and lets you sign up only to be booted out a week before classes start!!

Brilliant, I know, right?????

Luckily, the class I also need to take but didn’t sign up for due to it being at the same time as the other course, was still open so I snagged a seat for that one. Crisis averted before there was going to be one FTW!!!!

I also pulled up the forms for me to keep track of my progress as well as create a road map for the future semesters to continue the trend of getting this done as fast as possible with as little cost as possible. Gotta love finding out that NONE of my art history courses I’ve taken are transferable!! *tosses confetti* So I need at least 2 3 unit courses to meet my lower division requirement. *grumbles obscenities* You’d think the Intro to Art History would but alas it doesn’t, which of course makes ZERO FUCKING SENSE!!!! *deep breath*

In other news, my dad sent me a belated Christmas present as it wasn’t on sale until recently so he was able to get really cheap. He sent me one of the super sweet professional grade easels! I can now paint on canvases that are over 4 feet!! I need to put rollers on the bottom so it can move around easier as well as perhaps raise it up a bit, but its fucking awesome!!! I’m not taking any art classes this semester since there will be a bunch of reading and writing I’ll have to be doing and won’t really have time to focus on pieces. I do have ideas in mind for what to work on when I DO have time. Just need to save up for the supplies as I’m running dry on paint and need better brushes and the most important part: something to paint on!

I also need to go to a museum soon or the zoo as I haven’t taken many photos lately and I need to GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!