This is just the beginning.

As I finish my self-portrait, my first studio art class has come to the end. During the past semester, I have learned the techniques of drawing, improved my abilities of creation, and become more flexible with different art tools. Instead of talking about what painting techniques I have learned from this class in my final paper, I want to talk about the methods I have learned from this class because those methods are what benefit me more.

image (3)image (9)From the first chair project, I learned the importance of accuracy. Without a careful and accurate measurement, the object will not look real. More importantly, I had to erase everything and start from beginning as long as I got a wrong proportion. This would waste more time and decrease my confidence. So, start from that project, I extremely pay attention to the measurement so that I can get the right proportion and a lifelike drawing. In the following box project and self-portrait project, each line I drew was based on the most careful observation and accurate calculation. With the right proportion, I not only get satisfied work, but also improve the efficiency so that I can always finish my work faster than my classmates.

As I finished more drawings in the class, I developed accuracy as a habit. I did everything with fully preparation. For example, when I prepared my collection project for my art methods class, I read all the related books I could find and did research as deeply as possible to get the most accurate information and guarantee the each work perfectly matched my exhibition theme without any controversies. What’s more, I designed my space and maquette carefully, and took advice from professors many times before I started making them. Even though I did not finish anything when my classmates almost finished everything, I was the one who made the most outstanding maquette and poster and did the least mistakes in the presentation. Even though in my classmates’ eyes, I wasted a lot of time on research and did the project really slow, I did not need to make any changes after getting feedback from professors. The preparation of this project was like getting the proportion’s right in my portrait drawing., Once I got everything accurate, I got a satisfied work and compared with my classmates who are still struggling, I saved time.

IMG_7494 IMG_7502Besides developing being accurate as a habit. I become more flexible with different materials. In my overseas life, I always remind myself my dad’s words that if I cannot change the environment, I should change myself. If I applied this sentence in this art class, it should be if I cannot change the materials, I should change myself. In the past projects, all the art tools I used are unfamiliar to me, even the eraser is the kneadable eraser which I never seen before. I still remember my uncomfortable feeling when I first used charcoal. But if I had no choice of materials, how did I change myself ? I can change the way I use it to make my life easier. In my superpower animal project, I became pretty flexible with the materials. I choose the most approximate materials with the texture I want among the trash professor offered to show the attributes of animals. When I found cutting fabric in a complete wing shape image (30)was too hard for me, I change my plan of sticking three fabric to show the layers and three dimensional effect, instead, I use gold hard paper, leaves and a little fabric to get what I wanted. Also, when I did my maquette for collection project without a glue, based on the features of the board I had, I cut the contour of golden spiral on thick broad and inserted my “wall” in it to get the stability. For me, being flexible with materials is more than a way of helping me finish the homework, it is an way of thinking and living. It shows me the key of overcoming difficulties, and that key is switching the original idea and do it in the way I familiar and feel comfortable with.

These two methods are what impressed and influenced me most in this semester. As I decided to take studio art as major, I believe these inspirations were just the beginning. I think as I continue my art studies, I will find and learn more things. Even though this semester has finished, my art journey just starts. What will I get in the future? I feel so excited….

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 13, 2014 in final summary


self portrait project

image (33)After spending three entire classes and over 3 hours outside of these classes, I finally finished my first self-portrait. Even though it is not as perfect as I expected, it is still meaningful and important to me because it is more than a class assignment. For me, this self portrait is like a summary and a test of my first studio art class. I applied all the techniques and methods I have learned from this semester, which includes accurate measurements, clear value variations, and flexible material use. In order to get the effect I wanted, I had to be extremely slow and patient so that I did not need to start over. Now, reviewing my process of creating this self-portrait, I realized gained a lot.

Different from the chair project which required me to draw the accurate lines with charcoal and clean the mistakes by himage (31)and or paper towels, in this project, I had to “draw” my face by erasing the charcoal to show the three dimension through value changes by controlling my erasing strength. I felt so frustrated because all those familiar art tools became unfamiliar to me after their roles were changed. I could not control my strength well to get the lightness and the shape I wanted because of the soft texture of the kneadable eraser. I did not finish anything while my classmates had already done finished their noses. Like my mom always says, asking and taking advice from experienced people is the best way to improve in short time. After taking advice from Alison, I understood the skills of using the kneadable eraser. For example, when I needed the tiny highlight atop of the mouth, I can knead the eraser to a cone and use the top part to draw those thin lines. Even though I did not even finish a nose in the first class, I got used to the materials, learned the techniques of getting the forms I wanted, and realized the importance of being flexible with unfamiliar materials.
image (35)In the second class, as I became more familiar with the eraser and drawing, I finally got my own techniques of showing value variations. I asked myself, ‘if I felt it was hard to control my strength to get show those tiny variations between values, why didn’t I let it go and get what I want in a comfortable way?’ So, instead of controlling my strength to show the different values, I erase all the light parts first and then applied charcoal with one side of a paper towel“pen” while the other side I used for blending. Through applying different amount of charcoal powder on the light areas, I finally got the small variations between similar values and I started to work faster than before. What’s more, inspired by kneading the paper towel into a pen shape, I also used cotton swabs to draw small shadow areas and add details to make my portrait look more real. From this process, I realized that some difficulties can be overcome by switching solving ways. After solving the technical issue of drawing and getting familiar with materials, this project became easier for me because all I needed to do was make careful observations and accurate measurements. I did the measurements as carefully as I could to get the right proportions. As I got the ratio of each part right, my portrait looked similar to myself and I realized the importance for me to lose weight because my face has already turned round.

