Saturday, May 28, 2011

in the classroom

My mini-course continues. Some second-day dynamics kicked in this morning. One young woman who handled the flat color application with panache yesterday got bogged down when she had to add texture; it took her most of the morning to figure how to use it to good effect.  Another student who was close to being bored with the color application lit up as she moved into texture.  We also moved into the layers when hues were switched (warm to cool, light to dark, etc.) and everyone could begin to see for themselves some of the effects that I had been describing. In addition to introducing texturing techniques, I presented some of the basic design concepts (for example, what I know as the rule of thirds, and the Golden Mean), the idea of a focal point and leading the eye of the viewer. I encouraged the students to begin to think about where they are heading with what until now have been experiments in handling the materials.  Everyone seemed to go away happy.

As for my own work, being with the class provides stimulation, both from the questions that the students ask and from the discoveries that they make.  Because my panels serve as examples, I’m forced to be both stricter and more creative in what I do, and I may be making more careful and conscious decisions than in my studio at home.   I found myself feeling rather at sea as I worked on my panels by myself, and I realized that I wasn’t sure where I was going with them.  I had been focused more on presenting things to the class than on what I was producing.  In a way, this is good because it is forcing me out of habits.  But I also would like to produce decent pieces by the end of class (could there be some pride at work here?).  I was drawn by a chance brayer mark to create a frame or window effect on one panel, and went on to establish what I’m thinking of as “windows” on each panel, with a thought to design (gasp!), focal point, and, eventually, message.  Thus am I forced to think outside my own envelope.  I am enjoying it.

The photograph above shows some of the students’ work after Day 2.

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