see one do one teach one

Video

This week I learn about the methodology See One, Do One, Teach One, especially used in the medical world for teaching and/or learning through direct observation. The process can be applied to most any form of education. It feels particularly natural to the Fine Arts and reminds me of an apprenticeship.

While I did go to art school, some of my best teachers were the ones who let me work in the studio with them.

I was introduced to printmaking by artist Kurt Kemp. Kurt began his teaching career in my last year at UTEP. I needed one final Drawing class and an elective, day and time were issues for me. As luck (and kindness) would have it, he allowed me to sign up for his advanced independant studio classes. I was drawing in the early morning, and ending the evening with printmaking. I’d never printed at that point, though it melded naturally with drawing. Kurt loan me tools. He taught me to get rich black, printed marks using a hand-made mezzotint rocker on a sheet of copper. I can still hear him say Don’t drop it! This one is my own personal rocker. I’ve had it for years (yikes!).

I fell in love with drawing, copper plates, BFK paper, ripped edges, the smell of ink and all things drawing and printmaking (yes, art-making heightens all the senses). And I redirected my studies, 3D to 2D. Eventually attending NMSU for graduate school, I continued printmaking with Spencer Fiddler, whom like Kurt, had at one time worked under the great Mauricio Lasansky.  I watched both of these men make their ink from raw material, both were sensitive to the tarlatan clothe, the inking and the final printing of their copper plates.

But I digress…
I sure didn’t expect to take this trip down memory lane today, nor while creating a quick video on drawing a neuron, a few days back.

Back to drawing…
I rip a piece of heavy duty black drawing paper (deckled edges) and video tape about 34 seconds of the process as I lay in my subject, a neuron. I turn the video off to work freely, hoping to move easy and steady.
(Note: The video, I use as a means to practice focus, quick-decision mark-making, and  loosen up.)

I’m looking to balance the study with both play and accuracy by its final stage.

I stop moving quickly. I fuss with materials, edges and lines. I probably work a little more than an hour to get the first layout. A few more to get the second set up. The next day I work the composition to a final stage (btw…this drawing of a neuron is small!)

I decide the image expresses a control balanced by a loose and playful quality.

Which is probably why I think about Kurt and Spencer today.

My first study above, is a neuron. My smaller, second composition below, done in similar process, is the neuron’s supporting cell called a glial cell.

#BackInTheStudio #It’sBeenAToughSummer #UrBeautifulBrain #LiveAndLearn #SeeOneDoOneTeachOne

TCA Draw-A-Thon 2020

Tempe Center for the Arts will be hosting their annual Draw-A-Thon.
This year it’s going virtual. A live, on-line, real-time event!
12 Hours/12 Artists
RSVPFacebook Live


Next weekend, June 6th at 9am, Michelle Dock, Gallery Director at TCA, will host an Exquisite Corpse Workshop. Last week she invited Mary, Carolyn and myself to draw one (for fun).

In general, I keep to the size of the paper Michelle suggests. And while she notes a light-weight paper, one can fold, works best, I prefer a heavy duty sheet of drawing paper (which means we can’t fold it). Ok, I want 2 sheets of drawing paper (can’t fold either).

I rip an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of BFK white and an 8″x10″ sheet of Arches Black.
I take the direction of exquisite corpse very literal and start drawing. I cover my area and pass it on to Mary who works her area, followed and completed by Carolyn.

Can you tell who does what?
What’s your best guess for how much time we take with each small drawing?

face mask, microbes and devil’s tail

Mary and Carolyn both like the paper and choose the medium they are familiar with.
Yes, we each enjoy the drawing!

Interested in making an one? Join Michelle Dock next Saturday at 9, for her workshop. You have plenty of time to gather up family or friends and your drawing material.

