It’s over! And it’s about to begin again…

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

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

Drawing of my hand on the final day of class...improvement?

Drawing of my hand on the final day of class…improvement?

Finished with my first semester, and got my grades. But then life got busy, and I haven’t had a chance to update.

First, off, I got As in both my classes. Go me! Of course, I can’t help but think that one of the classes was simply graded by “feelings” as opposed to any sort of rubric. The teacher seemed to think that we had bonded (she told me all sorts of private things about her life and then tried to hug me), and I know someone else who is a magnificent artist who only got a B in her class.

My first semester of art classes are done. Sort of. So if I got an A, it was definitely for effort. In the other class, I do think I earned it, especially since I was one of the only students who actually fulfilled the requirement for all the assignments. That’s an A I think I deserved, even if my work wasn’t the best in the class. Of course, that was also the class that actually had a rubric and critiques and feedback. Mostly.

Now, Christmas break is almost over. The college re-opens on the 5th. Classes begin on the 20th.

My new schedule is only two days a week this time, but they are full day. I’ll be in class from 9:30 to 12:20 and then from 1 to 3:50. My mornings will be full of Design II (3-D Design), and my afternoons will be metal-working and jewelry. Should be fun. Should be challenging. Should let me learn a lot of great new things to work on.

Neither of the courses actually count towards my degree, other than giving me credit hours. But I think that they will help me have a more well-rounded art degree. Especially because I do have to take sculpture and ceramics as part of the degree, so it makes sense (to me) to take a 3D design class if I’ll be making 3D designs. And the jewelry and metal-working? Who wouldn’t take that?

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

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?!?

Oh my God, I’m an undergrad again!

Image by StockImages via freedigitalphotos.net

Image by StockImages via freedigitalphotos.net

It happens on Monday, although I suppose technically since I’ve already made the first payment on my tuition, it’s really that I’m already an undergrad.

It’s kind of freaky – I have just a few degrees already to my name, and I haven’t attended a community college for over 10 years. (Although I taught at them for over 10 years…) I’m about to turn 39. And I have very little skill at my chosen major: art.

So why am I doing it?

Well, number one – student loans are evil things. They are money that you expect to somehow, some way, some day have the ability to pay back. Yet even if you have plenty of degrees, the jobs aren’t always there, and if they are there, they are often not what you want to do. And the student loans are also evil because they keep you in school, they get you addicted to liking school, to liking getting an education. Then – wham! Suddenly you’re all done with the degree and then you get these letters in the mail and realize that you have to pay more money in a month than you make on a car payment. And that you don’t have that money.

That’s definitely part of it. But the other part of it – number two, let’s call it – is the more important one. That’s the one that says that I do want education to be fun.

I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed all of my degrees to some extent, but I’ve always been super worried about what I could/would do with them. Super worried about what my grades were. Super worried about all the work I’d be having to do.

This degree, though, doesn’t have that stress attached to it. Yes, I want to do well at it because I like doing well at things. But I also want to do well because I enjoy it. I like art. I’m not very good at it, although I try, and I’m hoping that taking actual art classes will help with it.

I’m also going in with no plans of what I will do with it in the future. Maybe I’ll love it, get semi-talented through practice, and wind up working with kids, doing some sort of art therapy. Maybe I’ll wind up offering free classes at nursing homes. Maybe I’ll just be able to design better cross stitch patterns and better jewelry and 3d art. Who knows?

The thing is, I’m going into this with a completely open mind, and hopefully my brain will get full of art stuffs.