Thursday, January 26, 2017

Final Thoughts

One memorable experience from this semester was looking back at my pre-instructional self-portrait after I completed my final. It was very interesting to see the amount of change and growth that I had gone through as an artist. Another highlight from the semester would be the eyes, nose, mouth drawings that we did. These were memorable for me because they were the first pieces of artwork of facial features and I thought that they turned out well. This impacted my learning because it gave me a challenge in drawing my own facial features. Lastly, my half-portrait sketchbook assignment was also a highlight of my semester. It helped me realize what was possible with some hard work (it took me a while!).

Work of Art That I Am the Most Proud Of

I am most proud of my self-portrait drawing because I feel that it shows my most meticulous and detailed work. Though in the end I felt that it didn't quite look exactly like me, I still see some resemblance and I think my craftsmanship was quite good. This piece of work impacted my learning because it gave me more confidence in my artistic ability. It also showed me that in order to make my best work, I need to really take my time and work carefully. It also helped me understand the importance of getting things right in the beginning. If I had spent more time on getting my face shape right the piece of artwork could have been much better. 

Watercolor Techniques


  • To experiment, explore, and learn a variety of ways to paint with watercolor;

One of the most important things that I learned about working with watercolor is the fact that you need to paint light. The different techniques showed how using too much pigment can ruin the aesthetic of watercolor. Watercolor is supposed to feel light and airy and this can only be achieved if you are careful with your color and leave white spaces. Another important piece of watercolor that I learned is the fact that different techniques can make a huge difference. Even more so than painting with acrylic, in watercolor, the way you hold the brush, the amount of water, and many other factors can give many different results.

Unsung Hero Painting

The story of Robert R. Williams grabbed my attention from the second I started reading and was the most inspiring out of all the unsung heros’ stories. Williams spent decades of his life attempting to find a cure for a disease that he had witnessed in person while living in India. This disease is known as beriberi, meaning “I can’t, I can’t” in Sinhalese, due to its painful effects on the body. Williams’ devotion to finding a cure for beriberi has helped save millions of lives since the release of his cure in 1933. His selfless motives and innovative thinking instantly impressed me and made me want to express his actions in my artwork.
From the beginning stages of my planning I had a rough vision of how I would portray Williams’ heroic story. I thought that although depicting his face was one way to honor him through artwork, I could tell his story better in a different way. I chose to make my focal point the rat because it was such a crucial part of Williams’ breakthrough. The rats gave him something to test his cures on, and eventually gave him the confirmation that he had found it. Related to this, I decided I wanted to portray some form of scientific equipment to symbolize the hard work that Williams had to do in the lab. He first had to find a chemical compound that was anti-beriberi. After he found such a compound he still had to split and synthesize it before it could be used as a cure on the rats. This that he found was a chemical compound called thiamine. I decided to show this cure in my artwork by having its chemical formula on a chalkboard. I wanted to include it in my painting because it symbolized Williams reaching his goal and helping the many people who suffered from beriberi. This brings me to my last large piece of symbolism in my artwork, the crutch. The crutch represents the people who suffered from beriberi. Many people who suffer from the nutritional deficiency cannot walk because the pain is too severe.
Creating this piece of artwork and hearing Williams’ story has provided a great deal for me as a person. Williams’ use of science to help others has inspired me and shown me what is possible through using knowledge for the greater good. I have always had an interest in the field of science and this story has made me realize how noble and interesting the practice can really be. In addition to this, Williams’ heroism has given me something to look up to morally. His actions were truly selfless and show me that in many ways it is the people with the most fortune who are responsible for aiding the least fortunate. This is the piece that I find most heroic about Williams. Williams decided to use what he was given to help the people who needed it the most. These amazing actions from Williams along with his humble nature, make him a true unsung hero.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Landscape Painting Inspired by Wolf Kahn

One new thing that I learned about technique and color through this painting is the importance of intensity in painting. Many of my colors started out too intense and looked very bad. I needed to go back over them and make them more accurate to the original painting. Another technique that I learned to help me create convincing paintings was dry brushing. I used a dry brush on my trees and it gave them good texture. Lastly, I learned that how to mix better, more accurate colors. Many times I had to re-mix a color from a previous class and this gave me good experience and knowledge of how to mix specific colors.

The mood in Wolf Kahn's original painting was very happy and calming while the mood in my painting was much darker and more serious. His colors were fairly intense and bright. The blue, orange, and green were very inviting and gave a calming feel to the painting. My purple and yellow as well as the dark blue-green in my grass made the painting much more gloomy but it still had a positive feel. My painting was also less calm and tranquil.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Creating Depth in Landscape Paintings

                                                                    Aspen Road, William Hook, 2004

The painting contains a road that winds off into the distance. There are trees and grass surrounding the road and some of the trees' leaves have turned yellow. In the background you can make out two mountains that converge on the left side of the painting. One technique that Hook used to create depth in his painting was a winding road. In the creating depth source, making a winding path or s-curve is one of the tips for creating depth in a painting. Another technique that the artist uses is the idea of atmospheric depth. The two mountains in the background are very blue rather than bright greens and yellows of the foreground.

                                                             Summer Day Patonga, Graham Gercken

This painting shows a river the meanders next to green island peninsulas. There are three separate pieces of land that jut out into the water and each one is closer than the last. In the foreground there are some rocks, in the middle ground there seems to be an old house, and in the background there is a white sailboat. The artist uses many of the techniques mentioned in the sources to create depth. For example, as in the last painting, there is a meandering s-curve river. The artist also made things appear much smaller in the background than in the foreground. This can be seen with the rocks in the foreground that are much larger than the sailboat in the background.

Landscape Painting: A Brief History

Landscape painting started in ancient Roman times but quickly declined in popularity after. It wasn't until the 16th century that landscapes were made popular again in the Netherlands. Even with this popularity in the Netherlands most of the world still saw landscapes as purely a background for historic or religious scenes. In the 17th century, landscapes started to become more widely accepted and were especially popular in Italy and the Netherlands. During this time the "classical landscape" was born. These landscapes were inspired by classical works and were very carefully composed and balanced. In the 18th century the center of landscape painting shifted away from Italy and the Netherlands to France and England. 

Landscapes gained true acceptance around the 19th century after efforts from Pierre-Henri Valenciennes. Valenciennes believed that landscapes were worthy of the status of historical painting and sought to prove so through writing his book, ElĂ©ments de perspective practique. This book gained large acceptance for landscape painting. The 19th century saw great strides and changes in landscape painting. The popularity of actually painting in nature (plein air) rose and landscape photography saw its birth. Gustave Courbet's unconventional style in landscape painting led to the impressionist style of artists to come. Finally, in the 20th century, landscape photography gained much acceptance and popularity and new forms of landscapes were formed, such as urban, cultural, and industrial.