Should you want to experience other approaches to drawing (Hey! DRAW all day!), follow the link to the list of workshops and the artists involved  → EVENT SCHEDULE  (includes morning, mid-day, ffternoon/evening)

WHO: TEMPE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
WHAT: DRAW-A-THON
12 Artist/12 Hours
WHEN: Saturday, June 20, 8am-8pm
WHERE:  TCA is coming to you! →  Facebook Live  RSVP

All levels, all experience, all ages welcome! Use phone, I-pad or computer. And share your drawings with the hashtag #tempearts #GalleryAtTCA #DrawAThon

OH HEY! They have a free coloring book for you to download! My coyote is in there along with other cool images from artists near you. → PDF

#gottahaveart

in the beginning…is the line

“Drawing takes time. A line has time in it.”
-David Hockney


In this first assignment based on inner and outer contour, beginning students draw a complex natural object. Our college campus grounds are full of pinecones. They walk by them most every day. Now, I ask they study one.

They work a number of days on this one drawing. I particularly note the group’s patience and concentration as we move through the process. They arrive on time, grab their pinecone and draw. They appear careful observers from the start.

The first critique of this new year goes well. We talk about the quality of the lines,  general composition and all various challenges it took to compete these striking studies.

Here are a few…

Angelica’s Pinecone

Gisela’s Pinecone

Julyssa’s Pinecone

Aday’s Pinecone

Alex’s First

Luc’s The Pine Cone Maze

Juan’s Pinecone

Janera’s Pinecone

The class includes a group of returning students ↓ who get to pick their subject matter and work in mixed media. Basically they pick up where they left off last semester. Naturally they include various elements of design in their compositions including value, though they need to emphasize line/edge.

And they do a fine job holding the afternoon critique.

Edith’s The Dried Flower

Angel’s Duality : Typo Phobia

Angel’s in-class assignment ↑ is in mixed media drawing while her homework is the same seed pod completed ↓ in marker. Good idea Angel, I could start assigning this set up to future classes.

Angel’s Lotus Pod : Duality, marker

Seb’s Avalanche

Eamon’s Now That’s What I Call Pod Racing

Aine’s Artichoke

Basically students learn to look closely and see their subject matter. I ask they always  consider the lines they use to describe what they see. Most of them (Drawing 1) do this with a variety of fine markers and no eraser.  All the while coordinating eye, hand and brain…process is key.

Good start everyone!

organ of vision

My friend Wright gave me some books early this week. One of them is titled Medical Meanings, A glossary of Word Origins. I look up ‘eye’ and this post is born.

Eye comes through the Old English ēage from the Teutonic auge, all of which refer to the organ of vision. Incidentally, the Old Norse vindauga, “wind-eye” became our “window.”

The paragraph finishes with:
In years past, the upper canine tooth was called the “eyetooth” in the mistaken belief that it was connected to a branch of the same nerve that supplies the eyes.


Carolyn brings over a couple of different sets of medical images. One includes profile shots of her head. The cover reads Full TMJ Right Closed & Left View. I pop it into my laptop, pull up the images and recognize Carolyn’s facial bone structure.

I already know a direct image will be the focus, right then I am certain a profile drawing will also be incorporated into the composition.

Life-size studies are a lot about research and getting general anatomy organized. When it comes to details like the facial features, I very much enjoy the act of drawing ( mostly graphite, some color pencil and an eraser kind of drawing). I like capturing likeness. The challenge eventually is to bring anatomical detail in and not lose resemblance.

Obviously I focus on the eyes (eyeballs) with Carolyn.

Initially I outline her profile into the upper right-hand corner of the picture plane and leave it there for some time.

Taking a second look at her x-rays yesterday, I change my mind and decide I prefer it to the left (her right).

Before I realize it, I am incorporating the brain….not in the plan but it makes sense why I do it and it may stay.


PS…
At the end of the day – the drawing tool appears in hand. 

#Eye #Hand #Brain
#Artist #OrganOfVision #WIP

can a robot create?

The 12-week artist residency at the Tempe Center for the Arts has come to an end. Most every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon you would have found me working alongside or talking with artist Bobby Zokaites. Today I welcome Bobby as guest writer.