On the critique, I saw everybody’s final work and listened to everyone’s reviews and comments. Even though some of timage (34)hem were troubled by the measurement and skin color, they solve them really well by taking advice from peers and asking help from professors. I was impressed by Knia’s work. As Sydney said, she put so much effort on this work. Indeed, every time I went to Dana, I could see her and she did listen to our advice to improve her drawing. The same as Ama, Ama took this project so serious that every time she saw me, she would ask me the problems she had. Even though she hasn’t finished it, for me, she still did a good job. I believe if she could get familiar with the medium and finish it, her work would be compelling because all the effort will be reflected through the work, she really tried her best on this project.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 12, 2014 in self portrait


Off Campus Event: Halloween Parade

On Oct. 26th my roommate and I went to Decatur Downtown for Halloween Parade. I love this parade so much that I took tons of photos and saved them in my favorite photo folder.  I was really impressed by people’s enthusiasm of the Halloween! What really interesting was there were not only teenagers and adults in the parade, but also the old and small children, even dogs! Most of the people in the parade dressed in creepy costumes either bought from stores or made by themselves. Some people made their costumes by different-size boxes and waste fabric which is similar to  what we did for superpower animals. They collect those waste boxes and repainted it in the way they like. By creating the costumes in this way, they cannot only save money and develop their imagination, but also enjoy the fun of making process. I think if I have free time in the next year, I would join them and use the available materials I had to make a cool costume for myself~ image (40) image (39) image (38) image (37) image (41) image (36)

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 12, 2014 in off campus event


Sheila Pree Bright lecture

On Oct.19th, I listened to the presentation given by photographer Sheila Pree Bright. At the beginning of the talk, she simply reviewOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAed her childhood in Germany. As a black girl in an almost white country, people always want to touch her skin and hair. It was surprised for me to hear that she did not know why people did that on her and she did not even think she is different from others because my Asian identity and features always let me feel I am not belong to the U.S. Even though one and a half year have been passed and I have got used to the food and culture here, I still feel different from Americans.

After a short introductiimage (18)on of her early life and talked about her process of becoming an photographer and her photographs. She first showed us images of black males with guns and golden teeth. She told us she chose to take pictures for them because she is really interested in interesting black male culture. She tried to figure out their reason of doing that. Then, she showed us the pictures of female bodies to talk about what is ideal beauty, which include the Jean-Paul Goude’s Champagne Incident taken in 1976. I was deeply impressed by this image because it was recreated by a controversial celebrity Kim Kardashian recently. From her talk, I knew the photographer Jean-Paul shoot a lot pictures for because he thought his lover Grace Jones, a black woman, is ideal beauty.

image (17)
She also showed us her photographs Young Americans and 1960s which was also posted in downtown Atlanta. She said she tried to let artwork become a part of public and created dialogues with viewers through her photos. What’s more, she is really interested in the reaction of people when they saw them on the walls. Her works reminded me of our graphic thinking project that use picture to represent the words, and what Professor Ruby always stressed in her class and presentation that a good artwork should create dialogue with artists and viewers. For example, in Young Americans, she talked with those teenagers before she took pictures for them so that she could have a good way to translate their emotions into images.

At the end of her lecture, I asked her a question that how she chose the public places to install her artwork and whether they are special historical places. Her answer was she did choose the places carefully. For 1960s, she installed those images follow the route of the movement in 1960s. Her words inspired me and let me rethink about the placement of artworks in my collection project. Now, I think I would place them follow the chronological sequence instead of just for aesthetics.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2014 in on campus art event


graphic thinking project

Reviewing the process of finishing the graphic thinking project, I have to say this is the hardest project I have done so image (8)far. It was not hard for the techniques it required, instead, it was hard because of the big brainstorming and imagination I did. I still remember spending 3 hours on getting advice from my friends and searching on google to find all the related words of “boisterous” and “constrained”on Sunday night. I wished I could get a huge collection of words which could fill the entire page, but the fact was my friends and I were totally limited by the meaning of “constrained”; all we thought were related to tightness, pressure, and restriction. It was the same for “boisterous”, I could not open my mind enough to have a further connection and find something interesting. As a result, I only filled a half page, which was very disappointing.

