Week Three: Holy Crap! I’m learning stuffs, for reals!

art head

Would you like a little head?

So I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it, but I actually do see it. I’m getting better at the art thing!

This is a silhouette that I drew freehand and then cut out for a project in my design class.

It may not be perfect. Maybe a lot of people will look at it and think it’s not that good. But I’m massively impressed by myself. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Only three weeks in – and I’ve already gotten noticeably better!

In fact, I went out on my own, applying things that I’ve learned, and created my first mixed-media art. I even put it up on my Etsy page for sale.

Finally, the end of this blog is all about begging. I’m not going to pretend it’s anything else.

I’m trying to raise money to pay for my tuition, and I’m using IndieGoGo to do it. I need $755. So far, I have $5 donated. Clearly, I have a long way to go. Which is why I’m going for the begging route.

Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please donate!


And if you prefer not to donate, but you still want to help support me in this journey, you can choose to buy something from my Etsy shop instead.

If you can – and do – check out my shop or my IndieGoGo campaign, let me say thank you in advance, even if you don’t buy or donate. And even if you can’t do either, but if you can go ahead and spread the word and share my sites, I’d truly appreciate that, too.

Onto week four tomorrow morning! And thanks for reading and celebrating with me!


Week Two Done and Moving On!

drawing of black on white design piece

drawing of black on white design piece

Hard to believe I’m done with week two of my classes and firmly into week three already. Time flies and all that jazz, I suppose.

Right now, I have to say that my design class is my favorite class. I think that’s probably because I can see the most relevance from it right now. I have been doing the reading and then applying it to what I do in the class (and what I look at). It seems logical – it follows a path like the ones I learned when studying English. You read the rules, you look at work that follows the rules (or breaks the rules), and then you practice it. Once you know the rules and can follow them, then you can break them, too. The similarity to writing is kind of stunning, and perhaps that’s why it makes so much sense to me, and why I enjoy it. I also find it being immediately practical: I even learned what I used while talking to a friend about her own project. Knowing the rules of composition – another similarity, the language! – means that I can look at object and consider how to put them together. Hopefully that’s something that will be evident in my jewelry and book-making ventures.

My drawing class, on the other hand, was definitely becoming a drag. But not. We spent the first two weeks doing contour drawing. Lots of them. My hands. Various objects, including a shoe and a hat. And let me tell you something – I’m not very good at them. I know that they’re important, but I really wish that the instructor explained *why* they were important. That’s not to say that I’m not working on them with intensity. I have begun a small sketchbook, and I create a sketch in it every day. Most of them are contour drawings. And here’s the thing – they get better. Seriously. I can see by looking at them. The lines are making sense now. Sure, they still aren’t good, but they are better.

Here’s the thing about my current classes: they are meant for beginners. Which is okay. I am a beginner. A total beginner. I know that, and I accept that I need to start from that point if I have any hope of learning. But it’s still frustrating to have to do the same thing over and over again.

I was lamenting this fact – the repetition and monotony of it – to my husband, and he reminded me that this was no different than learning anything else. He remembered how, oh so many years ago, when he was learning to play guitar, he had to practice scales and stupid “musical” pieces. I say “musical” because they weren’t really much in terms of music. They were just meant to get you used to moving your fingers in certain progressions. He talked about how boring it was to do that, how much he hated it, and how much he had to do it. And then, one day, it clicked, and suddenly he could move without even thinking about it. And I remembered when I learned violin, back in the second grade. We did the same thing in our class – learning to play whole notes was potentially the most boring thing I’d ever done. But I did it, and learning to do it was an important part of learning the skill.

So, hopefully, I’m going to come out of this “boring” time with the skills I need to get to the fun stuff. And hopefully it’ll be soon, too.

One week in!

"Blind" contour drawing of my hand from day one...

“Blind” contour drawing of my hand from day one…

Being on the student side of the desk was about as weird as I thought it would be.

This, my first semester of my AA of Art degree. I’m in two classes that each meet twice a week for three hours at a go. The last time I sat in a classroom like that was in 2005. So, yeah, this is definitely a little bit different.

Really, just about everything is different.

First off, I actually have more degrees than my teachers (mine are in English, though). And I have more teaching experience than one of them. The one who has more teaching experience than me has most of it at the 4th grade level, though, which really comes through in her classroom management style.

Second, the students are so annoying! Seriously! I love the fact that they all say, “I’m not straight out of high school. I graduated in 2013.” Wow, a whole year?! Your level of maturity must be off the scale. That must be why you have absolutely no idea of what TMI means, and you announce that you’ve had an ant bite on your nipple to the whole class. Thanks; we needed to know that.

Third, the total apathy is there. I really thought positively about college students. Okay, maybe not that positively, but before, when I judged the students, it was as a teacher. Now, as a peer, I have to say how insanely sad and disappointed I was to hear fellow students complain about being forced to take a government class because they don’t care about the government. I want to shout at them – “You should care! Maybe someday you will care, and you’ll regret it then!” (Ooooh, my aching old fogey head!) And the lack of supplies with students saying that they don’t have the money. Yeah, I get that we’re all poor college students, but shouldn’t you at least buy the least minimum to get through it? Sigh.

Fourth, yeah, I’m so judging my teachers, too. Not having a copy of the syllabus, saying your students can get it online, but then admitting you don’t know where it is online…telling us you’ll always let us out about an hour early (for a three hour class) because you want time to eat in between classes you’re teaching…not good things. So easy for me to lose respect for you as a teacher.

Finally, the big positive:

I’ve learned stuff!

From my design class, I’ve learned a lot of vocab and worked towards my first project, realizing that planning really is an important part of it. That makes a difference since I just picked up some canvases this weekend that I want to do…something…to. I’m not just jumping in. I’m thinking about it, and I’ll mock some up before I actually do it.

From my drawing class, I learned about lines. Which, to me, sounds way basic. But I’ve found it helpful to pay attention to when lines curve, go diagonal, or are straight.

I was working on a cross-stitch pattern, and when I examined the images and text, I used the principles I learned in my design class to make the letters look good (or, at least, I think they look good), and I used the knowledge about lines from my drawing class to figure out how to recreate images on canvas. I noticed lines that, once, I would have called curved, but there were actually some straight lines in there! Who knew you could learn things in school?!?