My Name is Bobby Zokaites, I’m a local sculptor here in Tempe Arizona, my tag line is, “Engaging the imagination through the creation of large scale objects and spaces.” This summer I participated in the Tempe Center for the Arts exhibition and residency “Draw.” For those in the know, sculpture cannot exist without drawing, in fact most sculptors are very proficient drawers. However, I was included in the exhibition because of a project that, on the surface, seems to challenge the very notion of what it means to draw.

The premise is simple: can a robot create art?

I began this line of inquiry in 2005 during a sophomore painting class at Alfred University and in response to the ever-ubiquitous self-portrait assignment. The history of art is littered with self-important, foreboding and grandiose articulations of the portrait and myself, being 19, of course wanted to join this history. By asking a robot to make art, I had the idea I was creating a portrait, an expression, an illustration, of a generation growing up within the digital revolution.

And so, I purchased a robot—a Roomba vacuum cleaner. Equipped with propulsion, preferences and aversions, the Roomba was already well on its way to being an artist, but lacked the tools needed for painterly expression. To provide it this, I simply removed the vacuum components and added a very basic foam brush and paint reservoir, creating something akin to a homemade marker. The first painting made was such a rush, my mission after that was to get out of the way to let the Roomba do just whatever it was going to do. Large black brush strokes combined with delicate tire treads on a white background these first paintings, produced using India ink on gesso-ed panels, existed in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism; Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and the like. I felt that reexploring this canonical aesthetic with contemporary technology would be fun, and it was, I thought that updating this aesthetic with contemporary technology would be fun thing to do. Which it is, fun, the public likes it because they have a different way into the paintings. For me however, with every successive painting I lost more of my own control, agency, creativity, my own self-expression; I had given it to a robot and so, the process became very existential and surreal.

I was still a student and incredibly young so I set this project aside to focus on becoming a sculptor. I took work as the site manager at Franconia Sculpture Park, learning the pragmatic skills associated with the production of large-scale sculpture. Sculpture became my way of regaining and developing my voice, and gave me the opportunity to have visible impact on my immediate surroundings. I became an educator, teaching others how to use tools, to manipulate materials, and to develop their own agency. Currently, I’m involved in several municipal projects, in a way I see this as being involved in governance, a way to add a unique flare to the urban environment.

In 2016, I was asked by the Center for Science and Imagination at Arizona State University to readdress the Roomba paintings. I dug out the now-decade-old robots and made a very large painting, this time on canvas. We produced a 4-minute video in which we decided to bring the relationship of artist, human, and robot to the front on the conversation.

“Draw” has allowed me the time to further address this relationship. I’ve broken the process down into its components: where do I have choice, when do I need to react, and when do I hit stop? Conversations with Monica Martinez and Kyllan Maney, the two other artists-in-residence, have helped with the transition back into thinking towards two-dimensional output. Considering aspects as simple as how colors lay on top of each other, composition and line weight, to those factors as detailed as the viscosity of paint and pigments, I’ve become a painter. Although to study these things I’ve had make more paintings resulting in more failures; some winding up so far gone that I’ve painted over them right in the gallery (much to Monica’s initial dismay). Over this summer, I’ve changed how I think about these painterly concepts several times, using different aids and brainstorming techniques. Dr. Seuss has the most amazing grays, and since his books are well-known for inspiration, I made four paintings using his color palettes.

In addition to the ‘shop talk’ between artists, large school groups would stop through providing several other opportunities to re-examine and re-explain the conceptual parts of the story. Now that I’ve identified where my choices are in the process, I have more involvement and the paintings are more collaborative, less reactionary. Engaging a larger community in the process has brought new points of view, new conundrums, new humor. In keeping with some of the light-heartedness of the project, Tricky, TCA’s preparator, even named the Roomba, “Mayhem”.

