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Monday, October 19, 2015

The best art supply store doesn't sell

Since my younger brother goes to the newly made elementary school in Apex, his art teacher recently sent home a list of "art supplies" that the school would like to have. Looking at it, I saw most of the traditional redundant supplies that we've all used in the past: acrylic paint, poster paper, color pencils, oil pastels and such. Even now, as a high school student, I mostly use the same materials. At the beginning of most art classes and summer art camps, most of the art teachers will let us know what supplies we should get on our next trip to the art store. So between now and then, when do we get to exposure with non-traditional materials, and come with creative and equally artistic work?

If we step outside the box, and look away from the popular art materials that have been used over and over again, we'll find that art can be made with many of the common everyday objects as well. For example, instead of teaching kids how to paint objects, why not let them use the ones they have to create a painting? In the picture above, the artist reused the toy cars she had played with as a child to create an abstract piece of art. She was still able to focus on the different values of the colors, contrast, and design. By using a non-traditional medium, she was able to gain an appreciation of the materials she had and their characteristics, while using her creativity to bring them together in a cohesive manner.

Taking a different approach in choosing your medium, also lets you convey a stronger message. Take the example to left. It was found on a website that supports endangered animals. For the artists, the main question was how to make a strong impression on their audience that would elicit care and action. Instead of painting the animals locked up in cages, or taking sad photographs of them, they took it a step further. they painted the endangered animals on large pebbles that they could hand out as paper weights. the animals appear crouched in a little space. That was the only way they could fit, and it conveys the message that endangered animals are being forced to uncomfortable lives in smaller habitats.

Using unique art materials and objects, allows you to pursue the true focus of art ; creativity. It takes  away the refined artistic lens, and lets you look at objects anew and wonder how you could use it to make art. Maybe you'll look at pensive person sitting, and instead of snapping their photo, you'll use them as your subject and paint over them for a 3-D effect. Or instead of teaching little kids how to draw pictures of their toys, you let them explore their options. Maybe they'll apply different colors of paint on their teddy bear and press it down on paper like a stamp! Or you can use old objects lying around the house, like rotary phones to create a sheep sculpture. What used to be the curly wire, now forms the fluffy body of the sheep, and the phone handle is the curved feet. In addition to creating unique art with new materials, you get to explore their form and structure and determine how it could enhance the 3-D effects of your artwork. Could you get all that at a typical art-store?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Response to Olivia Gude

Olivia Gude accurately comments on how art teaching strategies have become redundant, repetitive and even meaningless. As a professor she was able to see how art students at universities and grade school all had to do "insignificant exercises" on line shape, color, etc. As an art student, I have done many of these and although I can see the importance of learning new skills, I wish moat teachers let us take a fresh and new approach in exploring the elements and methods. Instead of having to draw spheres with pastels and learn how to implement highlights and dark values as a warmup, maybe we could turn this into a "morning project". Every morning we could work on our project and inculcate the same art  methods, but we could choose the idea and make it personal and meaningful.
Taking creative approaches and exploring post modern principles can expose us to new ideas and techniques that we might not be able to observe in old classical paintings such as that of Van Gogh or Kandinsky. This will teach us to be independent and set a trend that defines 21st century art instead of merely copying  the older art styles.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Essential question: What is small?

the first attempt
What is small? What makes an object small? Its size? Its characteristics? The environment it's in? I decided to explore these questions in a painting of a ship in the sea. Large, powerful and strong, a ship is the last thing you would label as small.  
Yet, the ship's size is only relative to the situation and environment it's in. Out in a storm, with waves crashing down and tossing the small wooden box around, the ship is small and powerless. It is at the mercy of the environment. In my painting, I presented this idea, by showing dark stormy skies, and strong powerful waves. The size of the ship is small in comparison to the nature surrounding it.

The painting is done in acrylics. To make the clouds in the sky, I made swirly motions with white paint, and then brushed over it with a huge dry brush. For the waves (and this took forever!), I used a dry brush to stroke the paint upward. At the tip of the waves, I used the bristles of the brush to add the "spray effects" with white paint. for the sky I used the dry brush to apply different shades of blue in a gradient.

What about the end? Well, it took a lot of effort to avoid painting the ship, but now I'm on it. I'll post a picture of it soon!
Going back to fix the waves