While the preparationimage (13) of related words made me feel stressed, the thumbnails drove me crazy. I did not know how to translate my words into an abstract painting. When I was almost stuck, my classmates’ work inspired me. Just like Paul Crowther points out in his article “art work has social consequences. It is a source of possible influences on other works; it creates new possibilities of meanings, and is integrated into the perceptual style of those who encounter it.” After looking around at my classmates work during break time, I totally opened my mind, and broke those limitations. I realized that I could use multiple mediums to show the words like Allison did, I could use ink to create blending effect like Anastasia did, and I could even jump out of the thumbnails like Skyla did. With the inspiration from my classmates, I started to use different materials and started to enjoy this project. Finally, I played with charcoal, wood sticks and cards and got my three final works.

Besides finally getting my three final works, I realized the importance of comimage (9)municating and learning from others, because an interesting encounter might give me great idea for a great amazing artwork. I think this might be the reason why we have set a critique day. I extremely enjoy critique day because I always learn a lot from my classmates. They shared their ideas and provided me different perspectives of observing and analyzing artworks. More importantly, they can even see something I did not even know from my own artwork! For example, I never thought flowers might make it more difficult to show the value variations when I did the box project; I would not have connected “Ziwen” with peace if my classmates did not point it out; and I might not have realize the inner connections among my three works. Because of my classmates, my work has gained further meaning, and I know more about artwork and myself.
Among my classmimage (7)ates works, I extremely love the pictures of the “intense”. Even though Katie use square shape in the painting, which was totally unrelated to the eye in her photo, I can still strongly feel the interconnection between the painting and photo from the work because the transition from the darkest center to the rough brushes of the edges is similar to the pupil. I have to say that eye was so attractive that I kept staring at it in the class. From that eye, I could sense the strong intense and even see the slight frown on her face. Good image would create dialogue with viewers and I think that would be one of the great images which did evoke my senses and let me engage in .

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2014 in graphic thinking


Constrained and boisterous

In dictionary, the word “ constrained” has following four meanings
To keep within close bounds,confine.
To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige.
To inhibit or restrain; hold back.
To produce in a forced or inhibited manner.
Base on these four explanations, this word provides me a feeling of pressure, force, restraint and tightness. This reminded me the story of the ugly duckling, the poor swan was born and grown in the duck family, which it should not belong to. In the duck group it was restrained, compelled and laughed at. So with the connection of this story and my understanding of this word, I drew a square in the center of circles while the circles was restrained in a square space. At the first glance, you might think the square was the poor duckling because it was constrained by those circles, but if you stared it longer, you might find the circles was restrained by the squares because those different-size circles composed two squares which was because of the the square box and square block in the center. In order to have a better visual expression, I chose berries and pineapple, two totally different fruits, to represent circles and square.

In dictionary, the word “boisterous” means noisy, energetic and cheerful, it is also used to describe the wild or stormy weather. This word reminded me something uncontrollable, energetic and splendid, and the first thing came up in my mind was strong sunshine. In the paper, I draw a circle filled with charcoal to represent the sun and blended the edge to create the effect of sunlight.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2014 in graphic thinking


off campus event: The Whitespace Gallery.

On Oct. 23rd, I went to the Whitespace Gallery for last field trip. Different from the Dalton Gallery and Atlanta Contemporary Art image (3)Center, which have large inner space and bright wall colors, this gallery is small and the background wall was filled with the timeworn bricks. The unexpected environment made me feel surprised when I first came into this gallery.  After the owner Susan Bridges’ introduction, I learned the reason she left those bricks revealed, instead of reconstructing and painting it, was to protect and keep these historical elements. She even made a flexible swing wall so that the visitors can not only see the exhibition, but also feel the history of this old building.

The imagecurrent exhibition is Richard Sexton’s photographs entitled Creole World. The photographer tried to make connections between the Caribbean and New Orleans through his photographs. The doors of different architectures are the part that stand out the most in his work, and the bold colors appeared in the work attract the viewers’ eyes. Also, those doors provide viewers a sense of unity.

This visiting inspired me to think about the space design of my collection project for ART260.  just like visitor can not only appreciate artwork, but also feel the history in Whitespace Gallery, I also wanted to create a space which could not only let visitors learn the Golden Ratio in art, but also feel and become interested in them.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 3, 2014 in off campus event