Though I’m not the first person to use robots as a way to produce art— American artist, Roxy Paine uses robots to produce a variety of sculptural objects and Leonel Mora of Portugal even has robots that sign their own drawings— my own contribution is in the realization that a commercially available robot was, even 10 years ago, sophisticated enough to produce its own paintings; proving the mantra, “any significantly advanced technology is synonymous with magic.” Along those lines, many people are fond of Frankenstein, Blade Runner, and the Terminator as cautionary tales of technological advancement and morality. However, with the Roomba project I’ve always gravitated to the earlier example of John Henry, the steel-driving man. His story, is one that pits man against machine, in a race to build the transcontinental railroad. All of these stories present a dichotomy when in reality man is not in opposition with machines. Modernity, with is mechanized metaphor, encourages us to idolize efficiency and progress, and in doing so, reduce individual labor. The paradigm of this train of thought has put me in an interesting head space: on the one hand I can anthropomorphize the Roomba, reducing my own self-importance, or I can claim authorship and be seen as an “artist” and “painter”. Truthfully, my preference is still “sculptor”, though I would accept manufacturer as well; both of these terms place importance and thought on to the tools and processes associated with production. With the Roombas as a tool, I can create an infinite number of composition.

complex structure and surface texture

The class assignment is complicated…

I ask students to look at and draw complex (interesting) structure and (interesting) surface texture. I have an array of subject-matter including insects, lizards and sea-shells for students to choose. I hope everyone picks up at least one bug but I know not everyone will.

First semester students use only markers (and paper) while second semester students use scratchboard. Everyone is required to use a magnifying glass. They work 4 days (about 12 hours) in class. Many take the drawing home over Spring Break, to complete.

Critique covers the strengths and weaknesses of the finished work. We talk about the process and the challenges of the assignment. And we discuss the elements of design.

Here are a hand full of the completed drawings. I include a few process and detail shots.

…complicated but beautiful!

 

Diana Three Bees

 

Diana Two Bees

 

Jezebel Grasshopper and a Lizard

 

Nina’s Moth

Maw draws a shell and a cicada titled Corpse vs Death

Alisza’s cicada –  Mother

Carlos “There was Four”

 

Kaylani’s Badger

Dustin

the pelvic bowl

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It looks like a bowl, my husband says as my neighbor Tara, a Pelvic Floor Specialist, hands him a pelvis anatomy model. She’s lending it to me for the weekend.

I say to him In fact,  it is called the pelvic bowlEddie. He watches on as Tara pulls it all apart and puts it’s all back together, identifying anatomy as she reconstructs the model.

Aren’t we perfectly designed? I say as I watch them.

My recent drawing begins with an outline of the bones of a pelvis (on the front side).  I place into it uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Only then do I decide to bring in the lower spine, the psoas muscles, and eventually the diaphragm.

This weekend I work the back of the drawing ↓ and complete the composition. Highlighting the reproductive system – I’m right back where I started.  The two-sided mixed-media drawing  basically depicts the core of the female body.

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completed back side of drawing 24 x 18″ mixed media

Do you need the model again?, Tara asks. Thanks, I’m complete, I respond.

With this study I learn more about menstruation, conception, pregnancy and menopause. With Tara’s help I learn about hormones, muscles, nerves and the value of breath work.

We are so perfectly designed. You are so perfectly designed. Embody this.

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More about Tara and her practice (btw – she offers lots of practical information) →  pelvicfloorspecialist.com.


Side note:
Contacted by Carmencita from California who’ll be using an early stage of this drawing (front side) to promote a staging of That Takes Ovaries! Bold Females and their Brazen Acts. The performance will raise funds for Myalgic Encephelomyolitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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the wandering nerve, the vagus nerve, the pneumogastric nerve

I have come to the conclusion trust your gut means trust your vagus nerve.  And having  butterflies in the stomach may in fact be saying something about our vagus nerve too.

Otto Loewi, a German physiologist, discovered stimulating the vagus nerve caused a reduction in heart-rate. He suspected a trigger or release of something he called vagusstoff (German for vagus substance). I note Loewi was led to this insights and eventual experiment via a dream, maybe 2 dreams actually (did he trust his gut? his vagus nerve?).  Scientists eventually identify acetylcholine (vagusstoff), a neurotransmitter.

Deep, slow breaths – in through the nose – calms (releases acetylcholine?) the vagus nerve.  I don’t know, I’m an artist….

