Featuring Women

Both of these collages feature women whose images I found in my collection of 1959 Newsweek magazines.

9-1-12, “A Girl’s Best Friend”, 6″x6″, mixed media on board

9-2-12, “Who Me?”, 6″x6″, mixed media on paper

I am really enjoying the long weekend. It is nice to be able to wake up gradually and sit down to making a daily collage. Yesterday I did get up early (3am) to go dove hunting with my family, something I haven’t done in over 15 years. It is always wonderful to spend one-on-one time with my parents. So far it has been a creative weekend, with most of my creativity focused on making teacher samples for school projects, something I enjoy doing. I am putting together creative folders (I am painting the covers) to hold different units that I taught following field trips to the Phoenix Art Museum. On September 12th, I am talking about these units at the Educator’s Night at the Museum. The units I am presenting are Nonobjective Art, Portrait Painting, and Trompe-L’oeil. I am nervous, but will have plenty of photos, lesson plans, and student examples to discuss and show to anyone who is interested! I will post how it goes!


This Past Week’s Collages

This past week kiddos were back in my classroom. I had a fabulous week and I just know that this will be a great school year. My classes are full, more than full. I have 20 students in my Advanced Art IB (International Baccalaureate) class. That is twice as many as I had last year! It will be a challenge for me when it comes to grading their sketchbooks as I will have multiples to grade every day. I don’t mind, in fact I am pretty excited. Even my Drawing & Painting 3-4 class is maxed out with 31 students! I am excited that so many 1-2 kids wanted to take the next level course.
I did manage to create a few collages this week, in the evenings, when I needed time to myself. Since my collage titled “Pick Your Poison”, I have continued a theme of alcohol and handsome men….go figure.

8-6-12, “Waiting for Stella”, 6″ x 6″, mixed media on board

8-7-12, “Welcome”, 6″ x 6″, found papers on board

8-8-12, “Seeing Eye to Eye”, 6″ x 6″, mixed media on paper

Reflection on Working with Pastels

I have been teaching soft pastel techniques to my Drawing & Painting students as they create an expressive self-portrait. I encourage them to layer the pastels to create depth, spraying with workable fixative between layers. I created this self-portrait to use as I demonstrated different ways of working. Self-Portrait with Lily I have titled it “Self-Portrait with Lily”. It is 11″ x 13″, soft pastel on Mi-Teintes paper. I am bringing this up because it is a good example of layering the pastels, working to create a sense of depth. Like a few of my students, I elected to work in natural skin tones and managed to successfully portray a reasonable likeness of myself. Because I was in the process of teaching soft pastels to my students, I have also been working in soft pastels at my Tuesday night life drawing sessions. The problem with the weekly sessions is that I totally ignore the aspect of layering in my attempt to create a completed drawing in 20 minutes. Guess what….this hasn’t been working too well for me. Craig with Rope This is my best drawing from Tuesday night, April 24th. I titled it “Craig with Rope”. In my rush to get a drawing started and finished, I don’t spray between layers so they often get a bit muddied. I also don’t take the time to push the pastel into the paper with a stump or tortillion. Craig Laying Back Because I am not pushing the pastels into the paper, they are laying on the top surface of the paper, which creates the textured appearance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer to smooth the first few layers into the paper and then allow a few strokes of the pastel to remain on the surface of the paper. This second drawing is titled “Craig Laying Down”, it is 11″ x 13″, soft pastel on Mi-Teintes paper. Craig on Chair This third drawing is titled “Craig on Chair”, it is also 11″ x 13″, soft pastel on Mi-Teintes paper. From the 5 drawings I did that night, these were the better ones and they aren’t even that great. I left that night feeling discouraged with my drawings and thinking that next week I should switch media.
Then an interesting conversation occurred. My friend from Tuesday night, Eric, had come to North High School this past Wednesday to teach the after-school life drawing session to my students. I spoke with him about the difference between my successful pastel self-portrait and my unsuccessful experience with pastels from Tuesday night. Eric made the remark that 20 minutes isn’t very long, that he doesn’t concern himself so much with finishing a drawing, but rather he focuses on doing the best he can within the short amount of time. He works at his own pace and what gets accomplished is it. His incomplete drawings are a record of his experience with that particular pose. I thought about what Eric said, and took it to heart. This week I will change my approach to Tuesday’s 20 minute poses. I will take my pastels, a stump, and my workable fixative. I will work more slowly and not concern myself with finishing a drawing, but rather with recording the pose and working more to refine what I can and not worry about what does not get drawn.
I will let you know how this works for me.