Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Color Wheel Antics

I have been wanting to paint a color wheel for some time now. Partially because I wanted to be practicing what I teaching my students, and partially because I have not used tube acrylics for quite some time. I wanted to be able to give myself this tedious task and perhaps re-learn the basics of color mixing. Yesterday, I finally went out to Jerry's Artarama to get some supplies for the adventure. I had everything set up and ready to go so that I could not ignore it any longer.

I was glad to finally get the color wheel project underway, but I ran into a couple problems along the way. My white acrylic is going to dry out soon because the cap is broken. I don't know how or when it happened, but I was using it just last week with my students and it was fine. This morning, I found that the top part is separated from the part that screws on, and so air can easily get in and dry the paint.

The second issue I had was with my black acrylic. It is a cheap brand that was given to me a long time ago. That should have been my first clue to avoid using it, but I didn't think anything of it because black is used in such tiny amounts at a time anyway. But, for some reason, this particular line of black paint (BASICS) is not a true black. It has green or blue in it, and every time I mixed it with another color it would not come out right. I got greenish variations. Yellow, for example, when mixed with black should be a kind of yellow ochre color (light yellowish brown). Instead, I got more of a green. Pretty annoying for an artist!

So... I'm trying to decide if I should even finish this one, or whether I should wait to get new black and white and just start the whole color wheel over. I think I need new tape, too. Sigh... I hate that I was just at the art store yesterday and now need to make another trip over there.

Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love of the Lesson

The Shape Project:
My demo pieces for the kids

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been giving art lessons to a couple children from church. Once a week, for one hour, I teach them various fundamentals. We started off with the elements of art, and have been working our way through each of them, one at a time. So far, we have discussed line, shape, space, value, and texture. The kids are still working on the big shape project we started several weeks ago, but they're almost done! Last lesson, I showed them what palette paper was, and how to mix paint with a palette knife. Big brother painted his background color, and little sister is soon to follow.

Next on the list is color, which will probably take at least two lessons to cover. Color, by far, is the most complicated of the elements. Not only are you dealing with hue (color), but tint, tone and shade as well. In addition, color mixing can be quite tricky if you do not understand the way colors relate or react to one another.

For example, if you mix yellow and blue together, you will end up with some kind of green. Yellow and violet mixed together, however, will give you a completely different result. Likely, you will end up with some kind of brown. A colorful brown, perhaps, but brown nonetheless. How do I know this? Years of practice and learning. I know much more now than I did when I was in high school, and I know I have much to learn still.

Art is like a science. There are certain rules or facts that apply, like perspective or light. They are things we know to be true in the real world, and so they remain true in art. If you were to do it any other way, it would not make much sense. But, just as there are times in science when experimenting in light of these known facts is okay, so it is with art. Knowing how the elements of art work and why they are important is key when testing the limits of such rules.

These are the lessons I have come to understand and love. Every time I learn something new, or recognize something I am familiar with, I fall in love with art all the more. For me, art is as much an intellectual experience as it is an emotional one. Expression through knowledge, I suppose. And, on a more spiritual note (because I love finding the parallels between art and faith), as a Christian I cannot be all mind and no heart, nor can I be all heart without knowledge. Both are important because they complement each other. So, if I draw by understanding, may I also draw with passion; and if I draw passionately, may I do so with understanding of the lessons I have learned.

I simply cannot wait to teach my students these concepts. But... one thing at a time. :)

"Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind ?" ---Job 38:36

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Steps

One of my personal goals lately has been to get more things done around the apartment, and, I suppose, in general. Among other goals, this one has been partially the reason for my not blogging much lately. Besides basic chores, like doing laundry and washing dishes, my husband and I have also had the task of disassembling the piles of belongings associated with the process of bedbug treatments. Going through our things and getting settled was a seemingly simple goal when we moved into our apartment. But this has proven to be difficult since we have now had to unpack and repack our things more than once in the short time we've been living here.

In the last couple weeks we have made a lot of progress. Well, for us anyway. My biggest feat last week was getting my art stuff organized. In our small living space, I kind of just had my stuff everywhere. Old art projects, school assignments, unused paper, various art boards, etc... All of it was disorganized, sitting behind my drawer of supplies. Some of it was in large plastic bags, some in the folders, some of it just loose in between other things. There was really no rhyme or reason to any of it. I wish I had thought to take a before picture, but trust me when I say it was an awful mess.

Anyway, I went through EVERYTHING. I emptied every folder, threw out all the plastic bags, separated the projects and papers and boards, organized things into piles, and went out and bought new folders to store everything. I really am NOT an organized person. So this, for me, was a huge accomplishment. I always desire to be more organized, but the ability to be so does not come naturally to me. It does for my husband. He is super picky when it comes to cleaning and organizing. When he saw that all of my stuff was put away neatly, and even labelled into categories, he was very impressed.

So, I'm pretty stoked about having all my art materials tidy and easily accessible now. Still have a ways to go though. The project on deck is getting my work spaced straightened out. The desk is a huge mess and there is nowhere to make artwork currently.