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I revisit the Vagus Nerve these last few weeks.  I refer to it in an earlier work, now I focus and map it out life-size. I hope to detail and know its route through the organs. This is harder than I can know and it’s a good thing I don’t give it much thought before I outline the general area. General area is short for (all) organs of (entire) torso. I begin the work more realistic than usual, knowing I will loosen up and play with shapes as I move along.

The vagus nerve is one of two long (long, long) cranial nerves also called the wandering nerve. It wanders through many of our organs.  It’s also known as Cranial Nerve X (CNX). I learn it’s also called the pneumogastric nerve (less romantic).

It emerges at the back of the skull and moves down the down the body where it makes its way through the abdomen. On its journey it comes in contact with the ears, voice box, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, the large and especially the small intestine.

The vagus nerve helps regulate heartbeat, control muscle movement, keep a person breathing, as well as transmit chemicals through the body. It also keeps the digestive tract working by contracting the muscles of the stomach and the intestines. Without this crucial nerve we would find it hard to speak, breath, eat and our heartbeat would become irregular.

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I think I read the vagus nerve is the one that makes us throw up….hmmm. And it can cause one to faint. I don’t know. I also don’t know if my drawing is complete. I have more to double-check. This nerve meanders and so does my mind.

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between earth and sky: contemporary art from the american southwest

Curator Peter Held contacts me in the Fall of 2014. He is organizing an exhibition that will travel to four Chinese colleges and universities in the Spring and Summer of 2015. The plan includes work from a dozen Southwest artists focusing on contemporary art from the region. He explains it will include works on paper only: photography, prints and drawings.

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We hope this exhibition will give the Chinese audience a sense of what the Southwest is: place, landscape, people and culture.  We would love to consider including 1-2 of your works that are smaller in scale.

I meet with Peter and based on our discussion I decide on animal studies. My main focus is human anatomy but I have an interest in anatomy in general. After a bit of thought, I come up with the idea to paint a creature to represent the states I’ve resided in. I’ve lived in the Southwest all my life. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas – I spend five years in Las Cruces, New Mexico before moving to Phoenix, AZ.  I plan to research each state and find an exotic creature, preferably one I’ve crossed paths with.

Each artist has 1-2 or 3 works, all in China now, in their second venue.

Peter sends a note saying the exhibit is well received. I was pleasantly surprised how engaged and interested the students were, he says, spending an hour or more to look at the art closely. It was a great opportunity to converse on a wide range of topics which the subject matter in the art provided.

Last week I receive the catalogue. In this post I share one work from each artist and include the front and back cover. I am so pleased to see the quality and variety of the artwork. All the artist live and work in the Southwestern United States and each one brings a unique sensibility to the exhibit.

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Alice Leora Briggs, The Listener falls to sleep, Woodcut

 

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_07

Binh Danh, #2 Saguaro National Park, digital print of daguerreotype

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_08

Claudio Dichocea, de Amore Prohibido y el Anarquista, el Emsee 2.0, photolithograph

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Jason Garcia, Tewa Tales of Suspense #4 Behold…Po’pay!, serigraph

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Mark Klett, Slight Track and Red Clouds, Copper Mountains, digital photograph from gelatin silver print

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Michael Lundgren, Parasitic Weight, archival pigment print

Carrie Marill, Nature-T:Monument Valley, gouache on paper

Carrie Marill, Nature-T:Monument Valley, gouache on paper

armadillo

Monica Aissa Martinez, Armadillo: Texas, mixed media on paper

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Leigh Merrill, Denizens, pigment print

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_18

Matthew Moore, Rotations: Moore Estates-Sorghum (homes) Wheat (roads), 35 acres, digital photogra

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_19

Rose Bean Simpson, Know Thyself, ink on paper

Earth&Sky_ASU catalogue_Page_20

Will Wilson, Edward S Curtis, The Northern American Indian, Norwood, MA, The Plimpton Press

Between Earth and Sky, Contemporary Art from the American Southwest will travel to 4 locations:

Sichuan University 四川大学
March 11, 2015 – March 31, 2015: Exhibit at Sichuan University

Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications 南京邮电大学
April 6, 2015 – April 26, 2015: Exhibit at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications

University of Shanghai Science and Technology 上海理工大学
May 11, 2015 to May 29, 2015: Exhibit at USST

Xi’an International University 西安外事学院
June 8, 2015 – June 22 , 2015: Exhibit at Xi’an International University

between earth and sky catalogue

Cover: Mark Klett, Contemplating the View at Muley Point, Utah, digital photograph from gelatin silver print
Backcover: Michael Lundgren, New Form, archival pigment print

The exhibition is a partnership between ACCEX – American Centers for Cultural Exchange and Arizona State University Art Museum.

studying structure and texture


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The assignment: to study and identify complex structure and complex texture, create a composition and balance the positive and negative space. The subject-matter for the majority of the student’s are shells. They can make other choices with homework.

IMG_7283I consider this assignment to be a turning point. The commitment is big and the work is intense.  Students must work slow and careful using a magnifying glass to see, and see more.

Take a look at some of the finished drawings.  Note the advanced students work on scratchboard.

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detail shot of one of Anne’s shells

 

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Julio’s shells.

 

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Ali’s dry leaf

 

3UrnKcTMcvoRfmbmoUonAOtoR1_HX5NHiVMXr7MJme-Vrn2NmIEew4vc9V8N99Cnw1rpuS5HfQ_UYJ3On9Nbh2lmHBxcP5sDWwVJv1rxFGaC5ZhtTIMvHa-dcQdykJgQyvQ6UcSbbyneuOZE-MSP_C7qa2H-QxesXqmd7jXeUzr--D8ZYX9iFsk5J33TY5hBqP9CAVo6VCZUHl236f-YULWXdsjcGQub

Trenary’s shell

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Cory’s shell’s.

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Terry’s hand and seed pod.

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Heather’s starfish shell.

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Hyeokwoo’s shells


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Andrea’s shell’s

Drawing 2 students use scratchboard and work off of photos. Clearly they have more freedom but the assignment requires steady patience.

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Charles’ bird on scratch board.

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Susan’s work on scratchboard

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Cassidy’s Cat

 

negative space

Ma is a Japanese word which roughly translates to gap, space, pause or the space between two structural parts. 


IMG_7247This assignment asks the student to focus on the negative space, the space that surrounds an object (or the subject), the space in between things. I point out, in the still life, the area which they will be focusing on. It’s sort of the opposite of how we normally see, I explain. In the process, should you find yourself drawing the positive space (the foliage, in this case) simply stop, refocus and continue. We are training the brain to work a little differently.

Once they understand what they are doing, they have so much more to see and respond to. Negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition.  It also gives the eye a place to rest.

All of the drawings are strong graphic compositions. The contrast allows for a particularly type of delicacy and boldness to take place at the same time. In general the class enjoys the study. In some cases students are so immersed in the work, I have to remind them to take a break.

There is something great about teaching this particular assignment because as soon as the students grasp the concept, they quickly begin to use it and consequently experience things around them very differently.

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Anne’s Cactus Skeleton

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Trenary’s Weeds and Clover

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Terry’s Poinsettia

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Adam’s Flowers

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Clay’s Leaves and Berries

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Heather’s Plants

Drawing 2 students work with color and have a little bit more freedom with how they approach the study.

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Susan’s Ironed Weed

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Cassidy’s Fall Leaves

 

no woman is an island

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Gluttony, MM on BFK, 18 1/2 x 12 1/2″

After a photo of my studio appeared on the cover of the NYT – and the State of the Art exhibition was first announced – I received emails from across the country. Coast to coast. It was exciting.

I had well wishers from different walks of life, including working artists all over the United States. I also received emails from people interested in purchasing art. I tried to respond to everyone but frankly it was so much work that it would have meant not making art for a good while.

It was at that time that I received an email from Anthony.  He sent well wishes and was considering buying  a work. I sent a link to my website, suggested he look through it and let me know if there was something he wanted more information about. This is basically what I said to most everyone. Anthony mentioned he lived in Arkansas and was a member of the Crystal Bridges Museum.

