Sunday, May 29, 2011

more classroom notes

Today’s class introduced abstract markmaking. I demo’d the creation of a design from my initial “n”, and the students divided a small piece of poster board into four squares, wrote their initials in one square, and created a mark from each of the three letters in the other spaces.  It was a good and quick way to get them actively exploring making marks.

I also did something new for me, as a demo or otherwise. I had woken up early this morning from a nightmare, and in probing the dream I had realized that the nightmarish message was FEAR.  So I took each of the four letters, in printed upper case (rather than, for example, cursive lower case), and created a very angular design out of them.  I used it in class as another example of bringing daily life into the painting process in an abstract way.  We also doodled for a couple of minutes.

The demos, of course, were also about the materials and methods for drawing on both wet and dry panels, the texture that the various m&m’s provide, the effects when lower layers are revealed, etc.  It was the longest demo/lecture yet, even though I sped through it.  The little drawing exercise helped break it up.  It went well, and among the students, someone picked up on and used virtually everything I introduced, so I was happy with the wide variety of ideas that I had presented.  We have one two-session day left, and then a final three-hour session that will be evaluation, discussion, and wrap-up.  So I felt that it was important to get as much information into their hands as possible.
As for my own paintings, I used two of them for demos of m&m’s, pretty much ruining any cohesion of design in the process, but I just carried on with them anyway, when we got into work mode, if for no other reason than to stand behind my assertion that there being no such thing as a mistake.  I had little time to think about and work on the other two panels.  Besides, my main takeaway from today in terms of my own work was the FEAR exercise.  I can see embedding words into my paintings as I move along – it is a very rich concept to me.  Embed PEACE into a painting.  No one else will know it’s there, but I will.  The idea has possibilities.

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