What week is it again?

Caged Bird Singing Necklace - available for purchase in my Etsy Shop! https://www.etsy.com/listing/197542948/caged-singing-bird-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_12

Caged Bird Singing Necklace – available for purchase in my Etsy Shop! https://www.etsy.com/listing/197542948/caged-singing-bird-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_12

Seriously, I’ve lost all track of what week it is for school.

At this point, I know that we’ve hit the mid-point. And I’m still frustrated with what I consider a lack of progress.

But I know it’s not really a lack of progress.

I know that I’ve actually progressed quite a bit. My drawings look like what they’re supposed to look like. Not perfect, not wonderful, but at least the resemblance is there. I can look at it and identify my original purpose. That’s pretty good, compared to where I was when I started back in August.

Yesterday, I realized something about that progress – or lack of progress – too.

I was at the Dallas Art Museum (which rocks, by the way), and I just happened to wander past their Horchow Auditorium at five minutes to three. Which only matters because they were offering a free concert (part of the ‘Bancroft Family Concerts’) at three, and they were herding people into the auditorium for it.

So I went.

They performed ‘Maria’s Waltz,’ ‘Hymn’ (both by Bruce Patti), and then ‘Piano Quintet in F minor’ by Brahms.

It was awesome.

And it was while I was sitting in there, listening to the musicians, watching them and how passionately they played, how they literally rocked in their seats, totally immersed in what they were doing, feeling the music, that I realized something.

They probably didn’t play that well when they got started.

Simple realization, right? But so important.

I remember, way back when, I played violin for a year or two in elementary school. We didn’t play anything fancy. In fact, I remember playing lots and lots and lots of whole notes. They seemed to go on forever – just stroking the bow across the string, holding it. Ugh. But it was part of learning, and without it, I never could have moved on to anything else.

That’s what I’m doing right now in art class. I’m learning how to play those whole notes. I need to learn where to put my fingers, how to hold things properly, how to set them up, how to tune them. And maybe I’m not learning it that quickly, maybe I want to go more quickly, but I need to keep playing those goddamn whole notes until I get them right.

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How to define the worst college

Image by Stuart Miles via FreeDigitialPhotos-net

Image by Stuart Miles via FreeDigitialPhotos-net

There have been a few articles out lately about the worst colleges out there.

“These schools’ shortcomings, according to Washington Monthly, are not so much in the quality of the education per se but rather in its utility: How likely are students to graduate? What does a degree from there cost? What’s the level of student debt? What’s the default rate on student loans?

“Many of these colleges are dropout factories, where students are unlikely to graduate, and prices, debt levels, and student loan default rates are high,” author Ben Miller said in the magazine’s September/October issue, which ranked poor-performing colleges.”

They used cost, graduation, student debt, and default rates on student loans. And this is the problem with the entire question of what college is ‘worst.’

Those are all tied together, and they all tend to go into the same issue: people who want to be students, who want to go to college, but are limited due to economic hardship.

Let’s just be honest about it and skip the whole beating around the bush thing:  poor people have less options of where to go to school.

They often have to work more hours at their jobs. They often have children. They often start school later (having had to work first and not simply transition from high school into college).

So these poor Americans try to live out the broken American Dream by going and getting a college degree.

But the work is harder than they expect, and it takes longer than they expect, and they wind up in schools that cost more because those schools are more flexible; they have instructors who are told to keep up with their students.

When I worked at a for-profit college, I called my students at least once a week if there was any problem (non-attendance, work issues, etc.).

The students had best intentions, but often the stories I heard were that they lost their job, a family member was sick, their car had broken down and couldn’t be repaired for the money they had, they had lost their apartment or house…all things that people with more money and time wouldn’t have had to deal with. Or that they would have been able to deal with more easily.

The connection between the issues is what leads to the ‘worst’ college rankings: students start at expensive schools because they need to be there, whether it’s for the individualized attention they get or because they need the flexibility. The students run into problems because of the cost and the high student loans they must take out. They often drop out because of the money problems. Once they’ve dropped out, there’s no way they can pay the student loans, and so they default on them. It’s not that these things should be considered the ‘utility’ of the college. It’s the students. It’s their situations.

Instead of talking about the evils of these “dropout factories,” why don’t we look at how to make affordable colleges? Why don’t we look at how to get colleges to be more accessible and flexible? Why don’t we look at the underlying problem: the fact that high schools (especially in low-income areas) also have high drop-out rates and turn out students who aren’t ready for college?

Of course, the answer is that it’s easier. For those with the money and the privilege, it’s all about the colleges that try to work with these students, and grading the schools themselves.

We need to stop talking about the bad and start looking at how to make things good. What can we do to help these students instead of judging them and the schools they attend?

The Art Degree, Part II – Disillusionment

It’s begun.

I’ve been disillusioned with my art degree.

Why?

Because I totally suck at it.

Okay, maybe that’s not a fair assessment. I didn’t originally think I sucked at it. I didn’t go into the program convinced that I sucked at it.

Then I thought that I was learning.

And, to be fair, I am still learning.

I’m still drawing every day.

I’m still seeing improvements.

But the second projects are harder than the first ones, and I feel like I’m not keeping up.

My portraits are…uhhh…well, they sort of look like people. Mostly.

And my design class…we had to draw in it, followed by making a 3-d design from an abstraction we made from the drawing. My final piece, the drawing of the 3-d design, reminds me a lot of a truly abstract Tank Girl. (That part is cool, I admit.)

So I’ve gone ahead and included some of my current work, and we’ll see how it goes.

I haven’t given up, and I don’t plan on giving up. But it’s definitely getting to be more of a challenge than I had originally planned on.

Charcoal "Portrait"

Charcoal “Portrait”

Abstract Design Drawing

Abstract Design Drawing

Second Abstract Drawing from Design Class

Second Abstract Drawing from Design Class

3d Design (Cardboard and Tape) Made from Second Abstract Drawing

3d Design (Cardboard and Tape) Made from Second Abstract Drawing

Weeks 4 and 5: Wow, time is going fast!

Spider!

Spider!

So before I knew it, two weeks had passed, and my poor little blog had been ignored.

I knew that couldn’t last.

The important thing is that I tricked my husband.

Let me explain. No, wait, that would take too long. Let me sum up.

I want to be an artist. I’m not very art-y, but I’m trying hard, and I think that I’ve been getting progressively better. I practice every day, and I’ve seen it in my jewelry, my book art, my drawing, and even in my ideas. Plus, I have an idea of shading! And I know to plan my work before I do it! It’s really been great. But you know what was even better?

I was looking for examples of my work from my classes in my phone (because I take pictures of it), and my husband looked over and asked, “Why do you have a picture of a spider in your phone?!?”

Because, for those who know me are aware, I’m terrified of spiders. My having a picture of a spider in my phone would just never, never, never, ever happen.

The thing is – that picture wasn’t of a spider. It was of a spider that I drew and then cut out of black construction paper for my first design project!

Okay, so it isn’t perfect. And you may look at it and not think that it’s brilliant. But it’s an amazing sign to me. It shows me that I can learn this, that I can do that – that I can art!

That all said – now I need your help to keep arting…

Indigogo is almost over!

It ends on October 6! You have just about two days to give me money! What’s taking you so long?
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-me-get-an-art-degree/x/8598716

If you prefer to get more for your money and don’t just want to be a sweet, wonderful, caring individual, you can also go ahead and check out my awesome Etsy shop!

Buy something!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/thegoddessofgeekdom