He quickly narrowed things down to 2 prints. And by the time the final list of artists came out he’d decided on this ↑ mixed media drawing (instead of the print) titled Gluttony.

Gluttony is the original drawing from a 2008 commissioned assignment by the University of Notre Dame. They (University Program for Latino Research and the Institute for Latino Studies) were organizing a health campaign targeting Latino communities. While a series of brightly colored posters were designed, my drawing was printed separately as a limited edition archival ink jet print. I signed and numbered them, and was given some.

I met Anthony at a lecture the weekend State of the Art opened. You can imagine how surprised I was to know he was sitting directly in front of me in the large audience gathered to hear curators Bacigalupi and Aligood lecture about the exhibit.  I took the opportunity to thank Anthony in person. He noted the real thing looked better than the photo – talking about the drawing. Yes, I agreed, it always does.

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State of the Art brought many opportunities. So good to meet you Anthony. Thanks again!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

raw @ the tempe library

Christy Brown organizes the Tempe Community Galleries exhibitions. She explains that in conjunction with the Tempe Center for the Arts Gallery’s Smithsonian “Green Revolution” exhibition (which opened last January), all the community gallery shows will have “going green” themes this year.


Raw opens today. The exhibition focuses on the work of three artists  who are choosing to move away from the use of harsh chemicals and synthetic materials in their work, and are instead working with raw, recycled or organic materials. I am one of those artists, as are Joe Willie Smith and Aimee León.

Artists
Aimee León
An artist and certified sheep shearer, uses natural raw wool along with recycled industrial materials. The show includes a number of her small and soft – object forms . Most are beautiful tactile vessels. I want to touch them all.

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Joe Willie Smith
A multi-media artist and musician includes works in metal.  He works with found objects and repurposed material. He talks in general about finding just the right piece and then in particular about the white form below – how he scratched/drew on it one early morning to catch both the light and shadow of the sunrise.

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I have several posts about Joe Willie’s work and our collaborative effort at sound making – which I’ve used as background for all the Nothing In Stasis videos.

Raw includes a number of my paintings and one small drawing. I work with organic material, primarily egg tempera and casein.  I like to refer to my mediums as egg and milk. This work below uses casein as underpainting, and egg tempera as the surface color.

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Vital Commotion #4

Delivery and Install
I plan to drop off work and head back to the studio to paint, but when I learn Joe Willie is in the exhibit and he’ll be dropping work off, I wait for him. And as it all plays out we spend the morning working with installer, James Sulac.  Before Christy leaves for the morning she mentions how the work might hang. She asks which side of the wall I want my work on and I tell her. But after Joe Willie arrives and we begin seeing how interestingly things connect, we suggest the work hang in the space mixing together. Below are a few install shots.

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I understand we connect in terms of the raw materials theme, but as I look at everything I appreciate Christy’s eye more and more. The organic forms of León’s soft sculpture connects to the light forms and color in my paintings and to [the appearance] of softness in 2 of Willie’s larger pieces.

And you probably can’t tell from these photos (below) but the colors and lines in Joe’s work connect to my use of the same design elements. The acid green of his sculpture (below) runs right through the mid-section of my painting to the left, and is high-lighted by reddish pink points in both works. Joe Willie decides grouping his smaller pieces salon style will enhance the grouping of shapes in my compositions, and vice versa.

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I regret not getting shots of another wall where León’s wall pieces hang along side Joe’s and my work, a similar soft glow of lavender and blue shows up. Somehow all the work organizes between fragility and strength.

It’s Raw and you’ll just have to go see for yourself.

vital commotion #6

WHAT: Raw
WHERE: Tempe Public Library
(Lower Level Youth Library)
WHEN: Now to Dec 4th

The Tempe Public Library is located at
3500 S Rural Rd
Tempe, AZ 85282.

As you arrive watch for the Museum marker below, on the corner of Southern and Rural.
musuemsign

For more info on show and for artists’ statements click on  → Raw

mrs. barton’s AP drawing class

I really appreciate being able to use your work as a starting point – it really inspired the students.  I want them to expand their boundaries. Young people have their style and it’s uncomfortable for them to move beyond those limits. The other side is that they are searching for expression that is unique to them.  I have been trying to show them artwork that is very different from what they do – work that challenges them to engage with different techniques, colors, ideas.
– Elisa Barton


Elisa Barton is the art teacher at Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas. Elisa is also my sister. She looked at my various videos and decided to present a project to her AP students based on the human body. The videos I created are designed to sit next to my work while in exhibition, and show the viewer progression of the particular drawing or painting. They are categorized as educational.

I get emails from students and teachers about my work and how something might  influence them – but In this case I got more …

Elisa:
So- after I showed them your artwork – and they got all excited – they had to decide how to approach the project. They decided to split the body up (Victoria Dominguez- head(s), Juliet Ward-chest, Rodney Molinary-hands & feet, Samantha Laredo- legs, Carmen Mercado-pelvis, Maribel Betancourt- arms).

I realize it’s not only a collaboration, it is also a collage.

Elisa Continues…
We talked about colors (see that yellow) and shapes/patterns common to all to unify the composition.They couldn’t decide on patterns but eventually they got to talking about the heart monitor so I encouraged them to use the blips (including flat lining). This took several days of working and talking.


They traced Samantha Laredo (below).  She was surprised that she fit on all the papers.  We have a text that has the skeleton form all sides that they used for the bone structure.

…They really loved what you had done with pattern, they discussed that and organs and such. You can see that each one has really different sensibilities but I think they really made it work.  It’s all done in acrylic.  They photographed all their work first then they put the piece together –  they decided to cut strips and overlap the work in a way that unified the body. I did not get into that part at all.

One of her early comments that accompanied more photos:
You should see them working – they all stayed after school last Friday (last one left at 6:30) because they are excited to work.

I get that and it sounds great to me.

Elisa sent along a couple of links:
If you want to see samples of last years AP submissions (national) → click here.
For Concentration samples here → click here.

Thanks for sharing.

on a side note:
Elisa is #1 and I am #4 in a pack of 6. I was a teenager, probably about the age of her students, when she gave me my first big (and I do mean big) box of art supplies for Christmas. It’s a good memory.


What is AP®
AP provides a unique learning experience to help students succeed in college. Through AP’s college-level courses and exams, they earn college credit and advanced placement, stand out in the admission process, and learn from skilled, dedicated, and inspiring teachers.

The focus in an AP class is not on memorizing facts and figures. Instead students engage in intense discussions, solve problems collaboratively, and learn to write clearly and persuasively.


a fine line

Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change – life itself. (Lance Esplund)

….and we’re off.


New semester, new students, new contour studies.

The first critique went the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes. They did get a short break. It was productive and energy was high and maybe tense now and again.  Most everyone had something to say about the process, the marker, the pine cone, and / or my directions. I know I’ll miss some stuff but it went something like this…

It was not easy.
It was so hard.
I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this.
I loved it.
I didn’t like any of it.
I have no patience.
I was surprised by my patience.
I am happy with the drawing.
I like it…yeah.
I’ve never done something like this.
I usually have more…you know…not so many rules..

I especially appreciate that last comment.

The first assignment is a contour study of a complex object. Some students do more than inner and outer contour. They start to add texture.  I don’t believe in stopping progress so I let it them go a bit. The nervousness for the majority of the class comes from the complexity of the subject-matter and the use of marker.

The assignment is such a valuable lesson, working slow and careful and developing patience. Learning to see the edge and translate it into a smooth flowing line and finally creating a flowing composition.

Here are a few samples of some of the completed works.

Kristine’s Pinecone

Manny’s Stepping Stones

Melissa’s Rejuvenated Pinecone

Ale’s Focusing

Sergio’s Pinecone

Kyle’s Calibration

The second semester students have other concerns, though they still have to emphasize contour lines.

Isi’s Delicatus

If they’re inclined they can take the general lesson out into the world –  slow down, think carefully, do mindfully.